What next for Diamond and Co after ban?

Friday December 21 2018


By Paul Owere

The story of ‘A Boy from Tandale’ is one that has been told many times, his rise to stradom, is more of a fairy tale that could make an adaptation for a Hollywood movie.

It is no wonder that anything about his exploits hits headlines –when he is dumped by the mother of his children, when he gets a new girlfriend, let alone when he releases his videos.

All these attract attention from both local and international media and the social networks where he has millions of followers.

His WCB entity is probably the most powerful label in the country with a string of artiste such as Hermonize, Rayvanny, Lava Lava, Mboso, Queen Darleen who dominate airplay locally and beyond.

This week, however, started off on a low note, first he missed his flight while coming from one of his performances in Mwanza and then came the ban from the National Arts Council.

Basata ban


In a statement Basata issued an indefinite ban on Diamond and his Wasafi record label counterpart Rayvanny for challenging its authority over their ‘dirty’ song ‘Mwanza’.

Basata stated it had no choice but to take stern action on the musicians for continuing to disregard and disrespecting the board’s position on the ‘Mwanza’ song.

Basata had last month banned ‘Mwanza’ from air play in Tanzania and also directed the musicians to pull it down from various online platforms.

On top of the fine that was slapped on them, the council also advised the singers not to perform the song at any gathering in Tanzania.

The singers through their emissaries tried on many occasions to ask the council to rescind the ban to allow them perform the song at their Wasafi Festival but the council stood firm.

However at the weekend while in Mwanza the group led by its CEO Diamond bowed to public demand who incessantly asked them to perform the Mwanza single much to the frenzy of the thousands in attendance.

They had swallowed the bait and as a result the council has also revoked license for the Wasafi Festival.

This means that the festival cannot take place in Dar es Salaam which was supposed to be the climax featuring some top names including Nigeria’s Wizkid.

The ban has thrown the much hyped Wasafi Festival-Kenyan leg in doubt given the fact that the lead artistes cannot perform.

There is indeed plenty at stake especially with the advance plans already in high gear for the Nairobi event that is supposed to take place at the Uhuru Gardens.

Show organisers ‘The Great Republic in Nairobi have remained adamant that the show will take place as planned with adverts for the gig .

“We are thrilled to be the first event company in Kenya to do an event of such magnitude. We are bringing the three biggest genres of music among the youth on one platform. Fans of reggae, Bongo Flava and Kenyan music will get everything at the Wasafi Festival.”

Top on the agenda are Jamaican group Morgan heritage who are supposed to headline the concert alongside other WCB artistes.

Morgan Heritage was expected to share the stage with Diamond with whom they collaborated in the song Hallelujah.

The song became a major hit but was subsequently banned by the arts council music regulatory board for being indecent.

How does the ban work?

According to the new Basata regulations any artiste who is registered by the council has to obtain a permit before he can perform outside the country.

This means the council could still block the banned artistes from travelling abroad for the show though this could as well be an infringement to personal freedom of movement.

As Basata tighten its grips on errant artistes such as Diamond and Gigy Money, there is common belief that they came in a bit too late with very little to salvage.

The timing of the release left Basata with very little to do, as the norm is Mwanza was released on Friday night with many Basata officials already sound asleep and by the time they returned to office on Monday morning the song was playing everywhere.

The song has since become one of the club bangers that is played at night clubs and bars on a repeat mode with revellers dancing to it recklessly.

But this was not the first time that the council had missed its footing, songs such as ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Nampa Papa’ had played for a very long time before the council swung into action. This too came a little too late and the songs continue to play in night clubs to date.

Millions at stake

In a world where digital music now being seen as more of a throwaway commodity, mainly due to massively disruptive streaming services – live concerts and tours have become an increasingly significant part of the business model for artistes.

Diamond as he confessed in one of his posts his shows in East Africa is usually priced for not less than a handsome $30,000 whereas he charges some $70,000 upwards for shows abroad.

In Tanzania today, many artistes look up to such events and merchandising as the only way to make money given the high rate of piracy.

Should the council uphold the indefinite ban then it means the artiste will lose millions of shillings in would be earnings.

But all is not lost, one of the board members of the National arts council says there is room for an appeal should the artistes feel the actions taken against them was no fair.

Speaking to Mwanachi newspaper , rapper Mwana FA says there was room for the artistes to appeal but they are yet to receive any from the aggrieved parties.

“We are open should the artistes feel the ruling was not fair on them,” he told Mwananchi