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Big Booty, Little Booty

As Black people, everything we do is rhythmic and straying from rhythm can sometimes have dire consequences. When we pound fufu, it’s with rhythm. When we pull our nets in from the sea, we do so with rhythm. And when a Black woman walks, it is with a unique rhythm.

I don’t know about any other race, but a Black woman’s booty has its own soundtrack – and if someone were to take the time to compile the multitude of ditties that accompanied the swaying rhythm of a Black woman’s backside, I’d be willing to wager that it’d land highly on the top 40 International Pop Charts.

For instance, I have (and always have had) a big booty… a very big booty. I do not say this with pride. When I was young and my parents sent me to buy bread or eggs for the house, I used to dread leaving the confines of our gate. There was a group of boys who never seemed to go to school that would congregate at the junction just to trouble young girls as they walked by. As soon as I would approach, they would all sing in boisterous chorus:

Wele, sala, kontomre!

Wele, sala, kontomre!

I was always mortified, and the more apparent my discomfort the louder they sang and laughed. Occasionally one of them would howl something in Ga, which would cause all of his compatriots to fall into hysterical laughter. I don’t speak Ga, so I was at least spared any further embarrassment as a result of my ignorance. My ordeal finally ended when my parents bought me a bike to run errands with. Of course, the sight of a girl on a bicycle in those days introduced another set of issues.

As I understand it, the phenomenon I described is by no means unique to Ghana. My Kenyan friends tell me that the aggressive jiggling of a woman’s adipose tissue is accompanied by a repetitive and rhythmic refrain of sigida sigidum and atoti.

African men on the continent are not alone in their unabashed expression of lust, admiration or disdain for our women’s hind quarters. At the height of the Freaknic era, there were at least a dozen songs released extolling this animate object. Here is but a small sampling:

  1. Let me ride that donkey
  2. Gimme that donkey butt and them big ole legs
  3. Baby got back
  4. Shake that A**

Need I carry on?

It’s a wonder that more girls don’t have their self-esteem doing swan dives into the toilet. As bad as this sounds, it gets worse, if you can imagine that. Perhaps the only thing worse than being the owner of a bodacious booty is being in the possession of an abysmally unobtrusive one: I speak mournfully of the unfortunate “pancake” buttocks.

When we weren’t in class, my best friend and I used to walk around our area just to talk and take in the air. She was slender, tall and leggy and very pretty by my estimation.  I was six inches shorter, with thick calves and the afore mentioned big behind. After the “area boys” had hurled inappropriate cat calls at me, they would soon turn their attention to my best friend and burst into unforgiving laughter. They called her names like “flat ass” and a host of other unflattering monikers I’d sooner forget. I learned early on that being a Black woman was hard enough, but being a Black woman with the “wrong” type of booty could make life unbearable.  Sometimes it’s so unbearable that it’s fatal.


  • Elena Caro, 42, of Las Vegas, died last year after being injected with an unidentified gel in an unlicensed medical office in the back room of a tile store.
  • Fiordaliza Pichardo of New York died of a pulmonary embolism in March 2009 after injections of silicone.
  • Solange Magnano, a model and former Miss Argentina, died there in November 2009 after she was injected with microspheres of PMMA plastic (polymethylmethacrilate) that apparently entered her bloodstream and caused a pulmonary embolism.
  • Mayra Lissette Contreras, 22, of Pacoima, Calif. died in July 2010, apparently from respiratory problems, after receiving silicone shots from an unlicensed injector in Sylmar, Calif.
  • Lidvian Zelaya, 35, of Miami, died in late 2010 while undergoing a liposuction and buttocks-injection procedure by a doctor whose license was later suspended pending an investigation. It was unclear from news reports whether she died before fat from the liposuction had been re-injected, as planned, into her buttocks.
  • Claudia Aderotimi, 20, of England, died in February 2010 after traveling from London to get buttocks-enhancement shots of silicone by an unidentified injector in a hotel room near the Philadelphia airport.

Look at the ages of these women. They are all over the map! There is no age limit for insecurity. I suppose we were lucky to have grown up with limited financial means. I wonder if we might have been tempted to resort to under the table surgery to correct our physical afflictions if we had had the financial means to do so. I’m sure that none of these women had death in mind when they went into these back alleys and hotel rooms for their bargain surgeries. The unfortunate consequence of that gamble is that in the long run it cost these women more than a few hundred dollars. There is no refund policy to cover accidental death.

To borrow from Sir Mix-a-Lot (and trust me, it grieves me to do so): Turn around and stick it out! Give your booty a high five…or a fist bump…or something. Two butt cheeks are better than none. Big or small, does it really matter? After all, they are only used for sitting.



This article has 17 comments

  1. goodevansandy

    hahahahah loved your post and no sweetie it doesn’t matter!!

  2. Malaka

    I want to hear from those boys who used to sit on walls and trouble girls like me. I know you are reading. Show yourselves! What say you now? 😉

    • David S.

