Accra Queen Real(ness)ity

Written by Audrey Obuobisa-Darko

“How could a whole God be a girl, something as lowly as a woman?”

Keeba drops her makeup brush and turns to look at me, her face a canvas of orange eye shadow, blue glitter, and utter disgust. “Girl, what?”

“Why do you look like you’re about to drop dead?” 

“I will if you don’t explain what in the name of misogyny you just said?”

I look back at the painting in front of me. “My painting. I think that’s what I’ll name it.”

My best friend walks over to the easel and raps her electric blue nails along the wooden brace. She examines the painting for a while. “My God definitely has bigger boobs than that.”

“Fool!” I laugh and push her. I dip a brush in varnish and spread it across the canvas. “It’s just a question I used to ask myself a lot when I was younger. Did you ever listen to this song, God is a Girl?”

Keeba claps her hands and jumps. “Oh my God, yes! Groove Coverage? I swear my nana I played that song till the singer lost her voice!”

I sigh. “I used to listen to it all the time, but it felt so… wrong? Like, a whole God, a girl?”


“Yeah, I don’t know bro.” 

Stepping back to inspect the work, the clean finish gleaming against the light, I stare deep into God’s eyes, getting lost in them, in silent prayer. She looks back at me blankly from the canvas. She says nothing back. Nothing new.

The day she heard the song, my mother lost her mind. I was jumping, eyes shut, school uniform on the floor, singing with a million convictions. She rushed in and yanked the earphones from my ears.

“What is this?”

“It’s— it’s just a song.”

“What song is this? Hm? Jesus Christ!”

I knew this was wrong. I knew it. I knew it. God forgive me. God forgive me.

“Say God.” She held my ear.


“Forgive me for blasphemy, for I do not know what I’m doing.”

“Forgive me for blasphemy…” my voice broke. A searing pain shot through my head as she dug her nail in my ear and twisted it.

God I’m really sorry. God I’m really sorry. God I’m really sorry.

“Continue,” she urged, muttering tongues under her breath.

“For I do not know what I’m doing,” I added between sobs.

She nodded, smiling, and enveloped me in a hug. “God will always love you even when you sin. He is a merciful Father, okay?” She took my iPod from the floor, where it lay cracked open, dropped it in her pocket, and left.

Keeba snaps her fingers in my face. “Earth to, Adwoa. Where did you go?”

“To a bad place, friend, a bad, bad place.”

She squeezes my shoulder lightly and grabs her wig, runs her fingers through it and fits it on her head. “How do I look?”

I wave my hands dramatically through the air. “And the category is… Accra Queen Realness.”

 I know nothing more beautiful than the work of Keeba’s hands. Turning around slowly, she runs her hands over the sequined detailing on her corset. Her wide-leg satin trousers sway like water around her ankles as she moves, the feathers at the hem flitting softly.

“Everything is yours, Keeba. Everything is yours!” I clap and whistle as she catwalks across my living room, serving poses and blowing kisses to an imaginary audience.

My phone rings, cutting our show short.

“Adwoa,” my mother’s voice comes in through the phone, “I’m at your gate.”

“Shit, Keeba, it’s my mother.”

She gasps and scrambles around the room in search of the tracksuit she came in. I desperately pick at the straps on her heels while she takes her top off. My heart knocks hard against my chest as the clock ticks, my mother moving closer to my floor. Keeba’s breaths are short, hard. I rub her back to calm her down.

“Oh no, Keeba…” 

“What?” she asks, panting. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

I glance at the door and back at her. “Your makeup. We forgot to clean your—” 

The door swings open. “Can’t you hear me knock?” My mother strides in, heels making a slow, willful rhythm against the floor. She takes her sunglasses off and looks around the hall, over our dozen empty bottles of beer, streaks of dried-up paint on the curtains and walls, artwork and scraps of fabric strewn across the carpet, and finally at Keeba, who’s been standing frozen in the centre of the room since my mother arrived.

My mother drops her bag. “Kobina?”

Keeba cracks a faint smile, but it does not shield the terror in her eyes. They stare at each other, no words exchanged, only my mother’s mix of confusion, realisation, and then horror, and my best friend’s raging fears meeting in between them. Keeba looks down at her bright, manicured nails and swiftly puts her hands behind her.

“Good afternoon, Auntie Kate,” she manages to say, in a deep, raspy voice I haven’t heard in a long time.

My mother mutters something under her breath and storms to the kitchen. At the entrance, she looks over her shoulder at me. “You, come here.”

I close the kitchen door behind me and stand a safe distance away from her. 

“Is that not your best friend? Kobina? Is that not Kobina Hackman?” She leans against the counter, her arms folded, her eyes ripping my body apart. I nod and look away.

“Is he— Is he…” she lowers her voice, “one of them?”

I lift my head up slowly, till my eyes meet hers. There’s an emotion in them only she and I know, and can name. “What do you mean ‘them’?”

The soft fear in her eyes gives way to rage. “Adwoa, woagyimi?” She knocks her temples hard, hitting her glasses to the floor. “What have I done to deserve this?”

I can trust my mother to make everything about herself. She slams her hands on the table. “Go and call him for me! Stupid boy.”

Keeba is frantically packing up her makeup and design kit when I enter the living room. She yanks her sewing machine cable from the wall. My heart breaks when I see her face. There is a certain kind of sorrow that I only came to know when I met Keeba. I see it again now, in her eyes, in the tears streaming down her face.

“Hey.” I step closer and try to hold her. “My mum wants to see you.” 

She moves away from me. “Are you serious right now?”


“What do you mean ‘what’? Do something? Help me escape? Something?” She scoffs and shakes her head as she zips up her bag. “This is the last place I thought I’d ever feel unsafe in. But I’m not surprised.”

“How was I supposed to know she was coming? This is also on you.”  

Her face darkens with disbelief. “Wow, Adwoa.” She snatches her bag and makes for the door. “Fuck you.”


“What are the two of you doing?” My mother stands at the kitchen door, something in her hand. “Kobby, didn’t I call you?” 

She marches towards Keeba before she can respond, grabs her by the arm, and drags a makeup wipe across her face. My best friend screams and tries to break free, but my mother’s grip is strong. She presses the wipe down on Keeba’s face, erasing the makeup, erasing her. While Keeba cries, her body limp with defeat, my mother continues, muttering tongues under her breath. 

She lets go of my best friend’s hand when she’s done and pulls her into a hug. “God will always love you even when you sin. He is a merciful Father, okay?”

A wry smile spreads on my mother’s face. She opens the door and nudges Keeba out. My best friend looks over her shoulder at me, my knees on the floor, my heart in my hands, weighed down by the things I should have done.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Site Footer