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The Big 'E'

Snow Masking In The Tropics, Winter Came Early

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Shatta Wale
Shatta Wale in Asylum Money Viral video. Photo Credit: Shatta Wale/YouTube

In recent times, any music lover of both foreign and local content, can’t help but notice an upsurge of a particular fashion trend that has to do with snow/ski masks, being flaunted in music videos, concerts, clubs and has eventually become a part of the lifestyle of most music celebrities and their fans alike.

It’s sort of a big deal uptown for certain artistes, faithful to a particular genre, such as dance, electronic music, hip hop among others, to be seen wearing a rather daunting snow mask and for some, an entire robotic costume of which our very own acts such as Mugeez of R2bees fame, Shatta Wale and AMG’s Medikal, have served as pioneers to its inculcation in the Ghanaian artistry.

Mugeez

Mugeez in Supa Music video. Photo Credit: R2Bees/YouTube

Medikal

Medikal in How Much (Remix) Music video. Photo Credit: Medikal/YouTube

Either way, eyebrows have been raised at the recent trends of the snow masking portrayed by our celebs and several reasons based on facts, observations and personal reactions pop up as to why they wear these masks, but firstly, let’s dig deep into its origins.

Usually referred to as the Balaclava, a Russian word meaning, ‘protection against the elements’, this headgear stems from the October 25th, 1854 battle of Balaclava which was a part of a larger Crimean war where British soldiers used handmade garments over their heads to keep warm. Its now been refined into diverse types ranging from the couture surgical masks, windproof, thermal fleece among others.

Time travelling down memory lane into the now, the craze started when the rap duo, Ayo and Teo started sporting stylized surgical snow masks after an instagrammer asked why they scrunched up their mouths anytime they danced, and hence, the birth of a global fashion trend and brand. Since then hip-hop icons such as 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Young Thug and a host of others, have been seen adorning theirs on BET stages, in music videos and public appearances. Its much like the idea of tattered jeans spearheaded by Kanye West just to prove a point to rich kids who might have made fun of poor kids for coming to school with tattered clothes…. but hey, we’ll delve deeper into that some other time.

The most potent reason, perhaps, to the question on board is the obvious factor of supporting a movement sparked up by the plight of one of their own in their line of duty. These artistes including those that have picked up the trend in Ghana, seem to relate with the situation that the initiators found themselves in, by being prone to negative criticisms from the people they strive hard to please through their music. So, let’s criticize constructively and support talents rather than… well, you know what.

On the contrary, others artistes, genuinely suffer from anxiety and a form of agoraphobia, so wearing a mask helps alleviate their discomfort and hey… you can’t blame them for that cos it ain’t no easy thing to be in charge of moods, emotions and temperaments of hundreds of souls at a go and having to please each one of them and give them a good time irrespective of whether or not you are in a good mood. They hide behind the masks in order to put up a different identity and inspire confidence in their art.

I seem to have consumed all that there is to know but for this last one. You know what… it could simply be a fashion trend and whether or not our guys here have no business wearing snow related costume in a tropical region of the world where the sun scorches all year round, yours is to make memorable moments and shake off the stress while they do what they do best, fueling your energy through good vibes all year long.

Shoutout to every music icon holding it down out there, upholding artistry and pushing the barriers. You are our unsung heroes.

Singer, Songwriter, scriptwriter, blogger, lover of the creative arts, brands and communications expert.

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The Big 'E'

Ghana music industry – How to differentiate between true and false prophets

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Ghana music industry - How to differentiate between true and false prophets
Ghana music industry - How to differentiate between true and false prophets.

It’s a new year and hence, a fresh perspective and opportunity for key stakeholders in Ghana’s music industry to exceed the limitations and achievements of the past year, but wait! Not so fast. (more…)

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The Big 'E'

So much for loyalty – Zylofon Music saga

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So much for loyalty- Zylofon Music Saga
So much for loyalty- Zylofon Music Saga

We awoke to the headlines reading, “Bench warrant for the arrest of Nana Appiah Mensah(NAM 1) issued” and it seems signees under Zylofon Music have mixed reactions to the news. (more…)

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The Big 'E'

Should gospel music acts be paid for their services? (Part 2)

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Should gospel music acts be paid for their services?
Should gospel music acts be paid for their services? Photo Credit: Josh Laryea/Google

This is the second part of the article “Should gospel music acts be paid for their services?”.

Contrary to the favourable statements made in the previous post, it’s also imperative for artists and musicians to pay more attention to certain details that they overlook and hence, deprives them of their due.

If you should be paid, then note that it’s a full-time commitment that deserves your best inputs not as unto man only but more importantly unto God. You can’t be invited to minister before a well-prepared congregation ready to be piloted at your command to the very throne room of God without intentional preparations both spiritually and musically.

