A group of Krobos in the Greater Accra Region has served notice to sue Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie and two others over his lyrics suggesting that Krobos have been cursed with promiscuity.
Rapping on Kurl Songx’s “Jennifer Lomotey” Sarkodie said: “Krɔbɔ nii baa papa a ahweneɛ da ne sisi. Ɔkɔmfo Anɔkye de adwaman no abɔ ne dua,” which literally means “A good Krobo lady with beads around her waist. Okomfo Anokye has cursed her with promiscuity.”
These lyrics, according to the group, was “created to cast aspersions on the Krobo people” .
“Thus, by singling out the Krobos for ridicule it has subjected them to disabilities or restrictions which other ethnic groups are not similarly subjected to because it seeks to create a barrier to fair treatment and equal opportunity for the Krobos in general,” a notice issued by lawyers for the group said.
They are demanding among other things, the playing the “Jennifer Lomotey” song on their airwaves, expunge or cause to be expunged that portion of the lyrics and an unreserved apology to the Chiefs and people of the Krobo Traditional Area, including a statement to the effect that such an offensive act will not be repeated against the Krobo people .
Read the notice below
FAROUK SEIDU AND ASSOCIATES
P.O. Box CT 5694, Cantonments, Accra
Tel: 233 (0) 24 044 8627 Email: [email protected]
June 14, 2017
Kurl Songx c/o The Producer
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO SUE
I write in my capacity as the legal representative of the Kloma Hengme Association, a Krobo heritage and advocacy group whose mission is to project Krobo values as the basis to promote the development of the Krobo people.
My brief is that about two weeks, you came up with a song captioned “Jennifer Lomotey” which featured Michael Owusu Addo (aka and hereinafter, Sarkodie) and which song was produced by David Kojo Kyei (aka Kaywa).
A line in the song attributed to Sarkodie reads: “Krobo nii baa papa a ahweneɛ da ne sisi. Ɔkɔmfo Anɔkye de adwaman no abɔ ne dua” which literally translates as “A noble Krobo lady with beads around her waist who has been cursed by
Okomfo Anokye with promiscuity.”
This lyrics is founded on a myth and in this case, this myth is created to cast aspersions on the Krobo people. They are therefore prejudiced and discriminatory, contrary to article 17(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana which provides that “[a] person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of […] ethnic origin […]”
The Constitution goes on further to define discrimination as “to give different treatment to different persons attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by […] place of origin […] whereby persons of one description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another description are not made subject or are granted privileges or advantages which are not granted to persons of another description.”
Thus, by singling out the Krobos for ridicule it has subjected them to disabilities or restrictions which other ethnic groups are not similarly subjected to because it seeks to create a barrier to fair treatment and equal opportunity for the Krobos in general. Yet, article 35(5) of the same Constitution also enjoins the State to “actively promote the integration of the peoples of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, ethnic origin …” among others.
Your actions therefore are a violation of the attempts being made by the State to promote ethnic cohesion among Ghanaians.
Additionally, my client finds the song offensive, insensitive and as tantamount to damaging their image and reputation.
It will be recalled that not long ago in Rwanda music, among others, was used to turn one ethnic group against another, resulting in genocide. You will agree with us that music is but one part of our popular culture and rap music or hip-life as a contemporary music in Ghana and beyond can summon emotions of various kind. This is especially so, coming from well established artistes such as Sarkodie, a recognised producer like Kaywa and a musician like yourself who just last year won the MTN Hitmaker show. Thus, depending on its lyrics or contents, music can communicate harmful messages.
The fact that a single “Jennifer Lomotey” is mentioned does not limit the matter to that imaginary person in the song. “Jennifer Lomotey” is not a contemporary of Okomfo Anokye. Therefore, it cannot be said that she was directly and singularly involved in the alleged act of voyeurism on Okomfo Anokye which in turn induced the curse on her. Rather, the alleged curse, based on an unpopular and discriminatory myth, has been making the rounds that it was allegedly inflicted during the time of Okomfo Anokye and it accounts for Krobos being supposedly sexually promiscuous. Therefore, that myth has become generational and by implication, all Krobo ladies are thereby deemed promiscuous. The statement is indeed a frivolous one which cannot be substantiated and granting but not admitting that it is true, it cannot be traced to a curse imposed by Okomfo Anokye. Therefore, the lyrics of your song points directly to the entire Krobo females and by extention their males.
The fact that it is not true, however, does not discount the negative impact it can have and has had on the Krobo family. These are words that hurt a community’s identity and freedom as Ghanaians and which hinders their right to participate as a citizen in the country of which they rightly belong, thereby impairing social cohesion.
The truth is that the lyrics of the song which are in contention here is defamatory because it has caused disaffection among the Krobos and has as a consequent, injured their hard-earned reputation by exposing them to ridicule or to lowering them in the esteem of right-thinking members of the Ghanaian society. Secondly, the song has been widely circulated and played on social media (including Whatsapp, Youtube, Instagram and Facebook) and traditional media (including radio and television stations). We have already established the untruth in this abominable discriminatory myth and it is a myth that you cannot justify its publication. Could you also say it is a fair comment on a matter of public interest, if not simply to exploit a myth to gain commercial advantage?
In light of the above, you are hereby advised to implement the following steps:
1. Issue an immediate order to the relevant media houses asking them to halt playing the “Jennifer Lomotey” song on their airwaves;
2. Expunge or cause to be expunged the portion of the lyrics which my clients find offensive and defamatory or completely ban the use of that song from the airwaves;
3. Expunge or cause to be expunged all audio and video clips of the song which are found on various social media platforms that are registered in your name;
4. Write an unreserved apology to the Chiefs and people of the Krobo Traditional Area, including a statement to the effect that such an offensive act will not be repeated against the Krobo people;
5. Make a statement to the general public advising them to desist from transferring or sharing the song which contains the offensive lyrics with anybody else; and,
6. For denting the image of the Krobo people and dragging their hardearned reputation in the mud, pay a compensation of two million Ghana cedis (GHS2,000,000) to the Krobo people.
Please take notice and notice is hereby served that failure to respond to these demands WITHIN A WEEK of receipt of this letter will result in legal action being taken against you without further notice to you.
Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua (Dr)
Solicitor and Barrister-at-Law
For ease of communication, kindly respond through the address below:
School of Law
University of Ghana
PO Box LG70