Monday, October 22, 2012

Crippling Satire

I love it. Sometimes, the crass that doubles as modern artistic expression is almost thrilling. Pac’s Makaveli album cover was controversial yet artistic. So is Pussy Riot. Political or religious, any form of satire begs a level of meritorious thoughtfulness. Also, It usually hinges on controversy.  The Game’s impending album; 'Jesus Piece' is controversial, crass and supremely wack. Nas's video for "Hate Me Now' was not crass but also missed its intended mark.  A.B Crentsill's "Moses" was banned for its blasphemous tone and I still assert that it was a crass song, a very funny one at that. I can already hear a gazillion non-thinkers labeling me as a hater for my opinion. Here’s a wrench for your grinders; simply churning out the word 'hater' does not make for a sound, valid rebuttal to legitimate criticism of an artist's song that reflects on us(Ghanaians) as a whole. If that long, uppity explanation for my rant here doesn't satisfy your ratchet mindset, here’s one more up your alley; call me a hater if you want, I don’t give a fuck. This is why I’m ranting; the song Uncle Obama irks me to the point of numbness. If it was meant to be satirical then it went crickets in all aspects except the controversy bit.

The touchy part of this for me is, two of the featured artists on the track are my schoolmates.One of whom I have the utmost reverence for his lyrical ability and artistic credence.The moment I saw the tweets about said song, I immediately wrote it off as a cheap gimmicky song engineered to generate a buzz. I wasn't being foolhardy in my abrupt  judgment of the song by its title. Nothing wrong with generating a buzz, please, by any means necessary! However, the opinions will follow, negative or otherwise and that is also part of the game. I'm shooting from the hip here as I haven’t tried to interview any of the artists on the song and I don’t intend to.

What was the point of this song? What the fuck was she trying to put across? There are no other names available in her creative head to whore out for publicity? I'll be honest, I was still salty and in panic mode after Obama's 'terrawful' first debate performance by the time I heard of this song. I was not welcoming any further negativity. I'm not even American and I think its a crucial election that Obama has to win. I'll save that for now. In my defense, I actually listened to the song, I still resent it as much as I did before hearing it. As a musician(I use the word very loosely in this context), if you are going to be controversial and garner international relevance and scrutiny, shouldn't you at least have a cause? Or, is it okay to speak on behalf of a marginalized, berated and disregarded people for the sole purpose of increasing one’s artistic profile as a one-hit wonder while bolstering the already derogatory and toxic view the West has of our people? I may be giving her too much credit here but her social visibility is worrisome to me.  I call this artistic responsibility. Let us(Ghanaians) have our Bob Dylan moment before we allow the Gucci Mane’s of our culture to be our spokespersons. Mensa and Mutombo are incredibly talented voices that can put a face to who the Ghanaian people are by telling our generations story. I refuse to accept that my generation and consequently, my entire culture is represented by some F-grade yahoo  artist with the wits of a mute. That I have to pause and answer to my work colleagues about who this Uncle Obama artiste is during my lunch break and listen to them attempt to have a pseudo-intelligent conversation about how Africa is advancing because we have access to YouTube! Really?

Nothing can be done about the song, its too late. For those of us with any level of concern for the progress we need as a people, I can imagine that we will not be seen at her concerts anytime soon. Exploitation of one’s own people should be made a crime. This is a glimpse of some of the dictatorial traits that scared my ex away(edge of desire). In all seriousness, I think that in an increasingly more globalized world, we should be very careful about what causes we champion and who we support as our leaders. It seems an overreaction until it begins to cast a stereotype so thick, our political leaders, business people and our citizens are generally viewed through the lenses of the 'Uncle Obamas'. Wake up.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Creaming Irish .... Malarkey

The world is so much smaller these days and I think people’s intelligence shrunk right along with it. The ignorance of the masses is more pronounced and colored for all and sundry to feast on. Uncensored and unadulterated access to spewing any pile of fecal matter in 142 letters, or a status update that is an infinite jambalaya of text-speak, spelling accuracy of a dyslexic autistic toddler and the coherence of a drunk homeless immigrant from Chad.

The reason for this rant; great friend of mine Lorraine, who won’t have casual sex with anyone at the moment because she wants it to mean something, brought up the event of Sarkodie being clowned on the twittersphere for his assertion that Irish Cream, the liqueur, to be precise, is an ingredient. Here is the quote: “I’m the missing ingredient in a perfect meal, Call me the Irish Cream

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His subsequent explanation: “Okk so just to clear things up 4 ma fans I am missing in da meal so I’m on da side now *irish cream*... N dat is after meal is done!!!

I don’t know whether to cry about the catastrophe that is his above sentence construction to explain his metaphorical  misnomer as judged by the vast Ghanaian twitter brain-bank or be mad at the folly of the group-think manner in which the masses applied their jokes-on-him moment.

I called my younger brother, sent him a voicenote actually, praying that he wasn't on this bandwagon train wreck of ignorance and that is when my heart shattered in more directions than traffic at  Kwame Nkrumah Circle.  I realized one thing through all of this, our culture is mostly skewed for a one-dimensional  isolationist way of viewing things. Simply because Irish Cream is not a prominent part of your general Ghanaian diet does not exclude it from being an ingredient. The larger point being, an ingredient by definition is simply the constitution of any given matter, be it physical or metaphorical. Forget the fact that the most important ingredient in the world’s most expensive coffee is manufactured through the poop of a Kopi Luwak(its an animal- look it up), the gravitas of this issue is quite disturbing. In its own glimpsing way, it could be one explanation for why a lot of our society seems to have such tunnel vision. I wouldn't go off on a tangent and lose your audience.

I am pleading with you to take a little bit more time to understand language a little better. Reading is far more enjoyable when you can make sense of expressions that are an anomaly to your programmed way of thinking. ‘Ingredients’ does not mean just tomatoes, pepper, yam, kontomire, mankani etc. Even the coal-pot can be described as an ingredient, it just needs context. In this context, Sarkodie’s use of Irish Cream in his metaphor is above reproach, grammatically ie. Better still, in any context it was accurate, I may not consider it the smartest metaphor but that is a matter of opinion.

This reeks of the same idea that every chocolate drink is Milo just as every toothpaste is Pepsodent type of thinking. For you TEAMCoolkids as named by my dear Lorraine, the world is much larger and far more challenging than the effort you exert in coming up with your best 142 characters to garner some two-second-fame on the twittersphere. Think your own thoughts, be sure of  your facts before you speak and most importantly,  be independent. So what I’m 30 and have only 3 friends, I’m still smarter than your father’s rich friend. LOL, seriously, it pays to be your own person rather than being a sheep that goes as the wind blows.