Cry My Beloved Industry

You really have to love something to be able to put up with its flaws. That my friend is my relationship with the South African entertainment industry. More so the television part, as it is more where my interest lies. Lord knows, I live, breath and am just captivated by this medium of television. The power it holds to communicate a message to the masses, the magic of transporting viewers to worlds beyond their comprehession and just the fun of being a platform for creative souls -- that is what fuels my love for this medium. But fcuk the blatant nonsense this country's entertainment industry can drive you nuts ?

Of course the usual rants still ring loud but nobody ever listens. People who should not be on screens are thrust upon us, people who do not have the numbers are superstars, people who know nothing about creativity are decision makers on  what is put on your screen, that is the order of the day every day. 

We have moaned, complained and even toyi toyi-ed but it is clear nothing will change anytime soon. With that one has no choice but to just ride this wave of mediocrity and incompetence. 

However,  my friends, that is not what has prompted my latest dismay and somewhat disgust with this industry.

My lament this time around come curtesy of a recent realization regarding the fact that certain individuals at one of the major channels in this country are hellbent on running the channel as if it is their very own sorority. 

For a while we have been wondering why some people are handed shows, why auditions are held when presenters have already been handpicked and just the blatant disregard for talent or audience interest in the presenters the channel chooses for their shows. 

And yes, the channel chooses the presenters not the production companies.  The excuse is always that the channel wants someone who will represent the channel's brand, translation: WE WANT TO CAST OUR FRIENDS.

The arrogance and seemingly nonchalant attitude of these individual is evident in the fact that they are apparently instrumental in the unwritten role at the channel that if you are on their channel you should never be seen fraternizing with the enemy or you will get the boot.

That unfortunate circumstance means unless the "star" is smart enough to leave while he/she is still relevant they will be tied to the channel's brand for life because when they eventually leave, their individual brand is unable to be sustained independent of the channel's.

How these individuals could have so much power baffles me. How can an entire industry allow people like that to hold our progress hostage.

It is a painful thing to watch. We all know that we have the resources in South Africa. There is no reason why countries like Nigeria and Ghana should be creating international multi-million dollar stars when their productions are lacklustre and they have less technical resources than we do. 

Sadly, while people like this are still at the helm, this industry will never grow beyond the success of 5 girls. Our award shows will have no credibility because the supposed stars are not really reflective of the true talent, diversity and success of our industry. 

The media is eating up and the audiences are none the wiser. They all think these manufactured stars actually have the star power to pull ratings or sell anything. They don't. 

People like the said executives, decide who becomes a star, the media bows down and the audiences can just shut the "F" up and obey. 

That my dear friends is our South African entertainment industry in 2013. 

For some of us who love this business and would love to see it grow and reflect the potential and talent we have in this diverse nation, we can do nothing but CRY for our BELOVED industry and hope a day will come when there will be a level playing field for creativity and talent to reign over this nonsense.


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