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Where Are the Dark-Skinned Women in These African Music Videos?

Rich Mavoko in "Ibaki Story" music video (YouTube)

Rich Mavoko in “Ibaki Story” music video (YouTube)

Africa has been exploding with hit-making talent in the last few years, but one thing that has become apparent among popular  artists from Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania is their use of light-skinned or white models. Most music videos featuring the continent’s top male artists lack dark-skinned women, as evidenced by videos from musicians Wizkid and Diamond Platnumz.

Diamond Platnumz in the "Mdogo Mdogo" video (YouTube)

Diamond Platnumz in the “Mdogo Mdogo” video (YouTube)

This is Africa reported on several examples of music clips that lack melanin, aside from their stars. A YouTube search of the most viewed videos from Africa reveals there are no dark-skinned women in the clips, and those who do appear are relegated to the background. Diamond Platnumz’s newest single, “Kidgo,” with P-Square, shows several women dancing and performing, but the ladies with lighter complexions are in the foreground interacting with the artists while the dark-skinned women are pushed off into the distance. Platnumz’s video for “Mdogo Mdogo” is not any better. He is seen serenading a white woman as they ride a horse through the forest.

Flavour in "Sexy Rosey" video featuring. P-Square (YouTube)

Flavour in “Sexy Rosey” video featuring. P-Square (YouTube)

But Diamond is not the only African artist who has prominently featured non-dark-skinned Black women in his videos. In last year’s “Final (Baba Nla),” Wizkid showed his preference when he featured non-dark-skinned women in the clip. Rich Mavoko had a playful pillow fight with his “Ibaki Story” co-star, a non-Black woman. In Sexy Rosey’s “Flavour,” he danced with a group of white and light-skinned female dancers on the beach. P-Square was featured on the song, too, and like “Kidgo,” the fairer-skinned ladies were pushed toward the front while women with dark skin tones were on the outskirts.

Wizkid in "Final (Baba Nla)" video (YouTube)

Wizkid in “Final (Baba Nla)” video (YouTube)

Fans have taken notice of the trend, which is not new.

A 2013 tweet from Afua Hirsch shows the rarity of seeing a dark-skinned woman take the lead role in a video.

But at least one artist has broken the trend.

Nigerian-American artist Jidenna released a video for “Little Bit More” July 27, and Twitter user Kudzai was pleased to see the love interest was a dark-skinned woman.

@Raavakhaleesi was glad about the other women with dark complexions in the clip.

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