Where are all the video vixens?

For millennials who grew up as a part of the MTV generation, the early 2000s marked the rise of mainstream hip hop on our TV screens. If you are anything like us, constantly awash with flashing images of music videos of the time, you will remember the salient cameos of daintily clad but extremely glamorous video vixens.

The video vixen sub-culture began as a part of hip hop’s male ego braggadocio. Like gold chains, spinning rims and wads of cash, women were lyrically objectified by the genre as a means of earning respect and admiration consequently, music videos featured physical representations of the “bitches” and “hoes” rappers excitedly rhymed about. This often lustful over sexualization of the female form, created the basis for the music video vixen aesthetic sub-culture of hip hop music.

In recent times, the paradigm shift from TV to the internet as the primary source of media has changed a lot of things, notably the decline of big budget hip-hop videos set on unknown islands (as seen in Sisqo’s Thong Song) with bikini-clad models strutting around in slow-motion.

These women are no longer in demand because the internet offers a wide range of social media models in skin-tight clothing and similarly Instagram/Tumblr/Twitter accounts with the hashtag #TwerkTeam or something else related. Call it the rise of artistic hip-hop and feminism or the death of TV, either way, the biggest selling artistes in many climes are no longer sand-filling their videos with butt cheeks and open cleavages.

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In Nigeria, the video vixen aesthetic is similarly witnessing a decline from the days of Tony Tetuila trailing a girl around town on his 2003 single Jigi Jigi, to 2face staring into Annie Macaulay’s dreamy eyes in the adjoining visuals for African Queen. The most reminiscent elements of the sub-culture we have seen in recent times is Venita Akpofure starring in Skales’ Mukulu, Natalie Nunn’s cameo in Olu Maintain’s Nawti and off course Beverly Osu’s stint run around the block as a video vixen and model (or something like that…).

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But unlike our foreign counterparts who have found new ways to tell stories better-plotted narratives with their music videos, Nigerian videos are packed full with buttocks gyrating to the rhythm of the song in an attempt to re-create the social media craze for the female derriere with music videos. There is no culture, celebration or art to the depiction of the female form, further worsening the hip hop negative cliche of being anti-woman.

The women are still beautiful but at best they often appear as a backdrop to an overall artificially bourgeoisie video. There is neither any of the high class charisma or stun older video vixens used to represent.

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