It’s been a few weeks now since the internet exploded in anger, confusion and applause over a song snippet up-and-coming musician Ms G posted to her social media platforms.
Though it was just a teaser and not a full track, the raunchy lyrics did not sit well with many, considering she had dropped her first single, titled ‘Jehova’, just weeks prior.
You might know this crooner as the female voice on the smash hit ‘Pretty Vibes’ by Yeezir. Before that track, she was a relatively unknown artist. But her brand and following have grown tremendously this year, with there being more of a push for her to put out singles and commit fully to a singing career.
In an interview with The Weekender, Ms G says she never anticipated the nation reacting the way it did.
“I really didn’t expect the negative comments, because the song that I wrote had a meaning and I always write with meaning. The criticism is not fair, but we live in a world where people choose what to love and I can’t take that away from anyone,” she says.
“I understand that people will always criticise. ‘Jehova’ [the song] was criticised too. It’s out of my control. I’m here to make music for those who are genuinely here to listen without judgement.”
People online were not having it.
One post by @stratnani on X (formerly Twitter) referred to her as a “confused youth”. Another, @saytobbyman, said “she needs to fire her management and cut off her friends”.
Other more harsh comments found fault with her singing and writing abilities, called her morals into question and showed a deep disdain for the choice of words.
One recurring theme in the criticism appears to be artists’ duty to wield their influence and power responsibly.
Long-time Namibian rapper and hip-hop artist JBlack was quite vocal about this particular point online as well.
He criticised Ms G’s choice to follow up her gospel song in that way.
“Her last song is ‘Jehova’, so obviously we identified with her as someone that’s respectful and religious. Which is why her singing about punani is very unexpected. I don’t think she’s taking the right direction, but since sex sells perhaps she’s still going to be successful doing it,” he said.
He added that he understands there is pressure to appeal to listeners and that she’s entitled to make whatever kind of music she wants, but he still feels like she was already on the right track before.
Journalist and public relations officer Rukee Kaakunga feels the opposite, and calls out the “double standard” that exists within the Namibian music industry with regard to the rules for women and men.
She believes an artist can be multi-faceted, especially since Ms G never labelled herself as a solely gospel artist, but merely released a gospel song.
“As for the ‘good girl’ image that people want to stick on her, good luck to everyone because Ms G is still so young and her image will likely change as she continues to evolve during her journey,” Kaakunga said. “People need to lay back on the criticism and allow her to do what works for her, even if that doesn’t make sense to them. It’s what we do for male artists all the time,” she told The Weekender after voicing her support for the artist on X.
As a mother herself, Kaakunga remarked that children will “sing whatever is allowed in their houses”.
These sentiments are shared by Florence
/Khaxas, the founder and executive director of the Young Feminist Movement Namibia (Y-Fem).
She commends Ms G for empowering young women to claim their power and resist societal expectations.
“Ms G doesn’t owe anything to anyone as a creative. People should stop expecting so much from female artists,” /Khaxas says, adding that there are more pressing issues that need attention.
Support for the artist appears to be just as loud as the disdain, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by Ms G, who says she appreciates those who are fighting in her defence.
“I do appreciate all the positive comments, it means a lot, even if I may not say it everyday,” she says.
She remains steadfast in believing she is well within her rights as a creative to explore different avenues.
“I’m a diverse artist and I am allowed to explore my diversity like any other artist out there. I can’t change anybody’s minds on how they feel about the song, but, wait and listen to it and pick up what the song is about,” she says.
Ms G is looking to the future. She plans to release a five-track EP on 24 November, with ‘Jehova’ as the lead. She is keeping mum about the remaining four tracks, but appears optimistic about the future of her career.
“I’m not yet where I want to be, but I can say the future looks bright. My career just started and I must say I couldn’t be any happier.”
– Anne Hambuda is a writer, social commentator and poet.
Follow her online or email her firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
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