In America, video vixens are staples of Hip Hop music videos. Video vixens are the curvaceous ladies who sashay across television screens in skimpy attire and often serve no other purpose than to accessorize the male rapper. Just like those popular gold grillz I guess. A rap video without a video vixen is like a river without fish. The popularity of a video vixen is tied to her wet dream worth. One could argue that the formula for success when it comes to Hip Hop music videos includes a healthy dose of wet dream inducing video vixens.
Current Nigerian Pop artists have applied the formula for success with unbridled enthusiasm. It is now expected within the industry that video vixens must strut their stuff in the videos of chart topping Nigerian Pop artists. Long gone are the days of demure Mrs. Idibia in the ‘African Queen’ video. Today, many Nigerian Pop artists have adopted the light skinned, gyrating props so common to American Hip Hop videos. Last year, Linda Ikeji even made a list of Nigeria’s Top 10 Video Vixens on her blog.It is rather worrisome that the video vixen concept has caught on so well in the Nigerian music industry. A quick look at the American music industry can help us predict the natural progression of this trend in Nigeria. In order to remain relevant, Nigerian Pop artists will outdo themselves to ‘push the envelope.’ In other words, music videos will become ‘edgier’ and more shocking. Talent will slowly cede ground to ‘shock value’ and sleaze.
The current popularity of Nigerian Pop music presents an opportunity to bring something fresh and new to the world. The regurgitation of tired visual tropes may bring immediate commercial success but is not a sustainable long term strategy. When the novelty of Nigerian Pop music wears off, the global music audience will wake up one day to find that Nigerian Pop music videos are quite disposable as they are often copies of the real McCoy – American Hip Hop music videos.
Though they are beginning to all sound the same, Nigerian Pop artists have been very creative for the most part when it comes to beats. I tip my hat to the beat-makers and producers. The creative energy so apparent in the music needs to be extended to the visuals that go with the music. There are many aspects of Nigeria’s rich and varied cultures that can hold the attention of a global audience. Nollywood filmmakers have started innovating with their production techniques and storytelling. This is the time for Pop artists to start collaborations with Nollywood film directors to produce music videos that are different from American Hip Hop videos. As things stand now, we are dangerously approaching an overdose of half naked eye candy. It is time for Nigerian Pop artists to start producing short films to go with their chart topping singles.