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Video review: Why Tiwa Savage’s ‘Wanted’ video fails

by Wilfred Okiche


Tiwa’s video does not fail because it is raunchy, because she is a married woman insistent on living out her fantasies or because of the questionable fashion tastes. 

Wanted, the first track off Tiwa Savage’s Once upon a time debut derives heavily from Barbadian born sensation, Rihanna’s Man down. Released in 2011, Rihanna’s reggae revenge anthem had her singing furiously about ending a man’s life. The video stirred controversy when it featured the pop singer shooting a man in cold blood after he assaults her sexually. The US Parents Television Council (PTC) called for a ban of the video, condemning its unrepentant violent message.

Like Rihanna, Like Tiwa Savage.

Wanted used to be most famous for being that Tiwa Savage song that combined the throbbing reggae atmosphere of Man down with the memorable lines, Out in the streets/they call it murder best known from Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock hit. Until Tiwa Savage released the controversial promotional video.

The video directed by Mr Moe Musa immediately launched thousands of YouTube views and snarky online comments. Why? From the opening scenes, it was clear Ms Savage intended to start up a storm with this one. Performing solo for her audience, Ms Savage can be seen in a nude body suit covering only strategic locations of her anatomy, flaunting her beautifully toned body. She goes on to touch herself suggestively, writhing sensually to the jaunty beats, making funny faces that are more ugly than sexy, and rounding up with erotically charged dance moves.

The internet hadn’t seen anything like it, perhaps not since Tiwa Savage had everyone scandalized by the flesh baring, thigh flaunting fiesta of her Love me love me love me video. Having recently toned her sex appeal down to a more wholesome family image in the days leading up to her fairy tale wedding, it was indeed a shock to see the super-sexualized Tiwa Savage going at it once again.

The video for Wanted really isn’t worth all the hype. Honestly. If you have seen any video in the last 5 years from Rihanna, Beyonce or any female pop artiste with a hint of a sexual appeal, you have probably seen Wanted. And seen it done better too. Savage doesn’t even update the template, she just struggles to follow it. After all the touching and writhing and gyrating, the video is deviously empty. No climax, no release. Everything she does has been done before, nothing is new. Not the dancing, the dance moves or the camera angles. It is just Tiwa, doing what every other person (including Tiwa) has done before.

It is important for Tiwa to note that aping Rihanna or Beyonce goes beyond photocopying some suggestive, come hither moves. While every Beyonce video can ultimately be said to be the same performance, Queen Bey never fails to put out something distinctive in each one. Something new, something borrowed, it doesn’t matter. Long as it stands out. Compare the infectious, tightly choreographed energy of Single ladies to the inebriated, loose dance moves of Drunk in love. Even when Rihanna goes all out to do raunch, she does it peerlessly as seen with the trashy twerking on water moves of Pour it up. No one has topped that. Standing out is all important. And nothing in the Wanted video stands out. Well, except maybe for those funny looking shoes.

Tiwa’s video does not fail because it is raunchy, because she is a married woman insistent on living out her fantasies or because of the questionable fashion tastes. It fails because after all the glossy hype, the video is utterly unoriginal, desperately copycat-ish and incredibly boring.

On to the next one please.

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