THE UNINTENDED EFFECT OF GOING GLOBAL
Going global might actually not be the way to go...
There has never been a better time ever to be young, creative and African in history. We are finally at a place where African Art and culture is influencing the world and all we have to do is put a price tag on it and hit the export button. Well there are several ways of exporting your culture/music/comodity to the outside world, you can either package it and go to the other side of the world with it to sell it to them, or you can package your culture right at home and make the rest of the world come to you and purchase it on your terms. Both methods work but the determining factor is the execution of the method. If what ever comodity you are exporting is rare then the world will pay you handsomely for it, on the other hand if what you export is already available in the world they will always pay you based on the standard price no matter how well you package it. From this premise we can begin to breakdown why Amapiano is exporting so well and why other genres/artists are having a tougher time doing it.
Amapiano is the vehicle of change we have all been waiting for in South Africa, Nigeria had AfroBeats for that. Here is a genre that is taking black kids fom Townships all over South Africa and making them global stars damn near overnight. A genre birthed by the youth of South Africa and within the space of 4 years has become a global phenom, and they did it all right at home. They didn't have to pack their bags and move to America, and the authenticity is what has translated to the rest of the wold. Nothing else out in the rest of the world sounds like Amapiano and that is why the world can't help but eat it up. All the genre needed was the internet to act as its vehicle and the rest was history. Now Focalistic is performing in Paris, while Dj Maphoisa and Kabza are killing shows in the UK, while Major League Dj's are having Balcony mixes all over the world. The great thing is that it's not just a select few who are shining, so many people ae shining in the genre. If you become a national star in Amapiano it almost guarented that you will become a global star, or atleast well on your way.
It's been tougher for other genres like Hip Hop & R&B in South Africa to translate as well on the global stage. We can take for example Nasty C, as it stands right now he is definitely one of the best rappes in the world and there is no question about it. Another example we can look at is Elaine, her debut project "Elements" is one of the best R&B projects in recent memory. One thing both these amazing artists have in common is that their style of music is already being done in America and the rest of the world, on the highest levels. There is already an entire generation of rappers and R&B atists making similar music to both Nasty C & Elaine and I believe this is why they are having a hard time going global. No matter how great the music might be there will always be an "American version" with a bigger budget, more exposure and home field advantage. Your unique selling point is all it boils down to, the more unique the comodity is the more valuable it is. Afrobeats is pobably the best example we have had in African history as the most successfully exported genre and all we need to do is follow the blueprint they have laid out.
It's always been the ethos within the entertainment/creative industry that if you are ever going to become a global star you would have to go and live in America.I mean the greatest example of this right now is Trevor Noah but the tide has shifted. Africa is now influencing world culture and music and this is the time when we are going to see African global stars rising from every corner of the continent. All I hope is that we all make sure to trademark,copyright and own all the art that we are creating so that we can finally reap the spoils of our African genius.