The “Cross Over” Phenomenon

May 31, 2011 by  

I am an avid lover of music and the performing arts in general. I have always enjoyed researching about how everything works within the entertainment industry. One term that has always left a bad taste in my mouth has always been “cross-over” as I found it to introduce an element of race into something that should not be racially driven.

I believe that music and art in general is universal. I have, however realised that race and sexuality are some of the things that we as humans obsess over and I have learned to deal with it.  In dealing with it, I decided to rationalise it in order for it not to annoy me as much.

Somehow I found Nkalakatha racist. Not the song per se but the fact that the White community in South Africa shoved that song down our throats as the greatest Kwaito song ever. It just showed me how uninterested in our music they are. How they expect us to dance to that song at every corporate function withstanding the fact that all the Black people I know find that song completely annoying. But I do digress as that is not really what I want to write about.

What I want to discuss is how the concept of “crossing over” in South Africa doesn’t make sense to me. In the United States, Black people only form 13% of the population and therefore I understand when Black artists try and appeal to the White community which is around 74% of the overall population. It makes sense that the only people that thrive are those that have managed to “cross over”.  Hence why your Rihanna’s and Beyonce’s will feature artists like Britney Spears and Lady Gaga on their albums. It explains why Black Actors/Actresses have to star in “white” movies in order to gain recognition in the form of Golden Globes and Oscars.

In South Africa it should be a different story altogether. In this country Black people form almost 80% of the population and White people are about 9% of the population but our definition of crossing over still means appealing to the white audience. Yes, I am aware of the fact that White people in this country still control the economy but in terms of consumer expenditure Black people are the main contributors. It makes no sense to me that advertisers and corporate pour more money into stations like 5fm and other “White” radio stations. It makes no sense that most of the sponsorships go to 5fm DJ’s. It makes no sense that “White” musicians get all the great car sponsorships whilst our Black artists get all the brands that are still trying to establish themselves in this country. I see more Black people in Audi’s more than White people but the only Black artist that I know in a sponsored proper Audi is Lira besides the A1’s that were recently given out.

Black people love themselves some VW but the only artists driven by VW are the Parlotones. We consume way more alcohol than any other race in this country but it is still difficult to obtain proper sponsorship for events than it is for White people in this country. All of our young and talented DJ’s dream of ending up on 5fm because of the perks that come with it. Why is the corporate industry in this country so keen in investing in the minority instead of the majority of its consumer base? Is a remnant of Apartheid still thriving in the entertainment industry? This is just my observation as a member of the public and someone in entertainment, I could be wrong.

By Mablerh ©

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83 Comments on "The “Cross Over” Phenomenon"

  1. Nthoentle on Tue, 31st May 2011 12:44 am 

    1st! Kwa kwa kwa

  2. Lulo Cafe on Tue, 31st May 2011 12:49 am 

    Intriguing….im new and still observing and learning….a lot of truth in this article….there are a lot of disturbing things i discovered about the industry and for me these mentioned are part of the reason why a lot of the industry’s success stories are always temporary….especially those of our colour…but there is a major opportunity to bring change…the script needs to be re-written….we need a lot of focused players though….major support from government and media as well….to end this off there needs to be investment….not to the artists but to the entertainment industry in general…..our industry is sadly flooded with a lot of instant glory and wealth seekers….this is detrimental…

  3. Terri-Mo on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:11 am 

    What I don’t understand is why we as black people keeping supporting these brands that could care less about us? They won’t support our artists but our rands are good enough for them. I honestly don’t get black brand managers who continously fund the a minority to the disadvantage of the majority! For Shame For Shame!!!!!

  4. Jahara on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:34 am 


  5. Madoncan on Tue, 31st May 2011 5:16 am 

    @Jahara 0_o #dead n buried Lol

  6. amaZin on Tue, 31st May 2011 6:28 am 

    I am not in this industry and don’t plan on getting into it but what was said in this article is so true,why would Dj’s aspire to make it to a station that mainly appeals to whites?!Its sad that in order to be a success in this country we STILL have to succumb to the white minority…Great article MaBlerh

  7. boitsss on Tue, 31st May 2011 7:05 am 

    I get wat u r saying in the article but one thing I know for sure is that any good marketer does research before sponsoring anyone and maybe these different brands do research nd maybe u can find out y they choose the people that they choose. The other thing is that white artist are still the best selling even though they r the minority. Any brand wants a person who will represent their brand well and appeal to its market for a long time but if you look at the tabloids every week you will c how much dirt is dished out about different blk artists so I think b4 blaming the ppl for being racist maybe we should start with the media coz they r the ones who bring them down at every chance they get which leads to them not getting sponsorship

  8. GA on Tue, 31st May 2011 7:27 am 

    As i read the last paragraph all i could think of was “capitalist nigga” the book.
    In all industries, black people we have a lot pf ground to break and make historical differences.

    @Boitss, agree with you, but the negative media isnt the only factor. Thwy put thewmselves out there. Leera is doing so well because she doesnt put herself in compromising situations. They must take responsibility for what the SW dishes about them…the artists that is….

  9. boitsss on Tue, 31st May 2011 7:50 am 

    @GA so true. As soon as u invite the media into ur home then they will always be there through good times n esp through bad. The only time u c Lira on tv is at awards, interviews, where she was performing or at decent events so I would also want her to endorse a brand I was managing… Nd truth be told blk ppl don’t buy CDs which is y they want to “cross over” to the minority so their CDs can b sold.

