Written By Francis Doku - As you may know, I was away in the United States for two weeks. First was to attend the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where Lily Tugbah was representing Ghana and the only representative from Africa and then to take the time to travel a bit in the United States.
If you are on my friend's list on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you would know that the trip took me from Washington to Arizona to New York and then back to Washington. I shared a lot of photos and videos about my odyssey in the US with my friends and followers on social media.
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While I was away and since I have been back, it seems to me that two main issues have been on the broadcasting and entertainment fronts in Ghana and those have been making all the headlines and are the issues I would like to talk about in this column today.
There is an age old myth that Komfo Anokye had cursed the women of Klo or Krobo with promiscuity because they peeped at him bathing or something like that. This supposed curse is frowned upon by the Krobos as an insult to their women, but it’s a myth that has lingered.
Fast forward to 2017 and MTN Hitmaker winner, Kurl Songx, decided to feature Sarkidie on a Kaywa produced song he just released titled Jennifer Lomotey. Sarkodie in his rap verse referenced the myth upon which he went a tad risqué about what he intended to do with his girlfriend, Jennifer Lomotey. In bed, of course.
That line in his rap got Sarkodie in the eye of the storm, literally. A section of the public, especially those who feel this reference directly affects them, the Krobos for that matter, have taken a big exception to this reference by Sarkodie. He has been asked to withdraw or apologise or both.
Their call is to make the case that the said curse never happened and thus any reference to same is to denigrate Krobo women and especially so coming from a big name musician such as Sarkodie would push the lie further and make people believe it.
Social media has been awash with the calls for Sarkodie’s apology to Krobos as well as those who think this call is unnecessary and that there is no need for Sarkodie to apologise to anyone. Some say he used a poetic licence and that in the context of the song, he was referring to Jennifer Lomotey and not the entire Krobo women.
Being someone whose mother is a Krobo, I was horrified when I saw posts about this issue on social media and the incessant and vehement calls for Sarkodie to apologise to the Krobos. I, therefore, decided to look for the song and listen and to be honest, I thought it was much ado about nothing really, after I had done that.
Indeed, myths about a people should not be treated with care, caution and decorum. However, I am one person who tries to see sarcasm in all situations. I won’t go about deprecating people, but I will look at something sarcastic in any situation.
I think what Sarkodie did was to pick something said a lot of the time and reference it while talking about his supposed girlfriend. That is the reason I do not think he wanted to ridicule a whole tribe, but to reference something lightheartedly directly at someone.
However, it must be noted that people have their views about issues and can interpret things in any manner they want. Thus, those who think Sarkodie was wrong are entitled to it, but I think it is also fair not to think that once some other people disagree with that then they lack the intellect to understand such things.
Based on what pressure is brought on him, Sarkodie might end up apologising, but that won’t take away the fact that I think the song did no harm to Krobo women. If anything at all, I think the song is too high on the explicit side and he needs to have a radio edit version. Any radio presenter who goes on air to play the song in the state it is must be very irresponsible and bereft of any idea of what his/her ethics are.
JAMES OBERKO, TOMMY ANNAN-FORSON AND PORN ON TV
The other issue that has been raging, albeit on the broadcasting side, is the interest taken by former Luv FM presenter and KFM General Manager, James Oberko, and the veteran broadcaster , Tommy Annan-Forson in the issue of pornography airing on television.
The duo have petitioned the National Media Commission and called out three television stations who they say are culprits in this matter. This is a big issue and I have written about it several times in this column and so if someone decides to walk the talk, I think it is commendable.
Just last year, I wrote something similar and in the wake of this new issue, I want to reproduce some of what I wrote to buttress the fact that there is the need to watch this creeping menace.
Last week, I had another friend on Facebook send this message to my inbox. “Sorry to bother you but I guess you're in a position to do something about it. Angel TV is airing porn as I type this message. Is that allowed? Are there no restrictions on what can be aired on such public channels?” the message was sent at 11:50pm.
“Is that allowed? I know that publishing of pornographic material in any form is not allowed in the country. However, the defence that many stations put up when confronted with such questions when they do it is that it is done late when children are supposed to be asleep. I honestly do not know, but I do not think the laws allow it if it is shown at a late hour.
“There have been discussions about the propriety of showing such content on television regardless of the time but there has been no action to stop. Oh, I hear there was once a well-regarded man of God who called to complain and it was stopped for a while.
“I agree that sex education for adults must be done. The issue of sex and its place in marriage relationships has led to the failure of many and so there is every need to continue educating people on not only the importance of sex, also how it must be done.
“However, should that be done by the airing of pornography on live television? Should every single angle of the male or female genitalia and whatever use they are being put to be shown on national television? I don’t think so.
“I think there is a need for whoever is responsible for monitoring content on television do so and ensure that as much as stations would try to educate people on sex and sexuality, they do so with utmost propriety.
“I don’t think anyone is saying don’t show or watch porn and I cannot put my hand in the fire to say that I have never watched porn or will never. The matter that concerns those who have been complaining and now petitioning the authorities is not about making it impossible for people to watch pornography, it is about the platform on which it is shown.
If an adult decided to go buy pornographic CDs, Blue Rays or download such content from the internet and watch it in their privacy, I don’t think anyone would have had an issue. Showing it on television, however, is what people like James and Tommy are seeking to curtail. Let’s wait and see how this plays out at the NMC.