See? You read “Inge, naked” and you come right here, don’t you? But this one’s not for you.
It’s for our milky-skinned diva of darkness who doesn’t need to remove one thread to reveal herself. Unfortunately the likes of Josie, Sannie, Tasha, Thandiswa and Simphiwe are not necessarily going to applaud her latest contribution to the media’s perception of women in the music industry.
Uh uh, Inge
Yes, we love your aloof yet pointed stare. Yes, your eyes flare. Yes, you are a diva we can’t quite believe is ours (so much so, perhaps, that we didn’t support you and Paul and Fuzzy and Sean enough. And that’s our loss. And we know it. And some of us are doing what we can to re-design the rules.) But
This. Is unnecessary.
Because. This is not Hollywood.
(this is my adulterated version of the cover shot of Cape Town's Myweek mag - April edition. It appears without my desultroy enquiry in its original form)
And the media is not a pimp, even though it punts itself as one. It’s a platform for information. And your body is not a product, even though it’s young and healthy enough to stand for everything that consumerism bases itself on – vanity, greed, beauty. You represent music, and you represent women. I don’t care if you didn’t ask for the latter role – your very presence and potency in an industry dominated (at least on stage) by men makes it part of the deal you didn’t make when you put yourself on public display. And that deal, baby, can make or break you as a self respecting artiste.
Lathering yourself, half-dressed, all over the cover of another free magazine (that nobody asked for) which (mistakenly) posits itself as some kind of reference of Cape Town cool is crummy. As if cool can be snapped and slapped onto a page and dubbed with words that are shallower than shamelessness and half-conscious to boot in the first place. It’s a misconception. As is thinking that your body is going to sell your voice.
You have intellectual property rights. You are the business. You make the decisions. (that's what independent means, it isn't just a synonym for South African über cool.) There are more than enough photographers willing to do a shoot that will do you justice, give imagery of you the gravity your gifts deserve, give it your edgy glamour without you having to show the world what you only show a few people. You’re not an almost-famous, schizophrenic soap star, you’re not a bimbette trying to get your pop schlock seen and not (really) heard. You’re an undeniably able singer and performer who has garnered enough respect on the scene to be seen for her talent rather than her twat. So what the fuck are you doing on the cover in your granny’s bathing suit?
Do us a favour, and stop selling your skin.
Disclaimer. This is not some kind of masked nastiness. I love Inge’s work (though the sounds coming from the Inge Beckman trio need another few months in the practise room). It was Inge who originally inspired me to write about SA music. I bumped into lark one dark long street festival night and was riveted and reborn by her world class talent. I’d been roving that world for years, and the only time I had for SA music was when BOO! graced the stage. This was the beginning of the second wave of music that we are now seeing flourish (and perhaps phade if we don’t pull together). Inge stopped me dead in my tracks with her life threatening bjorkgonemadesque motions and her sirenhowl and changed my world. Well, Inge and Paul. Such a brilliant union.