DEATH OF MEDIOCRITY PART 5: THE NET WORTH OF CAMEROONIAN ARTISTS

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DEATH OF MEDIOCRITY PART 5: THE NET WORTH OF CAMEROONIAN ARTISTS

“It took me 27 years of Hard work to set aside 12 Million Dollars.” – Richard Bona

When we talk of Cameroonian artists that are financially buoyant, Richard Bona is one of the names that come to mind. When he spoke of being able to set aside 12 million dollars, it is safe to assume he was talking about cash.

Bona is not one to flaunt his assets in the daily but avid followers will know about his beachside property in Miami, a few other real estate holdings in the U.S , his music catalogue, and a few brand collaborations that earn him royalties. When he made the statement above, it was his own way of giving artists perspective on how much work it takes to make that amount of money, even for an artist of his caliber.

In one of his recent media outings, Nabil Fongod said there are no urban music artists in Cameroon with a net worth up to a million dollars. Meanwhile he did not say the currency, one would have to be intent on being silly to think he was talking about FCFA. I saw quite a number of people trying to make arguments in that regard; counting iPhones and vehicles as part of the assets of some artists that already make them millionaires.

Is Nabil right? I would say not very far from the reality. We have artists that may have earned over a million dollars in the last 5 to 10 years of their career but I don’t think we have up to 5 of them. Your net worth does not equal all the income you have earned. As you earn, you also incur costs. Even when you invest, you can make losses and most assets depreciate over time.

I believe many people know that what Nabil said is not far from the truth but as is customary in our ecosystem, we are usually more worried about how something is said than what is said. For a people who pride themselves in being sarcastic and savage, it is sometimes eerie to see how thin skinned we can be. I usually say the people who demand constructive criticism actually do not want criticism at all.

I have seen many places where people have decided to turn the pointer towards Nabil to ask if he himself is worth a million dollars. Some have turned to scaring his own skeletons out of the closet. We do this all the time. You tell an artist they need to work on developing their sound and they tell you to go and make your own music. You tell a blogger about improving the quality of their work and they ask you to go and start your own blog.

We all enjoy shows like the The Breakfast Club but a Charlemagne in Cameroon will never have anything to say. A Joe Budden will never have a podcast where he talks about the entertainment industry because he is sort of a one hit wonder. Granted there are times when we have to ask “How Sway?” Kanye asked but then he knew he had to figure it out because Sway could not.

We all easily get triggered but we must always think of what is being said and avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. Nabil is someone who has pioneered many things in our entertainment industry. Many of the things he does are born out of the frustrations he encountered in his own career.

I started PoiseSocial after some bloggers told me I know nothing about blogging. That was after I complained about most of them copying my press release word for word then getting mad that I did not share all their articles about me. Why should I share ten links that say the same thing?

I started organizing shows when I found out, as an artist, that there were no platforms for upcoming artists like me. I joined oii because I wanted to fill a fashion void in our culture.

The advice I give upcoming artists is also based on me looking at the mistakes I made in my own music career. We learn a lot more from failure that we do from success because people succeed for different reason but almost always fail for the same reasons.

Many people, Nabil included, come up with solutions to the problems they faced but if we are focused on why they failed, we may fail to take advantage of the solutions they are proposing.

We also live in a society where we believe everyone is out to take something from us. You help people and they rather focus on what you stand to gain. I’ll still be against turning orphaned kids into your billboard because you want to help them. We can respectfully help each other.

Here, many will rather stay with 0 million than to work with you and make 10 million while you make 100 million. It’s that crab mentality. Nabil did not put any particular artist on blast. He stated a reality. Our focus should be on how to make the millionaires and not “how you fit talk sey no Artist no be millionaire.” It feels like when people tell me “you di over talk true.” We cannot compete globally by padding our stats.

I don’t want to believe Nabil is one of those people who go out on media because they are called. Just like artists go on media tours when they have a project to talk about, Nabil definitely has a project. That’s what we should be asking him about. What’s the project Nabstar?

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