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Top 5 Ailments in the Creative Realm. Part 1: Politics of Collaborations and Partnerships

This past weekend, we had two fashion events taking place. The Kenya Fashion Week and The Nairobi Fashion Week. Both events were organised by two separate entities/ individuals. This got me asking myself, “Why is it so hard for creatives in the Entertainment space to collaborate and create partnerships?”

This has even inspired me to do a sequel of articles on Top 5 Ailments in the Creative Realm. I shall be discussing them one by one in the next couple of articles.

Back to the matter at hand. Having been in the fashion and modelling industry in my varsity days, I got exposure into the rather harshly competitive space. The competition is so vicious that the key players are not willing to partner or collaborate to create a stronger industry with standards. My take, it is marred with selfishness and lack of trust.

There have been a few attempts at partnerships in the fashion and modelling space of creatives, but none have lasted to this day and age. At one time there was a committee that was formed to create standards on models’ payment on various jobs: runway and print modelling. In my opinion, a fish out of water survived longer than this committee. To date I can only speculate why its shelf life was so short.

As a result of this lack of cooperation in the industry, desperation has become a trademark in the industry. Where there is space to acquire ‘cheaper talent’ it becomes hard to create standards. The importance of collaboration and partnerships in this space is rather obvious. It is the manure to a successful industry not to mention stable roots.

HandshakeImagine if the two event organizers came together and came up with one event. Can you imagine the magnitude of the event? The sponsors that could have come on board?The impact? If there was a possible partnership to create The Fashion Week, it could have been one of those events you dare to miss and you want to hide in your room for a week. Imagine an event that puts Kenya on the map, an event with Kenyan identity. One that would be in the high ranks of New York Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.

It would be a step forward if we let collaborations and partnerships prevail in our industry so that we can make history; National History. And possibly leave a legacy behind for our children and children’s children and so on and so forth. But this can only achieved by joint effort. The creative industry is still a young-ling in Kenya and more so in Africa as a society. The nurturing element is lacking. Like the famous proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The entertainment industry is our child.

Let us move away from the world of fashion and analyse the music world as well. The case is the same. The musicians have segregated themselves into mainstream artists, gospel artists among other classifications best known to themselves. This has made it hard for them to front their agenda as a unit.

The few attempts to have a unified voice that have been made have been futile.I had an opportunity to sit in such a meeting with Kenyan musicians. Firstly, not all of the invited made it. It had targeted all musicians. When the meeting came to session they simply could not agree even on the preliminaries of their agenda. The culture of “self-centeredness” – ubinafsi ails the industry. It is a chronic illness.

I have to give credit where it is due though. For the film industry. They are making small but graceful steps in the right direction. They now have the Kenya Film and TV Professionals Association. A movement that seeks to unify professionals in film and television . I wish them all the best and give them a kudos for making this step. Any practitioner in this field should look them up and be a member without further delay. When the time comes, we shall see the fruits of this association no doubt.

My point is simply this: let us collaborate and partner in this creative space so that we have strong and firm roots to build an industry on. In turn, the nation benefits as well as the individual players as well. A young industry as this needs a group effort in nurturing it and creation of standards.

So. let’s please!


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  • Tecla

    I tend to believe this is true though i have never been in the industry..unity is strength

    August 27, 2013 at 12:37 pm
    • Wakesho

      I totally agree.. Its about time to put the so called individualism aside.

      August 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm
  • michaelngigi

    Great article! Straight and to the point. I believe this is the only ingredient our economy is missing. For once let’s just come together and do business in a selfless attitude. Nothing beats the power of combined effort. On the same breath, let’s come up with legal and social ways to curb greed and malice in our partnerships.

    August 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm
  • Justus

    Nice piece and thought provoking…the industry players need to appreciate the fact that unity is what will build the whole industry. Hii story ya one man show doesn’t help them neither does it help the industry. Biggest problem is that most of the guys are money oriented, want to bake their cake and eat it…sometimes, if not most of the times – it backfires.

    August 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm
  • Alaka

    I am an avid follower of all things fashion and this weekend was a let down in the fashion world! I happened to attend one of the fashion events and all that hype was just a waste of time. It lacked the wow factor, the designers show casing their stuff were seemed like they were doing us a favour. Then one hour into the show it was over kaput! I was glad my money went to charity. The industry should put their money where their mouths is. They need to stop giving to many complimentary tickets to the crowd as it waters down the show. They should give us value for our money and the only way to do that is to stop undercutting everybody and work together. It was a horrible experience for me NEVER AGAIN!!!

    August 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm
  • Brian Lenjo

    this idea is a better alternative to individualized growth and will bring great success and fame to the industries

    August 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm