Many parents are having a hard time coming to terms with the amount of adult content in circulation on TV these days. From commercials to movies to music videos, adult/sexually suggestive content looks to be the direction to go towards to, to be able to successfully get people’s attention.
Gone are the days a close up of two pairs of legs entangled indicates a sex scene, these days, directors of music videos now go as far as giving full lip action, showing hot bodies, the caresses, and all the others that follow – without leaving anything at all for the imagination.
In Kenya recently, there has been a section of leaders who have taken it upon themselves to curtail the influx of such content to our screens.
Take, for instance, the Kenya Film Classification Board Chairperson Ezekiel Mutua recently called for the banning of Sauti Sol‘s Melanin music video, calling it “absolute pornography”.
Many people have hit back at Mr. Mutua, arguing that artists have a right to create what they like and that it is up to people to choose whether to watch such content or not.
They also argued that it should not be an issue of the law since there is freedom of expression but a personal decision to be taken by individuals based on their moral beliefs.
As justifiable as the above argument may be, others have also argued that it should be noted that many of these sexually suggestive videos/content aired on various TV stations across the country are not just viewed by adults but also children, adolescents, and young adults.
In fact, this is one of the reasons KFCB gave for its action – it argued that the Sauti Sol’s music video was not suitable for children as it contains scenes with intense nudity and obscenity.
One may argue that parents should censor what their wards watch on TV or better still use the Parental guidance control buttons, but the truth is and remains that these videos sometimes pop up on national TV stations that are not Music stations so how would parents handle such cases?
Studies have shown that children exposed to high level of explicit information tend to become sexually active at an early stage.
Further studies have also revealed that although sexual content in the media can affect any age group, children, adolescents and young adults are at a greater risk of vulnerability simply because their cognitive ability to critically analyze messages from the media and to make the right judgements and decisions based on possible future outcomes are not fully developed.
There was a recent case of adult/sexually suggestive content produced in Egypt.
An Egyptian court jailed a singer for two years for inciting debauchery – excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol, or drugs – and producing a video harming public morality.
In the video for the song, titled “I have issues”, the singer, Shyma, whose real name is Shaimaa Ahmed, was seen in her underwear as she suggestively ate a banana.
She was fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($560). The director of the video was also fined and sentenced to two years in prison.
The prosecution did not stop there as tens of young Egyptians were arrested for attending her concert in Cairo where a rainbow flag was raised.
Concert-goers were also accused of debauchery, harming public morality among other accusations.
21-year-old Shaimaa Ahmed is not the first artist to be jailed or fined for producing such suggestive content in Egypt, In 2015, two bellydancers – Shakira and Bardis – were jailed six months each for inciting debauchery and immorality in their music videos.
It is very well known that morality among our youth is at an all-time low and it will not be out of line to try to curtail such materials from making it to our screens very easily.
But going as far as Egypt did to arrest and prosecute the artist and director, might be a step too far.
It is part of the price you pay for having a functioning democracy as people have the right to choose or participate in whatever it is they would like to.
Others have also argued that prosecuting artist for making sexually suggestive contents will translate to curtailing creativity as well as stopping the growth of the country’s entertainment industry. While KFCB will not want to do this, it has advised artists to be more responsible with their content, bearing in mind that their fans include young minds whose innocence should be protected.
Watch the Sauti Sol music video that generated so much controversy below