  10. black beauty on Tue, 31st May 2011 8:15 am 

    Only Mablerh could write such an insightful and accurate article. So true!

  11. Biskiti on Tue, 31st May 2011 8:22 am 

    Interesting article Blehrzozo! I agree with Boitss & GA, some of our artist make it very easy for established companies to use the lame excuse that “they do not represent the values of those respective companies”. And the fact that us black people don’t support our artists kahle, by buying pirated cds, getting comps to their shows, etc. makes matters worse. That’s why best selling album will not go to a darkie anytime soon.

    We need to wake up as a nation and review the way we do things. As much as Capitalist Nigger (the book) was a bore as it complained about us being incompetent and consumer-minded, there is soo much truth in it, and the sooner we wake-up and realise we are being fakd in the ass the better. And this translates into all the industries, not just the intertainment industry kalokhu.

    White people ke ya ba bona, by the time maChina le MaIndian/Pakistani ba fetsa ka rona, we’ll be in masepeng, struu bob.

  12. Biskiti on Tue, 31st May 2011 8:30 am 

    Wow, i didn’t know that Black people in America only make 13% of the population, yet they dominate so many spheres in America and beyond. Interesting indeed.

  13. DexterSUPERIOR on Tue, 31st May 2011 8:33 am 

    This race thing is gonna get out of hand if we keep entertaining it. This article is confusing me. Mablerh, I believe you answered your question when you pointed out that white people still control the economy. They have more buying power, so why would corporate wanna invest on Ukhozi FM whose listeners are never gonna buy their product. Corporate is not part of the arts industry. Are you saying they are influenced by the arts industry in making their decisions? Surely they’re smart enough to spot a good investment without being swayed.

    Reality is white artists take themselves more seriously. Their music is always of high quality. That’s why corporate gravitates towards them.

    There are many other black artists who are getting love from corporate, simply because they take their art seriously (Lira, Malaika, Loyiso, HHP, etc).

    If I were Audi and had to choose between Louise Carver and Tina Mkwaiwa, I’d choose Louise in a heartbeat.

    We run the country now, so we cant keep blaming apartheid. It’s the remnants of mediocrity that are plaguing us. Instead, let’s find solutions of how we can fix this industry.

  14. MaBlerh on Tue, 31st May 2011 8:34 am 

    Boitss and GA, I hear you but you have this all wrong. This is not an argument about album sales as we are in the digital era where record companies no longer focus on album sales, the true measure of an artist is the bookings you get. Besides that, I’m not just focusing on recording artists but also on our actors and presenters. The main objective of sponsorship deals is to allow your brand to speak to your consumers through an individual/event that they relate to. This logic leads me to believe that people like Menzi Ngubane should be given Audi A5′s as the people that buy those cars relate to him. Lulo Cafe should be in a Golf 6 sponsored by VW as the people that love his music drive those cars.

  15. MaBlerh on Tue, 31st May 2011 8:43 am 

    Dexter, the corporate industry is a major contributing sector in the arts. The reason why American artists are rich is partly because of endorsement deals. Also, you can’t compare Louise Carver and Tina, rather ask yourself why isn’t Sbongile Khumalo in a sponsored car. Her audience has the buying power to purchase high end vehicles. I attend Jazz festivals and you should see the cars that people drive there. The notion of white people having the buying power however doesn’t mean that they are the main contributors to mainstream consumer revenue. If Black people boycotted VW and Audi, the companies would shut down. Simple.

  16. Mapakisha on Tue, 31st May 2011 8:55 am 

    Nice read & after seeing the circus called “SAMA 17″, I couldn’t agree more.

  17. IamMissHope on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:02 am 

    Great article. Mablerh has a point hey really, so much has to change, so so much. 90% of my friends drive VW and they had to go and sponsor The Parlatones, why???

  18. LadyM on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:15 am 

    funny how the black djs were taken in at 5fm to “draw” the black listeners. but the djs themselves turned white
    *puts on a bulletproof vest*

  19. DexterSUPERIOR on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:18 am 

    …but corporate doesn’t randomly choose artists to represent them. Yes, corporate makes artists rich but they dont MAKE an artist. They choose artists who are already established, artists that are relevant, that appeal to the masses. That’s why Sibongile doesn’t have an endorsement of any kind. She has a niche following. We might know who she is but that doesn’t mean we all flock to her concerts or buy her work. Noeleen, who is black, relevant and around the same age group as Sibongile has an Audi endorsement, so did iHhashi elimhlophe.

  20. Cutie on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:20 am 

    Mablerh…I’m black and all that. But I have issues when we always look pull the race card all the time.
    I do beleive that the sponsors look at role models before anything else.
    Why are you blaming white people for donating to white stations? How many black rich people out there spend their money like water and never donate to the so called “black” stations? Why does it have to be a white person? We have more black millionaires now than before, but they don’t folk a dime towards South African Economic Development and Sustainability. Why?
    How many black artists appear on Sunday papers for negative press? Who would want to be associated with such artists?
    Have we ever asked our black artists why they squander the money they get from the gigs? When they die or get sick, they have to get donations from people.
    Have we ever asked why our Black artists (men) think having plenty of women at a time is the way to go?
    A lot of successful artists drive flashy cars during their prime, but they don’t invest at all. They drink expensive alcohol and show off. Is that a white person doing that? Should we now feel pity when they don’t have dime and pull the race cards?

