A list of most bankable African artistes released by Channel O and Forbes African Magazine sparks off debate in entertainment circles, Jayne Augoye writes
THE last few days have shown that nobody can undermine the power of the spoken or written word. Who would have thought that the word, “bankable,” which simply means, “guaranteed to bring in money,” can generate so much controversy as witnessed recently? This is after the meaning of the word and context in which it was used had been misconstrued.
When Channel O and Forbes Africa magazine released the list of Top 10 Most Bankable Urban African Artistes on Sunday, little did they know that it would cause a stir. On the list, which is, predictably, dominated by Nigerian artistes, such as Don Jazzy (No. 2 on the list), P-Square (3), D’Banj (4), Wizkid (5), 2face Idibia (6), Ice Prince (9) and Banky W (10), are Africa’s most bankable stars.
The number one spot went to the Senegalese international super star, Akon.
According to the authors, the criteria for selection included endorsement value, popularity, show rates, sales, awards, YouTube views, appearance in newspapers, investment, and social media presence, among others.
Despite this caveat, the list has continued to generate more questions than answers for the fifth day running.
The ‘uproar’ appears to be fueled by the fact that some fans and music critics who are yet to come to terms with the final cut, think the list had to do with just how much money the artistes have in their bank accounts.
Some failed to read between the lines and put into consideration the fact that other factors come into play besides jewellery, cars or gadgets, which these artistes display on their Twitter, Instagram or Facebook accounts.
Riding on this premise, Cool FM on air personality, Freeze; and Tiwa Savage’s manager/fiancé, Tee Billz, took to Twitter to express their grievances over the list.
Billz screamed blue murder, adding that his lover was, indeed, richer than those mentioned on the Forbes list.
His tweet reads, “That Forbes list. Hmm@TiwaSavage Bank tell you how many she has more than $$$.”
Freeze, on the other hand, blamed it on what he described as the Nigerian mentality.
“Mr. Forbes, on the contrary, it’s not your fault; it’s Nigerians.’ We believe the daftest things as long as they come from an American source,” Freeze said.
He added, “Mr. Forbes, when we are doing things, let’s be using our sense. Kwam1, Asa, Femi Kuti, and Flavour are amongst many other bankable artistes.”
When one takes a cursory look at the debate on Twitter, it appears that some respondents think Iyanya may pass for the richest Nigerian musician at the moment. They hinged their argument on the fact that he bagged a whopping N100m contract this year alone.
Others say the Ghanaian star, Sarkodie, shouldn’t have been placed ahead of the Koko master (D’banj) and Ice Prince. They add that the authors compiled their list based on Twitter washings and bogus wealth display by these artists, as splattered on entertainment blogs.
As though corroborating some of these claims, when contacted on the phone, Limpopo crooner, Kcee, said, “Most times, people just talk about something they know nothing about. They say they adjudged based on album sales. So, who gave them (Forbes) the records? Is it the Alaba boys?
“There are so many artistes who were left out of that list that ought to be there in the first place. The truth is this, the richest and most travelled Nigerian artiste performing at tours and concerts at the moment is Flavour, yet you do not hear anything about this.
“I am quite close to him and you can imagine how much returns he makes from all of these. This is simply because he doesn’t want you to know or have the figures. The list is incomplete and incorrect as far as I am concerned.”
After all said and done, it is believed that most times, hype is all an artiste requires to be considered as major success in the industry and not necessarily whether or not he or she is bankable.