There is one common question which is asked about American creatives: Where do they disappear to after making it big?
This often asked question exercises a lot of people’s minds considering the trend which is very common the other side of the world. It is very common to find artists who were thriving suddenly descend into some inexplicable oblivion.
The manner in which they leave the stage is many times boring because they leave on a high. They bow out at a time when people are still enjoying their artistry. There was Sisqo once in this world, there was Samatha Mumba, Sean Kingstone, Shaggy and many others.
After some good run you find these people disappearing and you ask yourself: how on earth do they sustain themselves financially if they can’t sing, perform or act? We ask this question because of one thing; we equate their situation with ours here at home.
The situation where when you are in the creative industry you limit yourself to earn your income through your art alone. The situation elsewhere is totally different from ours. On the other side of the world, one’s talent is a stepping stone to many dreams.
Once people have made their name and established themselves as stand-alone brands, it becomes it easy for them to curve out other opportunities business wise. This, in turn helps them widen their revenue base as individuals.
Names such as P Diddy, Jay Z, Dr Dre, Kim Kardashian and closer to home we have in South Africa names such as DJ Tira, DJ Sibu, Bonang Matheba among others are some of creatives running thriving business empires.
Realising how big their brands had become outside the creative realm, they rightly decided to harness that potential and try out something new. And the rewards for most of these individuals have been exceptional.
These are people who can leave the stage but still be in a position to sustain themselves financially away from their artistic indulgencies. Such is the luxury that these people enjoy. But the situation is quite different here.
It is with little wonder that some people are forced to remain in the game even when it is clear that they have run out of ideas or when it is evident their energy tanks have run dry. And the consumers still have to live with such mediocrity.
Our local creatives have for long ignored the opportunities that they can unearth because of their status and prominence. Imagine if we were to have Ethel Kamwendo-Banda chain of restaurants across the country, Ma Blacks Sports Bar, a Fredokiss clothing line…
Any such entrepreneurial breakthroughs would surely excite followers of these artists and a good section of the society. Away from that such ventures would prove a welcome supplement to their revenue base.
It was saddening to see the plight of our local creatives during the Covid-19 peak period when they were hit hard by public health restrictions which were in effect during the time. Their sole source of money was severed and the going couldn’t be tougher.
This week poet Q Malewezi unveiled his private wine brand Poet’s Ink. This is news that we have been waiting to hear from players in our creative sector. Let them realise the power that is within them and the business opportunities that they can harness.
Let the breakthrough by Q be a catalyst of interest among fellow creatives to find space in the entrepreneurial sphere and try a little business venture of their own. It doesn’t always have to be big; even a Namadingo Barbershop can prove a worthy venture at the end of the day.
Congratulations Q! I can’t wait to get a feel of a cool glass of that Poet’s Ink!