  21. MaBlerh on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:27 am 

    Hold on guys, what is this Sunday papers and negative press? There are more Black artists and therefore we would appear more on tabloids furthermore, a headline about the Parlotones or Patricia Lewis on Sunday Sun and Sunday world will not sell the paper. @Cutie, this is not about donations, it is about corporates and brand alignment.

  22. manny on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:33 am 

    @the article -truestory ……*crossing my fingers *”We consume way more alcohol than any other race in this country but it is still difficult to obtain proper sponsorship ”

    its true mara still no sponsorship at darkie events ,,,,go to oppie-koppie its like they bring the whole SAB FROM NEWTOWN TO THE FARM.why coz ke makgowa,,,,
    i also agree with GA AND BOOITS to some degree..most of our black artist live circus lives therefore major companies will not want to be associated with such .

  23. EricSayz on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:34 am 

    Great article. “Poor quality” is a tired sorry excuse for not supporting local content. Fact is, unless we support local, it won’t get better. It can’t get any better without resources and investment from fans.

    On the subject of endorsements, unfortunately, many get into the entertainment for the wrong reasons and this affects the rest of the so called “industry”. Stereotypes about “black” entertaners are a reality. If people who merely make bookings, chauffeur you around and hang out with you are called “publicist’s &/ manager’s”, things will not change. What is needed are advisors, not managers. Manage what?

    Ideally an advisor should be someone who has commercial experience. Anyone can be a manager, Mr Manager, tell me, do you have any business experience? any commercial management experience? So how is this “manager” going to position the artist to make money from corporates? Strategy is another element that lacks in our entertainers, you don’t have to take any endorsement on the table or take everything at once. There are people that you look at and think, great, you got so many things going for you. This, that, that, and that, well what’s gonna happen to you 5 years from now? You are exhausting yourself & your business. Where is the advise & strategy? This is a complex issue influenced by a number of things.

    Please mind the grammar & typos.

    *This piece was written on behalf of Eric by his publicist.

  24. TheSushiQueen on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:36 am 

    5fm achieved cross – over appeal by starting to play more music that black people can relate to and having a number of black DJ’s on the station. The likes of 5FM and Highveld Stereo are the stations of the future in that they dont try to cater to one demograhpic of South Afican society.. and they are growing and eating away at the listernship of YFM and Metro FM who can’t seem to decide on their identity. Maybe thats why every DJ’s dream is to be on 5 and why corporate sponsorships are thrown in their direction.

  25. Cutie on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:39 am 

    @MaBlerh – The Black People I’m talking about have businesses (established ones). I don’t mean they have to personally donate, but their businesses can support these so called “black” stations, but they don’t.
    As stated above, some of the people identified as role models have been sponsored with cars and other deals.
    There are still some black artists who don’t let fame get into their heads, but most of them do and the results are always disastrous.

  26. TheSushiQueen on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:44 am 

    Maybe there is a skills shortage in the black music industry? All I can say is look at what Lira was doing when she was with 999 and look at what she’s doing now that she is managed by her white husband with his white connections in the industry. There is a clear similarity between the White corporate world and the music industry.

  27. DexterSUPERIOR on Tue, 31st May 2011 9:50 am 

    @Eric, poor quality isn’t an excuse. Please take time to watch Simunye Grooves tonight for about 30min, then switch to MK for another 30min. It’ll all make sense.

    I also dont get what you mean by saying we should support the music so that it improves. Do you mean that we should buy music that doesn’t sound good, cross our fingers and hope that one day it will sound good? I dont remember doing that when I first bought Lira’s and HHPs albums

  28. boitsss on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:00 am 

    I agree with cutie we really should stop pulling the race card… Dj sbu had an audi endorsement nd wat did he do? Drive way over the speed limit almost double… Zola had a cell c endorsement wat did he do? Didn’t pay child support nd was in the papers for all the wrong reasons…

  29. Lucy on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:04 am 

    I think our black artists have come along way too with sponsorships and more corporate opportunities to market their music..lets look at it 10 years ago and then see how far they’ve also come..i dont like pulling the race card for every short coming we have

    Besides..maybe one day when some ‘artists’ take their craft more seriously then investors will too (the more popular ones that is)

  30. Lucy on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:06 am 

    True Boitsss

    Then they expect opportunities to come flooding their way just because they have a huge following

  31. Mmaditaba on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:06 am 

    I have to agree with Dexter, Sushiqueen and Eric.

    Abhantu abampovu hold themselves of high esteem ,while we black people would rather care more about spending thousands at ZAR ,girls and the ‘smooth life. First and formost nje we blacks dont conduct ourselves as role models. Fame conquers us while white people take it very seriously and they measure the future more than they do the present. So when Audi chooses to sponsor a white renowned event than a black one its mildly because they consider the image and that whoeva getz spons0red needs to be appealing. uLira is a great example of good branding,and thats all because she has a great team of white oaks backing her and her husband is white so shes marketed quite well and decently conducted.

    This is not even just about musicians. Actors and presenterz included. Now imagine Audi sponsoring Dineo Ranaka? Madnes only because although shes one of the best presenters but she always somehow makes it to the papers for things that are not so decent. Shes just 1 example of the many blacks who go about things the wrong way and thus will never be seen as a gud brand to associate with.

