A light that shines in the dark.
By Nyadzombe Nyampenza
Women taken as props for a music video by male artists is the perennial issue deserving of redress. The visuals pander to the male gaze. In their sequined dresses and bare parts women accessorize the protagonist. This is obvious in Jah Prayzah’s video for the song Porovhoka. Only the appearance of a white skinned, platinum blond, young woman in a white dress, redeems the overused plot.
Porovhoka is a hedonist party tune intended to be a club banger. It is supposed to be a silly song. The opening verse and chorus has sexually explicit lyrics masked in easily accessible urban lingo. The video depicts a merry making scene where women far outnumber men. It has become common practice at private parties in the upscale suburbs of Harare. Heavy consumption of alcohol accompanied with lewd dancing seems to be the whole agenda. At the end of the video is the morning after. It smacks of an orgy.
Shaznay Wood is a spoken word artist. The young woman is a student at the University of Zimbabwe. Her casting in the video is a refreshing change of script. It redefines the concept of beauty in an inclusive way. People with albinism are rarely visible in entertainment media. Shaznay comes across as beautiful, sassy, and sexy. She genuinely seems to be having fun. The video affirms what diversity is like in real life. It undermines the parochial, often Eurocentric view of beauty.
Jah Prayzah has openly submitted that his videos are not based on individual effort. His approach is collaborative. Allowing contributions that broaden perspective on social issues is a kind act. The body positive aspect in this work enhances the appeal of his brand.