Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Minnie Vs Tropika: I'm With Minnie Dlamini On This One.


Television presenter, Minnie Dlamini, is getting flack after reports surfaced that she and the production company behind Tropika TV Paradise are having a row. The production is currently filming with the star in the Seychelles. 

According to media reports, the producers allegedly have become fed up with Minnie Dlamini's diva demands. Apparently Dlamini demanded that her entourage accompany her to the Seychelles a day before she was supposed to fly from South Africa to the island paradise. She is reported to have wanted her own stylist and social media team to go with her as well.

Furthermore, the star allegedly went ballistic in the Seychelles when she found out that the Tropika Island of Treasure producers had decided to tweak the show format and add a co-presenter.

Media reports: 
The production earlier this year announced that Jonathan Boynton-Lee, a presenter on SABC3's Top Billing will be brought in in the new role of Games Master on the 7th season of Tropika Island of Treasure who will encourage and talk the various teams through the challenges that will include physical and mental puzzles. 
Minnie Dlamini had no problem with that. She was however angered when she discovered, after arriving in the Seychelles, that Cardova Productions wanted to add a full co-presenter with whom she would have to share the spotlight.

In a statement responding to this, Minnie Dlamini says;
"Cardova and Tropika offered me the sole hosting position of the upcoming season which I signed on for. I specifically asked not to be considered if they were looking for two presenters." 
"The last minute they wanted to introduce a co-host which I refused as per the initial agreement. There was conflict on the island as a result," 
So thats the gist of this mess. My thoughts...

First of all, let me prefix this by admitting that I am not a Minnie fan so this is not some beehive thing. My one and only personal encounter with her was an unpleasant one so I do not pay much attention to what she does. That said, I respect her as an industry colleague and business person. 

Yes, I did say business person. Because that's exactly what one has to become to be successful in this industry. Those who fail to monetise and build sustainable brands in this industry do so because they do not treat themselves as a business. 

Tackling the issue of demands; It always rubs me the wrong way whenever a South African artist is dubbed a diva when they ask for what could possibly be deemed the bare basic expectations for a star anywhere in the world. 

Dlamini asked for her own personal social media person to accompany her, so what? She is a star. She has her own team. Asking that they be accommodated is not a diva demand and the employer, if he can't afford it, has every right to decline the request. That does not make the request inappropriate. 

This annoys me because it feeds into the old notion that black entertainers should just be grateful for the job. Don't ask for anything or complain. This very apartheid reminiscent attitude is what has kept black entertainers in the shackles of poverty all these years, even now when production companies are owned by people who look like us. 

If Dlamini had asked for an entourage that was way beyond the scope of reasonable professionalism, like asking to have her friends come along, then thats obviously wrong. But if all she asked for was a stylist, social media person, a photographer and an assistant, then I see nothing wrong with that. I am surprised it is not a common practice. Those people are important for the star's brand. 



Let's look at the contract issue. 


If indeed Dlamini had specifically stated that she did not want to be considered for the job if the show intended to have two presenters why lie to her. She accepted the job with the agreement that she would be the only host. Period. 

How is she being a diva if she wants the producers to stick to the agreed terms of her employment? She doesn't want to be in a show where she has to co-host. Why expect her to just accept that? 

Again it goes back to my previously mentioned problem of treating blacks like disposable garbage and not valued talent. 

She must just be grateful to have a job and shut up?! Nonsense. Her being ok with Jonathan being the game master was a compromise on her part but having a full on co-host was definitely a breach of contract, regardless of it being a verbal understanding or written one.  

Suffice it to say, I stand with Dlamini on this one. We are tired of having our artists being treated like they don't deserve respect. Artists riders are not some new thing, it is a common industry practice for stars to make requests and the employer can negotiate which, within the budget, can be accommodated. 

Anyone who signs on to do a project with set expectations, as per the agreement with the employer, would be annoyed when suddenly the terms of such project are changed without any regard for his or her opinion on the matter. 

Shame on the media for trying to tarnish our stars when all they want is what is due to them. Respect. Consideration.

Good for you Minnie for not just rolling over!





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