Cameroonian music fans and enthusiasists will agree with me without a shadow of doubt that our industry has gained much more recognition in the last half decade than any of us ever expected. In fact not only in the domain of music but as well as the fashion and film making domains. Some years back, it was extremely rare to see a Cameroonian song feature on music platforms all around the world but for artists like Petit Pays, The Deccas, Manu Dibango and others. Well, that era has been eliminated. Cameroon can now boast of hits and number one songs on all these major msuic platforms. Our artists are snatching awards everywhere they are nominated and bringing us a good name and reputation. However, music pundits will agree with me that the growth rate is not moving as rapidly as compared to other African nations. There are a thousand and one reasons why the growth of our contemporary music scenario has been staunted and here in this article, we shall take a look at some of the reasons why we still find ourselves in such a quagmire.
First and foremost, there is a lot of bias, tribalism and nepotism in not only the music industry but in every aspect of the socio-economic atmosphere of Cameroon. Now, there is something we have come to know as “big artists”in Cameroon. These are those kings and queens of the game who are already household names and need no further introduction. I am talking about the Daphne’s and Mr Leo’ s of the game, the Jovi‘s and the Stanley‘s. These are artists who can fill in venues for shows. They have the support of each and every Cameroonian. Now on the other hand we have uprising guys and young talented fellows. These ones get no major support from the population. They are more often than not supported only by their peers, their tribes people and their family members. We do not show the same amount of love and support we show these big names to these other young talented ones who are still coming up. These young ones have a lot to offer if only you grant them the audience. We should avoid being bias and if we have the means or the opportunity to support, encourage and push our rising stars to the limelight, we should never hesitate to do this.
Another crucial issue that to me seems to be the most important reason for our stauntedness is the Nigerian effect. There are Cameroonians who still listen to Nigerian music more than Cameroonian music, DJ’s who still animate with naija music more than Cameroonian music and last but not the least there are Cameroonians who read , share and actively participate in Nigerian blogs 89% more times than they do with Cameroonian blogs. A lot of us do not support our own. We do not promote what is ours. True enough Nigerians have been doing it and still doing it. That doesn’t mean we can’t reach their levels or cannot achieve what they have achieved. They got to have the level of success they have today because they supported one another. We all have to put the hands on the plough and push ourselves to the status we level we want to attain. It is not meant for certain individuals. It is for us all.
What about the contribution of some of these big names? Now, we have people who have already made it in the game but in my opinion the way some of them go about it, it’s almost like they do not want anyone else to reach where they are. How do you support these young ones? Do we see big artists invite up and coming stars and give them a few minutes during their shows? Do we see these big names feature struggling brothers who are trying to be like them? It is more common to see a Cameroonian star paying an international artist for featurings rather than seeing a Cameroonian star call up a talented brother and feature him. A single act like this will no doubt go a long way to bring a lot of shine to this young up and coming hustler. The talent out in these streets is jaw dropping. These guys are so talented yet they do not have the support of the big guns. It will be a thing of immense joy to one day turn on the radio or tv and see for example Stanley Enow ft Wan Shey or why not Jovi ft Crispy . We expect our pioneers to light up the path for the young ones.
Like I mentioned above, there are a thousand and one reasons why we face such a situation. Most at times the financial responsibilities attached with the show business is a huge hindrance too. However, it is super important for Cameroonians to realise that no one is going to give us our shine or our spot in the world unless we wake up and grab it by ourselves. It is a process that needs the support and encouragement of each and everyone of us. We should all want our ranks to be up there with the greats as far as showbiz is concerned. As such let us not relent in our efforts of supporting our brothers and sisters. In doing this, we are supporting ourselves.
By Teddy krash (#ReviewGuru)