More Chances, Please?

Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper

Among the many debates on the nature of art, with specific regards to its purpose, is one that may have been around since its inception: whether art is produced solely for entertainment, or whether it’s produced to be a tool for social commentary. Essentially, ‘conscious’ art. This argument is more easily recognisable in music, particularly Hip-Hop, with there being an almost visible line drawn between ‘conscious’ artists, and those who are simply “wylin’ out”.

In more recent times however, there has been the emergence of artists who traverse either camp in their truest senses, and manage to blur those lines in a way that’s fun and refreshing to listen to. No Mr. Thicke, this one’s not yours. Enter: Chance the Rapper.

Chance has steadily built a buzz and following for himself in the wake of his debut release 10 Day, which he followed up with his sophomore project Acid Rap, as well as a collective project with his band The Social Experiment. Combining his gospel, neo-soul and jazz influences with rap that comes in staccato bursts and raspy singing, Chance’s array of skills definitely set him up as an artist to emulate.

What’s most interesting is the ease with which he skirts the boundaries of entertaining and socially conscious music, doing both with a deftness few artists possess. Rather than speak on society’s ills in the manner a prophet would, he’s always quick to put himself on blast, calling himself out for his frailties as well as his flaws. One of the easier references is early favourite Cocoa Butter Kisses, off the Acid Rap mixtape. Here, we find Chance lamenting how his drug addiction has affected his relationship with friends and family, and while keeping he record fresh and entertaining. This, is open surgery. Chancellor Bennett (Chance’s real name) is the type of artist to bring a picket to his own trial and instead of handing the picket out, proceeds to poke out his own weaknesses.

All this he does in a fun, refreshing way proving that maybe the argument between ‘conscious’ and ‘entertaining’ is maybe a false dichotomy after all, an imaginary binary that exists to segregate and limit artists. Can we have more Chances, please?

By Edwin Dzobo

Blame your ‘out-of-control’ husbands for cheating not ‘side-chicks’

The other day I got into a thing on Twitter with the lifestyle blogger, Naa Oyoo Quartey. Nothing serious. Naa tweeted a meme quoting Proverbs 5:20: “There are loose women out there determined to destroy your marriage. Why should you, my son, be infatuated with a loose woman, embrace the bosom of an outsider, and go astray?”

I responded by saying: “It is not true. The text is problematic because it blames single women for the choices married men make.”

She replied: “The bible is not problematic. It also never said it’s single women. Just immoral women.”

We went back and forth. I insisted that only married men were to blame for cheating. A few more women joined the conversation. It was pointed out that the verse was directed at men and not women. But try as we did, we could not convince Naa that only married men were responsible…

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cosby cover

Former ‘beloved American Dad’, Bill-the-Qualude-Spiker-Cosby is in deep shit right now. The New York Magazine may just have expedited his descent into hell and at this point I’m wondering how he is ever going to breathe free, non-predator air again.

For a cover story at the beginning of the week, NYM interviewed and photographed 35 of Cosby’s alleged victims, supplementing the story with video interviews with six of them. This is not the first time stories from Cosby’s alleged victims have been shared in major magazines and media outlets. The Washington Post  has done a number of stories on alleged victims.

But New York Magazine’s cover last Sunday shocked us all. In a radical move, the publication created a community among the victims, by featuring 35 courageous women who braved rape culture to tell their stories in a single space. All of the women who shared their stories took advantage of the unity of their voices to bring the world to its knees at the pure atrocity of one man’s predation, risking the loss of their previously relative anonymity. Perhaps, the most poignant picture of all was that of “The Empty Chair,” left empty to represent the voices of many victims of rape forced into silence by society.

And in this lies the world’s problem with rape cases. Believe it or not, that problem is not Bill Cosby. The real problem here is us; we who are complicit in a culture of rape. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, public servants, the media, religious leaders, etc – we all carry a hell of a lot of guilt in silencing and slut-shaming rape victims and empowering a breeding ground for rape to thrive.

Ghana had its own high profile, and Cosby-like case during the last few days of 2014 which had every news and social media outlet buzzing. Renowned and celebrated broadcaster, Kwasi Kyei Darkwah, alias KKD, had been arrested over charges for raping a 19 year old girl. The saga played out for about 4 months, ending anticlimactically when the 19-year-old alleged victim expressed her disinterest in pursuing charges and KKD was freed and the rape charge against him dropped.