    Lets mentilally get of our black state and actualy think like a white man for once when it cumz to things that matter the most! And again the piracy shows the lack of support we have for our own people, that way we wnt complain about whitez nt coming to us but more on stabilizing what we have(Support does come along way though).

    As an artist respect your job first b4 expecting anyone else to do so. When you cum acror like Lira,trust me we wont throw a Zola on you. ;-)

  32. EricSayz on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:09 am 

    @Dexter – That’s exacly my point. Would you rate PRO & Tumi & The Volume as good quality? Then why are we not seeing more of PRO? Why is Tumi & The V bigger overseas than here?

    If it ever was about “quality” then so many of these people wouldn’t be around, angin, it is just an excuse.

    Support entertainment as is. It will get better, it will grow and the quality will improve, in spite of itself. Unconventional yes, and that’s what is needed.

    Simunye WHAT? Dexter, when last did you watch SABC1? “We are one” my friend!

  33. Mmaditaba on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:11 am 

    Across not acror{ Jammer for typos.}

  34. boitsss on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:17 am 

    Nd maybe VW decided to sponsor the parlotones because they already have brand loyalty in the black market and would like to also appeal to the white market just like Puegeot is driven by mostly white people I think nd now they r sponsoring Bonang nd Poppi so they can appeal to the blk market.

  35. boitsss on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:18 am 

    Nd maybe VW decided to sponsor the parlotones because they already have brand loyalty in the black market and would like to also appeal to the white market just like Puegeot is driven by mostly white people I think nd now they r sponsoring Bonang nd Poppi so they can appeal to the blk market aswell. All my marketing ppl will understand wat m talking about “MARKET DEVELOPMENT(growth strategy)

  36. Leungo on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:23 am 

    This sense of entitlement just because one is black needs to stop now.

    This is a dog eat dog world industry Mableh, why must people pour money into something without financial rewards? You expect Range Rover to endorse Mandoza even though we know that most of the people who listen to Mandoza’s music can’t afford that car?

    It is all about how much money someone will make at the end of the day hence even in the US Revlon, Pepsi ect will choose Beyonce over Lil Kim anytime. They do their reseacrh and identify people who are bound to make the sales soar.

    So, please, stop encouraging darkies to have a sense of entitlement just because they are in the majority in SA. The Parlotones fans buy their CD and not pirate them. And since tens of thousands of them do actually pay for those CDs, it is the sole reason why the VW will sponsor them, more buying power baaybee, that’s what it is and has nothing to do with race.

    Anyway I am not sure why anyone would want to endorse someone whose idea of a live concert is playing a CD and miming their song in front on thousands of fans. A lot of black artists need to catch a wake up and give their fans quality show.
    Rememeber how everyone was accompanied by a live band at the World Cup concert last year and Big Nuz were accompanied by backing tracks playing on a CD?
    Between Freshy Ground and Big Nuz who do you think Vodacom would rather use to endorse their brand?

  37. Cinnabon on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:46 am 

    Lulo Cafe was in the house…*too star-struck to comment*

  38. facebook on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:46 am 

    I’ve been reading all arguements with or against this article.

    Firstly I gotta say it’s a great read and educational in some extend. This article sounds like a copy and paste of what Ntsiki Mazwai raised on her’s last week.

    We can’t avoid race issues when it comes to 3rd-world country debates, particularly in our beatiful country coz there is still a huge gap between the rich and poor.

    I, if I had a big company, will not sponsor artists who don’t even sell 10 000 copies. That won’t make a business sense. Yes ther are some artists that they can say they are judged unfairly but ke money talks baba.
    Make money for me, I’ll pour money into yo coffers.

    On a lighter note, I’ll sponsor DJ Cleo for 4 weeks coz he musics lasts fo that long.

  39. GA on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:49 am 

    “This is not an argument about album sales” …yes, and thats not what we are saying beacuse tha argunent of bad press and character misrepresentation encopasses actors as well. What we are highlighting is the issue of the perceived brand misrepresentation which could be the reason why black artist are not asked to endorse the things that matter (it would seem sadly that their “rightfull” 80% representation in tabloids is working against them then). That the musicians sell more albums, that Menzi Ngubane is watched by millions on generations daily could be a lesser criterion for the brand ambassador selection than intergrity, positive press etc. I say could because im not certain what plays in the decision making there.
    The issue i drew from boitss is that we can point at racisn yes , but our black artist must also take responsibility to some extend. And i say they need to study the system and work it, suck up to it if they must but wont help. When money is concerned, white people take no prisoners:

    Maybe its bcos of her white manager husband that Leera enjoys success in this regard; maybe the black entertainers that have bagged brand managwment positions have done so because of their affiliation with the white people in the know, or they had black management team that knew how to navigate the white power strucures. If thats the case then good on them, they had to maneuver their way to the brands the best possible wayu for themselves. Otherwise the only other alternative is to suck up to the ANC (as most of them did on the SAMA stage and whereever else) so that IT(anc) can be their bread and butter(999′s doing good here…however deplorable i think this is). Crying is not gonna help them, hustling the best way possible is the way.

