Sunday, June 5, 2016

Somizi Mhlongo — The Magnificent | How He Is Changing The Game


To say Somizi is on a high right now would be an understatement. The all round entertainer has been riding a wave of attention and celebrity adulation for the last two years — and the industry is better for it. 

In the time of #OpenUpTheIndustry, Somizi is hardly an ingènue or a new face but given that the star has suffered more ups and downs than Khanyi Mbau, he does get the honorary pass to being a newcomer. 

Yes, we have known Somizi for over two decades but for most of that time he had just been a B-lister or a sidekick. Now the 44 year old father of one is finally getting the recognition and platform he so deserves. 

There is more to this though... see, Somizi has always been a step ahead of the game in South Africa. Sometimes I felt he was just too ahead that there was no space for him in an industry that has been more about politics than creative ingenuity. 

Long before it became cool to have drag queen on tv, Somizi was doing it. Long before exorbitance and flamboyance was accepted by South Africans as a form of expression for artists, Somizi was doing it. We needed Lady Gaga to have permission to explore those avenues in our industry. Sad but it's true. 


Withholding speaking about his famous fallout with Bonang until he did on his reality show —that was genius. He completely pulled Beyonce Lemonade-esque move on South Africans. That speaks to the man who understands this business. Take note!

With his unanimously praised nod as the host of the 22nd South African Music Awards ceremony alongside Thando Thabethe this weekend, Somzi solidified what we all knew but were never ready to embrace; the man is a creative fireball!

His self deprecating and unfiltered humor is just what the industry needed and he couldn't have brought it at the right time. There is a wave of change in the horizon. I believe we are over "it girls" now and we are looking for a new set of entertainers to fill the vacuum. 


This new wave wont be about the weaves or Twitter, but it will be about being an entertainer that pushes boundaries. A la Beyonce, the likes of Somizi have staying power because they are not manufactured talents but creative entertainers who are able to reinvent themselves and/or push the envelope.

South Africans do not want American-wannabes. We are embracing our own identity and someone like Somizi encapsulates that need. Juxtapose his character to what we have been accustomed to of late, the beneficent entertainer stands tall above the fray of twangers as someone who embraces his South African-ness and gives back to the industry by employing and giving opportunities to others as he rises. 

With his reality show, stint as Idols judge, now a major award show hosting nod under his belt and his magnanimous character, he is set to have a major impact in this industry. He is building a legacy that will revolutionise this business. 

I genuinely believe he can be the first South African celebrity to successfully commercialise his brand. I believe his fitness DVD or a clothing line would sell. Simply because I see him as someone who understands this country and would not just act like a Mariah Carey and expect that just because he is Somizi people will just buy — I see him getting out there and pushing his product. 

A clear evidence of his genius was how he managed to promote his upcoming DVD during the ceremony by mentioning that Big Nuz will need it. He did it without shoving his business endeavor down our throat like that other guy. 

There is sense of being genuine about Somizi that a lot of celebrities lack. He speaks the South African language — and I don't mean vernacular, I mean our way of interacting. You wanna think he is your friend even if you don't know him. That is a quality that can make him a lot of money and endears him to a lot of South Africans. 



The music thing did not work for him because let's face it; he doesn't have the voice for it. Sorry. What he has in abundance is creativity, experience and a flare for connecting with people. That, I believe, is what will motivate people to buy anything he sells. 

The SAMAs giving Somizi and Thando the job to be host was the best decision ever made by the organisers and will have great benefit for the industry in that it proves that; if you give other people a chance, you elevate the game and expose the country to fresh entertainment. 

Somizi killed it on Saturday, and Thando was just a perfect partner. Since the two personalities are not driven by the "slay" monster, they never tried ti outdo each other. Thando understood that Somizi is the funny one and Somizi knew that Thando is the more refined articulate one so they balanced each other well. It was a pleasure to watch. 

Moving forward from the SAMAs, the game has changed. I think we are now going to see other people beside Bonang, Boity, Pearl Thusi and Minnie Dlamini getting opportunities to headline or host events. 

#OpenUpTheIndustry doesn't mean get inexperienced people. It means widen up the opportunity platform and that will inevitably create a space for new people to come in and gain experience. 

He announced last week that he is joining SABC radio. Looking forward to see what Somizi will do next especially since his success is an opportunity for many others. 


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