The other side of the story which no one told was the heartless levels of slut-shaming and name dragging that the victim went through. Media outlets and members of the general public published pictures of the victim for maliciocious, curious or simply ignorant reasons, and printed her name for all to know exactly who she is. ‘How dare she attack a man we respect and love?’; ‘What was she doing in a hotel room with him anyway?’; ‘She’s a bad girl trying to bring down a good man’; ‘She’s not under age so it’s not rape’. Her name was dragged into the mud and her face was put right next to it. Hey, after all, if she was willing to destroy a good man’s name; punish her by destroying her name, too.

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After all this trauma of public shaming, making her a prisoner in her own home and a persona non grata in her own country, why would the victim not simply drop the case? This is how our rape culture intruded in this particular case; by shaming a victim to the point of scaring her from seeking any justice.

We have normalized the slut shaming of rape victims so much that our first instinct is to take down the victim, before pursuing his/her attacker, if he\she is pursued at all. This is perverse. Even more perverse when dealing with rape cases or any story with even just a tinge of sexuality (like leaked nudes), is how the public becomes voracious about finding out every single and needless sexual detail, and never with the intent of trying to help the victim or seek truth, but for self gratification. There is a sense that average people gossiping about such stories, and even journalists, seek to satisfy a sexual craving by reliving a rape experience or imagining a sex tape sequence. It sounds mad, I know, but pictures are painted a little bit too eagerly, the female’s body described with a little too much relish, possible sex positions the victims could have had are thrown in a little inappropriately. Almost as though none of us are having enough sex and this is a way we get a kick. And this nastiness is carried from private conversation to actual media reports.

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Rape culture makes it almost impossible for any victim to step forward. Thus, a person that steps out, at the cost of backlash and public disgrace which might taint him/her for a long time, should be treated with much less incredulity and harshness.


  1. When a victim would rather keep his\her trauma to himself/herself for years, risking depression and numerous other consequences for legitimate fear of being called a liar and disgraced. When friends treat the victim as a pariah for fear of ‘catching rape’
  2. When parents will be quick to warn you to tell ‘no one about Uncle Kofi touching you’ for fear it will bring disgrace to the family
  3. When Uncle Kofi has sufficient confidence in your shame to threaten you into silence. The narrative favors the predator.
  4. When a victim of rape is generally seen as a ‘soiled thing’ and ‘imperfect’, particularly because women are supposed to be ‘pure’ and ‘virginal’ till marriage.
  5. When a victim of rape is treated with incredulity and slut shamed.
  6. When religious leaders, who generally command immense respect in Africa, advise victims to ‘forgive and forget’ their attackers and take them through some form of ‘purification’ to cleanse the ‘dirt’
  7. When you cannot trust media (traditional and social) to call for justice on a victim’s behalf.
  8. When there are incredible efforts made to silence victims (a one-time journalist for a respected Ghanaian newspaper outlet admitted to shelving other such stories in the past to protect KKD)
  9. When a victim dares to go against a ‘big man’ he\she will be accused of being a gold digger on a smear campaign. (Like with the victims in Bill Cosby’s case)
  10. When society accepts that sexual violence is a fact of life so suck it up and stop complaining.
  11. When the media refers to a serial rapist as only a ‘playboy’, when journalists euphemize rape as ‘sexual misconduct’.
  12. Victim blaming:
  13. ‘Why were you dressed that way’?
  14. ‘Why did you go there at that time’?
  15. ‘Why did you drink’?
  16. ‘She seemed mature for her age’
  17. ‘You were raped? You’re a homosexual? That’s your punishment’!
  18. When you’re not even sure you have been raped even though you definitely do not feel comfortable with what has just happened.
  19. How can a man be raped? Are you a man at all?
  20. Where there is the idea of a ‘Perfect Victim’, in whose case society will rally around to protect and punish the attacker. This Perfect Victim is usually a child of toddling age.  For all others who do not fit the specifications of the Perfect Victim, the other signs above apply.

