09 Nov
stick to concept

For a very long time, I’ve been observing, music videos of African artists and feel distraught by the deviation from concepts by most of them. In this post, I will be focusing mainly on African Music videos relating to the use of concept.

Essentially, a concept is a plan. A plan is supposed to act as a guide around which a certain idea is centralized. But, what I find mind blogging is how African artists hardly stick to a concept. Most times, I am left confused because there is no correlation at all between the music video and the song lyrics -When this exists it is usually very weak. Shouldn’t there be a link between a song title, lyrics and the music video? Generally, for most songs the audio is first released which is basically a story followed by the music video which brings the lyrics to life. Think of it like a book which was translated into a movie, we expect the main characters we read about in the book to correlate with the character and plot in the movie.

I find it saddening to hear a song which tells a beautiful story, only for the music video to be shallow and not reflect the song lyrics. Then again trends can either strengthen your work or weaken it, we’ve all seen those “common” music videos, which look the same, yes they exhibit fun and a good time which is not a bad thing if it communicates the concept.

I’m not dismissing the fact that sometimes an abstract concept will be the approach taken by the artist. That’s the beauty of art after all. A song whose lyrics is rooted in something emotional and eloquent should not discard this plot and lose meaning through a music video which simply follows trends and does not capture the real story.

I used to dismiss people who pointed out that African artists try too hard to depict American artists. I don’t think it’s literally depicting them but more of following trends, the notion being that if your music video follows a trend its easier for it to break global barriers. Throughout the years’, nudity in specific music genres has always been predominant. But we need to understand and take into consideration the context of our respective countries and what would set us apart from the rest.

Instead of following overtly used trends, let’s try to communicate the concept through clear concise storytelling.

Who knows we might even break more barriers through our own differentiated concepts.

Dumela Shikwambana

Dumela is a business development enthusiast and a devoted marketing & communications specialist with FMCG and business development experience. She holds a BA Corporate Marketing and Communications degree from the University of the Free State. She heads up the sales and market research division at Akio.

  • Adegbenro Michael

    Great article. Government has role in this. There should be an institution to help/train the artists come up with a more creative way. Sensitization is equally important…environment should dictate the trend in music styles and not by copying styles that do not reflect our culture in Africa.

  • amanda

    A unique piece of art breaks more boudaries than what is common and repetitive. Think about it Da Vanci the great artworks are still revered till this day. Why you might ask, simply because it’s original. In agreement with this briliant article, a concept should simply be a guiding plan reflective of captivating originality.

  • Cindy T Hoveni

    ‘Validation’ author! From your social media likes – be it a status update or a selfie, to the media that scrutinize every Lil thing artist put out there. And because we live in a generation that follows trends most ends up losing the plot along the way, I mean from sex sells to swagg to dabbing and alla that… What inspires originality if one puts it out there and get zero likes.

    • Hi Cindy, thank you for your comment on the article, could you please elaborate more on some of the points you raised, in the context of the article, by validation author are you referring to the blogger or the artists we made mention of in the article. Are you also saying that artists must sacrifice their art just to get “likes or popularity. Should the solution just be to follow trends or create great work that will have an impact on people’s lives. Is the goal really for attention or for likes or is it much more than that?

  • Cindy T Hoveni


    • Thank you Cindy, could your please explain the meaning of your hashtag in the context of the article so we can engage further

  • Original Cindy

    May the management of Akio please note that when we comment we need to be engaged so we know our views are taken into consideration and Akio as professionals will come up with a way to fine tune them and actually do something about it as in start a movement of some sort. If you don’t I’m going straight to hello Peter! I demand a debate! #idontneedlikes

    • Hi Cindy, we have replied to your comments, please feel free to engage us further


  • twitter

    Hi fumani.

    No I’m not talking about the author directly, I’m merely saying our generation lives for validation, be it individuals in corporate, students or public figures hence we post things on social media and keep checking how many likes we got because we got to that point where we don’t believe in ourselves enough and have to rely on compliments to boost our confidence. Back to the matter at hand, people, in this case artists rather stick to what the media and the public are comfortable with and liking as in trending at that point than have to go through the process of being in the limelight for being different or shud we say sticking to the concept and be cyber bullied. In short all I’m saying is we, as a nation need to stop looking for validation and grow a pair so we can be innovative.