I wouldn’t want to call myself an expert in discrimination when it comes to the law or in general discussion—but I have written a lot about what amounts to discrimination (both legally and socially) to the extent that I can sense unfounded discrimination arguments miles away.
For some weeks now, Ghanaian rapper-Eazzy has taken on a campaign, arguing for the organisers of the annual Ghana Music Awards (now Vodafone Ghana Music Awards) to create a category called ‘Best Female Rapper’.
Everyone has the right to call for an inclusion of ‘whatever’ in life and I do not have a problem with this—however, I have a problem with Eazzy’s direction of argument and the unfounded grounds on which she seems to erect her campaign.
I listened to Eazzy mount her arguments on radio a few days ago —and today, she is in the news again with her campaign; arguing that, the absence of ‘Best Female Rapper’ in the VGMAs amounts to some sort of pure gender discrimination.
Perhaps, it’s Eazzy’s understanding of what amounts to discrimination which is causing the confusion in her campaign. I find it extremely difficult to locate any element of ‘pure’ discrimination in the non-existent of such a category—for the simple fact that, there is nothing like ‘Best Male Rapper’ in the VGMAs too.
Of course gender is a protected characteristic under discrimination but for there to be any sort of discrimination, there must be a favourable treatment of one gender over the other—directly or indirectly. If there was a category called ‘Best Male Rapper’ and there was nothing like ‘Best Female Rapper’, then Eazzy would have a sound argument in ‘pure’ discrimination.
The VGMAs as it stands only has a ‘Best Rapper’ category which can be described as gender neutral—and the mere fact that female rappers have not been able to win this category is not a strong evident of discrimination. One can argue that, it rather shows that the male rappers are far better than the female rappers.
Despite the obvious weakness in Eazzy’s call for ‘Best Female Rapper’ category to be created based on her wrong understanding of ‘social and legal’ discrimination—she can restructure her campaign and redirect her claim from ‘pure discrimination’ to something called ‘positive discrimination’, sometimes called affirmative action.
Here, Eazzy can assert that, Charter House should take into account the existing social setting and the obvious non-competitiveness of ‘female rappers’ against ‘male rappers’ in the ‘seemingly’ gender neutral ‘Best Rapper’ category—and cushion the female rappers by creating an all female category for them.
This argument would be grounded in positive discrimination; that is, because female rappers are a minority, have been prejudiced against in the past and somewhat have been marginalised in Ghana’s patriarchal music industry, preferential treatment should be given to them to encourage and elevate them.
That is a sound argument and campaign, capable of yielding a result—but the manner in which Eazzy is placing her arguments is essentially weak. The fact that you cannot compete in a gender neutral category in itself is not evident of discrimination. But you can as a matter of principle institute positive discrimination to close whatever gap created by past or unrelated events.
All around the world, the law and societies permit ‘positive discrimination’ for obvious reasons even though this contradicts the fundamental principle of equal opportunities—so jump unto to that Eazzy, and stop mounting those weak arguments…
Good luck with it though!
Law & Celebrity is a column on GhanaCelebrities.Com which focuses on how the law affects our celebrities, their lifestyles, new media, entertainment, etc.
Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, who looks at these issues is a postgraduate International Human Rights student, holds a degree in Law (LLB), Diploma in Para Legal and also has extensive knowledge and interest in entertainment, celebrity lifestyle & social media.