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.