Sunday, March 06, 2005

MTV Base Africa gets its MTV - but will the continent's musicians benefit?

The New York Times
Friday, February 25, 2005

For viewers in 48 nations in sub-Saharan Africa, the opening belatedly offers what young music fans in other nations have long watched on MTV's 43 other music channels.
Good question. For global awareness sake, and inter-connection of the youth of the world - of which I am a staunch advocate - I suppose this is a wonderful development. Having said that, it is also a worrisome one, as it means almost certainly an increased Americanization o the youth scene in Africa, which I take issue with. Because of the numerous socio=political problems of the continent, th youth has often not had the chance to enjoy, appreciate and partake in those traditions, customs and practices that consitute the various cultures in Africa. The arrival of MTV - though benevolent I am sure - might deny this youth, the pleasure and pride of feeling and internalizing their own cultures, and might indeed have an aculturaion effect, which in my opinion is the worst thing that can happen to a people, let alone the youth of a people. A youth unaware - and estranged from - culture and heritage, breeds a people estranged from its History and its pride. A people without History and without pride, is a people without a soul, and wihout hope. My hope is that elemens of globalization - such as MTV Base Africa - will not result in a hopeless, helpless and acultured youth, and will instead help young Africans appreciate their heritage, as much as that of other countries... I wonder.


Ingrid said...

Hello TheMalau, Thank you for linking to my blogs Congo Watch and Africa Aid Watch. I had no idea anyone was linking to them, I only use them as e-filing cabinets for scrap notes and reference reports!

One of my regular (almost daily) blogs is Sudan Watch at which has quite a few blogs linking to it but not many Africans or Arabs, which I find rather strange. I had hoped by now for the blog to connect with people blogging out of the Sudan. If you know of anybody from the Sudan please do let me know, thank you.

I found your blog through Louis Abelman who left a comment at Congo Watch today and followed the link to find Carine the exiled african linking to Congo Watch too. I guess I ought to give Congo Watch a bit more attention now that I know there are some visitors!

I shall bookmark your blog in my newsfeed so I can read your posts as and when they appear. Please stop by at Sudan Watch and say hi - any feedback, news or tips re Sudan would be greatly appreciated.
With kind regards, and thanks.

Black River Eagle said...

Hi Ingrid,
I see that you have found TheMalau via the Blogosphere as well. This is the guy I was talking about today (March 8th).

Hi Malau (or should we call you Ali?),
As I was reading some of the brief research I had done for the FESPACO postings I came across an artilce which stated that African filmmakers' films constituted only about 1% of the films available in African cinemas. I'm not sure what the statistics are for films, videos, and DVD's viewed in peoples homes, offices, and other venues.

If one is concerned about the negative impact MTV's new Africa channel may have on Africa's own music/video/film industries, then MTV management should be made aware of and encouraged to showcase entertainment "Made in Africa" in addition to their normal fare for international youth audiences.

It could be an important new revenue stream for struggling artists and performers throughout the continent. At the end of the day MTV is a business and whatever they do has to make money, or the service will "fade to black" in the African market or anywhere else. Business is business you know.

TheMalau said...

Thank you Ingrid. I hope you will not be disappointed. Thank you for Congo Watch (and ALL THE OTHER WATCHES YOU HAVE)!!!! It gives me hope that people haven't totally stopped caring yet, and that's quite refreshing. I'll get back to you on other bloggers from Sudan. You should register add youself at Blog Africa, it should help.

B.R.E, I agree with you, that is what MTV should be doing. And they have done so, with MTV Japan, and MTV France (even though the latter still has a super-heavy dose of American music, but that's to be expected). The problem, is often that the youth is getting fairly brainwashed, and alienated from their own culture already. It's like a rebellion out of desperation. The music they can relate to, is the music that gives them dreams of greatness and fame, and expresses frustrations of racism and double standards (which exist in weird ways back home, I'll write about it some day) like HIP HOP... a bit the same phenomenon here. Don't get me wrong I like and admire the HIP HOP movement. I am just saying. Even local musicians try to imitate the look of Hip Hop stars now, to be more appealing. Channel O, out of South Africa, tried to do creative blending, but it's on satellite. I don't know that MTV will be able to do better. We shall see

carine said...

I am really curious about MTV's plans. Someone told me to not worry because they might do the same as MTV India - which apparently features a lot of music from local artists. But in my mind Indian music = Bollywood music. Bollywood is huge, so in that respect it would have been a mistake to ignore the local scene.
What about Africa now? African music doesn't generate as much money as Bollywood. Will they take that into account in their choice of content? I might be wrong but that's what scares me. To be honest I am not a huge Hip Hop fan, especially because I see what its culture does to musicians and the youth back home. It's a culture that doesn't make sense in our environment. If people lose their own culture then it's the end.

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