The layman might acknowledge Cassper Nyovest's efforts for filling up Orlando Stadium but one can argue that Brenda Fassie has done it before so what's the big deal? Others argued that Kanye West or any other international artist can fill up the venue, while some mentioned that international artists do that all the time. Well, let me share what I know, which you possibly don’t, to make you see things in a different light.
1. Investing In Self:
Let me take you back to last year a bit. The last urban international hip hop artist that filled the Dome was J-Cole. Before that it was Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, The Game, Jay Z and then Chris Brown who couldn’t fill it up. An all star lineup of international artists from BET’s Experience Africa including Maxwell, Mary J Blige, Future and Raphael Saadiq couldn’t fill up the Dome. The last local act to fill up the Dome was The Parlotones who were only selling 14 000 tickets and not 20 000.
Therefore all perceptions of an international artist resonating more than local talent are questionable. Without a doubt, there’s an exception to one or two international artists but to generalise is a huge mistake. The fact that a boy from Mafikeng had the audacity to risk his money and go against the grain by not only attempting to fill the Dome but also Orlando Stadium is the type of confidence and self investment that should be applauded. He could have wasted the money but he put money back into himself when no one else believed... That's excellence.
2. Making The Impossibe Possible:
Now let's talk about what goes behind creating an event of this magnitude and what the experts would pay. If a brand is involved, there’s probably over a 100 people that would be directly involved in this project. Excluding the brand, there would probably be three agencies involved. These would be an above-the-line agency which is the radio, television and billboard team, meaning the ads you see on television and outdoors, and those you hear on the radio. There would be the below-the-line agency which is all the marketing in the stores where a brand's product is being sold or just the guys that do the event. Finally, you have the digital agency which is all the ads you see on Facebook, Twitter etc. It would probably cost a minimum of 20 million to have all these teams. I can guarantee you that Cassper’s team probably had atleast 20 people directly involved and I can’t confirm what they spent but I know that it’s not close to 20 million. As black kids from the ghetto who only started making money three years ago, they achieved a turn out that has never been seen by most brands that have been around for over 50 years and have worlds of wealth. They made what's impossible a reality twice in a row.
3. Investing In Ourselves:
South Africa showed how amazing they are. Our consumers are sometimes undermined and are always called out for not supporting their own. In this case, the fans showed up in numbers to support a young man from Mafikeng with a dream. The consumer could have spent money on anything that we don’t own or never founded, instead black spent on black. That alone is a communal excellence that’s hardly showcased in our race. If we are consistent with this, in thirty years' time we’d be the new Jews and consequently if more of us are rich, we all become each other's crutches.
4. When The Culture Unites:
When black people unite behind closed doors it's safe, but immediately when we unite in public it’s a problem. The level of support that Cassper received from almost every artist before the show was all public and overwhelming. Influential powerhouses like Ambitiouz Entertainment, Mabala Noise, Somizi Mhlongo, Cashtime Life, Wizkid, Davido, Scoop, Black Coffee, DJ Fresh, his ex Boity and even his biggest foe AKA showed their support. This was done through Instagram, tweets and even via performances at his show. The "danger" is that if we keep supporting each other like this our collective influence widens. If we take this unity to the boardrooms then everyone immediately starts working with us and we aren’t working for them anymore. We’ve been consumers and workers for too long and unity can easily change that. This is the danger of Black Excellence.
Fill Up Orlando Stadium was not about Cassper, it was about us - the fans, consumers, bloggers, artists, brands and the dreamers. It was an opportunity to reflect on our impact as a unit when we get together for one purpose. It’s no shade to other races or brands, but if we don’t open our people's eyes to the deeper meaning of these things then we are just like every other publication.