In the last decade, since the Plantation Boys and Remedies before them began a revival of Nigerian music’s fortunes, Naija music has eclipsed Africa and is presently showing the world that Africa has got some groove. With YouTube views in the millions, brands such as P square, D’banj and Flavour have become household names and veritable representatives of Nigerian popular culture.
If music is the expression of a nation’s popular culture, whether adopted or not, one would expect the visuals that go with it to reflect that culture as well as the people that embody it, however, in Nigeria, this expectation doesn’t hold.
Close your eyes and call to mind popular Nigerian music videos of the moment. If you were true to yourself, you’d admit that these videos are very unfair to the Nigerian woman. Video after video, American copycat artiste name after another, all we see is the depiction of women as playthings, playthings that come with the money, the cars, the dope houses and the choice wines—a property that success acquires.
This disrespect of women jars the nerves and grates like mad. More so because most of the so called Nigerian feminists, ever ready to cuss a Nigerian man out on social media, pretend not to notice this constant demeaning of the sex they purport to represent—I don’t want to believe they are okay with this.
Thinking about video vixens (who coined that phrase sef?) made me realise that most of them, at least the stars of the videos, look nothing like Funke, Elenu and Chidera—unless the trio are ‘mullato’ chicksrocking the Nigerian dream. The video vixens are increasingly looking like Vanessa, Tamara and Nadine. Asian, European and mix race girls are the rage. It seems Flavour, Dare, Wizkid, Banky W and the rest can’t fall in love unless the girl has a high percentage of Caucasian gene—except when they are lusting after girls with big ‘bakassi’.
I swear I will gag if I see more of these western compliant girls strut about half nude in another music video. Sheesh! The way this girls own music video after music video, someone who doesn’t know any better would think we have a large population of European types in Nigeria. Truth is, Nigeria is not East or South Africa. The mosquito and its brother malaria ensured we never had shiploads of Europeans coming to settle here during the colonial days. As such our half-castes are few and in-between and we love them to high heavens—perhaps because they remain a novelty, too few of them around, makes you wonder why they dominate our music videos.
Nigerian girls should be mad, but they are not, they are okay with playing supporting cast. These days they bleach their skin, starve themselves and wear the discarded hair of Brazilian, Asian and Caucasian girls to blend into image our recent popular culture imposes on them. They struggle to claim foreign accents and afford the once off visit to any country overseas to get the stamp of approval needed to wield those accents. These ladies represent the new-age Nigerian woman, the one that sees nothing wrong with the fact that those who shoot and direct music videos think that they are not beautiful enough to star in it beside their Naija brothers. They should be mad, but since the black woman is the most self-depreciating being created by God, they won’t see anything wrong there, it would just be another white girl dancing awkwardly to Flavour’s chant of ‘Baby Oku’. Yes, they would give a life to trade skins with that girl, and their menfolk agree—or why else would they chose the most European looking girl above them 9 times out of 10.