  40. MaBlerh on Tue, 31st May 2011 11:00 am 

    2 Questions for Luengo.

    1. Did you read the article properly?

    2. Did you read the comments posted before yours?

    If you did, you would understand that we are not endorsing a sense of entitlement. By the way, business wise, I would sponsor Big NUZ over Fresh as the bulk of airtime sales come from the demographic that supports Big NUZ. Guys, we cannot avoid the race issue when it comes to the way things still work in this country. Us sitting on some sociological pedestal will not solve anything. Racial inequality and discrimination is still an issue in this country. If you don’t believe go into the corporate industry where White men still form boys’ clubs and propel each others careers and the only Black people that move up are those that align themselves to such boys’ clubs. Yes, I do not agree with those that blame apartheid for their laziness but under the same breath I will not delude myself into thinking White people and Black people are playing the same game with the same instruments in this country. We are racing and they are in cars with V8 engines whilst we are tagging along in 2.0lt engines.

  41. snapshot on Tue, 31st May 2011 11:08 am 

    ooops let me maybe Mablerh will respond me and make my day kwaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    so much that i hear you all, the fact is our black artists including presenters are not getting much sponsorship as compared to the oreos and whites. Its like to make it you have to be an oreo tjo!!!!!!! i hate it.

    Sbongile Khumalo, Hugh Masekela, etc those are icons, they still have a target market but no they don’t appeal much.

    The parlotones, Lulocafe, Fresh, Cleo, Euphonick.. whats the difference: colour and orientation

  42. cijimpi on Tue, 31st May 2011 11:15 am 

    i think my view of Cross-Over is not necessarily “white people” however, the BLACK population which are influenced by western things, ie VUZU/MNET/DSTV population.. the audience that actually buy music!

    i fully agree with Mablerh..Blacks have to support each other..
    ERIC SAYS has a point.. support the industry, we are not saying buy crap music.. but support those black artists that are doing well !! PRO, Tumi, Teargas, JR, etc.. support them, when the rest see that them lot (who are doing well) are being supported, they have no choice but to raise the stardard!!

    DID YOU KNOW that LUTHER VANDROSS, in his DEAD BEING, makes MORE money from SA Radio, than most SA ARTISTS who are still ALIVE?

  43. mamamia on Tue, 31st May 2011 11:27 am 

    We need to start applying ourselves and our minds to our trades. This whole blame the white man for my failure thing is waxing old and very cold.
    When are we gonna understand that corporate is not about race, they are about brand association, future projections and the all mighty bottom line, those aforementioned things cost lots of crazy money!!
    Euphonik, Fresh, Connie Ferguson, Black coffee, Danny K, freshly ground, Anele Mdoda, Lira have cross over appeal and why is that, why do people love them?
    Look at Bonang she’s got cross over appeal for the mere fact that she applies herself and talent to perfect her trade of choice, there’s no room for mediocrity. Corporate will always recognize high quality output plain and simple because it makes them money instead of loose them money.

    As an artist/entertainer you must start being business savvy, why do people think the buzz word lately is brand ambassador, you carry your own brand and it’s appeal based on how you market yourself to your target group. The cross over appeal is within yourself.

    If you target a certain group or sect within a vast network then it goes without saying that the return on your investement will be poor or restricted to the consumerism or spending habits of that particular sect.

    If you know your target group is the sort of riff raff to pirate music then give them reason to own the real thing, to invest back in you because we know that peeps appreciate quality and don’t mind spending for the real deal. Give them a reason to come out to your show on a chilly joburg nite because they know they’re getting value for their hard earned rand.

    Minna if i was an executive, i personally woudn’t sponsor a small time dj an expensive ride so that they could boost their ego and drop young girls panties with – who don’t even have buying power.
    At the end of the day its nothing personal, just business!!

  44. Vesa on Tue, 31st May 2011 11:31 am 

    I think it’s all about industry appeal….
    In my opinion, JR makes crappy music….but his music gets a lot of airplay on 5fm….leading to his popularity and probably the Vodacom ad deal was a result of that.

    In the same breath, Jozi also gets a lot of airplay on the very same 5fm….but this has never led to them blowing up and getting deals.

  45. GA on Tue, 31st May 2011 11:39 am 

    You making a lot of sense to me mamamia.

  46. mamamia on Tue, 31st May 2011 11:41 am 

    Vusi Tembekwayo is the 4th best public speaker in the world and he is black, he has cross over appeal.
    I believe Kabelo Mabalane, your HHP, Simphiwe Dana’s and your slikours, Nonhle Themas have cross over appeal. it’s just that their brand associations maybe does not feature the traditional ‘white’ market because of their personal focus or direction they want to take.

  47. Leungo on Tue, 31st May 2011 11:55 am 

    Yes Mableh I read the article properly and I still maintain that tou are trying to instil a sense of entitlement into black people.

    Those endorsements you are talking about had are earned, to they were not handed to those people on a silver platter.

    Of course young black DJs want to work for so-called white stations because of the perks. Who does not want a great job with benefits?

    You need to educate yourself more om how business works and you will then realise why some businesses make some decisions. In business you can’t let your emotions cloud your judgment or your business will go be bankrupt. At the end of the day, like I said earlier, it’s always about the benjamins. Let race out of it.

    Kim Kardashian is huge in the US and other countries but do you think she would be asked to endorse products that are family orientated or targeted at teenagers? No, because of her sex tape. Why are many of our celebs not endorsing brands? Baby mama problems, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, fighiting, not showing up for performances or if they are bothered to show up being there late and also not taking their job seriosly.

    I like what other bloggers wrote about Zola and DJ Sbu. They were used to endrose products but look at what happened? Why did you not attribute to those people in your article?

    Next time try to present your argument without interference from your emotions.

  48. Cutie on Tue, 31st May 2011 12:24 pm 

    Regarding the so called “black” stations MaBleh, I think we need to do an introspection as well. While other radio stations were chopping and changing their presenters I bumped into one I wont mentioned. Yho, they played Dolly Parton and Percy Sledge…IN 2011? Come on…I refuse shame to listen to that.
    We need to play music that appeals across every race, age and gender. As a black person myself, I refuse to listen to Maskanda in the morning and I doubt any white person would listen as well. Most of our black station ONLY play black music, hence no white audience. 5am and Highveld stations make you listen, the content and music is spot on. Everyone love Rihanna, Beyonce etc…and that is the kind of music that they play. They play some hip-hop and S.A Music….they DONT SIMPLY PLAY ONE GENRE…That is why they are so popular.

  49. MaBlerh on Tue, 31st May 2011 12:34 pm 

    Eish Leungo, calm down, we are not fighting here. We are having a rational discussion. Trust me on this, I am qualified and experienced to talk about business. ;-)

    So guys what you all are saying is my argument is invalid and race is not a factor at all in how these sponsorships are distributed?

  50. Cutie on Tue, 31st May 2011 12:40 pm 

    MaBlerh we are saying that self-respect, appealing to all races, respecting your job etc will get any person where they want…irrespective of their colour. As black people we also have to take responsibility of our actions and start saving (or get financial advisors to assist). We need to respect our jobs and our images. We need to take ourselves seriously in order to expect someone else to do so. If you still remember the Terry Pheto issue, she had to do certain things pertaining her private life (that had a potential of affecting her image negatively) in order to continue being the face of Olay. A clean brand is very important with any investor. She got a lot of mulah as a result.

  51. DexterSUPERIOR on Tue, 31st May 2011 12:49 pm 

    We have our government to thank for indoctrinating this spirit of division amongst South Africans. Whenever they mess up, they pull the race card. It’s so old now. It must stop today in order for us to grow.

  52. lwandie on Tue, 31st May 2011 12:49 pm 

    I agree with what most people have mentioned about endorsements.

    If I’m not mistaken, there was once an extensive article on brand endorsements here on J.C and the geneneral consensus(which I subscribe to) was that choosing a brand ambassador is ultimately a business decision.There is no affirmative action in endorsements,its all down to what the brand feels best represents them and will take their product to where they want it.

    The harsh reality is that whether the majority of Audi owners are found in the black community, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is the image Audi wants to translate in their branding.Many a time international designers have upset specific groups whether its the plus size ,blacks etc by stating openly,that their label is not really targeted to those groups of people.Thats just the nature of business and who has the controlling power.What you consume is a choice not a blackmail card for the brand.

    I think as a race we probably need to improve our own sense of empowerment and not feel the need to validate our success against our white counterparts all the time…

    You mentioned old boys societies being formed etc,and to me that is where the strength in white relations are built…nothing stops us from forming our own old boys societies…nothing stops the affluent black community(because it is there) supporting up coming young black achievers.

    Someone mentioned the likes of Hugh Masekela and Sibongile Khumalo…with all due respect in my view based on the how long these names have been in the now they should really be the ones helping up coming artists to establish themselves whether through knowledge skills etc.Without sounding too self depreciating,despite our wealth of talent as a race I think we are very short-sighted in terms of career progression especially in the music and film industry.

    I do not want to overlook those blacks who are working/worked hard for their own and made it despite all the cooporate stuff.Lucky Dube is one such artist that I still respect for finding his niche and taking it to higher levels

  53. boitsss on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:07 pm 

    Race does play a part… Every brand has a target market e.g Vuzu is targeting the young blk market hence they have Nonhle nd Siya as their ambassadors but its not a racist decision now is it? Every brand has its target market nd they will choose ambassadors who appeal to the target market simple n klaar

  54. KevCare on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:18 pm 

    If you please the white man (by dancing to his tune) He then pays you!
    Didn’t JR get sponsered by Renault back in the “Gata Le Nna” days? And Eu4nik le Mini SA?

    Being fair tho, darkies like DJ Sbu, Mandoza & Zola, had the oppotunity to change the way things work!
    Its no secret that white think we are good for nothing “houtkops” and given a chance, we can phuq up ANYTHING! Thats exactly what “industry pioneers” like Sbu did!

    Any brand whats to be associated with someone who is successful, a good role model, stable, not scandalous!

    I do agree thought that the likes of Sibongile Khumalo & Bra Hugh would make good brand ambassadors! Lira is SOLID in corporate eyes….

    There’s alotta risk involved in giving an artist ur brand, one day they are BIG, tomorrow, o vaya le Jabu Pule!!

  55. Lucy on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:18 pm 

    I like your comment on Hugh Masekela and Sibongile Khumalo Boitss…isnt it about time really

  56. Lulo Cafe on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:27 pm 

    A lot to learn from all the diverse comments…The goal is to find one page…the sad reality is that of young talents that are not coached on the ins and outs of the industry…I can never hammer on it enough…the importance of schooling yourself on the music industry as a business…every business will invest in what will “simply” benefit their target market, so its important for every entertainer to be able to define his market and present him/herself to the right investor….there is a misconception about being “cross-over”…lets all remember that each brand has its primary target market…so yes some brands will need someone with a “cross-over” appeal and some would be for black or white market etc…..

