Some artists we love not because they have extraordinary talent, but because they simply have dignity. I’m listening to Chrisette Michelle right now, and really, her voice is not the best thing that ever happened to the music industry.. But I will buy every CD/stream her music that this woman makes, because she has earned my respect with the way she has handled herself in such a cut-throat industry.
The entertainment industry has chewed and spat out many women, turning them into something that is a shadow of their former selves. I remember how, growing up, I’d watch Mariah Carey’s videos and admire how well she carried herself. And then somewhere along the way, sex began to sell, and a woman who had always prided herself on clean videos began to perform for a male spectator audience, to be reduced to a naked, gyrating, heavy breathing, oil-smeared woman, all in the quest for selling her She became Christina Milan in the dip it low song video. It ceased to be about the music. The Mariah Carey who had given us classics such as “Hero”, a song with powerful lines like “So when you feel like hope is gone/Look inside you and be strong/And you’ll finally see the truth/That a hero lies in you”, was suddenly talking “Touch my body” and churning out typical bubblegum lyrics that are devoid of any real content. The same is true of many other artists.
Feminists have argued that this is nothing but sexual liberation, women defying the backwards definition of what it means to be emancipated. Sadly, it is not. It is sexual exploitation by a sexist billion dollar industry that makes its money from the objectification, dismemberment and hypersexualisation of women – with their consent. Feminists will also then argue that these women have agency. However, the agency is exercised within a patriarchal society. Without bowing down to its dictates, these women risk becoming irrelevant, unpopular, uninteresting to the vulture that is society. And for an artist whose livelihood depends on being relevant, being popular, this pressure weighs heavily.
The younger the artists are, the better, because young people are usually very naïve. We are easily excitable. One may argue that I am seeking to control how artistes carry themselves and therefore should have no say on how one appears, fair enough I’m an insignificant somebody who watches the songs and follows trends.
People like Nickie Minaj are almost showing us their nipples in the name of entertainment. Hip Hop has been reduced to T-strings in the name of appearing flashy. As earlier admitted, these maybe backward views of an old man out of touch with reality.
Back home,2020 graced us with Azawi , Ugandans being special, body shamed her on social media. Her crime is that she is not bodied (curvaceous). One wonders at our objectification with the foul end of the digestive system but for a Country that has organized a Miss Curvy competition, one does not expect better. Ours is a society that treasures loins over brains explaining the hypersexualisation in the music industry.