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The Barber Shop: Ludacris, Big Sean, or Sisqo?

One of the funniest things I’ve noticed since coming to Ghana is the way that barber shops sell themselves to the public. Though the ads aren’t large scale, they all have something in common: various African-American rap artists. The most common of those displayed is definitely Ludacris. Though he’s seemingly out-of-date in America, he doesn’t appear to be so in Ghana.

IMG_7633.JPGWhether they’re fans of the musical artistry of Luda’s famous “Money Maker,” Big Sean’s “Paradise,” or even Sisqo’s beloved “Thong Song,” or if they simply like the personal style and confidence of the artists and their looks, I have yet to pass a barber shop that doesn’t advertise with one of their faces. This makes me curious: are their looks the stereotypical look of a Ghanaian male, or is it a status symbol? Do people walk around with hair cuts that are easily recognizable by their peers?

This is just one of the many ways that I feel advertisements focus on the emphasis of the physical beauty of Ghanaians. I don’t believe that a certain look is emphasized, however; I feel that certain ads try and create a typical “beautiful” or “desirable” Ghanaian. Though I understand that many US ads inspire us to aspire to be something or someone that maybe wasn’t meant for us to be, it will definitely make me look at how the US advertising industry and local businesses use big names and beautiful people to get me to be inspired to look a certain way, or act a certain way.

In contrast, something else that I’ve noticed is that the majority of “beautiful” people in ads are either white or light-skinned Africans. This poses a question: has white America influenced the people of Ghana into thinking that the most beautiful people are light skinned?