Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You Gotta Give AKA Props



South African rapper is said to have once tweeted; "when people play candy crush, I play Twitter". Those words have never rang truer than they did this week when he once again got social and traditional media on a frenzy by claiming his relationship with Bonang has ended, less than 24 hours later apologised to his lady with a Gucci bag, then dropped his latest single today. 

Khanyi Mbau once said that God opens doors for people, she found seven and is using all of them. Well, the Mega King found the keys to the social media platform and he didn't just move in, he has taken over the house. 

There is credence to the argument that AKA's public posts about his relationship with Bonang are hurting her brand. However, one has to admit that she is clearly an accomplice in the shenanigans — even if it is after the fact. This was made evident by her posts about the apology bag just a day after he seemingly put her on blast. 

When lots of people, some of whom are unemployed, could be using this platform to pay their bills but aren't, there are others who recognise the opportunities provided by social media. Much as we can all have our disdain for the posts as publicity stunts, at the end of the day, the fact that he gets our attention enough for us to be bothered, means he has achieved his goal.  




Someone once said that the greatest player is the one who tells you he is playing you and you complain but still get onto the ring with him. AKA has been open with his tricks to play people on Twitter, many know this and still engage his antics. Though unhealthy it may be for all parties, it continues because AKA, Bonang and the public are willing to be participants in the game. 

As for the impact on his career, there is no denying that these antics are paying off for the superstar. This is a tried and tested modus operandi for AKA. Few years ago he took on the entertainment industry establishment when he called them out for treating international stars better than they do our own. He unapologetically put it on social media that he demands to be given the same reverence and perks given to international stars performing in SA, and now he is one of only few people who have an artist rider that is honoured by artists bookers. He wins. 

I think AKA deserves props because in an industry where people suffer in silence and are beholden to establishment rules, he is breaking all the rules and is getting away with it. He has found his niche and is using it to benefit his career. How can you hate him for that?! Ok, you don't have to love him but you can appreciate his ingenuity — however unconventional it may be.

In an industry that is constantly evolving, artists like AKA have to find ways to play the game using the latest tools. Nothing new about this. The gimmicks and publicity stunts are as part of the entertainment as the talent is. International artists have been pulling these moves on the public for as long as celebrity culture has existed. It will continue for as long as the public is amenable and ready to buy into it. 


It is no coincidence that AKA "breaks up" with her woman, buys her a bag to apologise and follows that with a song with the lyrics; "I got big plans but I don't buy faces I buy sick Bags". Once again he is telling you what he is doing and we buy into it. Genius. 

It is not AKA's fault that the entertainment media these days has divorced itself from the core journalism rules of investigating before publishing stories. Investigative journalism is dead in this industry. Reputable publications ( and I use this term loosely after this mess) all ran with the break up story citing AKA's posts as their only source. Not a single journalist bothered to find out the how and why of the story.

We may never know if AKA and Bonang did indeed break up. The chronology of events casts  suspicion on the story. What is undeniable is that AKA emerges out of this as a winner because he has kept us talking about him for three days and today we are talking about "The Caiphus Song".

Sidenote: Note how the conversation around the Caiphus Song is not so much about the merits of the track as an artistic offering but is all tied to the relationship drama. Good or bad, you will know the song and it is getting media attention without the scrutiny is should be getting as art. Genius. 




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