Allow us to borrow from Jalang’o’s wisdom on this issue:
Jalang’o penned in a long response to Khaligraph’s spat on the media this week, a post that was meant to paint the media (showbiz media) as not supporting local musicians.
“Khaligraph Jones is planning a trip for presenters and media personalities to Naija to see if they have fans there since we play too much Naija. Soon the next trip will be to bongo!”
“Yes we don’t have fans there but before you start blaming us, did you know that presenters don’t even choose music played on the radio and if they do they have very little say on what goes on air? No, you dint!”
The truth is. In the spirit of patriotism, the media has been supporting local acts. In the spirit of showbiz, many avenues have been created to help nurture and support showbiz.
If this wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have come this far 15 years on.
We can’t count the number of times we have seen the OG taking interviews in local TV and radio stations as well as newspapers and blogs alike.
His songs have been on rotation and his Kenyan supporters have been real with him…same as Nyashinski, the other petitioner!
But to bulldoze the media to shun music from artists from other (African) countries simply because those countries don’t play our music must take something special. A very draconian move.
At such a time and age when our Kenyan audience is exposed to so much content from outside, how would the media bury its head in the sand and pretend that life only revolves around local stars?
“The other day we were involved in making our playlist. I posted it here asking you (artists) to help us and the results they were shocking. Almost 50 per cent voted for Bongo with 40 going for Naija!
“Today on Apple Music, there are only six Kenyan songs in top 100 Kenya! So hata hiyo pia ni ma presenters na djs wamepanga? the (Is it the presenters and DJs who planned that too?)” Jalang’o challenged matter-of-factly.
He goes on to cite a lack of aggressiveness and failure to put up proper marketing skills as some of the reasons that have made Kenyan musicians play second fiddle in the continental game.
He goes ahead to advise that if a meaningful change has to be realised, musicians must stop thinking of radio and TV and take up new technology platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Apple music…social media platforms to sell their art – off the ‘comfort zone’.
Singer Otile Brown and other artists took up the debate, swinging off Khaligraph’s side.
“No time for crying and complaining. The grid is the only way. Put in work and know your worth,” Otile advised.
“Diamond launched his album in more than 10 countries some of you have not launched even for your family! We can’t play what we don’t know! I personally have hosted and booked you guys for events and paid you guys for shows even if it’s little, I have done my part!” a no-chills Jalang’o tore on.
Musicians are in their business. Not our business. But we are in the show together so it’s good for a brother to show respect towards the other’s office!
When it’s tea time, we can have a chat…if not, let’s get the refrain on the next 16 bars…for us too, we are here to get you a life!