Tems Explains Why She Wore That View-Blocking Dress To The Oscars
During the Oscars on Sunday night, Nigerian singer and Best Song nominee Tems decided that although Rihanna would be singing their Oscar-nominated song Lift Me Up from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, she would make sure people would be lifting up their necks to see the stage from behind her. Tems’ Lever Couture dress immediately became the talk of the Oscars because of how her big-ass cloud dress blocked some people’s view of the stage. But now, after folks have had a moment to wonder why she decided to do this, Tems explains she was merely keeping in line with many awards show attendees who wore outfits they believed were fashion-forward but were more like fabric-inspired middle fingers.
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Tems discusses why she wore a stunning repurposed Ikea duvet for her Oscars premiere. She explains that since her work for the Wakanda Forever soundtrack was being recognized, she wasn’t about to grab something from the clearance rack at Marshall’s to celebrate the occasion. Tems knew it was time to stay fly or stay home.
“Two years ago, I would’ve said no to this dress,” Tems laughs. “But it’s my first Oscars — I am going to go all out. I really wanted to make the most of the day. The dress is also my way of celebrating my work and the people around me, celebrating my country, and celebrating the people that are rooting for me. This dress says ‘Yes, yes, I am here!'”
The singer’s stylist, Dunsin Wright, also wanted to reflect the magnitude of the moment. “At the start of the year, Tems said she’s entering a new era. That played on my mind as I considered the perfect outfit for the Oscars. We wanted something that felt quite delicate but powerful, something that made her feel ethereal,” Wright says. “I had spotted Lever Couture a while ago after their fashion show in Tokyo and instantly knew I wanted to work with them. It was a bold option, but I was confident that if anyone could wear it the way it needed to be worn, it was Tems. She is so graceful and confident, and she makes every piece her own.”
The end result, as we all know, was what will probably go down in Oscars history as one of the most “Fuck Y’all!” moments ever, because that’s basically what the dress is saying.
But also, Tems wanted to celebrate her arrival to the big leagues because she’s truly grateful to be there.
“When I first started out, this was not on my list of things I needed to do,” Tems admitted to BAZAAR days ahead of her big night at the Oscars. “But honestly, I am honored. It’s the first time I’m in this space, and it just gives me motivation to keep going and do more and reach my maximum potential.”
Since Tems’ songwriting has already garnered a Grammy, a few Image Awards, and a Golden Globe nomination, this probably won’t be the last time we see her wearing something big and showy at an awards ceremony. And my suggestion for next time is a dress with peacock feathers. But as a measure of good faith, she should arrive early and place complimentary binoculars on the seats of anyone who has to sit behind her, so they don’t miss most of the show.