In a recent turn of events, music superstar Jah Prayzah’s latest music video for his song ‘Walletically’ has sparked a wave of criticism from some of Zimbabwe’s most prominent figures. The video, which has been accused of bordering on soft pornography, starkly contrasts with the artist’s previous image as a bastion of traditional Zimbabwean culture.
Released just two days ago, the ‘Walletically’ video has quickly become a subject of intense debate. It showcases Jah Prayzah in an unexpected light, surrounded by a group of scantily clad women. This imagery is a first for Jah Prayzah, who has typically been known for more conservative visuals in his past videos.
Hopewell Chin’ono, a renowned journalist, expressed his disapproval on social media. He criticized the latest video, produced by Vusa Blaqs, as a departure from the essence of true art. Chin’ono argued that brilliant art and music don’t need to rely on explicit imagery to be appreciated or to stand the test of time. He cited the works of legends like Tuku, Mapfumo, Makeba, Masekela, and Marley, who never resorted to such tactics, yet their lyrics and musical instruments alone were enough to make them revered figures in the music world.
On the other hand, Harare-based lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka offered a different perspective, defending Jah Prayzah’s creative choices. Chinyoka suggested that an artist cannot hope to please all fans with one song or one video. According to him, an artist who repeats the same style becomes uninteresting, and there is a market for different types of videos. He emphasized the importance of artistic freedom and variety, suggesting that those who prefer more traditional videos can always choose to watch other artists.
Acclaimed author Petina Gappah also shared her views on the video. She expressed dismay over the portrayal of wealth in the video, which she felt treated half-naked women as mere objects for entertainment. Gappah’s comments added to the chorus of voices questioning the direction Jah Prayzah has taken with this latest release.
Despite the mixed reactions and criticism, Jah Prayzah seems unapologetic about the video. He recently posted on X (formerly Twitter), reaffirming his artistic vision. This response has only fueled the debate among fans and critics, highlighting the diverse opinions within the Zimbabwean community regarding the evolution of art and cultural representation in music.