By Bongani Ndlovu
Talented videographer, Vusumuzi “Blaqs” Hlatshwayo, says making the decision to retire was immature of him and such thoughts have been discarded adding that he would continue to work his socks off in the music industry.
The award-winning Harare-based videographer is credited for working on Ammara and Chengeto Brown’s Watchu Want music video, Military Touch Movement’s (MTM) Chekeche, Thabbz and Cal_Vin’s Hey Wena as well as EXQ’s Bhachura.
Blaqs had once set himself a target of producing 10 music videos which would change the game and elevate local artistes and thereafter he would retire with a bang from the industry.
He did that producing for Zimdancehall star Freeman, Simba Tags, DJ Ray Dizz and American hip-hop and R&B artiste G-Shytt.
However looking back Blaqs said his decision was rash.
“I behaved like a 16-year-old in love with a girl who had disappointed him. Later on when you’re 17 you find the formula again. You find the love again; you fall in love with her again. Then you decide that this is what I’m destined to do,” said Blaqs.
“My plan was to go out with a bang as after completing each music video they were supposed to be released a week apart. But I changed my mind, I can’t retire, it’s impossible.”
Blaqs said it has been good to be at the top and retiring from the industry was tantamount to dying.
“I’ve tasted the glory of being the ‘it’ guy and I’ve seen the benefits that come with it, so why let it go. If I retire, I’ll die. This is my passion. If I were to leave film making I’d become a totally different person and I’m too old to change. I’ve mastered the art of making music videos, in fact the best music videos. So why stop? I’ll continue to make better and better music videos,” said Blaqs.
Blaqs says he is back in Bulawayo for some down time.
“People call it a sabbatical, I call it grounding myself. I have been feeling detached from what is happening on the ground for some time, so I decided to come to Bulawayo to reboot my system,” said Blaqs.
He said his first project in Bulawayo was Roki’s music video that is set for release soon.
Asked whether he was still with Jah Prayzah’s Military Touch Movement, Blaqs said he was with the music stable as their arrangement was still intact.
“Instead of being based in Harare I’ll be based in Bulawayo. I still have a good working relationship with MTM as I’ll be travelling to the capital to shoot videos. However, I want to impart my knowledge to young video producers in my home city and occasionally I’ll be working on a music video or two with local artistes,” he said.
Blaqs described his time at MTM as an eye opener.
He said he has had an opportunity to learn from the best, and the most recent being on the set of the music video for Cassper Nyovest and Davido’s Check on You, at the beginning of the year.
“I was on Cassper’s set when they shot the music video with Davido. It was very inspiring and what surprised me was how easy everything was on set as compared to what we do and how we put things together. The budget I estimate, was less than R50k but everyone is making a fuss about it.
“And I was there on the ground and I realised that this is exactly what I did with the same cameras and other equipment. What I needed was to build my name only and slowly I’m doing that,” said Blaqs.
Part of the eye opening facts after joining MTM, Blaqs said he realised that there were many things needed to produce a music video. He said this has made him appreciate the struggles artistes go through to piece together a music video.
“Before I got into MTM I was ignorant. For a music video I’d have charged them a certain amount of money and if you give me I’m happy. But now, there are other hidden costs that artistes incur down to the money for airtime they need to call people for the video shoot.
“It’s a business. What I get is just a small fraction of the total cost. So when I’m approached by an artiste and they’re willing to take money out of their pocket. That’s the greatest sign of respect anyone can give you,” said Blaqs.
Away from creating mind-blowing music videos, Blaqs said he has fallen in love, after having been married for eight years and divorced years back. He said he thought he wouldn’t find love ever again, but he has done so with Melissa Moyo, a young lady from Bulawayo.
“For a long time I thought I would not find love ever again ever since I divorced from an eight-year marriage. However, when I met her I instantly fell in love,” said Blaqs.
“This is partly the reason why I came back to Bulawayo, to formalise the relationship by meeting her parents as a son-in-law.
“I met her after her mother spotted me complementing beautiful women on Facebook Live when I was in Bulawayo last year. She was passing behind me and I gave the complement.
Then her mother inboxed me on Facebook pointing out it was her daughter. That’s how we got to know each other.”
Blaqs said he has since proposed to her and they will set a date for their wedding. The Chronicle