FAME and controversy have been twin evils for most celebrities across the world.
BY KENNEDY NYAVAYA
From international stars such as Chris Brown, Beyonce and Jay Z, among others, controversy has seemed so fashionable that without it, the road to stardom would be bleak.
Some of the latest developments on the local showbiz scene show that Zimbabwe’s stars are indeed borrowing a leaf from trends of the western world.
While it seems to have worked well for others like Pokello Nare, who rose to stardom despite the debilitating psychological trauma inflicted on her by a leaked sex tape with rapper Stunner, others’ attempts to ride on controversy fell like a deck of cards.
The music industry in Zimbabwe has of late become the biggest platform where defiance of moral values has become trendy, notwithstanding the unwarranted ridicule and shame it has brought to most stars.
In this world of new technology, with an upsurge in the use of social media, it seems many local artistes have fallen into this trap as they are using the available platforms to court controversy.
Last year, popular RnB artiste Trevor Dongo took to social media (Facebook) to “insult” fellow flamboyant rapper Mudiwa “Hood” Mtandwa, who thought he had done a good thing by collecting his “friend” Dongo’s Zimbabwe Music Award gong in his absence as he was on international tour in Canada.
“We thank God for the award. This is just the beginning of great things. In whose capacity did Mudiwa Hood receive my award on my behalf, if I may ask?” Dongo posted in Shona.
After his post, Dongo later succumbed to a backlash from different platforms as his conduct was said to be childish, forcing him to eat his words.
He blamed his publicists for the embarrassing gaffe.
Self-proclaimed queen of dancehall Lady Squanda is another musician who has courted controversy as she once faked her own death on social media to propel her song titled Rufu RwaSquanda that was released a few days after the hoax.
Local hip-hop icon Desmond “Stunner” Chideme also grabbed headlines for the wrong reasons as he was involved in a fight with “wife” Olinda Chapel on Facebook and went on to release a song titled Letting You Go on the same night.
However, the rant later escalated and opened a can of worms as Chapel went on to expose Stunner’s alleged cheating shenanigans.
She also made sensational claims that he was still seeing ex-girlfriend Pokello.
The Godo singer was reduced from hero to zero as he was later caught on camera being ordered to pack his belongings from the house in a manner that battered his character.
Meanwhile, it appears South Africa-based musician Enock “Nox” Guni is also going down the same path. although he was regarded as a “clean” love lyricist a few years ago, he appears to have jumped ship.
In an effort to explain to his fans what led to him adding his voice on Stunner’s song, Guni ended up using foul language in a live-streamed video responding to the fans.
Also caught in the controversy storm was Bulawayo-based hip-hop artiste Mgcini Calvin Nhliziyo who last week appeared to have lost his marbles in a disrespectful post on Facebook chastising God.
He deleted the post after a barrage of attacks from his followers.
Harare-based music promoter Benjamin Nyandoro said artistes should desist from publicity stunts that anger their paymasters — the fans.
“Although some of these artistes endeavour to be like their foreign idols, it is important for them not to forget that their products are meant for locals,” Nyandoro said.
“What some of these artistes are failing to take note of is that some of their audiences might be Christians, so some words or actions are taboo and once they fail to relate with the audience, it does not help them in anyway.”
Veteran poet cum singer Albert Nyathi said prominent figures should be careful about what they say in public as it could affect their future in the industry.
“While it is a matter of choice, one should keep in mind that they will grow older into becoming parents, if they are not already, and with many media outlets privacy is no longer guaranteed,” Nyathi said.
Only time will tell whether the artistes will manage to reap the profits from this attention they are desperately soliciting for on social media in a conservative society like Zimbabwe.