Very few English speaking Cameroonians who keep up with happenings in the entertainment sphere would feign ignorance of the campaign for more local content to be produced and consumed in the sector.
While the idea has multiple proponents, one can’t help notice comedian, CY Old Pancho and his 80/20 army with their radical methods.
Granted, his rash approach has often burned bridges where more should be built and dug deep wounds where all needed was a gentle touch and a whisper of love. The instances are many but today is not the day.
Going by the desiderata, what if for the sake of discourse or even just for fun, we were to cross the carpet and see from CY’s perspective?
The 80/20 campaign proposes that traditional media channels, social media outlets, and all forms of mass communication be compelled to churn out local content most of the time, say 80%.
It pleads for same measure to be applied on the streets, in the bars, night clubs and snack bars. Anywhere the speakers boom loud across the national territory.
What this will do, is exert pressure on show organisers to solicit more home-based artists for their shows, keeping the cash circulating in the economy. The millions spent in importing performers annually will be confined to the national triangle.
In addition to the fact that it gives room for scouting better talents, it will also enable Cameroonian entertainers step up. It is no secret the lack of professionalism that abounds, and like in most instances, the power of money, attention and more shows as antidote, cannot be overemphasized.
Another bright side of the 80/20 idea, is that it tends to force home-based artists to step up their art, given that the restriction will also make it harder for them to export their own works. It is basic human instinct to reciprocate hostility with hostility. The 80/20 law would attract nothing less than hostility from other countries including Cameroon’s in-laws, Ivory Coast and of course, neighbouring Nigeria. Positive competition, eh?
One facet of CY’s 80/20 which many are yet to acknowledge is the ability to reign in ‘wack’ talents and better control the narrative sent internationally about Cameroon music. As an advocate for freedom of expression, I find this hard to articulate but I must, even if it gets me biting my tongue.
The Show Yohs, Grand Baracks and Kobos who are often considered borderline comedians than singers, will be compelled to step up or go home. 80/20 is not just about playing songs and dancing to rhymes. It advocates for the gentrification of arts in all forms, with particular interest on content.
Take the example of an uptown neighbourhood where everyone is compelled to paint their house a particular colour to beautify the town, or made to erect structures of a particular specificity.
To many, these may just be another state of wishful thinking. But utopias too would come true if two wrongs could make a right.
CY is by no means the originator of the 80/20 concept. The idea has been around for ages, but globalisation continues to have its way. This however does not cancel the existence of the idea as well as the potency it carries if placed in the hands of level headed geniuses who have the interest of their nation at heart.
Every idea should be heard and maybe given a try, especially when it doesn’t undermine a peoples’ existence or threaten their core values. (Remember Bamenda, 2016?)
– Giyo Ndzi