Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beauty Queens: Point of Separation

Recently, Deus Gunza through Radio Butiama Podomatic had an interview with Cynthia Masasi , who I would regard more of a video girl than a model. And that is mainly due to the fact that her resume speaks more of music video appearance than modeling. But that is just my opinion.

Following the interview, there were tons of comments posted on Mr. Gunza's podomatic radio station. As expected, those opinions ranged from positive to negative, encouraging to being critical. I can only guess why: for some folks Cynthia broke the mold and that has to throw most folks out of their loop.

I can understand both sides though. For those folks that were supportive, I am sure that they viewed Cynthia as a "succeeding" young sister, who should encouraged. On the other hand, those folks who were critical, it is mainly due to upholding traditional, conservative value system that is mainly prevalent in Tanzania. The main question being whether success can be attained, even through means that are regarded negatively by societal standards.

I would just like to put a dent into the pro-Cynthia's camp. The fact of the matter is that appearance is hip-hop music videos has never been fully accepted even in the African-American community, from which the hip-hop craze is accredited. Video girls, in some circles, are only regarded as beginning porn stars. Think I am kidding? Just go through the Essence Magazine's article to see what is said in there. If I can just quote one line from that article in relation to participating in music videos:

" But if rappers are re-creating themselves in the image of a Mack, then what role are women left to fill? Any fan can answer that. "Mostly in videos, the women are there to serve the men," says Morgan Crooks, 16, a high-school student from South Orange, New Jersey".

Personally, I wouldn't want to see any of my sisters being a video girl. That is because the music videos, in which our sister Cynthia proudly participates in, mainly portrays women as objects to satisfy the male sexual needs. Besides, I believe that the current state of music videos is just another example of how most of us have allowed the media to dictate our taste. It wasn't this bad in the recent past.

Music videos used to be about cool choreography. Michael Jackson didn't win all the accolades with Thriller because he was showing girls bumping and grinding. The video simply displayed superior artistic abilities. If my memory saves me right, the whole "dirty" dancing started in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Remember the Mystical's video for the song "Shake It Fast"? I believe that when video started going bad. I know folks will say I should just shut up because what Cynthia is doing is art and blah blah, but there are clear degrees of separation between being a hoochie mama and an artist.

Such a clarity is presented by none other than another Tanzanian sister Tausi Likokola . In a nutshell, this sister is not only a model, she is also a philanthropist, author, ambassador and speaker. This sister presents a strong argument against presenting yourself as a hoochie mama to gain recognition. Furthermore, Tausi's success is a testimony that you can succeed by being classy and not necessarily by downgrading your standards.

And that is the point of separation between a video girl and a true model, or rather a role model. That is a separation between an artist who applies not only their body, but also their mind.

Let me know what you think.


mwandani said...

you'ver articulated my opinion on this.

Jaduong Metty said...

Well, I just wanted to provide the other side of the story before we place this Cynthia girl on a pedestal..I would have very much liked to hear how she is setting to use her mind more than her body.

Maiki said...

Jaduong! This is my take on this - A role model is an example who is observed and who shows that some behaviour, quality or thing can be acquired. The effect of role modelling appears to be significant on girls and the absence of legitimate role models may negatively influence girls' long term decisions to participate in intellectual activities.

Without their own publicly celebrated female role models, girls and young women miss out on the subtle support, encouragement and expectations our culture can provide.

Role-models are a very powerful force for setting and achieving productive goals. Our minds are naturally developed to learn from the experience of others. It is imperative that the coming generation be exposed to good role-models that can guide them to develop their maximum potential in all aspects of their lives. Having good role-models will give them a sense of productive goals and a sense of direction towards those goals. Humans without goals and role-models flounder in their lives.

Having said that, I only have a question to ask - Is this Cynthia girl perceived to be a role model? What is it that she has in her plate which is desirable (worth of emulation)?

Mhhh.....Wabongo tujuihadhari jamani...mambo ya geza geza yatatuponza!!!!!