The number of alleged Cosby victims that spoke up on the New York Magazine Cover surprised the world. How on earth did he do that? In actual fact, it is not surprising at all. Cosby has no insane sexual prowess that is abnormal from the next person. What we should be surprised about is how WE let Cosby do these horrible things to forty alleged victims and counting. As well as all the other Cosbys not yet ousted in our communities because of the signs listed above. The only way an accumulation of such an enormous figure can happen is if we, if the CULTURE allowed it, and silencing the very first person set the trend. And then it became rape galore.

Did you check all the signs above about your community like I did? Well then, if you did, there are several other Cosbys in your community that we’ve tossed The Empty Chair away for, in place of a nice, comfy golden throne for their rapist bums.

Let’s end this. Let’s crash the throne, change the narrative, and save lives. This is cliché, but it really does depend on you and me.

Click here to read the revolutionary New York Magazine feature


By Akosua Hanson

Trigger Fingers Turned Twitter Fingers


“Nowadays trigger fingers turning into Twitter fingers.”

The recent Drake­-Meek Mill rap feud, which seemingly sprung out of nowhere, has generated a ton of opinions, memes and think pieces in one short week. It’s telling of the shift in the rules of engagement regarding rap ‘beef’. Drake, in contrast to his sparring partner, has largely avoided social media to respond to the accusations leveled about his credibility as a songwriter, choosing instead to simply release a slew of new music, including the scathing ‘Back­ To­ Back’ and ‘Charged Up’. His hands­ off, let­-the-­music-­speak approach seems to paying off well. And with the poor reception of Meek Mill’s Quentin Miller ‘featured’ diss track ‘Wanna Know’, it seems Drake is sailing off with the win. But what does this accusation, its subsequent response and the media mean for the state of hip­hop? Given the spastic nature of recent release from both artists, it may be still early days for pontification, but so far it’s clear that 3 things can be inferred.

  1. Beef is a media war, not a lyrical/physical one. Rap feuds may have long since changed from the tragic endings of Big and Pac (think 50 Cent sextapes and lawsuits), but now more than ever, today’s biggest rap (and music brawls play out in real­ time, on Twitter feeds, music blogs and Internet forums. Drake may be lamenting the end of the good old days of murder and violence, but the current response to his recent releases show that perhaps his ‘Twitter Fingers’ may be sharper than even he knows.


  1. Fans only care about one thing­ output. No matter your opinion on the issue of Drake using a ‘ghostwriter’, one must concede that his credibility as an artist seems to have been in no way undermined by the allegations. One dismissive open letter from supposed ghostwriter Quentin Miller and several songs later, Drake seems to have come out on top. Whether or not Drizzy really does write his own lyrics, one thing is clear­ the fans still love him.
  1. There’s nothing like good old controversy from album promo. With the recent release of Meek Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money and Views From The 6 on the horizon, it’s hard to imagine that this is little more than a publicity stunt on both parts. Given the camaraderie of both parties toward each other, it may well not be far from the truth. Whatever the case may be though, if it involves more new music, count us in.

By Edem Dotse

What is Love?— 6 Writers (Un)define Love


Girdblog has been asking writers what seems like a simple question, “What is love?” We got some insightful answers from six writers from Ghana, Cameroon and Kenya. Find out how they (un)define love below.

6 Writers (Un)define Love Gird (Un)define –6 Writers (Un)define Love

“The most expected, yet the most difficult question. Love would be conquering fear so that I bring into my space, someone/something that would challenge my inadequate knowledge of myself. I see a self-examination, a self-learning so that I can love truly and honorably.”

-Robbie Ajjuah Fantini

Robbie Ajjuah Fantini is the Author of Talking Robbish. Visit her website: to find  out more about her work.

 “For me, love is many sets of actions. In a relationship, it’s when someone decides to be kind, patient, thoughtful, giving and all the other good things in spite of the other party. It is what you do. Not a feeling. Or…

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Wogbej3ke: The Birth of a Nation – a musical trip into Ghanaian History


I remember sunny afternoons in classes four through to six where our Social Studies teachers told incredible stories of exciting times of our history. I remember stories of the Songhai and Ghana empires in the haze of a sleepy, dusty afternoon. The stories of Agorkoli, Yaa Asantewaa, colonialism, Kwame Nkrumah carried with them all the myth, magic and glamour of fairytales as we sat glued to our desks, too afraid to take our eyes of the teacher in case we missed a part of the story. Only, they were real tales of our history. Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy!