You just can’t be a half-baked product ready to be dished out to the masses. Your duty Is now as spiritual as it is musical and you would need both arsenals to be in good working conditions before presenting your giftings on God’s altar.

We ought to learn to pass through the mandatory process of preparation and brokenness unto humility before God would Himself release that grace of being in demand upon your life. You would have to get right with the word of God, feed your inner man with it and worship with a deeper revelation of Jesus Christ through your instrument play or vocal delivery.

Also, your brand positioning matters. Although Christ gave us all a second chance to make a first impression, man would not. I always say this, even God and everything associated with Him is a brand. You can’t act like a commoner and be expected to be treated like an important personality.

Let your brand speak on your behalf. Let it communicate non-verbally things like, ‘I don’t just play with skill, but with a purpose, an anointing and from revelation’. “I sit and listen attentively to the word of God when being preached and never walk out to chit chat after playing my instrument right in the middle of an ongoing service, no, never”.

“I ensure that whatever you are paying me is well deserved and I give you value for your money and better still I’m not money conscious but kingdom minded”. “I could easily sow a seed of my honorarium on the alter on which I played if I’m led”.

“I command a noble presence and respectful demeanour when you are around me”. “Lastly, I pay my tithes and give my offering to a chorister to place in the offering bowl during offertory time when I’ll be busy playing behind my instrument and I dress to impress in a decent way”.

Let such things be the basic make up of your brand. To the gospel music minister too, ensure you are of a well composed character as you are in anointing.

Look good but don’t be overly stylish and uncomfortable in your own skin in the name of fashion, attracting attention to yourself most of the time rather than on God.

Hire a reasonable agency or person to manage your social media pages. If possible, have a website and office location where bookings and anything related to your brand could be easily accessed both online and offline.

Carry yourself about with some self-worth which is different from pride by the way, and don’t get drowned and imprisoned in the name of branding that you neglect an assignment by the Holy Spirit to minister at a church without the necessary capacity to employ your services.

Don’t always organize events and sing other peoples’ songs. Write yours or get songs written for you or yet still pray for the gift of songwriting and record, perform and promote your own songs with leading names like MiPROMO Media, if you have the financial capacity and more importantly the divine calling to do so.

Don’t minister at a service and walk out right from the altar into your car, pay respect to God’s presence, the man of God who invited you and your fellow brethren in the lord, sit down and be blessed by the ministration of others too. Iron sharpens iron; remember?

On the other hand, one major consent of those against the notion is the fact that everyone serving in one way or the other in the church ought to be paid too from the ushers to each chorister, to the service leaders and even the church deacons since they all work for God.

This assertion might seem true to a point up until the minute the two parties are asked to swap positions. Any artiste or instrumentalist could easily usher but the usher would find it hard to hit a note, or read music let alone play it out on a keyboard. It’s just as simple as that.

The other truth is that while it might be a burden on the finances of some churches to pay each chorister and instrumentalist, the least they can do to show genuine appreciation is to consider the day to day lives of their choristers and instrumentalists, visit, call, recommend them to other paying gigs, link them up with part-time jobs and provide refreshments for them after each service.

All these among other little acts that go a long way to show that you really care and appreciate them for their services and not do the opposite of backlashing and criticizing them for minute errors done.

Don’t say it translates to rewards in heaven and it’s an intangible blessing serving in gods house for free. Give them their due and let them get something to sow seeds with, help the poor with and do all those other requirements wholeheartedly in order to earn their rewards in heaven.

Choosing to play for the gospel music fraternity alone is a decision that releases God’s intangible blessing because you have clearly turned down the highly lucrative offers of the secular music industry to do God’s work and that alone is a great sacrifice.

All you are doing by not honouring your musicians and music ministers is rather putting yourself in an uncomfortable position with God when his minstrels minister in bitterness.

The body of Christ is really vast and if one church doesn’t do the expected, its common place to see your instrumentalists relocate to more suitable churches who have understood these basic necessities and are duly enjoying of the fruit thereof.

Never muzzle the ox that feeds you. You need good music, I know I do too and what’s more, God needs it also to enjoy the sweet aroma of the worship that emanates from it.

We ought to renew our minds and embrace this, for how else would we be able to fight off Gods’ archenemy who apparently was His head musician and now is the brain behind all the profanity and nudity going on in what seems to be a highly appealing and lucrative secular music industry?

The enemy’s happiness stems from the ill-treated and lackadaisical approach to gospel music in churches because it automatically redirects the church folk to thrive under what seems to be a rather popular and well-structured secular music scene.

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