One of the things I detested growing up in Nigeria and which I still do till today, is that children are seen and not heard. I think this attitude is so deep within the Nigerian culture that where adults should get it, they don’t. The case I am about to talk about is one instance that reminds me of this fact.
Indeed, within just the last year alone, there is no denial that Nigerian music videos have changed the tenor of how they portray our women nationally and globally. Over and over ago, the Nigerian woman is now oversexualized, objectified and sang about in a way that is simply demeaning, degrading and disrespectful. Indeed, some Nigerian male artists seem determined to break into mainstream America and Western markets, by any means necessary; even if it means pimping the Nigerian woman’s sexual identity and essence for money and recognition.
I have made it unequivocally clear that I have a problem with this “his-tory” that our men are determined to tell for our women.
Unfortunately, Nigerian women in the industry are far and few between. As a result, they have been very limited in telling their story to the world which is anything but demeaning, degrading and oversexualized.
In my last discussions addressing this oversexualization and pimping of my Nigerian sisters by some of our men, I said ‘Lupe Fiasco’s Bitch Bad Video” was an incentive to begin a category called, “Awesomely Bad Video” on AML. The emphasis in this category is the unacceptable depiction of our women. I have argued that these depictions have a negative mental image on our women, will affect how present and future young Nigerian boys treat our young girls, the Nigerian woman’s self esteem and value. I have argued that we have a duty, as Nigeria’s entertainment industry, not to pimp the Nigerian woman for quick cash and recognition by the West. Exhibit I, that it is simply the wrong way to go for Nigeria and Africa, is what we have seen with what the hip-hop community has done with the image of the Black American woman.
Here we are with the Wande Coal video and it underscores my point.
Wande Coal’s video ‘Get Low’ was allegedly banned, over the weekend, by Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). NBC is a regulating body similar to the Federal Communications Commission here in the USA. Many have been vexed and it is no surprise that majority of the people who are vexed by this ban, online, are men. Further, majority seem to have no sense of a basic understanding that it IS NOT about them, as adults, viewing a Wande Coal ‘Get Low’ video.
It is about young Nigerian girls and boys who switch on local televisions with their mummies and daddies being greeted with images of almost naked women completely wet shaking their romps. By the way note Wande Coal is fully clothed. How are 5, 7, 9, 12 year olds etc. suppose to square such images with their reality and the values they are being taught as African children in Africa? Historically, the Nigerian television networks has not been bombarded with images of women as the one seen in this video. The video clip of women in bathing suits in artificial rain, shaking their booty and getting “low” IS NOT WHAT ANY NIGERIAN YOUNG GIRL OR BOY SHOULD BE EXPOSED TO ON LOCAL TV NETWORKS.
Also, clearly there is a debate on what constitutes “nudity” since that was the alleged basis for the ban. I do not believe we ought to use Western standards to determine what is nude in other countries. Each country has its own sovereign right to determine what “nudity” is. Its legislature and judicial officers (lawyers) can fight/determine what that definition ought to be. Westerners (Nigerians in the diaspora included) have become desensitized to images that would be a shock in Nigerian society on television. They are not the ones who determine what is right for Nigeria.
Bottom line, the music industry ought to have standards. It can self regulate itself or face the NBC regulating it where it fails to do so. You don’t want regulation, dumb that nonsense down for local television. Your little brothers and sisters are watching.
Times like this, I get frustrated that Nigeria has a long way to go with having a strong and enforceable legal structure in place to protect children.
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