First of all I am not even quite sure you deserve this title. In my opinion, you just happen to be in the field. You are not entertaining at all! Hmm so you may say it’s about taste and you don’t write to please me but hey look at the amount of comments at the end of your articles, the level of engagement on your social media pages. Do you have personal social media pages? By the way a social media page is… maybe next time.
I know you are probably wondering why I keeping picking on you. I just wonder why you never ask. Ironic, no? Given that asking questions is supposed to be your job. Oh I shouldn’t feel so important? You’d be petty to think that way because this is not just about me. I happen to be the guy who is not afraid of your little platforms. I am happy with mine. And if you think this is plain ranting because I am probably bored, quite the opposite to be honest. I am having a great time with my life. I always make sure I do. Am I frustrated? No, I am not. I am sick and tired about the fact that you have a voice and an opportunity to contribute in a tangible way to arts scene in this country but you would rather focus on petty matters such as “What do you like to have for breakfast?” Yet it is obviously mukaru when the artist can afford sugar. “We heard you were dating so and so…” like for real? You’d blindly forget on purpose all the struggles that we’re facing to talk about relationships, which are to be treated as private matters by the way just the same way nobody really cares whether you sleep with someone every night or simply your hand between your legs. I should be grateful that we artists have sections in your publications? Puh-lease!! If you think you are doing us a huge favor by profiling us or writing about our gigs then you are completely off. Need I remind you that THAT is exactly what you’re supposed to do, what you applied for, what you get paid for?
If you do not love or respect what you do, I have lots of both for what I do and the people who are interested in my passion. We are not kids, please. Now I’ll give you a few tips and you don’t need to thank me. Just apply yourselves. Make us fall in love with literature. Of all people, you have the most beautiful content at the tip of your hands but instead you prefer to ask petty questions. Questions say more about you than the person you’re interviewing. Who cares how old I am or when I started? As if these two are a must-have on the questionnaire. And, please do a little research about the artist beforehand and don’t ever start again with “Start by describing yourself.” This question is a turn-off. Another importance of research is that there are chances, it’s not the first that the artist is having an interview and as a smart individual you do not want to repeat someone else’s work by asking the same generic questions. Next time you’re interviewing an artist, make sure you treat them with respect (Time, space, comfort) and then hit them hard with questions that would benefit the community. For example, ask…
1. How long do you intend to practice your art? (Insert examples of artists who fell off the map if need be and the reasons i.e. X stopped because he/she realized that people calling you by your stage name in the streets and Dj’s throwing shoutouts when you enter a club does NOT pay the bills.)
2. What do you need to take your art to the next level? (And please don’t do the “What should the government do for you to bla bla bla…” You ask this way because that’s who you have become – beggars. We all know that for most of you to attend a workshop/event, you request a side 15k from the organizer. Kwanza that’s cheap.)
3. What is (or would be) the ideal space in Rwanda for you to showcase your art?
4. If ever presented with an opportunity to go to a different country where your art is appreciated and never come back, would you accept?
5. You have a following on social media. Do you gain from your interactions? Do you capitalize on that?
6. How much did you invest in your passion so far? Time and money. Where did the money come from and how much have you recovered?
7. You always complain about being called to perform for free. Why do you keep performing? What would happen of you said no?
8. Is there a price tag to your art? How do you determine the price of an artwork, a musical piece or live performance?
9. If you fail to live from your art, what is your survival plan?
10. Is there a question you would like to ask? Because obviously every piece of art is a message.
PS: Hate me or love me, I don’t care and you probably know it by now but do your job right and learn to treat artists with respect.
~ The Artist.