      You are assuming they can read this. Beh you said they never went to school?

      • Malaka

        Even kubolor boys know how to use a computah. You are dangerously close to sounding elitist! *snicker*

  3. Revivedafrikana

    Oh yeah it does matter folks. As a sufferer of the flat buttocks syndrome, I recently bought myself butt and hip pads to help enhance my backside. In my teen i was called all sort of names in high school, they were kinda of painful.
    I was teased that my flat ass is due to lack of sex ( man juice) as a I was still a virgin at the time. lol I remember my seniors while singing tunes will call me to come shake my ass knowing that was so impossible but it was all in good humour.
    I am definitely getting surgery when I am rich

    • Malaka

      Hmmm. If you must, just don’t go to the transgendered fix-a-flat woman with her needles and cotton balls. Go to a proper surgeon!

  4. Ahmed Ali

    Very nice post that shows a true picture of the African perception of a woman’s behind.

  5. NM

    I doubt that the boys (now men) that did the cat calling will emerge LOL! we’ll chalk it up to raging teenage hormones. I can relate to the errand stories. At least your hecklers were stationary; mine followed me all the way to the kiosk/duka singing variations of sigida dodoma and something else I forget. And don’t get me started on what happened if you had both big boobs and a butt, aaaiiiiiiii! LOL!. That teasing and taunting had such an effect on my psyche that I dressed like a nun all my teen years.

    Anyway, it’s a pity that most people have bought into the notion that one body type is the blue print for a womanly shape. I remember being told I was shaped like a white lady because I didn’t have a bubble booty. Thank goodness for the size I was alloted because it seems to be getting bigger by the minute as I age; I can’t imagine where I’d be if I started out with a large one. LOL! Anyway, Great post as always!

  6. Nana Ama

    Great piece! My two sisters and I suffered the same fate when we were sent on errands to El-Wak Stadium! Those cheeky boys even made a song with my youngest sister’s name and sang it to accompany every step she took!

    The name calling was just as bad at my all girls boarding school too! The shower cubicles for juniors (ages 11-15), had no doors or curtains. So in order to avoid the group cackles and fingers pointing at or poking your bum, you either got up early to shower in relative silence (the rising bell went at 5.30am so you had to be really really ticked off to forgo the extra time in bed), or after the ‘rush hour’ was over, (which could lead to being late for class, with attendant punishment). They poked fun at you, whether you were well endowed or flat as a board!:)

    Today, I can laugh it off as teenage curiosity about other people’s bodies, but it was not funny at all, to be the butt of jokes then.

  7. abiolamamute

    Great post Malaka, really enjoyed reading it. It got me thinking about societal obsessions with aesthetics. Strangely enough I have to say men also suffer from such misguided comments. Being a young black African man, I have experienced unwelcomed comments throught my life on several topics that frankly make me quite uncomfortable and often leaves me grasping for uniqueness and individuality. Even though some may view these comments as compliments. But strenght comes from within, that let me be what I want to be and not societal expectations and opinions on any part of my anatomy or on how I should walk, dress, talk or act. Thanks for the post.

  8. Kenya forum

    Big booty anytime

  9. siaj won

    hahahh fortunately/unfortunately my natural buttocks could not be described as pancake but more like a waffle.I have put on weight and it has filled out some.I plan on losing weight and I am sure the “booty” will go so be it…afterall it is for sitting is it not?..lol.My 7 year old on the other hand has a booty that is constantly on my mind..I have to get her 10/12 jeans that are too long but fit her butt.Regardless it is the butt we have as African women that gives us the grace and the “je ne sais quoi” when we strut our stuff…After all rhythm is an african thing!

  10. Nana Ama

    And it doesn’t stop when you reach middle-age, you are supposed to be flattered with catcalls from builders and other ‘street furniture!’ Apparently it proves you’ve still got pulling power!

    • Malaka

      That’s the most ironic thing. I’m supposed to be flattered by your objectification?!? Lol!

  11. Cyril Dimore

    that is so real and somwetimes even us males we get flattered when we listen to some of those words we hurl at them

  12. Mzwandile

    In Zulu we’ve got a name for the flat behind. It’s called “is’shwapha” and no woman wants to be cursed with it. And I have to say, I’m a big fan of the African trademark myself

  13. Nana Osei

    hmmm… all I can say is hmmm… I’m glad that you folks appreciate any type of body shape! I however get quite disappointed when I read some blogs of African (mostly Ghanaian) young women who have lived in the US or UK and for many strange reason think God was wrong for giving them “booty genes”! they express their dislike for their pear or guitar shape simply because they find themselves among white people who are super trim and “flat” and will do anything to prove that their physique is the ideal! some of these bootilicious young girls claim they don’t look good in jeans due to their slim waist, and wider hips! ridiculous! I honestly would have sworn that this stereotype image of women (in this age) defending “flat” and condemning the protruded was in everybody’s mind until I stumbled on this piece! good job! Bless you!

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