June 20, 2024

Nexdim Empire

Camer Entertainment House

Polemic: Who is a diaspora- based artist to you anyway?

In Cameroon, the expression “diaspora-based artist” is exceedingly common. It  is so common that it echoes during some award ceremonies where special award categories have been created to celebrate diaspora-based Cameroonian artists. But the more one thinks of it the hollower it becomes. Forget Richard Bona, Charlotte Dipanda and others. Forget all these big guns whose music marches across frontiers and gets standing ovations. Let’s focus on those who are into urban music; the kind of music which should be broadcast on MTV, Trace and co. I  increasingly get the impression this expression is a misnomer. By diaspora-based artist, we expect  the artist to not only  reside in a foreign country but also do their music there. In fact, he/she should be  musically relevant there. But it is common knowledge that most of these diaspora-based artists only become artists when they want to come back home especially at Christmas and New year. These artists are musically unknown in the countries where they reside and are artists only by name. Most of these so-called diaspora-based artists only perform and become musically relevant when they come home. In the diaspora, they are more famous for every thing but their music. So, such we not rethink this label and be more selective of who is a diaspora-based artist? If diaspora-based artist means living and exercising your art first and foremost in the diaspora, then some Cameroonian artists who are so labelled  should not be nominated in this category during award ceremonies because their music,for which they are nominated, is only known and broadcast at home. Do we agree?