OPINION | Great artists don’t need silly, fake PR stunts — let the music do the talking
That Makhadzi and King Monada stunt was unnecessary — the song speaks for itself
I think Brenda Fassie is one of the greatest artists to come out of SA. Long before Cassper and his generation made hashtags out of filling up 20,000 capacity venues, Brenda was filling stadiums with far greater capacity.
No stunts. No gimmicks. No lying to fans. Just her and her personality and her greatest weapon: the music!
Brenda let the music shout and everything else whisper. Yes, she wasn't without headline-making scandals but she never prioritised publicity above the music. When Brenda sang, she made sure she delivered and she'll forever be regarded as the G.O.A.T.
I was recently offended when Makhadzi and King Monada — who have the potential to one day be great — came out last week and admitted that they willingly participated in a stupid “fake fight” over a song for publicity's sake.
In a country where exploitation in the music industry is such a big issue, their stunt annoyed the hell out of me.
I almost gagged when I heard one of the managers on radio proudly proclaim, “all publicity is good publicity. Yeah, uhm no... Perhaps that was the case in the 90s, when all celebrities had was the Sunday papers and tabloids to keep them “relevant” or topical.
Today, in the age social media — an age of real, meaningful engagements with your fans and the people who buy your music and love your personality — the notion of “all publicity is good publicity” is simply not true.
There is really no middleman any more. So when you lie, you blatantly lie to your fans. And when you lie to the same fans who are always ready to create a hashtag and fight for your dignity (as they did when Makhadzi recently cried wolf), it will surely backfire.
Perhaps I'm a bit too sensitive as a person, but I know that I have never been able to appreciate any offering from that female artist who scammed us into thinking a celebrity couple tied the knot for her music video popularity's sake.
I also won't just jump onto any offering that comes from that presenter-turned-rapper who had the whole country thinking she crashed her car and died, meanwhile she was alive and well, just securing her influencer bag.
It will take a miracle for me to spend my hard money on anything they have to offer.
For me, stupid stunts lose fans and that doesn't seem worth it to me. Why would you risk losing people that have shown you — by supporting your talent — that they have your back?
Look, there are people — whose talent the country still doubts — who may have to work harder to get our attention. For a Skolopad or Big Xhosa it is really almost OK for them to go the extra mile in the PR stunts.
As an artist, when you have been acknowledged by thousands of people ... why do you still feel the need to lie?
They need to capture the country's attention long enough to eventually win us over with their actual talents.
As an artist, when you have been acknowledged by thousands of people who agree that you are talented and are worth their money or data as they buy or stream your song, why do you still feel the need to lie?
Both King Monada and Makhadzi are well-known artists and their fan base has grown over the years from a handful of people in Limpopo — overhearing their songs at the taxi rank — to being streamed nationwide and played on big radio stations. Both of them have spoken on international platforms thanks to who they are and the music they make.
They have great track records and it is really unfortunate that they want to sully it with silly, fake fights where they blatantly lie to fans who care about them and then expect them not to be offended.
Essentially, the pair only really have one job. That is to create good music. Nothing else.
It is the undeniable hit songs that win you more fans, get you more recognition and eventually push you from a good, hard-working artist to a great artist.
So leave the silly stunts to the stunt men and focus your energy on being great.