    Its very key that everyone in the entertainment business to be able to define who they cater for…

    From my personal experience a lot needs to change….and all of us are authors of our own success, make sure the book is worth a buy!

  57. Lela on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:30 pm 

    Where did black people hear these words PULL THE RACE CARD? Can we discuss things without using these words,tjerrrrrrr!!!!!!!!

  58. KevCare on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:35 pm 

    Agreed….BUT why is it that those industry people, that cater “strictly” to Black audiences, HARDLY ever get endorsement deals??

    Seeing a BIG success like Teargas driving a “pimped out” Hyundai while Dozi drives a sponsored Viano while touring is just messed up!!

    Why didnt VW sponsor Trompies ka Carabus at least heh?

  59. boitsss on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:36 pm 

    It really is Lucy

  60. mamamia on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:40 pm 

    @MaBlerh, we are not invalidating your argument merely pointing out that sometimes race is not always the only factor as we would like to trump when it suits certain situations.

    The status quo is going to take a long time to change, that being whites owning the economy and hence the monopoly on issues such as these but in the meanwhile we can learn from them. We must stop being too reliant on hand me outs merely because we were disadvantage in the past and start being endorsed based on what we have to offer especially as a race.

    It’s true that stereotypes will unfairly play themselves out in boardrooms as well when endorsemenent/marketing deals have to be made but come on, the white people haven’t shut us out completely, i’m not saying we should be 4ever gratefull for that but its time we started levelling the playing field and competibg from a competent level.

    I once went to my then ‘white’ boss going on and on about how money was little and yada yada, her solution – mamamia you need a financial advisor, i was like duh i can’t afford a financial advisor!!
    In retrospect i realised, actually i was the 1 mismanaging my funds and expected to be compesensated just because i was having a hard time.
    Sometimes white people get on our nerves i understand but we can sure learn a thing or two from them, that’s why i can now afford to fly overseas for a ‘me’ time trip on the peanuts i get paid with, racism or not.

  61. Lucy on Tue, 31st May 2011 1:47 pm 

    I still maintain that we should count where we are now before counting the shortcomings we see…10 years ago there were talented black artists making it (Brenda fassie for example) but what endorsment could she brag of..

    yes it will take time but Lira, Teargas, Bonang, Terry Pheto are examples that its getting there..slowly black artists are being incorporated into the business enviroment where they can rake money in different avenues…its a big step especially if we gonna bring race into it

  62. Biskiti on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:10 pm 

    Lucy, As much as i loved Mam Brenda’s music she was very controvercial. She would rock up drunk for performances, public spats, drugs, etc. Tell me which brand would wanna be associated with such? Not even Sunday World..

    Lwandie, o bausss…i think of Beyonce’s Hello when i read your comments…you just know what to say.

    I’m in awe of the intelligence here at JC. I love the level-headedness of the debate. I have learned a lot today, it’s simple, business will invest in “matters”/people that appeal to their target market, by so doing to improve their bottomline.

    The sooner people start running their lives like businesses, the better. This transcendes into everything in life, from politics (ANC) to the work we do on a daily basis.

  63. Lela on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:14 pm 

    I respect both sides of the argument but I do not wanna see the words RACE CARD. People here are stating their views so thinking things are still about black and white is justified in their views and its ok if one does not believe so just don’t say the others are pulling the race card infact those words make one sound like they wishe they were white.

  64. Vesa on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:14 pm 

    The harsh reality is that whether the majority of Audi owners are found in the black community, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is the image Audi wants to translate in their branding.Many a time international designers have upset specific groups whether its the plus size ,blacks etc by stating openly,that their label is not really targeted to those groups of people.

    This reminds me of the Ace of Spades debacle with US rappers!

  65. Lela on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:16 pm 

    lol @Biskiti do not speak ill of the dead,not even SW pho!

  66. Lucy on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:19 pm 

    LOL, thats true Biskiti..maybe that was a bad example but just highlighting that these endorsments that we are talking about were no where near our black artists…sekungcono manje, at least we can name a few

  67. Mmaditaba on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:21 pm 

    Well said to everyone. Theres alot to learn from every comment ,mara Lela ai wena Rotfl leave us blacks and our ‘pull the race card’ comment. As long as the race card keeps being pulled ,we shall continue to comment about it.

    Lulo Cafe. Im so glad you’re here. Really you will learn alot so that you don’t end up like the likes of Zola ,and dj Sbus. Only to name a few.

    Entertainment industry is a business, if you dnt tackle it with the SWOT analysis it needs you to, you’ll end up finding all else to blame

  68. KewlGal on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:30 pm 

    We can say whatever we want.. RACE is and will always be a factor not only in our country but in the whole world… so I for one will never stop blaming it, i aint even tryinna front that ish…

    Marbleh, i hear your argument well and clear and to me you are spot on…

    I also think that our governments needs to re look how it can support artists in terms of investing more on educational projects towards the Arts industry. I think if we could have campaigns that deal with educating the artists and those still aspiring on things like entertainment business management, brand managements etc etc we would see some change on how our artists handle themselves as brands.

    this my argument most of the times, in Africa we know for sure that we excell in Arts, its our speciality, God gave us this thing. (lol) Most ppl who come out of this continent and make it Big internationally are always artists. Yet our governments fail to recognise the huge impact it can make if they would invest in Arts education, can you imagine what talent would come out of black schools if our schools had recording studios where music production was taught at their level? like how they do with computer labs. We blacks dont have equal opportunities like our white counterparts in terms of experience and quality education when it comes to Arts thats why therefore they will always be ahead of us. Has Africa produced any one for the world to see, someone who can design & build a Bridge since all we hear abt is Maths & Physics? In no way by this do I mean its a waist of time to study those but I think the focus should not only be there.

