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To Show Or Not To Show Sex – Socrates Sarfo Versus The Media

by on April 9, 2011
 

Yet again, the Ghanaian movie producer Socrates Sarfo has come under intense fire for his sexually explicit film What Sex Can Do. Socrates became notoriously known as the Hot Fork Man after his earlier movie, Hot Fork, garnered substantial controversial reviews by the Ghanaian and Nollywood public.

Meanwhile, Socrates himself is particularly adamant about his style – and his new movie, What Sex Can Do, coming up this April 18, sheds more light on his burly belief in his craft. He took a swipe at the Ghanaian media, accusing journalists and reviewers of being ignorant about the difference between a ‘pornographic movie’ and an ‘erotic movie’.

He once called on Peace FM’s Entertainment Review and claimed that while the Ghanaian media had classified Hot Fork as porn and taken him to the cleaners, a group of American Researchers had rated it as far from pornography.

While this may be true, the definition of pornography or porn is not as straightforward, even in the most advanced movie industries in Europe and America. Certainly the definition encompasses a portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter, all for the purposes of sexual excitement and/or erotic satisfaction.

That is how far the definition goes!

Censorship and legal restraints are all based on the grounds of obscenity. And the very definitions of what is or is not obscene’ have differed in different historical, cultural, and national contexts.

This is where Socrates Sarfo locks horns with the Ghanaian public. What may classify, as sexually explicit material in the Ghanaian culture today may be entirely different from that in Hollywood.

For example, in the USA, all the NC-17 movies released since 2005 have all managed to stay at the R rating at worst. In Canada, the R has the same conditions as an NC-17 movie in the USA. Granted Canada’s 18A is the same thing as an American R, and for the most part if it’s R in the USA, Canada gets the 18A. Blue Valentine (2010), Zach and Miri make a Porno (2008) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999) are some explicit examples of movies that managed to escape the NC-17 rating after vehement appeal hearings – when in Canada, there wasn’t even a discussion – they were all rated 18A . Even some of the movies we see in the USA today in torture porn horror or in crude comedy, seem far more socially offending than what we put up with in the 80s.

So have the standards become more relaxed? Who’s right? Socrates Sarfo or the Ghanaian public?

This question stands in the face of the fact that despite the Ghanaian public hullabaloo, Hot Fork has sold, as of February this year, some 80,000 plus copies and is still doing well on the Ghanaian market.
But that is not all. Socrates goes even further than just making a movie with sexually explicit material. One of his crew had this to say during the What Sex Can Do shoot:

We were on set shooting the movie and one of the actresses had to shave her pubic hair in front of the cameras but she was being dull so Socrates took the shaving stick and did it for her in front of the cameras.

A Ghanaian critic had this to say:

It is not clear why any particular actress will open her vagina for Socrates to shave… but it’s dirty, it’s un-Ghanaian, un-African.

You can read the rest of that controversy HERE.

It is not surprising that the controversial producer Socrates has not yet succumbed to the incessant insults on his character. Why? Socrates has a way of beating the Ghana Censorship Board though it is still not clear whether What Sex Can Do will go through this time around.

Perhaps with the emergence of social attitudes more tolerant of sexuality in Ghana and with more explicit definitions of obscenity in Ghanaian Film Laws, an industry for the production and consumption of pornography can arise and become Socrates Sarfo’s eternal niche. But until then, his movies will continue to draw public outcry and uproars.

However, his brawn needs commendation. If the Ghanaian media’s bashing is doing anything at all, it is only helping Socrates Sarfo build an empire! Talk may be cheap, but the more talk, the more copies of Hot Fork and What Sex Can Do Mr. Sarfo will seem to sell!

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  • September 2, 2012 at EDT

    i need gana pornopraphy

    Reply

  • August 12, 2012 at EDT

    Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like
    to shoot you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

    Reply

  • wunmi
    February 15, 2012 at EDT

    Movies like these would be banned in nigeria. The nollywood pple know it. So they won’t even waist their money on it. U guys in ghana needs to fight against this very fast. If not Ghana will only be known as a porn making country in africa. Trust me the whites are watching.

    Reply

    • geart
      February 28, 2012 at EDT

      The whites are watching? What the f_ck is that suppose to mean? Like white people are monitoring us? Why should we care what white people think? Are you a slave or are you colonized? What’s wrong with Africans like you? What is your problem?

      White people can watch us all they want! That’s what they like doing anyway – watch us produce real culture, real life, real philosophy, real science – o let them watch. We’ll keep doing.

