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.

1 comment:

Faf said...

Now tell us how you really feel about the song.