Okyeame Kwame’s advice to Ghanaian musicians

When I was a young artiste, I had a different perspective about music and its administration, so organizations and unions like MUSIGA, Copyrights, and GHAPI; were names I didn’t want to hear, let alone be associated with.

Some young musicians in Ghana who are really focused in their career also feel the same way, and I think the reason is simple; the leaders of these unions do very little for their members, but find a way to scream at each other on weekends during radio entertainment shows.

About five years ago, Charles Amoah, Rex Omar and Carlos Sakyi tried very hard to let me see reasons to be a part of the association of MUSIGA, because as the saying goes, “if you want to see something done, you do it yourself.

Maybe I was too young, selfish or as Karl Max will put it, “you can only indulge in an act after you have learnt to clothe and feed yourself.” Two years ago, I joined the new MUSIGA administration as a member of the Communication Team, in fact, the PRO. Our strategy was to fight fire with water and come up with innovative, structural adjustment programs that will position MUSIGA and the musician as a responsible member of the society.

Before I forget, the musician is faced with so many problems such as financial, inadequate national policies, inadequate professionals in the field; in my opinion, all these problems stem from one root cause which is negative perception that the musician will do drugs, he is uneducated, will be promiscuous, will mismanage his affairs, will not be cooperate, in fact, he doesn’t know what is good for him.

In communication, the fact is as equally important as the tone, so if every weekend musicians and music administrators are on radio, especially shouting and throwing harsh words at each other, ridiculing, lying and insulting each other, we feed into these negative perceptions that we (Musicians) are useless.

Maybe MUSIGA as a leading group has failed to set the right tone for entertainment discussions, maybe the presenters/hosts need content, so they pitch unsuspecting musicians at each other to create the sensationalism, or maybe we ourselves are aware of the dangers of engaging in these platforms and we still do because we must sabotage ourselves.

Ghana Bar Association, Ghana Medical & Dental Association, Makola Plantain Sellers Association et al, all have conflicts but manage it better than the Musician’s Association.

MUSIGA’s rebranding agenda seeks to attract the government, corporate Ghana, stakeholders, and the general public, to position the musician, but this will never happen if we don’t find a way to get the sensationally driven media to work with the facts, using the right tone.

If you were a Parliamentarian, would you put education, water, electricity and health aside to make laws for musicians when all they do is to fight on radio? If you were a Marketing Manager, would you attend to a musician after listening to him scream with his counterparts on a previous weekend? If you were a fan, would you pay about GHS100 less or more, to see your artiste on a Saturday after reading insults about that same artiste on a blog previously?

As the cliché goes, to be forewarned is to be forearmed, so please musicians, let us make it difficult for our media friends to pitch us against us!

Check out his blog on Ghanaweb: ok.ghanaweb.com

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