Yeahh…don’t know quite how that happened (and I’m not gonna leave the YouTube link, sorry guys). Reggie gave Saskia’s number to Tic Tac, another hip life artist. Tic Tac asked Saskia to be in his video and bring along her friends. Come Tuesday, there we were at Rockstone’s Office getting ready for filming (/waiting three hours for Tic Tac and the other artist Eze to show up).
They had a pretty slutty scene with a red car, but I didn’t do that part. Saskia and I just did a couple dancing scenes that mostly took place in the Office. They begged Saskia to dance by the car. She refused but finally agreed to dance behind it. Some of the things the other girls in the video had to do, or thought they were supposed to do, were disgusting. Gyrating against the car, against the rappers; wearing belly shirts and tiny skirts. They told me and Saskia that we didn’t have to do that. The final product of the video doesn’t look that bad though, they didn’t use the worst clips.
The whole thing was pretty low budget. I just wore the clothes and makeup I showed up in. I didn’t even realize when I was about to go on set, and they hardly gave us any instruction. Now I know that a lot of the girls in hip-hop videos probably feel awkward while they’re dancing in front of the camera, because honestly, the whole thing is really silly. It doesn’t feel at all in person how it looks on screen. Saskia and I had no idea what we were doing most of the time, but it didn’t really matter; the final product looks professional.
I feel a little bad for participating in a video that is so clearly sexist and materialistic. At first I was confused by the lyrics, “Materialism, materialism/shouldn’t be the reason for the killing.” I asked Eze, “If materialism is bad, why the big red car? Why do you flash a wad of bills?”
“We are against the materialism of the robber.”
“But you’re materialistic in the video, aren’t you?”
“My materialism is okay. I have earned the money honestly.”
I frowned. “But don’t the lyrics say materialism is bad?”
“No, no, killing and robbing are bad, but money is good. We are saying, you want to have money like us, not like the robber.”
“Don’t you feel bad advocating materialism?” I said. “I mean, I know American rap videos are totally materialistic too, but in America we mostly at least pretend that materialism is wrong, even if we actually are materialistic.”
“As long as you arrive at the money legally, it is okay, it is good,” he said. “You should not steal or kill to get money, you should earn it honestly. Like me, by rapping.”
I nodded and gave up.
The whole ordeal was tiring, but at times great and a little out of this world.
For instance, Eze showing up in a bright green suit and personally delivering us rice for dinner.
Or our new friend Cassie, who had a whole closet full of makeup, heels, and tight clothes stuffed into her bag that she couldn’t wait to share, and who said we had to come visit her in Tema. She commented me on Facebook later, “Let’s stay in touch, always.”
Or a man named Green who tried to convince me to study the Bible with him on Sunday (I’m Jewish) and asked why I wasn’t wearing a short dress like the other girls.
Or the two main girls from the video, Leona and Natasha, who could not get enough of me and Saskia. They would touch our hair, ask about America and Europe, and say, “Come here, baby.” When Leona would try to talk to me, Natasha would say to her, “You’re stealing my new best friend, baby.” For the scene on the couch with the bad guy, Leona and Natasha were given blue twenty-cedi notes to rub down their dresses – which they tried their best to keep, but I don’t think they succeeded.
Saskia and I weren’t in the best mood by the time we left at 4:30 in the morning – and that was leaving early; the others stayed til 7. But it was certainly an experience, I can tell you that.