Fast rising singer, Dice Ailes recently released a hit single titled “Ginika” and the cover photo used for the song has been causing a buzz online. The image depicts a naked black woman from the 1700s and some people have found it quite disrespectful.
In a lengthy post on his Instagram page, Dice Ailes explained why he used that particular image and who she represents.
The artwork of my new song Ginika featured an artist’s impression of Sarah Baartman, a South African woman born in the 1700s who was taken to Europe on false pretences and paraded around shows with crowds invited to look at her bum. Till today, she is considered by many as the epitome of colonial exploitation and racism, of the ridicule and commodification of black people by an elite. But for me I see a woman who is the embodiment of African beauty; a beautiful and brave woman whose story has been told only from the perspective of her experience.
For years, we have continued to accept as taboo certain conversations we should have about our “Africanness” and taken to heart foreign narratives about what are acceptable norms and forms of beauty. From our hair to our clothes and bodies, we are being conditioned to consider what is ours as unusual. I think that puts the story of our heritage and experience in the hands of foreigners and does nothing to help us celebrate what makes us unique. Sarah Baartman was a beautiful, voluptuous and true African woman and for me that is the story I will tell.
I am an African (my parents are from Ghana and Nigeria) who is aware of how popular culture has been used to demean and exploit Africans, so if you find my use of the image offending, That wasn’t the intention. It was not my intention to ridicule this beautiful woman, but to celebrate her through my music.
To make us have this conversations we are now having and for young people like me to read about her, celebrate her and own their identities. Not an identity forced upon us by colonialists.