Last week, Kenyan rapper, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Kennedy Ombima (aka King Kaka) dropped the music video for his single with Kristoff “Utanipata” (“You Will Find Me”), which showed the pair living lavishly and goofing around in a hotel room, alternating between playing video games and entertaining models. All things considered, it seems like a pretty generic music video concept. But, the music video for the party track has caused controversy in and out of his fanbase and the comments section because of one reason; his choice to feature plus sized models.
Although sexually explicit music videos are popular around the world and often contain suggestive scenarios, this type media is only controversial when it features women who are outside the images of desirability that we are usually sold. The models in “Utanipata” do not fit into the mainstream representation of music video dancers but are nonetheless shown twerking in tight clothes, which has apparently encouraged hundreds of people to offer their opinions of “the vixens” bodies. Whether accusing Ombima of using plus sized women for more views or deciding that it’s their confidence- not their outward appearance- that makes the models attractive, it seems very few responses to the video have to do with any of the musical or visual content other than the four women.
The music video has cut shots with facts about political corruption in Kenya, calling out hypocrisy and mishandling of the COVID crisis in big bold letters between scenes… but no one wants to talk about that. Instead, the comments section is filled with different variations of body shaming or fetishization.
This overwhelming response has caused King Kaka to put out a statement regarding his choice to feature plus sized women, in which he says “they are part of our society, they are our friends , our sisters ,our girlfriends , our mothers. So why shouldn’t they be in a music video ?? ” Needless to say, this level of scrutiny over casting wouldn’t exist if they had chosen to dance alongside women who fit into the narrow range of body types usually idealized in explicit music videos.
However, King Kaka doesn’t deserve praise for this directive decision. It’s high time we start embracing people of every design, and idolizing an artist for giving plus sized women a much deserved platform only serves to promote that it is somehow charitable or exceptional to feature them. In short, it’s nice to see a music video like “Utanipata” feature big, confident, women. But this sort of exposure is neither revolting or revelatory- it’s overdue.