Sauti Sol seems to have a flair for controversy. Last year, they released a sensual song, accompanied by an even more sensual video, Nishike, which had moralist groups everywhere breathing fire and brimstone down on them. They were dropped by sponsors and took heat from left, right, centre which resulted to the video being banned for its supposed explicit content. That, of course, did not stop it from garnering over a million views on YouTube. Then, they released Sura Yako and all that was swept under the rug. Sponsors came running back and their MTV EMA quest was endorsed by the President himself.

Their collaborative effort with Amos and Josh, Nerea, though better received than Nishike, has also sparked a nationwide debate. Critics say that the song tells only one side of the story and aids to the stigmatization of abortion. In their defense, the band has said that the song was not a commentary on abortion and should not be taken as such.

When all is said and done, the argument stems back to reception of art. Sauti Sol covered one side of the story, yes, but is it the responsibility of an artiste to traverse all aspects of a topic they choose to explore? Especially a topic as broad as abortion? The song’s message was blown out of proportion. It resonates to a number of men who, however marginal, have had their unborn babies aborted by their partners. Since abortion is legal in Kenya, it is true that the decision lies with the woman but in the song, the guy is begging, isn’t he? Instead of critics focusing on what they think the song missed out on, they should think of the large number of guys who, because of the song, will not be quick to deny Nerea’s baby. Let’s face it, what leads to more abortions than guys bailing out on their pregnant chics?

Joe Black