      Reply

  • February 5, 2012 at EDT

    nice post, very ueful information

    Reply

  • Suleiman
    June 29, 2011 at EDT

    Our Culture is supposed to be the Institution that Demonstrates the set of Core Values that is central to the Social Contract and which binds people together in a Cohesive Structure. It should profess Civilization; portray Maturity, a Sense of Truth, Honor, Dignity, Justice and Social Responsibility.

    However, this is being undermined by rats like Socrates (wherever he got that thief and plagiarist’s name from) who have been so influenced by foreign cultures and thus making our Heritage, Identity, and Uniqueness, inconsequential. Through fools like Socrates and his sycophant adulterers we have swallowed the meaninglessness of foreign cultures and constantly ruminate on the stupidity of our degrading societal values.

    Shame on anyone who supports this kind of product in Africa!

    Reply

    • Nixon
      June 29, 2011 at EDT

      You, Suleiman, don’t you already have like 7 wives? Is that what you call Maturity? Dignity? Justice? Social Responsibility?

      I don’t think you understand the words you are using yourself. Did you just look in a Thesaurus and figured heey, “I can play with some English words today?” Please, don’t bring your backwardness here!

      Reply

    • Suleiman
      June 29, 2011 at EDT

      Just because my name is Suleiman doesn’t mean that I am Hausa! But that’s even besides the point except that such backward stereotyping is the bane of modern civilization. And you wouldn’t know that would you? No! I will tell you why. B’cos you are unintelligent; you are not clever, and you come across as quite an uncouth savage!

      But that is still beside the point. Even if I had 7 wives and I told you to bring your 7 wives for an Orgy with my friends, should you? I hope you don’t! In the same light, just because some injustices exist is some of our cultures doesn’t warrant the importation of Pornography into the Ethical Framework of our Culture. Does it? Two wrongs do not make a right! I hope this forum can become a part of your upbringing and education, which it seems to me that you missed during your childhood. Plus, if there comes a time in your life, when your mind begins to function as an adult, I will personally foot your education in any form, anywhere, for the betterment of our culture. Thanks.

      Reply

    • Nixon
      June 29, 2011 at EDT

      Ok. Ok. Ok! You provoked this and I will tell you in your face.

      You claim an old proverb in, “Two wrongs do not make a right”. It’s obvious that you really do not understand the adage. If we agree that a culture that allows men to marry many wives is an injustice to women we both have to understand the basis of that conviction. Why is it an Injustice? And I think you need to know since you’ve indicated to me that you don’t quite comprehend the intricacies.

      It is Injustice because, the women are mostly non-consenting young girls, sometimes as young as 12 years old. Often the men who are involved in these kind of practices are as old at 55 years and more. I don’t need to describe the details of these sort of African ‘cultural’ marriages to you. At least at this point I believe you have a firm picture.

      On the other hand, pornography, is not an Injustice. You see? No? Well, here. The parties involved are consenting adults! I have never seen an actor or actress less than 18 0r 21 years old. That’s how consenting and matured people are.

      Now do you think we should become the judges in the life choices that adults make? No. It’s not our duty. Our culture must therefore concentrate on the important things, like education, seek to protect individual rights, not take it away from them. Because, at the end of the day, once someone’s act does not affect another, why should you care? Unless, you are a controlling African brute, born and bread to think quite ‘uncouthly’ that men are better than women and that you can do whatever you like. Such behavior borders on idiocy, stupidity, foolishness and above all savagery!

      Reply

    • Suleiman
      June 29, 2011 at EDT

      I am happy you are beginning to make an iota of sense my friend. But here’s where your thinking is as twisted as it stinks.
      What makes you think that the actors in porn are consenting adults? In addition, why would you think whatever these actors do does not affect anybody? Do they make the videos to watch themselves or do they sell them to the general public?

      First of all, I wouldn’t want to even start discussing all the many factors that push people into ‘jobs’ like that. But it should be worth mentioning that in societies like ours, the lure for the youth can be great and devastating. If our nations cannot properly provide our youth with every opportunity to develop their talents then it will be detrimental to introduce a job industry like Pornography, since many of them will be forced to making ends meet in this way. Plus all the other young people in Africa who will be watching their peers in these movies f–cking and making $$$, will be lured into it.

      So does it affect others? Absolutely! And you are an idiot to not realize so. Are the actors actually ‘consenting adults’ when they’ve been lured by economic hardship into Pornography? No. Because I believe that if they had their freedom to do whatever they wanted, I am cocksure that it will not be porn. Only a moron could possible fathom that an industry like this is an island set apart from the economic existence of the general populace.

