Ghanaian Afro-Dancehall artiste, Ebony, has released a hit song titled “Maame Hw3” with emotionally charged visuals in the video that depicts the pain and trauma around domestic abuse, sexual violence, and marital rape. The video has been trending on Youtube and Twitter, garnering over 800,000 views since its release just over a week ago and has sparked debate on and offline.
Ebony says the song is a part of a campaign to “STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN” and is a public jab at an issue that is often shunned and silenced in the African community. Africans are often taught to only discuss domestic abuse in the dark privacy of their homes, if at all. Yet, here is Ebony, a 20-year-old self-proclaimed 90s bad girl, breaking this age-old cultural norm.
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Maame Hw3 recounts the experience of a young Ghanaian woman who gets married to a man she believes to be a particular type of person but turns out to be another (banker to bank robber). The story starts with the man knocking a plate of food prepared for him off the table, to him slapping and hitting the young woman, then to blowing fumes from his cigarette in her face, raping her when she refuses his sexual advances in bed, and humiliating her in front of his friends. The young woman is seen calling her mother to tell her about her ordeals, her mother disapprovingly cautioning her.
Towards the end of the video, the young woman is seen packing her clothes, after attempts to talk and reason with her husband become futile. She leaves to an empathetic mother who embraces her, consoles her, and welcomes her home, despite the fact that she didn’t listen to her cautioning earlier on.
The song itself is highly addictive, with a repetitive deep base, an adlib, “I hate you so much right now” and “Maame Hwe”, over Ebony’s smooth vocals.
Ebony’s song and video could not be more timely. It brings to the surface questions young Africans wrestle with as they negotiate their intimate relationships in this age:
- What role does social media have on one’s choice of partner? What are the other influencing factors in partner choice – parents, money, friends, social pressure, etc?
- Should African women tolerate domestic violence or leave? Are they bound by traditional or religious expectations and norms like past generations?
- Are African parents changing – are they welcoming their children home after such an ordeal, rather than turning them away, which has typically been the case? Are they even willing to talk to their children about these issues?
- Where is the presence of the law and why is that never explored or mentioned in the video? Why are young women not seeking legal justice in such cases – why is that not a thought or consideration and should it be?
In a year, Ghana and the African continent at large has been rocked by child rape cases, gang rape, and countless other assaults on girls and women’s bodies and rights; this statement from Ebony is a bold representation of the politics of a new generation of young African women and men.
Still, it is important to note that Ebony’s critics have cited her sexually suggestive songs, such as Sponsor, Poison, and Dancehall, as the reason for her “beating” in the video, or in other words, drawing a causation between Ebony’s earlier songs and this video, as seen below:
“Dear Manasseh azure Azure, I have a new song out and is called #maamehw3. its a campaign song to STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.i am expecting another lengthy letter from you on this one, or you only write love letters to me when i have a wardrobe malfunction? pls let me know.”
— Ebony_Reigns?? (@land_guard) December 19, 2017
I think Ebony contradicted herself in – Maame Hw3 considering the kinda music she has been making ah well !
— ( 0 0 ) (@love_4_sale) December 18, 2017
I Will buy 3 cds of Ebony’s new music Maame Hw3,dig the floor and put them in, pour anointing oil on it and bury it.It will not make a hit song – Counselor George Lutterodt#KobbyKyeiNewsLive pic.twitter.com/siRjxKiO4k
— KOBBY KYEI NEWS LIVE (@kobbykyeiNews) December 17, 2017
But, it is for this reason that Ebony’s Maame Hw3 is important – a reminder that irrespective of what a woman wears or her sexual preferences, domestic abuse or any type of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse is wrong, and should be sternly criticized and punished. Regardless of what a woman does or says, any act without her explicit and direct consent is a crime.
What are your thoughts on the video [below] and the message it is bringing forth?