Nigerian pop ingénue Dencia fronts deprodom!

I HAVE to kick off this week with something disturbing because for all our braggadocio and so called independence as a people in Africa, we seem to suffer from a serious identity problem.

You will ask me what this new phrase deprodom is.

Well, deprodom is a word which is a contraption of mine that comes from a combination of two words: deprozone and kingdom. It’s a word akin to kingdom or Sodom. Place the accent on the “dom” part of this word.


Dencia before applying skin lightening cream (left) and after applying it

Deprozone is a skin lightening product that sisters from Cape to Cairo are band waggoning on.

In Nigeria, they call their version whitenicious and Dencia, a Cameroonian-Nigerian singer is the poster girl of this tragic movement. She is in fact the owner of the product that is turning pitch black Afro girls into female versions of Michael Jackson!

The girls look so pale now you can’t even spot a single dot of melanin on them.

Dirty cash
A tube of “whitenicious” goes for $150 for 60ml! You need to put it on every month don’t you? That means you need to buy it regularly and set yourself back that much. Most folk in Africa live off just one dollar.

Africa Insider reports that 77% of Nigerian women use skin lightening products. The World Health Organisation is the quoted source of these stats. The skin lightener business is reported to be worth $19, 8 billion. Africa and Asia are the main hubs of this tricky business.

The skin lightener’s other downside is that it contains hydroquinone, steroids and mercury to mention a few of the chemicals which cause a plethora of problems including stretch marks, blotches, skin infections and exogenous ochronosis.

I don’t know what the last one mentioned means, but it sounds grim enough to me. Consider dear friends the psychosocial toll of these skin bleachers.

Epiphany about the late king of pop
I had an epiphany about the late so called king of pop Michael Jackson who was a childhood idol of mine ie before I learnt about the sin of idolatry.

How deep must self hatred have run for him to feign having a so called disease called vitiligo in a bid to explain his ridiculously white skin whilst bleaching it secretly? And this, apart from having several nose jobs aimed at removing our squashed banana African kind . . . Someone once said that America is a land of wonders – a land where a boy is born black and dies looking like a middle-aged white woman.

But that was an uncharitable thing to say. The cruel irony is that Michael was one of the black race’s greatest artists in living memory.

Hip craze hits town
I am not even done here. A local newspaper carried a story about fake hips gripping our sister folk locally. Lord have mercy!
What will happen next is people suing each for fraudulently misrepresenting themselves as hippy, light-skinned women. Just you wait. But seriously, even our local girls are using these devices to look “better” than they actually are.

This leads me to the point that as Africans, our colonial hangover is too tardily leaving our psyches. We may have been damaged too much such that our definition of beauty is seriously warped. We will have a generation of ghastly looking women folk who have been maimed by the lighteners.

Of course you can’t buy them over the counters, but the black market is laden with them.

How do I know? I know every time I meet yellow skinned women on the streets of our cities. Mind you, there are those born naturally light-skinned, but its harder now to tell which is which. Word of advice to sisters and the men who fuss over the colour of a woman’s skin: love yourself as God made you, fearfully and wonderfully. Tell them black is beautiful, and say it like you actually mean it !

The music of the times
ZiFM had a show this last Tuesday about the lyrical content in the music being churned out by our musicians. The rap and even the dancehall music is riddled with sexually explicit lyrics that should be X-rated by the censorship board before being played during hours when babes and sucklings are wide awake.

One of the studio guests was a member of MMT, a rap group largely favoured by that station as its music is on heavy rotation there. He defended himself saying that they just sing about “what’s out there on the streets”.

So my question is, are folk really “sexing and drinking” beer all the time? If you tune in to the foreign music shows, the same lyrical content dominates pop music. They all talk about twerking and wining, indicating a morbid fascination with coitus.

Intellectual bankruptcy?
I have said urban music is too derivative and mainly mimics most things Western or West Indian. My worry is the seeming bankruptcy in terms of original ideas in the creation of their artistic works. Our musicians need to heed the call of the minister not to sing senseless songs.

I long for the days when the music of the likes of Lionel Richie and Bob Marley filled the popular imagination. Yes we need music with nuance, beauty, wit and poetic subtlety. The current generation is indoctrinated and drunk on the shallow music of Rihanna and Lil Wayne.

It’s all just a dirty scandal. As a lover of conspiracy theories, I suspect a sinister plot to subvert and pervert an entire generation of our young children. The Harare based musicians who are being prominently peddled by radio stations are part of the malaise.

Parting shot
Local youngsters sent me their invites to two shows. The first one is to a hip-hop cipher at Cape to Cairo this Saturday. The show will feature groups such as KLAP., Mzoe 7 (of House Rebels fame), Lady Thug and Biko amongst others. The event is entitled “It’s Bigger than Hip-op” and will also feature merchandise from rising fashion labels such as Kwantuntu and Kas No Valo.

The second event is the one at the new join called the Groove at Bulawayo Rainbow starring hot Afro Soul youthful band The Harmonic Rhythms.

One hopes that these youngsters remember to brew their love for music in an African pot. Otherwise they will be irrelevant.

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