As the year 2014 comes to an end, many have already drafted their New Year resolution. The list is generally a self-improvement checklist, but very few are successful in following them through. Lately there have been talks about what Liberian entertainers, bloggers, promoters, Dj’s, the music union of Liberia and “experts” should do differently in 2015. We have long been preaching on unity and progress. But it is obvious we have a disarranged entertainment industry, where industry “professionals “ pay no mind to those that are out of their clique and networking circle. For the past 11 months, some entertainment personnel have boldly spoken out on social media sites, such as Facebook — our music industry backbone, which is seen as a reliable source for entertainment nominations; award committees and to discover the movers and shakers in Liberian entertainment.
Liberian entertainers worldwide can now network with a certain group of “industry “professionals; activities on Facebook have no doubt influenced who gets the most nominations and promotions, although there are entertainers in Liberia with more buzz and fans, with some artists and promoters complaining “Liberians do not like their own thing “ . If we only choose to acknowledge the views of those online and of people living in the west, we will not progress, and will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Liberians living in Liberia are the ones that celebrate and support our entertainers. Some artists living back home and in the West are acknowledged by fans back in Liberia . Yet they are not being heard, seen, given a chance or nominated for these Liberian entertainment awards; simply because they are not active online. The artist with the most followers on Facebook is put on a higher pedestal. In my opinion it is no longer about talent, for there are talented individuals living in Liberia and abroad, whose way is being blocked and talent overshadowed.
This is just one example of what is off target in Liberian entertainment. New York based Liberian Dj, DJ EZ wrote:
“2015 Liberian Artists — Could we make a Difference? Can we be consistent with hits after hits, one or two hits a year is unacceptable! Be more creative that other nationalities could relate to you; don't lose your identity; and to the ones that got no skills, talent or creativity, he wrote: Please step aside and stop giving good Liberian artist a bad name. 2015 is the year for LIBERIAN artist to take their place among the best. "
His Facebook posting sparked a discussion between Liberian entertainment personnel. The post had over 80 comments, with mix views. Some brought about the idea of having a DJ committee.
JB SoulFresh ( From the Hip-co group, SoulFresh) wrote:
" Besides we need a platform on a special website for Liberian songs " . His comment was followed by two U.S based Dj's: " We are working on a dj record pool. It will be a panel of djs and industry experts. They will review the songs before it's approved to hit the website." – Dj Chirpz
“Nice, maybe award shows can use that to nominate artist." –(Musician) I am Dash.
Blogger and promoter Talee SuperCute Sahn commented: "Set up an e-mail and let people send in their work and start reviewing.”
“Review system, the song with the best reviews from all the DJs gets played” — Dj Fanz lib
The discussion seemed to be almost endless. But then this comment by Liberian reggae artist Black Diamond caught my attention.
He wrote: “While we are on this mission to have our place in the music industry, I suggest that you guys have a Liberian DJ’s musical committee; where every Liberian artist could send a song to the committee for a review, and there will be a vote to see if a track is ready for a club play or whether it is good to chill or ride when listening to it. Because not every track is a club or dance music. Some tracks can be good but not danceable or good enough to be played in clubs or at parties. "
“Those are some of the major mistakes that some of our artists make. They feel like every song they make should be played at clubs or parties. If they ignore the committee's recommendation, they can release it but can’t also complain when it is not played. The committee's role will not be a dictatorial role. For instance the artists cannot release their track if the committee does not agree. None of that! The committee will only serve as an advisory board as to what the artist could do to improve the track. Again, the artist can choose to ignore the advice or opinions of the committee but at least he got one and is free to do as he or she wishes. "
On the other end of Facebook, Afro Dance Singer Douk De LIB made this post on his timeline, before commenting on Dj Ez 2015 Liberian music discussion.
“LIB got so many talents but too much noise to distract others from really understanding the depth of our talents. There's a fine line between promo and making for-nothing noise. I think it’s about time we let the work do the talking. Stop comparing artists and appreciate the art. And to the bloggers in as much as I appreciate what some of you guys do, some of you only need to promote one artist. For instance; you blog about artist A.; ladies and gentlemen meet this great, intelligent, and capturing artist. Mr. A. Then blog about artist B and meet him. It comes off almost as though they forcing you to promote Artist b. It is very professional, to have no bias in blogging.
“When in doubt, buzz Liberia. Artists respect is reciprocal, whether they were doing music since 1912 or 2014. Being humble will take our industry where we want it to go. These are my thoughts and how I feel about our industry. "
Will there be a big change in 2015? , will some of these ideas transpire? Will the award shows be well organized, inclusive, fair and balanced? I guess only time will tell.