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Monday, 2 January 2017

The Good That Naked Music Does Not Do

muno cool down

There is hardly a popular music video you will see these days online or on cable TV that does not contain some form of nudity or the other. It’s like a freaking curse. No, not a curse. Sorry about that. It’s like the mark of the beast the holy book tells us that without it, in the last days, nobody can buy or sell anything. It’s like something told the people that control what is played and what is not that if the video does not portray half naked girls in one way or the other the video shall not be played or promoted.
The biblical reference is not literal of course. But it looks quite similar. The principle seems to be simply that of demand and supply. Something is demanding the consumption of nakedness in our music production, something big and powerful. But what? What is telling our music artistes that they must have half naked girls in their music videos before they can hope to sell their songs? I will come back to this question.
Sometimes it is not just nakedness. It is what most of the songs refer to in their lyrics as ‘love’. The portrayal of this ‘love’ is inevitably as suggestive as the nude videos. Usually, there is the star of the show, the artiste, with a girl straggling round the star with highly suggestive gestures and sliding body movements. The role is reversed if the star is female. Now it is the male grinding and whining away, as if it craves to eat the very flesh of the girl star raw, on video.
I think of Timaya’s videos. I think of Maheeda’s videos. I think of Tekno’s Pana. I think of Mr Eazi’s Sample you. I think of Korede Bello’s Do Like That. I think of Kiss Daniel’s Woju. These are powerful people, young or otherwise. These are influencers, with tens of millions of young followers on social media. These are the guys that determine what my nieces and nephews watch and listen to online. Probably yours too. Our kids, an entire generation, are hooked on the powerful voices of these stars with wave after wave of popular songs and videos, all with one subliminal message: nudity. Take it off. Shake what your mama gave you, which is basically your bumbum.
Few parents watch what their kids are watching these days, especially with the onslaught of android phones. By the time your daughter is twelve she already knows how to twerk, probably from watching an online video where someone listening to one super star or the other had twerked. Or she watched Soundcity, which she has no business watching at that age but which she does often with you, the mother, in the house too.
The enormous success of these soft porn music videos is also followed by the star’s inevitable offer of thanks to God. Na God. We thank God. But I highly doubt if God will roll out the red carpet in heaven for the producers of Pana and Naija Bad Girl. It’s highly unlikely.
Yet it is not only here that this dubious trend has taken root. It is a global movement. Recently I watched a video of R Kelly in concert. Female fans were reaching out from the stands to grab his crotch. Lady Gaga once pulled up her dress and pulled down her panties, before a live audience. There is hardly any big live music event these days that will not involve some kind of sexual simulation or the other, on stage.
What is happening?
We have all gone crazy, that is what is happening.
We have all gone sex bat crazy is what has happened. Every guy you see wants to hit every girl he sees. Every girl you see thinks every guy she sees wants to hit her. That is what goes on in these videos almost all the time. And we have all been indoctrinated, thanks to the power of music. Like my nigga Tupac puts it in one of his songs: ‘We are all probably in hell already here, our dumb asses not knowing…’
I concur.
Now let me go back to the force that is driving us sex crazy. In other words, what is telling our music artistes that they must have half naked girls in their music videos before they can hope to sell their songs? The guilty culprit of course is you and I. 2Baba’s Oya Come Make We Go, the most positive song from him in recent times, as far as I am concerned, has got only 1.2m views on youtube last time I checked. Tekno’s Pana, which came out the same 12 month period, is at 14m views and rising. We are the ones telling the stars, by what we are watching, what to sing about.

You see, naked music does a lot of bad to our collective consciousness as human beings. It breaks down taboos. And because of that we have destroyed shame. Nobody is ashamed of nothing no more. I should probably be ashamed of myself for watching Pana video, and worse musical videos. I knew what Tekno offered in the song, talking about his big cassava, which turned out to be more like a peanut (but don’t let me digress). But I wasn’t ashamed of myself and I watched the video, over and over again. Why? Why not, my shameless new self asks me. The video has been watched fourteen million times (and counting) already. And you, good and innocent saint, you would not watch it, because of what exactly? Your name is on God’s book of life and Tekno’s is not? Smh.
You see, naked music does a lot of bad to our collective conscience as human beings. It is the good thing it does that would bring us all down. It makes us feel good. Powerfully good. Naked music makes us feel so good that we no longer feel what we should feel confronted by rank nudity across all media, which is outrage. That good feeling is the wide road that leads to hell. I call it good, only because it comes with pleasant sensual feelings. The moral good feeling is what it does not bring, on the contrary.
The solution is simple. We can pause, or go on with what we’re doing. We can make songs and videos with happy children and laughter, songs with vision and power, that parents can watch with their children. We can talk about the evil in the world, like Bob Marley and dem era did. Or not. We can do whatever we want, that is the meaning of the freedom technology and civilization bought us. The first scenario is not likely.
But if you ever feel there is something wrong with our music videos, hang in there. You are not alone, by no means.
odega shawa
IG: @shawa_kalakutabooks
twitter: @shawa2008