At the 95th Annual Academy Awards (OSCARS) that was held on Sunday, a nominee this year in the best original song category, happens to be Nigerian musician and producer Temilade Openiyi, also known as Tems, debuted one of the night’s more extravagant looks.
She wore a voluminous gown from LA-based label Lever Couture. The dress featured a sculptural flourish of pleated and boned fabric strips that curved up through the bodice and around the head, seemingly frozen in space, and a skirt so full that it spilled over into the surrounding seats.
The bridal-style design was widely labeled as ethereal and angelic, it also ranked highly on many social media users’ best-dressed lists, but others, as usual took some issue with its scale.
One Twitter user wrote along with a video clip that “Tems got that one lady fighting for her life,” and adds that a woman, seemingly sitting in that very spot, craning her neck to look around and catch a glimpse of the stage but none of those who sat in Tems’ orbit appear to have commented publicly on the fashion moment or its impact, though.
The sweet part of it is that, the tweet has now been liked ten thousand times over.
While the tone of the debate online has been largely jovial, some commentators have suggested that part of the critiques of Teams may have been laced with racial bias, too focused on the space her gown took up, as against the space it lived in.
Kelechi Okafor, the Coloured British author and presenter, argued the criticism levied at Tems felt “loaded” and coming from “a certain demographic.” Others responded that it should spur her on to find an even bigger look for her next awards show.
Tems, meanwhile, is yet to address the conversation herself, hopefully because she has made the most of her Oscars night even without a win to celebrate.
Besides, it is possible she got cocooned inside her dress, that she entirely missed the whole controversy.
Writing by Tersoo Nicholas