James Onen is a Ugandan radio personality who has curved out a name and a reputation for holding (and flaunting) extremely controversial views on virtually everything; politics, religion, the role and place of the female and male sexes in society and in love relationships, media … name it.
Popularly known to his fans as Fatboy or F-Bizzy, a more hipped up version of Fatboy, he plies his trade on Sanyu FM, an urban format privately-owned Kampala-based radio station, one of the pioneers in the Ugandan FM radio market.
Over the years, Fatboy has curved out a parallel reputation on the social networking site, Facebook, where he commands one of the biggest followings among Ugandan public figures.
His posts on Facebook are usually edgy, brash, provocative, sometimes bullish and often arrogant, not to mention polarising.
Fatboy’s Facebook page is nothing short of a battlefield where his legions of followers (both the ones that idolise him and the ones that show open contempt for his brazenness) take each other on as they debate the latest post.
Usually, the best of such debates take days and weeks and even months before both parties throw in the towel.
Such is the apparent power of Fatboy’s Facebook missives, that a post he shared on March 24, 2014 (yes, March 24, 2014) is still fuelling furious debate on his Facebook wall. That was more than two years ago when he put up the post!
Fatboy is one of the first big celebrities that I interviewed as a rookie journalist for The New Vision newspaper in Kampala, way back in 2006 or 2007.
That time, as is still the case today, he co-hosted the Sanyu FM Breakfast slot, by then with a lady called Melanie Kaita. The brief from my editor was to simply sit through the show, observe everything, and then paint the studio atmosphere using words.
I was new in the journalism game, so I was sweating after scaling a host of stairs to the studio and after having elbowed my way through the thick Kampala morning traffic.
If anything, it was the first time I was sitting through a live broadcast on a serious radio station.
I was intimidated, and Fatboy didn’t make things any better by giving me a rather aloof and indifferent reception, as if to say that he did not need my story out in the papers to be who he is. He already knew who he waws.
His March 24, 2014 Facebook post went like this, and I quote (a few expletive words have been toned down):
“There seem to be two types of girlfriends for a lot of guys - girlfriends for public consumption, and girlfriends for private consumption.
The one for public consumption is the one who everyone knows as your girlfriend - she’s from a good family, she’s educated, is beautiful, has class, corporate background, etc. She may not satisfy you in many other ways (e.g. ever busy, overly pretentious and superficial, etc) but she’s a trophy and everyone praises you for dating a girl like that. She is the one you’ll typically be seen in public with.
Then there is the private girlfriend.
This one may not be so beautiful. She may not have class. She may look cheap. She’s ‘local’. She’s probably a waitress or barmaid you met somewhere and she barely speaks English. But she has other things going for her. And treats you with respect.
She is also not very demanding and is very easy to manage. Plus, she is not a drain on your wallet and does not require to be taken to trendy, ‘high-class’ places to be happy. She has never heard of Blankets & Wine nor does she care for such vapid socialite gatherings.
Sadly, as much as you may like this girl, you can’t be caught dead in public with her. People will diss you, and tell you how disappointed they are. They will lecture you about how you can ‘do better’. Whenever she asks when she will meet your friends, you come up with excuses.
So you end up dating the girl who society has deemed right for you, even though she makes you miserable. And the girl who you genuinely feel comfortable with ends up remaining your deep, dark secret that not even your friends can know about.
You meet her only in seedy pubs where you think no one can find you - or you meet inside your respective homes. No one can know you even associate with this woman.
Of course, the best case scenario is for you to find one who is an all-rounder, that is, has beauty, class, but also respects you, is down to earth, and everything else a man hopes for. One you can proudly flaunt to your friends. Those ones are there, but they are very few indeed.
If you happen to be dating a local girl purely for private consumption, don’t be ashamed. Many guys are stuck with boring high-end princesses. At the end of the day, don’t let others dictate who you should date. They’re not the ones who are going to live your life for you.”
Fatboy’s post ended there. Then came the comments. By the time I typed this, there were still people putting up new comments.
Needless to say, most of the comments came from men, since the input of the post seems to address male folk directly.
Judging from the men’s comments, they seemed to say that Fatboy had only said publicly what they already knew privately.
Fatboy’s post basically pits “high end corporate princesses” against the “village belle” and obviously, “village belle” does not subscribe to Facebook and if they do, they don’t follow such sophisticated arguments as the above by urbanites.
So definitely there were a few “village belles” up on Fatboy’s wall to thump their chests, seeing as the debate seemed to favour the humble village Nyampinga who has never heard of Kim Kadarshian or Diner en blanc, over their corporate opposite numbers.
Instead, it was obvious the high-end corporate girls were out to level the score, as this seemed only a direct assault on them. Their core argument was that, just like the men think they can keep ‘low-end’ side dishes to supplement their regular corporate mates, the girls too had it within their means and choice to do the same –as in, keep a taxi moto side dish to supplement their high-flying boyfriends/girlfriends who own and live in mansions.
Angela Alika Nagawa, for instance, wrote,
“Now the broke guys are here making the loudest noise saying beautiful girls are a bore in bed. Most of you have not even dated any because you can’t maintain them.”
But Fatboy could not let them be, writing:
“I like how girls are trying to deflect the issue by saying “but also us we have other men”. This post isn’t for you ladies, I’m here to educate men. You go and be with your other men that you claim to have. I’m just telling guys not to be hung up on these fake wannabe high-end princesses, and not to be shy to date simple women who give them a peace of mind.”