By Mohamed M. Conteh (Dj Med Silver Voice)
Anyone that could address the struggles of the Sierra Leone Entertainment Industry without a quailing sensation has more nerves than us. With the many discussions that have taken place, I have yet to hear the mention of one of the greatest pioneers in the Sierra Leone music business – Sierra Leone Music TV (SLMTV). A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my unlimited thoughts regarding the entertainment industry.
Sierra Leone Music Television is the first to have done it, and continue to promote Sierra Leone music without the support of our people. The fact ladies and gentlemen since the 2000s we have created a medium that has seen many imitators come to fall. While imitation may be the highest form of flattery, we recommend having them continue to try.
We were the first to create an online radio station, LIVE TV broadcasting on Facebook, phone to dial-in and listen to Salone music on our radio station, and awards show. Regardless of no contributions from other deejays, promoters, management, we stand tall and still exist. Without the ass-kissing, we have continued to promote Sierra Leone music in decorous, respectful, and loyal manner.
We have Deejays all over the globe doing LIVE radio shows, contributing to promoting Sierra Leone music. I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster the derailment of our entertainment industry – but rather give a positive take on how we can rebuild and grow toward a prosperous entertainment industry.
Accusing deejays of not playing Sierra Leone music is a far cry from the fact. The gruesome truth is – deejays would play good music. Regardless of what genres they fall in. The size of the country does not always determine the success of the artist. Many high profile Hip-Hop artists started underground and distributed their music from the trunk of their cars. Sierra Leone music used to top the chart of Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, to name a few – and today – these countries are at the top of the Afro beat chart.
What went wrong? Instead of putting all the blame on the deejays, why can’t we start making good music? I hope the conversation about our entertainment industry will continue to gear toward a positive trend. To say our artists had never had opportunities to branch out for success, would be a lie. To fix this issue, we have to put the thoughts of not hurting our friends aside.
Entertainment is a gruesome business and one that needs the truth about artists. One of our Hip-Hop artists ventured out to express his thoughts going against other Hip-Hop artists, where were you to support him. I am going to assume you all know with whom I’m referring to. The truth does not fear to hurt one’s pride. Let us ask our selves this question: looking at the top 50 African music charts, where does Sierra Leone artists rank? Be honest and place your vote. To be the best – means you have to produce the best. Here in America, you can listen to Nigerian, Jamaican, and other African music on prominent radio stations.
Food for thought – what happened to Sierra Leone music? What happened to the days when we used to create our rhythm instead of imitating those of our competitors? What happened to producers like – Sahr Issa, Sound Boy Richie, Teh Teh, Sam Kargbo, Sammy The Bull, Alimamy Conteh, Wilbert, Lord Mo, King Fisher, Ital Production, Mozin & F-Town, Big Jay, and Specialist? Sierra Leone Beat (SALONE BEAT), rhythm that once stood tall, has now been depreciated.
Until we refrain from imitating others, we will struggle to find our lost rhythm.The struggle to be relevant exists. One might consider money to be the main factor, but what is to it if you cannot make good music? Yes, it helps to have money to market your product – but other variables make that product profitable. The first thing people listen to is the beat, then the words to the beat. There are many songs with good beats without favorable wording, but people dance to the tune. It would take a united front to recapture our glory days.
Blaming one factor (money) cannot solve the problem. Let’s put the variables together and then find ways to improve on them. Pride cannot solve this issue, perhaps Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, can prompt us to come together. We need to fix ourselves, and maybe we can tackle this issue together. In closing, we hope that we will work together to one common goal. We open our doors to work in unison with everyone.
Mohamed M. Conteh (Dj Med Silver Voice)
Co-Founder And CEO (SLMTV)