We all can't be stars

04 October 2019 | Columns

You know the name Donlu Africa. You likely do not know the name Llewellyn Adams. That's because Adams is the invisible supporting the visible; he is the founder of Africa's biggest online music store – Donlu Africa.

Because of Adams, Namibians can now support local musicians by digitally purchasing or streaming their music on a platform that directly benefits Namibian people. Because of the nature of his business, Adams is no longer as invisible as he once was before he created Donlu Africa. And yet, most people probably still do not know his name, despite him being a huge force behind Namibian music, especially in the digital space. I don't want to make this column about Adams but I described him as invisible because he is someone who most people don't notice but who does incredibly important work.

Where am I going with this? I admire how selfless he is in putting others in the limelight and being fully content with his contribution to the game. In this column, I want to address how we all can't be the stars in the limelight, but we can excel in our respective lines of work, even if it means doing behind-the-scenes work, because you will still get credit for it.

I would not call it a trend, but there is a pattern among people in the Namibian entertainment industry of everyone wanting to be the centre of attention. You find that there are certain music managers who are more famous than the artists they manage, that's because instead of just managing their artists and doing behind-the-scenes work, they push their personal brands first. There is nothing wrong to be known for what you do, but I find it weird that personalities whose job descriptions require them to be subtle are the loudest.

We all can't be stars; some of us are meant to put others on the pedestal. The Namibian entertainment industry's growth is being delayed because certain people who are in the position to push different brands and personalities into the limelight want the same fame and fortune. I understand that an artist manager's job description nowadays goes far beyond merely coordinating a musical career but please, managers, let artists be the actual stars.

There is a lot one can do behind the scenes in the entertainment field, yet so many people want to be musicians. To excel in this industry you have to know your strengths and focus on those. One of my favourite music producers at the moment is Glo Solani. He has given us so many hits but imagine how awkward it would be if he was hungry for fame and instead of making sure he excels at music production we saw him everywhere as a socialite of some sort.

In light of acknowledging how work behind the scenes is important in this industry, this week comedian Mark Kariahuua is on the cover of tjil. Kariahuua has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes lately, so we caught up with him to find out how he has been contributing to the growth of the culture with the behind-the-scenes hat. Another feature to look out for in this edition is on award-winning fashion designer Leone Shimuketa, who is also in a way thriving behind the scenes by making beautiful garments for others. This and more in this edition, so enjoy. Until next time, it's goodbye for now.

[email protected]; @MichaelMKAY on Twitter

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