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Sister Deborah is a National Treasure and a Model Citizen

In case you are not one of the half a million viewers who has been sucked into the2 week old phenomenon that is Uncle Obama, you will have the opportunity to do so by clicking here:

Uncle Obama is the type of song that becomes an instant chart topper because it possesses all the qualities of a musical composition that invokes a ‘brain itch’. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”, “Put a Ring on It” and “Call me Maybe” are examples of songs that cause a brain itch. They bore into your subconscious and hold your grey matter hostage. One is powerless against their melodious might. You WILL sing along at karaoke and conferences. You just will.

Like all popular musical phenomena, Uncle Obama isn’t without its detractors. There are people who genuinely hate this song, and think that Sister Deborah (or Derrrrbie, as her fans call her) have disgraced the Ghana and Africa as a whole by 1) invoking President Obama as the subject of such a raucous song and 2) making continuous reference to his ‘banana’.

They can all save their pious dismay.

There is absolutely no proof that Derrrrbie has spoofed either president Obama or his banana and groundnuts in particular. That’s just hyperbole and innuendo based on split assumptions. In fact, all Ghanaians should listen to the lyrics of this song and feel a deep sense of pride. Sister Deborah touches on several important social issues that need addressing in our culture. Our youth can learn a lot from this musical ambassador.

She promotes healthy living: In the first few verses of the song, Derrrrbie makes mention that she is bringing a new azonto for us. What better or more enjoyable way is there to lose weight and get fit than through the joy of dance? Secondly, she went to the market to buy fruit so that she could make some juice. Juicing your fruits and vegetables provides a quick way to absorb vital minerals into your blood stream without losing any nutrients through cooking.

She promotes green initiatives: Derrrrrbie made mention that she went to the market with her basket. Baskets are ancient carrying devices that are used all around the world. Sadly, as we become a more modern society, we have eschewed the use of renewable and earth friendly devices such as baskets in favor of plastic bags. Plastic has become a scourge in Africa, with the rubber material choking our water ways and killing our flora and fauna. Sister Deborah makes going green look sexy again.

She tells us to dress according to the weather: One of Ghana’s main problems has been its blind mimicry of Western culture. I will never forget the day I saw a recent SSS graduate sitting at Papaye eating a burger dressed in baggy jeans, Timberland boots, and a fur rimmed leather coat. It was 89* outside at 9 pm. I was hot just looking at him. That was in 1996. My horror was only surpassed when I saw a grandmother lovingly carrying her swaddled newborn grandchild through Chicken Inn at the Accra Mall in 2010. What’s so terrible about that, you ask? Again, it was nearly 99*, at high noon, in ACCRA, and the child was wrapped in a long sleeve woolen onesie, a knitted cap and two wool blankets. I hope he lived to see his first birthday. Sister Deborah’s message in this song was succinct: when the weather is hot, wear something short – preferably made of cotton. Simple! What is all this copying of obroni culture? Do we live in Norway? NO. You live at Nima. Tsseewwww.

International trade is good, but it’s important to buy locally as well: In her introduction, she declared that she likes both local and foreign bananas. This is wonderful! What a true global citizen. By increasing local banana consumption, we could create more jobs for Ghana’s economy. And going back to that green initiative: Whatever happened to wrapping our food in banana leaves? How many hundreds of jobs were lost when we decided to forgo the use of leaves to sell and ferry our food in favor of polythene bags? Perhaps it’s time to renew this lost art. It’s better for our environment. Ghana should lead the way in big banana leaf production.

Derrrrrrrbie promotes safe sex: Fine, fine! If you want to take the song at “face” value and say that it’s about a groundnut seller’s phallus, we can certainly play on that assumption. After this songstress reached Uncle Obama’s house the following next day in search of more loin fruit, he regretfully informed her that he did not have a polythene bag (read: condom) to put it in for her. From what I can ascertain, she offered him a hand job and left. Ah well. To each her own…

Look, I could go on and on about the wonderful qualities and life lessons laden in this tremendous song, but I invite you to do some more critical thinking on your own. Let’s not spit in the face of genius, nor scorn the gifts of our new vanguards. We should celebrate them…and I certainly celebrate Sister Deborah. She is not just a rapper, but a conscious rapper. She’s up there with Common and Talib Kweli. There should be more women walking the streets of Accra in high heels and painted nails frantically in search of big bananas!!! Kornchia, kronchia, my sisters!

Now, coming from a woman who spends her days watching cartoons and yelling angrily at the TV when the characters won’t do as their told (like that little bald bastard Caillou) this whole analysis may not mean very much. Hold on while I go ask my monkey what it thinks.

This article has 9 comments

  1. KajsaHA

    LOL. So many good ( and hilarious ) points. I agree with you, let’s not hate, let’s celebrate Debbie and her song. My take on it is here: http://kajsaha.com/2012/10/what-we-can-learn-from-sister-deborahs-uncle-obama-video/

  2. A-Dub

    If I didn’t know you, I would think you were serious and stone you!

    • Malaka

      Do you know what your brother told me when I told him I was going to write this article? He said “This is the point in the film where the good blow man and bad blow man were once friends and the good one knows the bad one is going to turn bad and tries to stop him. Malaka, I will only say this once. Don’t do it.”

      Can you imagine? He described me as the killa! No wonder you also want to stone me.

  3. @deborahvanessa7

    All I can say is ‘you be the right chick’ and that this is the best article I have read so far. It’s as if you were in the room with us when writing the lyrics. Oh, and I was Twitter-following you before @wanlov. I even gave him your handle. Thanks!

    • Malaka

      Heh! And he let me deceive the world by saying he let you follow me? Oh no, no, no.

      Chale, I was deeper than the studio. I was in your MIND sef! I believe Wangari Mathaai would be proud of your conservation efforts as well. It’s important that we feed and care for our wildlife by providing them with indigenous fruits, like bananas, since we’ve cut down much of their natural habitats and forests. You clearly care about the environment and I look forward to the launch of your line of market baskets.

  4. KingMaker

    You being sarcastic girl. and hey is that the real sis Derrrrrrrbie @deborahvanessa7 commenting? for real? lol

  5. Ms. Adwoa Dela (@RevivedAfrikana)

    Good analysis. She has done the impossible, if more Ghanaians could think that way, we would have reached our destination.

  6. TD


  7. siaj won

    did you ever hear the cheeky song by the cheeky girls?check it out on you tube.That’s another brain itch.

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