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Sometimes your cover is all you have

The ultimate gift that we have as human beings is the ability to express ourselves in several ways. Those in the creative industries would agree with me that there are a lot of mediums that can be used to express feelings.

global citizenship with Gilmore Tee

People will judge you from what they see first
People will judge you from what they see first

Recently, I had the previledge of talking to one of the most talented Zimbabwean hip-hop artists — Indigo Saint — whom I first met online and later bumped into at an event held in Bulawayo. Being someone who immediately considers how someone looks, my thought about him was that he was a hipster, just by the way he was dressed. A few moments into our conversation, I picked the aspect of him knowing his purpose and using his music as a tool to communicate issues that he has gone through. I found the fact that his music touches on issues that affect young people on a day-to-day basis extremely profound for a young person like him who is singing a stereotyped genre.

When you listen to his music, The Blunt EPS, you will pick out stories of depression, suicide, drug abuse and also the fact that our African society carpets conversations around such, resulting in those affected suffering quietly. His approach to these, among many other issues, is refreshing and honest. His story-telling is personal and it allows the listener to easily follow his music, relate to it and compare the cover to the stories being told. It’s a beautiful thing to see one being able to translate their journey through their art and themselves.

Initially, I had a different topic that I was going to explore, but then a lot has happened in the past week. The National Arts Merit Awards have come and gone. My memory is of the people who made an effort to dress up for the event and those that did not bother to dress for the occasion. Obviously, for some of us who were watching the awards ceremony from home, it was just an eyesore to have our focus being frequently shifted from the host whom we hardly saw or heard to the red carpet interviews throughout the live broadcasting. What happened to proper programming? However, I must acknowledge those that made an effort to dress up accordingly. It is extremely important for our creatives to realise that people judge a book by its cover. The saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” does not apply anymore to our day-to-day lives.

I know it’s not right for one to be judged by the way they look before you converse with them. Just like I had the opportunity to talk to Indigo Saint, sometimes you just do not have the opportunity to even greet somebody.

Therefore, judging a book by its cover is what you end up doing and you are vindicated for doing so. In the fashion world, we do not even have that room of not being able to fully express oneself through your looks and outfits;

actually, this applies to everyone in general. You need to bare in mind that sometimes the opportunity to open your mouth and tell your story, is never granted. It is then important for one to be able to communicate their individual stories through their covers.

If you are going to dress like a vegetable at an award ceremony, everyone who sees you will see you as a vegetable.

No one has eyes that scan through to see your beautiful or fragile heart. What we see in most cases results in our judgement, therefore allow whatever people see first to be part of your story which will entice them to engage in more indepth conversation. The beauty of it all is that, we all have the power to express ourselves through whichever way possible and accessible to us as a human kind.

Gilmore Tee is a social entrepreneur, global citizen, curator, publicist and host who works within the Zimbabwean creative industry, with a strong bias towards fashion. He is the founder of Hunnar Management Agency. He can be reached on website: or Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: Gilmore Tee

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