I was transported back to those days when watching Wogb3j3k3: The Birth of a Nation. Only where my imagination painted pictures back in class four, this time, this was a live reenactment through dance, theatre, music and poetry.

The first edition of this production tells the story of ancient Ghana; the varying stories of migration and how the many tribes came to settle in Ghana. A most intriguing love affair between myth and fact was played out. This is largely because our history was passed on orally, and with that, fact became myth became legend and legend became history.

Tokaji, the courageous hunter who slayed a bull that terrorized a northern village, became a demi-god. Queen Nefertiti ascended to goddess. The dancers carried with them the fluidity of a time machine, as they wove stories of their own that traversed the different cultures from the North to the South, East and West of Africa. The choir that was a permanent fixture on stage kept us in the spirit of the storytellers.

Yaa Asantewaa fights her battles alone

Yaa Asantewaa fights her battles alone

The story of Yaa Asantewaa was my favorite scene. The obvious creative choice would be to have a host of warriors on stage to enact the war. Yet the directors chose to tell the whole story of this powerful woman with one actor and with that unorthodox creative choice, told a far more moving story. A lone woman warrior enacted the fight of a thousand people, then to a solo flute, and a solo singer, Yaa Asantewa’s choreographed walk to the land where she had been banished by the British after a tragic defeat was incredibly moving.

Queen Nefertiti was a scene that needed a larger perspective of what made this queen legend. That way her story would have veered away from the cliché talk-about-a woman’s-looks-and-ignore-her-deeds. Most enactments of Nefertiti focus solely on her incredible beauty, as did this production: her striking eyes, her face which shown with grace and serenity, in fact her name means ‘the beautiful one has come’. But Nefertiti was more than her beauty. She was religion. She was culture. She was the power of womanhood in a patriarchal world. The historical event that emblazoned Nefertiti in, not just African history, but world history, was the religious revolution herself and her husband brought about, which was the worship of one God only, Aten (The Sun god) in a polytheistic society. That was as major an historical incident as Jesus Christ was to the Jews and christians. In fact, it provided a means by which Christianity was introduced to Africa, using the concept of one God that was established by Nefertiti and Akhenaten to ease ‘pagans’ into Christianity. This was the most relevant part of the story that this production did not tell, thus a major detraction.

Okomfo Anokye is a symbol of too many powerful things: where myth meets magic meets savior meets revolution. For an actor to play such a powerful man, he has to channel so much more than the mystery of an ordinary fetish priest. The actor that played Okomfo Anokye did not blow my mind. He reduced Okomfo Anokye to an ordinary fetish priest when that great man was much more.

But congratulations are in order to the producer and directors, Chief Moomen, Anima Misa and Abdul Karim Hakib for finding new ways to tell old stories.

The history of Ghana in two hours ended with a brief look at Ghana at independence, a teaser of the next production in 2016 which will delve into Ghana’s colonial history. This is a section of history I’m particularly looking forward to watching and with this as a first, I cannot wait to see how the Heritage Theatre Series will tell that part our story.


Other news on the theatre scene:

  1. The Accra Theatre Workshop will be having its last performance of the year on July 25th titled Sui Generis. It is a dance performance in the style of Dreamscape (for those of you who saw that) exploring the concepts of identity and loss using the elements of water and fire. It happens at 6pm at the Nubuke Foundation.
  2. The annual Chalewote festival organized by AccradotAlt will be back again in August. Jamestown will be lit with an electrifying list of art installations; graffiti, visual and performance arts, dance, music, etc all on the background of Jamestown theatre. Dates: Saturday, August 22nd – Sunday, August 23rd

By: Akosua Hanson



Comedy is generally a really difficult genre to explore and execute to perfection. Many times in a bid to be ‘comedic’ or funny’, directors/actors/scriptwriters commit the mistake of presenting tomfoolery as comedy. When that happens, I flip the channel.

But Ted as introduced a new type of comedy and shocked the world in its hard hitting raunchiness and its way of unapologetically making fun of the stereotypes. What Ted does differently is acknowledge the everyday absurdity of life and squeezes a hell lot of jokes out of that absurdity (Quite opposite to what Albert Camus did but it’s all good). It also won audiences over with its distinct brand of stoner-based ‘bromanticism’ (the brother code + Romanticism equals bromanticism).

