Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
EXCEPTIONAL videographer Vusumuzi “Blaqs” Hlatshwayo says he is planning to retire from the industry because it is not paying.
The Harare-based videographer who is credited for working on Ammara and Chengeto Brown’s Watchu Want music video, Military Touch Movement’s Chekeche, Thabbz and Cal Vin’s Hey Wena as well as EXQ’s Bhachura, said he was bowing out because producing music videos in Zimbabwe does not pay that much.
Blaqs, however, said before retiring, he wants to produce 10 quality music videos which will change the game and elevate local artistes.
His last production, he has said, must be done in Bulawayo, a city where he nurtured his talent.
Reflecting on his career, Blaqs said while he made a name for himself, he was disheartened by the fact that he is not making much money from his talent and works.
“I got into this music video thing because I was tired of all the talk about Zim videos not being good enough for regional TV stations. I did well consistently on that. A lot of videos were ‘safe’ and it was getting boring and I decided to change that,” said Blaqs.
“I told myself I needed a year, but it happened sooner than I expected.”
“After a year, I’ve not made money from the music video industry. People think I’m getting a lot of cash but that’s not the case,” said Blaqs.
To try and develop the music industry, Blaqs last year offered to produce a video for free for Bulawayo hip hop artiste, Thabbz for his Hey Wena track.
To his surprise, the video caught the eye of many and got a slot on DStv on the Zambezi Magic platform. The video was so good that at one point it was number one on that channel’s Zim Top 10 chart show.
After that, Blaqs went on to try out his luck in Harare where he produced a video for ExQ. The video for Bhachura was produced for just above $1 000 and again, it was a success. Within days of its release, the video which featured Ammara Brown garnered thousands of views on YouTube with many praising Blaqs for the quality production.
Blaqs kept identifying key local artistes whom he could work with.
Having worked closely with Jah Prayzah’s Military Touch Movement stable this year producing quality music videos for its artistes such as Chekeche and ExQ’s Bhachura, Blaqs interestingly revealed that he was not billing that stable.
“At Military Touch, our arrangement was that we wanted to push a movement and therefore no payment for the job and I was happy with that arrangement.”
Blaqs said he could have made a significant amount of money but some artistes whom he produced music videos for and billed outside Military Touch, did not pay him.
“The truth of the matter is that no one wants to pay for quality. So I’ve set a target of producing my last 10 music videos and then I take a break from the industry. Working so hard and getting so little doesn’t justify me continuing to work in this industry.”
“If things shape up and people are prepared to pay for quality music videos, I might come back,” said Blaqs.
He said his last music video will be with an artiste from outside the country and it will be shot in Bulawayo and Matopos with Iyasa and Umkhathi.
“At the same time, I’ll conduct a seminar where I’ll invite young video makers to come and watch me at work and also help out so that they learn,” he said.
Blaqs was, however, accused of sitting on music videos for artistes such as Stunner and this could probably be the reason why he lost clients.
He at one time acknowledged that he was in the wrong saying he was overwhelmed by demand for his services..
“I was overwhelmed by demand for my services and as such I could not meet deadlines,” he said.
Article Source: The Chronicle