Godessa-Social Ills

Godessa was a South African female hip hop group comprised of three talented female musicians, formed in 2000. The group composed of 1) Sheema “Shame” Williams, a vocalist and a rapper who is also a social activist. 2) Elouise Jones, “EJ” Jones, a vocalist, a rapper and a producer. 3) Bernadette “Burni” Amansure, a vocalist and a rapper. According to Dr.Msia Clark’s book Hip Hop in Africa, the group pioneered hip hop in South Africa and gave commentary about politics and economics through their songs. In the song “Social Ills’, which was produced in 2002, Godessa addresses the issue of self-image and criticizes a materialistic aspect of the South African society. 

“You wear what you think that they think is tight
And I don’t think it’s right
To find replicas of Jennifer’s all over the world
Every boy and girl as fake as extentions or curls
Those keeping it real and those chilling of coz
Keep flossing that s*** to spinning these words
Coz popular culture’s a b***h is what I heard”

In these lyrics, Godessa criticizes people for dressing and behaving not based on what they believe but based on what other people think of them. The group believes such behavior breeds to replication of fake “Jennifers” who lack individuality. Godessa then blames the media for perpetuating a constant advertisement of a certain standard of beauty and enforcing people to adhere to that standard. The South African Hip Hop group calls people “clones” for being the victims of such homogeneous social norm. The group then firmly rejects to adhere to social norm and says, 

“Right if I’m different never judge me by your book
See what I wear and how I look, might leave the in crowd shook
Like the fingerprints of a crook (crook)
You can immediately make that distinction by just one look”

Even though Godessa is a group composed of female musicians, it does not confine its message to only females. Rather than demanding only women to be individuals, the group broadens its scope and calls for all people to be individuals. Moreover, even though hip hop has an element of braggadocio, in which artists usually brag what they have, Godessa does the opposite. Instead of embracing consumer capitalism, the hip hop group calls people to reject it. They call people to be individuals and criticizes the homogeneous society for being controlled by consumerism. 

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