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artists don't matter
March 17, 2010
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A week ago Carl J Ncube announced to a press conference that he
would be spending a week living on First Street in Harare to raise
public awareness about how piracy affects the local music industry.
The public response as compared to the online response was disappointing.
expect people in Zimbabwe not to respond to something as simple
as moral support. All we're asking them to do is sign and
say that they appreciate Zimbabwean music. That even though they
can't afford to buy it, and they're burning it, all
we needed was just moral support, to say thank you I'm burning
your music, but thank you I appreciate it."
has been made in the local press of Carl's street campaign.
According to Carl, junior entertainment reporters have submitted
their stories about his campaign to the Herald's editors.
However they (the editors) did not feel that Carl's campaign,
and by extension the welfare of local artists, was newsworthy.
As the country's
most widely read daily newspaper, I think the Herald has failed
in its mandate to inform the public about our various entertainment
artists and industries. I have seen columns and editorials indicting
Roki and other artists for riding on combis, and lowering their
status with fans. But, as the state media, they do nothing to promote
local artists save for selling advertising space. Why was there
no coverage for M'afriq's last album, or even a profile
of Stunner and the success that he has made of his career? And what
about the underground music scene and fledgling artists who are
yet to be discovered by the public?
I know the articles
much like the one covering Carl's campaign are written, but
what use are they if they are not published? The Herald's
entertainment editors seem to only be interested in the type of
journalism that destroys, typified by the vitriolic and unsubstantiated
article carried by the Herald last year about former Big Brother
housemate Munyaradzi Chidzonga. The entertainment department of
that paper should partially shoulder the blame for the state of
our local music and entertainment industries.
wonder then that Sam Mtukudzi's last performance was to an
estimated gathering of 20 people and it is only now, in having passed
away that he becomes newsworthy. Ironically, public sentiment about
young artists can be summed up in what Carl was told on the street:
"People are saying its better if they just die, it's
better if they get broke, and we don't need them. They'd
prefer to buy and listen to Little Wayne."
Even as the
son of the virtually deified Oliver Mtukudzi, Sam only had a handful
of articles published about him in the Herald since his career began
with the release of his first album Rumwe Rimwe in 2007. Compare
this to the media coverage received by Jamaican artist Sizzla, who
was in Zimbabwe briefly for the President's Birthday. He was
featured in the Herald everyday for a week, and had a full double
page spread on the weekend. As Carl rightly pointed out, we have
become a nation that supports other people's music industries.
upsets me to see artists quitting their jobs. We know Zimbabweans
artist have gone into industries like porn, prostitution, they've
gone and changed careers, and at this rate, we won't have
any music. What we [as Zimbabweans] continue to do though is to
build [other people's] industries. So people like Sizzla get
paid forty thousand to perform in Zimbabwe, he goes back to Jamaica,
he builds up ten studios and brings up fifty more artists, then
those fifty artists start growing and then what do we do? We invite
them again and give them another forty thousand. We're the
biggest donors to international industries."
Carl will be
on First Street for another 24 hours. I'm afraid his campaign
has done more to reveal the negative and negligent attitudes of
the state media and in turn the public, than to provide our beleaguered
and beggared artists the encouragement it was intended to give.
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