So we are forced to look beyond King Solomons mines, beyond oil fields and uranium deposits, closer to home, where the Beautiful ones are not yet born, apologies to Ngugi Wa Thiongo. Lo and behold, it would appear Africa breeds beautiful on a daily, so a young lady who challenged the former PM of the UK Gordon Brown on state policy during a school trip was even then a diamond in the rough, coppery brown skin bathed under the grey skies of a land now infamous for Brexit. No cop outs. Potential? Jedi mind tricks, think Copperfield. Think Beautiful. Think Coming to Africa, yup screw Hakeem. Jasmine Kasoma, one of Africa’s beautiful ones, returned to Zambia and this is her story…
Wednesday August 3rd 2016, I took the first step of my adventure. 10 hours to Johannesburg, and 1 hour, 30 minutes to Lusaka. The anticipation and excitement was real. Something I had planned for almost my whole university period, the opportunity to unite my skills and experience to my home country, Zambia. I have been running ZeeMusic Zed since 2013, with trials and errors in perfecting what it was I wanted to do exactly. It was also about which area of the industry needed my expertise more, and what will give me return of investment. It was only this year that I was able to choose three artists I want to work with under my Management Company, and use distribution and PR services as an additional segment to the brand.
Since November 2015, I began my plans to host the first creative awards to take place in Zambia. I wanted to provide something fresh and new, as competing with the ZNBC’s Born and Bred Music Video Awards, and Mosi Lager’s Zambian Music Awards will only put ZeeMusic Zed in the comparison range.
I chose creative awards because it was the opportunity to include music, but film, fashion and digital categories, and to support the arts as a whole. Some of the categories included Best Model, Best Graphic Designer and even Best Sound Producer. I had 18 categories in total, including Lifetime Achievement Award.
The planning process was quite slow at the start, especially on the sponsorship end. By January, I was able to secure a venue sponsor in one of Lusaka’s leading renovated hotel venues, Best Western Plus. We also received media sponsorship from Power FM and QTV. Myself provided Marketing and trophies, as ZeeMusic. So in all a lot of expenses were in-house with the hopes to recoup through ticket sales. Nominations began around April 2016 for a period of 8 weeks, which when I look back, was quite a long time, so I plan to shorten this in the future. Voting began in June and ended 8 weeks down the line too. The award ceremony took place September 15th. One week before it took place, we received last minute sponsorship from Itel, Infinix Mobile, Tecno Mobile, DSTV Zambezi Magic and Kalibu Tech.
For the first time in Zambia, our red carpet was the most buzzing in comparison to other award shows, with all TV media houses present. These include the national broadcasting ZNBC, MuviTV, DSTV, and QTV. Another key aspect was our backdrop provided by Infinix Mobile, a white board backdrop that allowed all in attendance to leave their mark, well autograph on our board.
However, not everything went to plan, with two hours before the show, sound decides to cancel on us due to double booking. Fortunately, we were able to find back up by using a sound engineer from Power FM, and sound provided by a close contact. With some presenters not present to do their rehearsed scripts for announcing awards, a lot of the time I had to frantically run around looking for quick alternatives during the ceremony. Aside that, the vibe was so positive and supportive, with over 250 in attendance, and the Zambian celebrities that we didn’t expect to show up, did, after hearing buzz from Twitter. Some of these included El Mukuka, Ruff Kaida and Chef 187, to name a few. The night ended well, we trended on social media, and the feedback was fairly positive. But most importantly, I took away what needs to be improved and implemented for the ZeeMusic Creative Awards 2017. Otherwise, it was a wise movement, which was certainly appreciated by new, fresh talent across the arts.
Overall, I am learning more about how the industry works in Zambia, and what needs to be improved. The atmosphere and the working pace is slower to London, but more rewarding because I actually feel like I am making a difference in changing the game.