Celebrities Behaving Badly, Music Business

Bossip.com, Clutch & FashionGhana Blast Wizkid and Akon for Rejecting Dark Skinned Girls in Ghana Over “Half Caste” for Music Video


I was reading Clutch Magazine yesterday, an online magazine here in the USA for women of color, when I saw a story blasting Wizkid and Akon for rejecting dark skinned girls in Ghana over “half-caste” girls for one of their upcoming music video shoot. Subsequently, I also saw that yet another U.S lifestyle portal Bossip.com had also caught on with the story. The very popular sites quoted Fashionghana.com in commenting on the alleged actions of the musicians.

It is very bizarre, I think, to ask for “half-caste” girls in Ghana of all places where beautiful dark skinned women are the order of the day. However, rather than join the bandwagon and say, “this was wrong,” let me pause and ask what I hope is a thought provoking question.

Should artists have the right to decide who they want to cast for their music videos i.e. dark skinned vs. light skinned?

In fashion, many if not majority of designers here in the States (Africans and non-Africans included) request white models for their shows, look book or campaign, for the most part. The justification for the exclusion of black models is that it is purely an artistic; and for some commercial reasons, to decide to use white as opposed to black models. Can the same reasoning apply to Akon and Wizkid?

If the duo believe that they can best express their artistic vision with a light skin lead female for this particular video, what is wrong with that? Why should they be forced to choose an option that does not fit their vision?


Excerpt from Clutch

Akon, Akon, Akon. Shame on you. WizKid? Well, I have no clue who you are, but apparently you’re some sort of Akon “protege”. According to Fashion Ghana, the two artists have an upcoming concert and video shoot taking place in Ghana. Allegedly, some of the Ghanaian models were turned away because they were too dark and were told by the agent the two artists were looking for “half-caste” women. Half-cast meaning mixed.

From Fashion Ghana:
“THEY”, most likely referring to WizKid, Akon and/or his music video producer, turning away a fleet of arrivals originally requested to attend by the model scout. In fact, the agent requested if the girls could help him seek light skinned girls because ‘THEY’ were so adamant on this request even on late notice.

Nigeria, where WizKid is from, and Senegal where Akon is from, are countries both flooded with girls bleaching their skin simply because of such discrimination and being made to feel ugly if dark. Not just in media and modelling, but general favours in life. Whilst there are good people in both countries trying to reverse the self esteem damage of such activities such as Adama Paris who banned skinned bleach models from the Senegalese national fashion week, Akon and Wiz Kid’s team are trying to further such acts internationally.

Clutch has the full story.

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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