F-Bombs, cuss words, hard hitting jokes on racism, homosexuality, sexism, and all the isms that have been invented are enough to make you gasp and look away ashamed a lot of times. Ted exploits the shock value to make you laugh and to make its point. And for that, of course, it gets a lot of flack. But Ted 2 gave Ted a priest’s collar. Almost.

In the second installment the swear bear is back with his schtick of low-brow comedy. He’s getting married to his supermarket lay-turned-sweetheart in a happily-ever-after wedding on a sunny day at a church. Yes, Ted got married in a church and, in line with his character, desecrated the holy place with an F-bomb. But happily-ever-afters only last in fairytales. After the wedding and a few months of marriage comes smelly armpits, a pot belly, endless irritation and in Ted and Tami-Lynn’s case, (what kind of name is Tami-Lynn?) war. Complete with broken bottles and an overturned table. Ted has to find the honeymoon sweetness they had before marriage (marriage is a far cry from the incredible high of getting down and dirty with a co worker at work with all the risks of getting caught  at anytime). He decides aided by the juvenile thinking of another co-worker that having a baby is the answer. And in the quest to have a baby (because cuss words and sex jokes don’t give a teddy bear a penis), Ted finds that by law, despite his extraordinariness, he is not regarded as a person but as property. This means he loses his job, loses his bank account, and loses his marriage which is not recognized by law. And with this conflict comes the higher cause which made this comedy relevant.

In Ted’s quest to legalize his personhood, Seth Macfarlane (producer/director/ Scriptwriter) contrasts Ted’s struggle to the human rights issues raging in America now: the legalization of gay marriage and black empowerment versus racism in the wake of the Charleston shootings and police brutality. And he does it the Ted way. Ted wouldn’t speak intelligently about these issues, rather he would make fun of the sterotypes by way of referencing and letting people understand that despite these jokes, this ‘ish’ is real. In Ted’s quest to be recognized by law as a person, despite it being a comedy, the audience is forced to contemplate the question of what it means to be a person. How major a role does societal contribution play in establishing personhood? At the same time, the audience (at least the heterosexual, possibly prejudiced audience) is given a view into the pain of the gay community whose love and natural inclination towards marriage is stamped under law (except US law as well as 17 other countries) as abnormal thus unrecognizable and illegal.

In this, comedy was given a much more important job to do. It wasn’t just about making people laugh at silliness, or the high levels of cussing. It was about reaching even more of the masses to teach a message of love and point out the flaws in the institution of society which can be quite dictatorial when it chooses to.

Critics have slammed Seth Macfarlane for grandstanding and his light hearted way of dealing with very serious issues like the above. But how else could he have referenced such issues while staying true to the character of not just Ted but the brand of comedy?

My only reservations are with the minor roles for women. It’s a purely masculine drive, with females as simply aids or love interests. Apparently Mila Kunis was not cast in Ted 2 due to creative decisions made by Seth Macfarlane. I can’t help but think these “creative decisions” are because in simple words, Ted and Mark Wahlberg’s character would lose a friendship or closeness if Mark was married. The ‘bro code’ would be lost. So let’s kick the woman out for a duration of the movie to allow the men to play for a bit!

But despite this, I didn’t just laugh when watching this movie, I reflected. And that’s where the plus is.

Everything Else You Should Know from the headlines this week:

  1. Bill Cosby’s soup has reached boiling point. Documents uncovered recently by a judge who felt the moral right to oust Cosby show that Cosby admitted to using Quaaludes on women he wanted to have sex with. At 77, how remarkable will that be if a living-legend-turned-serial-killer would have to close the curtains with a jail sentence?
  2. Asamoah Gyan is set to be the world’s 8th highest paid footballer after signing with Chinese side Shanghai SIPG. It is reported that he will be earning $350,000-a-week. A debate has been raging on Ghanaian twitter about him being money-hungry. This is where I roll my eyes.
  3. Mixed race actress Juliet Ibrahim has received a lot of flack for endorsing Carotone, a skin lightening cream. This uncovers the Great Lie: Use mixed race women who are naturally light skinned to fool dark-skinned, insecure women.
  4. Floyd Mayweather was stripped of his WBO welterweight titles for not complying with WBO rules. So, in effect, he received and gave killer punches for nothing.
  5. Russell Wilson refuses to have sex with Ciara for ‘Jesus’ reasons. Shoot me.