Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are NAIJA Music Videos Debasing Women?

Public Opinion

This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently.

What actually triggered this discourse was an argument and a music video I caught recently thanks to a pirated 9ice VCD that proudly claimed to contain his Gongo Aso videos. Trust the pirates: the contents were radically different from the cover but that’s another issue for another day.

The argument actually started when a female declared that if she was a music star she’d shoot a music video that would have the guys all strutting around in briefs. Her reason? Guys shoot videos with scantily dressed female dancers in them shaking what their Mamas gave ‘em and reducing their bride price, so to speak. Her scantily-clothed males video concept would therefore turn the tables on men.

Fast forward to the music video on the “Gongo Aso” VCD I talked of earlier. The video in question titled “Call The Police” is from the (previously unknown to me) musician Tustep and features another (unknown) rapper who goes by the name Dagrin. The music video was directed by DJ Tee (again!) with the production efforts of Shayman (of Ko Won Je fame).

The song by itself is a club banger based loosely on the crunk rap style and its lyrics are kinda nice. According to the hook as sung by Tustep:

Pick up your phone make you call the Police / Say this girl she don thief my heart-y oh! / Oh! (x 3) / Where she carry am go? / Oh oh! / She must-o carry am come back!

And he goes on to sing about how the girl has stolen his heart thus making him “tempted to touch” and stuff like that. After the introductory scene by Shayman, we get to see Tustep on a sofa with his girl number one. Then after that, we fade to what looks like the VIP section of a club with about 10 girls in the background each doing her bit of dancing while Tustep addresses the one sitting down directly. But after this comes the controversial part. I’ve gone over the entire lyrics of the song and Tustep makes it apparent in the lyrics that he’s singing of one girl. So how come in the said video do we see two girls running their hands all over him in the bedroom scene?

Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m yet to see a Naija music video which (discreetly or openly) endorses a ménage a trois like this. I just wonder who - Director, artiste or Producer - was responsible for this particular Artistic Direction. (Congrats! At least now our music videos are stepping up! 50 Cent and Ludacris, it seems now reside in Lagos. Or wherever).

The video by itself is not too bad and will trip a guy’s imagination no end but will give women yet another chance to cry foul over their being debased. I’ve listened to several women shout against this form of abuse but it seems their positions are rather weakened by the members of their very same sex. And as one lady told me: if she refused to dance provocatively in a video, there would be 10 other ladies lining up to take her place.

As for me, I take the middle stand. Any woman / girl / lady who chooses to can appear nude in any music video she wants to as far as no one put a gun to her head to do it. But still that doesn’t mean the music video Directors and artistes should start pushing the envelope and blurring the lines between provocative dancing, x-rated scenes and freedom of speech.

I won’t lie: I like seeing skin and rump-shaking but that doesn’t mean every music video should start toeing that line! What’s happening to creativity, for crying out loud?

I’m running a poll about this just to know your views and please feel free to drop comments / e-mail. All views are welcome. But if you were to ask me, I don’t think every Nigerian apparently, is ready for sexually-suggestive videos. Well, people what do YOU think?

We love watching your videos but this rubbish has got to end.

DJ Tee, Tustep, and many others: Please, please take note…

6 comments:

Chari said...

This guy u are looking for trouble oh! hmmn!!! you will just get the beating of your life with the HUGE toes ur stepping on...ok o u go talk say I tell u...

MY TAKE:
The stakeholders are not fools, business men sell only what sells...and we all know in this age of ours Sex sells like...well like sex...rump shaking and all that is what rawks the spot right now...

The truth is if anyone has problems with it then don't watch them and dont be involved in such videos...shikena!

Kai this guy ehn ur blog is always makin me yaaarrrnnn shaa...u sef!

talesandtallies said...

I am not at all surprised by the nature of the videos... infact, bordeline creativity in video production is zero in Nigeria. Girls dance in videos because they want to be seen, paid and get laid. I personally think artistes should make videos that ten years down the line, they'd still be proud of. The industry is still growing and let's say they are simply not thinking outside the box. They think imitation (of foreign rap artists) instead of innovation is the best.

This comment is long already... lol

rayo said...

i personally think its boring and class-less. its just not done with any finesse in naija video, its d same theme over and over again thats y people lyk lagbaja, asa, tybello will always have videos several notches above those of tustep nd d lyk. D'banj's why me was not bad at all, there were girls but there was some effort put into d video not just skantily clad girls shaking their huge rumps in my face.

Temite said...

I love this conversation. But I have no opinion whatsoever on the issue! Wow!

LG said...

lollllllllllllll
bros' no mind chari jare...
norrin do u

Naughty Eyes said...

@ Chari: Didn’t you know? Trouble is my middle name. Na who go beat me? DJ Tee? The guy na my homeboy now! Na me dey groom him bear-bear for saloon…
Ok, seriously, sex does sell like sex but I think I prefer creative sex which still sells. That’s the type that better leaves the rest to the imagination than all those dumb close-ups of equally dumb gals shaking their rumps revealing their tacky underwear and cellulite (well, even Beyonce looks sexy in tacky underwear!)
And like one of my friends pointed out, there’s a BIG clear difference when professional dancers like Kafee shake their thing than when just any gal off the street does it. The choreography is better for one …
Kai! This guy ehn your reply is always making me yarn sef…

@ T&T: Very, very well said especially the “borderline creativity being zero” part but I slightly disagree about the degree of creativity being zero. Maybe giving them a 2 out of 10 instead might be good enough. Girls dance in videos to get seen, paid and laid? Interesting, especially the “laid” part. Any experiences you know of? (LOL) Worst of all, the artistes are probably squashing the box with the girls’ butts in their videos instead of thinking outside of it!

@ Rayo: Lagbaja, Asa and co compared to Tustep? Ahn ahn! It’s just like comparing chocolate to iru nah! “Why Me” wasn’t bad at all but the entire Mo’ Hits crew’s videos are going the same bling / champagne / Hummer / helicopter route as the rest of them. There’s nothing wrong with artistes chugging Hennesy but chug it with style, not as if you want to quench your thirst! The light reflection off the bling-bling isn’t going to blind us to their lack of creativity like talesandtallies observed…
Sorry, completely forgot the women were supposed to be the central issue here.

@ Temite: No opinion? NO OPINION? Ok, give me your opinion on this: Would you dance scantily clad in your favourite artiste’s music video? Answers eagerly awaited please!

@ LG: I no dey mind Chari jo. Why I go fear when I get you and those your agbero paddy-paddys for my side?