      Reply

  • Azikiwé
    April 9, 2011 at EDT

    Nkrumah! You still haven’t lost your touch. I want to agree with you but I cannot. See, Kwame, the issue I think is not about separating the two – films for children and films for adults. In our cultures in Africa, Osagyefo, there is no room for pornography. It’s un-Ghanaian, un-Nigerian and un-African at that.

    No amount of separation will solve the issue because in Africa, children are a huge part of everything we do. Come to think of why there are no drinking age laws in our lands? Because the behaviors that we come up with are not particularly harmful in themselves. And we can do it around children at no cost. We have our ways of socializing them into any part of our culture that requires some maturing in order to partake of. But the issue of pornography in Ghana or any part of the continent is a serious one and certainly not one of those things we can do around our children, can we? It is one of the few times that Africa is confronted with something that it has to actively separate from a huge group – the children. And that is un-African!

    Pornography galore – showing it everywhere, easily accessible – may be acceptable everywhere else but that doesn’t mean we should accept it in Africa. Plus, I don’t see the advancement in it.

    Reply

    • JJ
      April 9, 2011 at EDT

      Honorable Azikiwe, the thing is, pornography is here to stay in Africa whether I like it, you like it, Nkrumah likes it or not!

      If what you are saying about our culture and the children are any thing to go by then the leaders of our countries would make it a point to rid the continent of pornography. But as Ann Mamie has indicated, ‘good luck with that’.

      Not separating it would be detrimental. Trust me. It is worse than you actually even fear. Your solution is akin to the French Laws that fail to recognize Race and hence fail to tackle their many racial issues in France. It’s like you want us to stick our heads in the sand, like the ostrich, and pretend that pornography does not exist in our society. Well it does. It always will and we are better of separating it or stopping the production of it otherwise.

      Reply

    • Appiah
      June 29, 2011 at EDT

      You are right JJ!
      And to be circumspect, we have to understand that culture is only an important component of our everyday existence insofar as we see our refection in it. Put another way, our culture has to be dynamic enough to reflect the experiences of our times while still maintaining some amount of sensible rigor.

      Turning a death ear to the issue of Pornography in African society, like JJ has indicated, is a conservative approach that most youth would shy away from. Let’s remember also that, as the old Ghanaian saying goes, “No man is an Island”, it goes without stressing that, no culture, even African culture, can isolate itself from the influences coming from without.

      Hence conservatism is arrogance and block-headedness at best, and it will be sensible to resolve parts of our culture to reflect the changing times.

      Reply

  • Ann Mamie
    April 9, 2011 at EDT

    Well said Nkrumah, but good luck getting the government or any lawmakers to be responsible and do their duty!

    Reply

  • Nkrumah
    April 9, 2011 at EDT

    I never thought a day like this would come. But, it is here and we have to confront it. Certainly adult material should be separated from the rest in a way that doesn’t seek to kill either industry. Whatever it is that people are interested in, so long us it doesn’t hurt other people, in my candid opinion it is ok.
    Now, I understand the Ghanaian public outcry against Mr. Sarfo. While it is essential for us all to be custodians of our great culture and norms, we should not do that at the detriment of advancement. The Ghanaian public may be right in making the case that Mr. Sarfo’s films are wrongly influencing our children who watch them. But that blame should be partly ours and partly the government’s. We have to make the effort to keep those materials from children. At the same time, the Ghanaian government has to come up with ways of making exactly that possible. Blaming Sarfo is not getting anywhere especially in the face of 80,000 plus DVDs sale!
    We have to be logical. And the right thing to do here is to force the hand of government to clean this act. Of course demonstrating against Mr. Sarfo’s films may be a way to call that much needed attention to it. But it can’t stop there. We need to put pressure on the leaders, the law makers to do their duty. Until then, the exercise is mainly sentimental and futile at most!

    Reply

  • Freddy
    April 9, 2011 at EDT

    All I can say is that this is crazy. Who is this guy? Where did he come from? It’s a shame that even Ghana has no strong regulations about what should constitute sexually explicit material. The idea that the government is leaving this for the public, Mr. Sarfo himself, and oh the Ghana Censorship Board to decide is a lil absurd.

    Reply

  • D. Brooks
    April 9, 2011 at EDT

    Great article. Ghana and Nollywood definitely need some sort of industry to separate “porn” and “adult film” from the rest of the industry. I think Safo should continue making what he considers is art, cause it’s his vision. Like you said, there’s definitely a market for it, but it shouldn’t be judged alongside what other producers and directors are doing.

    Reply

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