By Kiyapili Sibanda
Harare-based music video director, Vusa “Blaqs” Hlatshwayo, has hailed organisers of the just ended Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) saying the well-organised event has put the city’s artistes on the map.
Hailing from Luveve, Blaqs, who relocated to Harare last year in search of greener pastures, said organisers of the awards ceremony, a first in Bulawayo, did a very splendid job in coming up with the event to recognise the work being done by artistes in the city who have often felt marginalised.
He said organisers of the Zimbabwe Music Awards and National Arts Merit Awards needed to take notes from the organisers who definitely set a benchmark.
To his credit, Blaqs managed to help local artistes penetrate the international scene by producing quality videos for them which are now receiving airplay on music channels such as Trace Africa, Mtv Africa, Zambezi Magic and Channel O.
This was special because for years, local artistes had tried to get international channels to play their music and failed as they were often told their works were sub-standard, but Blaqs seems to know exactly what is required.
It was Ex Q and Ammara Brown’s music video for hit, Bhachura, that shot Blaqs to stardom as the video attracted over one million views on YouTube.
Blaqs was motivated and went on to produce smash videos for Ammara and Chengeto Brown’s Whatchu Say, Military Touch Movement’s Chekeche, Thabbz and Cal Vin’s Hey Wena music videos among others.
For his efforts, he won the BAA Outstanding Video Director accolade, his second award after another one from Zimba Nice.
Commending BAA organisers and those who voted for recognising his talent, Blaqs, who recently took to social media ranting about how some people in Harare were not appreciating his efforts, said Bulawayo was a brilliant training ground that has managed to shape up his career.
“I’m very excited about this award and also the BAAs, being the first of their kind in my hometown. Most people in Harare look down on artistes from Bulawayo, but one thing they don’t know is that this place is a brilliant training ground.
“If you make it here, then you definitely can make it anywhere,” said Blaqs.
He said it was befitting to get an award from the city that raised him saying his target now was to go global as he feels the sky is the limit.
“The plan now is to conquer outside the country’s borders. This week, I’ll be in Tanzania shooting a video, after which I’ll be going to Botswana, South Africa, Nigeria and the United Kingdom,” said Blaqs.
Locally, plans are underway for him to work with Guluva7 on a video which he will sponsor to support the up-and-coming artiste.
“I posted on my Facebook account asking people which artiste I should work with in Bulawayo and the name which popped up most was Guluva’s. I will sponsor this project myself as a way of giving back to the community.”
He said most local artistes were stuck in their comfort zones and not taking their work seriously, something which has seen them failing to penetrate areas other than their home areas. The Chronicle