The Truth About Music And How I Fuels Body Shaming

by | Jan 20, 2022 | Mental Health, Health & Wellness | 1 comment

This morning I sat down to download a couple of Zim songs that I missed, and as I kept going more songs popped up that I had not even thought of. So I went ahead and downloaded those too cause they brought back really good memories. I put together a playlist and I was ready to JAM! And as the playlist went along the famous MMT track came on, Zvidhori. And I found myself bopping, singing along and failing to control my body movements. Then 3 verses in I realized the amount of body shaming that was coming out of my mouth.

The chorus of this song says, ‘mabhebhi akashata akuita kunge zvidhori,’ which means ‘the ugly girls are starting to look like dolls (prettier).’ The remix is a bigger banger, and it has a total of 8 verses. 7 of those were men and one from a female rapper, each one doing a great job at describing how alcohol makes ugly girls look better. I remember visiting my sister years back and playing this song for her, I was so excited and I expected her to laugh with me. She was very very upset with me and I remember telling her to relax and messaging my friend about how she had overreacted. She was right to overreact, the message in this song allows people to shame people they do not find attractive in so many ways. Each bar is a dagger.

“U Say u got mascara but ndiri kungoona mabori but sory
Inini ndiri type yakajamuka they called me on this Remix coz they know handidi Mhuka”

This translates to: You say you wearing mascara but all I see is rheum. I am a bad ting and they called me on this remix cause they know I don’t like animals.

“AnaShatrisha nanBonderai zveMake Up zvakakuwomerai
Her body like V Candy but this one look manly”

Translation: Shatrisha & Bonderai – are slang names for ‘ugly.’ the last part of bar means ‘makeup is not your thing/ makeup is not working for you.’

“Mi start seach fi a gyal then mi come across this chick yaaah

Body iri bhoo but face chiri chinginga

Then mi say whoooa…!! Bhebhi chimbo eazer

Mi can’t drink infront of u unondirutsisa”

Translation: Your body is fire but your face is very ugly, then mi say whoaaa… baby slow down/ Mi cant drink infront of you, you will make me vomit.

I just picked a few parts that I thought would make it clear to you what I mean. It was at this moment that I questioned how far I ride for the body positivity movement. If I can forget about it because the beat is giving me good vibes, am I really about this? How is it that I have come this far into this movement and not once have I heard these hurtful words that music so easily spreads? Music is a part of our everyday lives and it has done good but it has also spread such negativity. Over the beat, we sometimes ignore the words and yet they are more important than the vibe aren’t they?

Music is one of the biggest tools or drivers of body shaming and I do not think that I myself have talked about it enough. I will not speak on behalf of other people who are part of the movement but I know that I have not tackled this topic at all. Yet the more that I think about it I feel helpless because where do we begin? How do we tear down a whole industry and ask them to start over, to shy away from the disses and sexualizing?

This discovery also had me wondering why we are stimulated by such negativity. We laugh and say, ‘damn you got bars,’ we encourage these artists to just carry on and find new ways to shame people with natural and normal bodies. It is similar to the way we treat jokes about body shaming, we ask people not to be too sensitive and take the joke. The more we find excuses and gloss over the actual problems we are not going to fix this toxic cycle. We are just to keep going round in circles, and hurt more people,

As a listener, I do not know what to do because cancel culture doesn’t work, at least not from where I am standing. For every time people have tried to cancel someone it seems to give them more clout, followers and success than the cancel movement intended to. So that doesn’t work. Maybe the solution is in educating people more about the effects of body shaming and just hope for the best? I do not know, what do you think?

This is my plea to anyone in the creative industry, I need you to remember that our art changes the world. We have a very large impact on people’s lives and we need to do better as an industry. I know you think that people should not be controlled, that I have no right to dictate how they express themselves. You are absolutely right, I have no business telling you what to do but I would be wrong not to show you the power that you have. You and I have the voices and the power to shift things and so we need to try our best. The change may not be immediate but it is change nonetheless. So do your best, in any way that you can. CIAO!