    Someone said there a lot of Black millionaires who dont do jack in terms of supporting other black ppl.. I agree we black ppl have decided to embrace white ppl character of Individualism.. its always about Me Me Me something we didn’t have in the past.

  69. DexterSUPERIOR on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:32 pm 


    It would be nice to round off this interesting discussion by posting MaBlunt’s infamous article. I’m starting to believe JC is pulling a ZARfest on us. Will it ever happen?

  70. KevCare on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:36 pm 

    KWAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAH @DexterSuperior “I’m starting to believe JC is pulling a ZARFest on us. Will it ever happen?” LMAO!!!

  71. Lela on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:41 pm 

    LOL @Dexter

  72. Lela on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:45 pm 

    LOL Mmaditaba the thing is just like the word HATER it makes the one saying it not to be taken seriously,i just think that’s what happens when a word is overused. Like now i look at a pearson saying they have haters with suspicion,like they are the ones hatin on themselves.

  73. Mmaditaba on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:47 pm 


  74. Cutie on Tue, 31st May 2011 2:53 pm 

    @ Lela – Hayi man get used to the word..LOL!!!
    I just wish Everyone – Black, Pink, White, Male & Female can see how HIV has destroyed and continues to destroy young and talented peeps of Mzansi. It really saddens me a lot. A lot has been taught about it etc, but people just don’t listen or are ignorant.

  75. Secret Agent Squirrel on Tue, 31st May 2011 3:15 pm 

    @ Mablerh , You must remember that the black and white market are two very different markets, its not only black people that is trying to cross over into the white market, but visa versa as well.

    it has nothing to do with race, it’s to do with taste!

    And the fact is that there are way more Black parties and events with sponsored stuff.

    i also know of quite a few Black people with great sponsored cars like Bonang and poppy,
    Cars are also given to people in other industry’s like Sport, and designers, Volvo is sponsoring David, Nkhensani from stoned cherry, and Gert Coetzee.

    Merc is only sponsoring Jen Sue.

    The thing is that people should stop seeing colour, accept cultural différances and just get along!!!! See the good in life and stop looking to deep into things.

  76. KewlGal on Tue, 31st May 2011 3:22 pm 

    LMAO!! Dexter.. Udundidigqidibidilede!!!!! *dials marks maponyane’s funeral parlour*

  77. amyoli on Tue, 31st May 2011 3:31 pm 

    whow! interesting article and comments

  78. Peachy on Tue, 31st May 2011 4:41 pm 

    As per normal Leungo, Lwandie and mamamia well thought, always on point :)
    Think we agree like we pointed out in the Ntsiki article, let’s work harder bantu, produce BETTER quality then we can support these kind of arguments better. All the black artists receiving sponsors mentioned, with the exeption of maybe JR are on top of their game and carried themselves as brands from the word go.Good brands will align themselves with other good brands.

  79. Ndesheni on Tue, 31st May 2011 7:21 pm 

    One main characteristic of an under-researched, not well thought out & badly written article is having the writer feeling the need to or coming out to defend it…

    The people who said it’s about branding hit are spot on… A simple analogy is why different companies have different dress codes for employees. This is for the simple reason that they want to project a particular image out there. Simply put, their employees double up as brand ambassadors for their respective companies…

    Remember how Kabelo Mabalane started being seen in a different light he “crossed ova” & ditched the “Pantsula” image/tendencies… He started running da comrades marathon, doing charity work & saying the right, positive things, going to bible school & among other things came an Audi TT endorsement deal & a Sportd show on TV…

    I cn go on & use Zwai as well as an example as both him & Kabelo r doing much beta dan Tokollo who is still hung up on being a “Pantsula”…

    One interesting thing to note is that the artists who carry themselves well don’t do it solely 4 attracting endorsement deals bt dey simply gt rewarded (without desperately asking 4 it) bcoz sum1, sumwhere is always looking…

    It’s all abt IMAGE, not RACE…

  80. lwandie on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:05 pm 

    lol @ Vesa so true omRapper thought Ace of Spades would reward them for pouring their brand all over half dressed women.

    Aww @Biskiti thank you,I love that Beyonce song.

    lol @ Dexter you crack me up all the time tjo!

    As Peachy has rightfully said,the key is in working hard really to better oneself.

    Thank you for your article MaBlerh…I enjoyed the various opinions in this debate and it was nice to get an insightful point of view from someone with first hand experience in the industry.. do stop by again Mr Lulo!

  81. lwandie on Tue, 31st May 2011 10:09 pm 

    P/s Quote of the day Wow!!! *fans self while googling ANAIS NIN*

  82. LeeLove on Wed, 1st Jun 2011 10:06 pm 

    I didn’t notice this article before. Didn’t read the other comments so I might be repeating something that’s been said.

    The American entertainment market is what we hear about the most so we adopt some of their terms forgetting that our situation is not the same as theirs. So we need to redefine the terms. When I think of crossover appeal in the SA context I really think of crossing over to different nations not races. To have people listening to your music in other countries, continents etc. Coz that’s the challenge that South Africans face.

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