Hot Takes Special: The Sheggz & Bella ship needs to sink

We need to quit ignoring the red flags



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A few weeks ago, Big Brother returned to our screens for the Level Up season. As usual, the show has swept the attention of the entire nation, leaving fans glued to their TVs in support of their favourite housemates. Amidst all the twists and turns created by production to ensure the viewers are glued to their screen, the focal relationship of the season appears to be between contestants, Segun Olusemo, popularly known as Sheggz and Bella Okagbue. Right from the beginning, they established a romantic connection which has coloured their experiences in the house, and created many discussions across social media timelines.

Season after season, the love pairings on Big Brother Naija have grown into a focal point of the show. In 2020, one of Big Brother’s most successful ‘ships’, Kiddwaya & Erica gained a lot of attention all over the country, and even though neither of them won, they have both come out to even greater success than the winner of the season did. Their relationship, not without its flaws, was playful, passionate and very enjoyable to watch, which led the pair to garner fans both locally and internationally due to their somewhat wholesome portrayal of love.

Increasingly, getting into a relationship or ‘ship’ as they are called by OG BBN fans, is a sure way for any couple to make their way to the top of the audience’s collective consciousness. Sheggz and Bella know this all too well, and have all but hedged their bets on maintaining a ship that will outlast this current season. But what started out as some juicy gossip on television, has now evolved into a constant sore spot that has grown increasingly uncomfortable to watch. 

Unlike Kidd and Erica, this relationship hasn’t quite provided the same light, reality tv infatuation we have become accustomed to, with seemingly strong signs of behaviour consistent with emotional manipulation, and a strange power imbalance right from its onset. In the above video, we can see Bella bawling her eyes out after an explosive fight between her and Sheggz. Her bellowing cry will sound very familiar to anyone whose been in a similar situation, the one when you’ve simply had enough and need a release. When one gets driven to that point of tears, it’s more cathartic when alone and unencumbered, however, we can see that Bella doesn’t even get that from her new partner. Whilst we can’t see what’s going on underneath the duvet, we can hear the ensuing conversation. While Bella weeps, Sheggz responds saying “Babe, what the hell?”, “See, I can’t do this…this is so fucked”, offering her little to no support, and threatening their relationship while she breaks down.

Before she breaks away from Sheggz, she says “Let me breathe.”

(Source: Twitter)

Many women in today’s world have either witnessed or experienced a form of abuse in their lifetime. In the rare case that they haven’t, they have definitely watched it play out on television somehow, much like we’re currently doing with the sinking ship that is #Shella. According to most romantic storylines women (and men) grew up watching, dangerous men were often presented as a saviour to their prey (Snow White, Beauty & The Beast), or the lord over these women with little consequence for how dangerous they are. Over time as popular culture evolved, these men became the ‘bad boys’ (Edward Cullen, Christian Grey, Damon Salvator), who women (often their prey) are hopelessly attracted to. In addition to being extremely dated and quite frankly boring, these tropes present a disservice to men, women and young viewers everywhere, as they reinforce the harmful notion that what should be perceived as bad and toxic will be worth pursuing in the end. 

From the very beginning, Sheggz and Bella’s connection was clear and they immediately became a note-worthy couple. On the outside, fans were immediately drawn to Sheggz due to his exceptionally good looks and generally engaging demeanour. At the same time, however, BB Naija fans on Twitter unearthed some extremely serious allegations about Sheggz, from an alleged ex partner. Shortly after Sheggz and Bella became an item, their relationship brought a lot of raised eyebrows towards the housemate, as a number of viewers grew increasingly concerned about Bella’s wellbeing and safety. As the show has gone on, their relationship has only confirmed the biases of these people with many red flags that we don’t believe should be ignored.


Red Flag 1 – Sheggz Love Bombing

While in the beginning, their relationship seemed like a fairy tale due to his constant grand expressions of affection for Bella 🚩, the Sheggz and Bella ship has sailed and quite frankly, needs to sink. Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person with grand demonstrations of attention and affection, and one could argue that this is how their relationship started. Sheggz would always be in Bella’s space, constantly affirming her about his intention for their relationship. He would do certain things that made it seem as if nothing else mattered to him apart from her, and very quickly sucked her in with this overt display of affection. In several instances, we have seen him use his affection for her as a reason for some of his unreasonable behaviour, not to mention the fact that when they fight, he’s very quick to shut her down with ‘I love you’ and intense begging for forgiveness.  

Red Flag 2 – Sheggz Using Character Assassination

Now, the love bombing usually only comes when she has a reaction he doesn’t like to something he has said to her. Sheggz often berates Bella, saying that he has an idea of what his ‘girl’ should be like and she doesn’t act accordingly. When he’s not suffocating her with affection, he’s probably insulting her by calling her names, calling her intelligence into question and telling her outrightly that she’s not good enough for him. What this character assassination does is eat away at her confidence, whilst he’s gaining control over it. 


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Red Flag 3 – Control & Manipulation

In the video above, we can see Sheggz instructing her to ‘sit’, ‘put the water down’, and she does so on cue, which is disturbing to watch. During this argument, it appears that Bella was trying to open a plate of her own food, but he didn’t want her to, and so became visibly angry with her. Bella explains that she doesn’t like a particular type of suya, and was opening it to check for what she would like to eat, whilst he ranted about how she struggles with instructions. This argument had nothing to do with the food, but more so that she disobeyed him. Considering that they are both adults, it is very strange for him to expect her to follow his instructions. Even more strange, that he’s willing to display this side to himself on national television, showing that he might not identify that it is a problem to begin with. 

I was initially of the opinion that Sheggz came on BBNaija for some sort of image laundering just to discard whatever allegations may have been set against him, but now with the sort of behaviour he’s been displaying on the show, I don’t think I believe that anymore. Sheggz is playing two games side by side in the Big Brother house, the actual game which is the show and his game with Bella. If it was initially hard to believe that Sheggz hadn’t been involved in any case of assault, his manipulative behaviour and actions on the show are truly saying otherwise. Although we as viewers are watching this script play out before our eyes, it only gets worse for the women in such relationships. Coming out of the BBNaija house will only give Sheggz power and fame; the sort of power and fame that would sweep an assault case under the rug.