Poverty is the most dangerous disease in the world: it’s that which is capable of making reasonable people behave completely insane, and effortlessly turn those who are well placed to highlight the follies of the rich into smug sycophants—to the grand detriment of the same rich.
The last few days have showcased to the world a slice of the looming catastrophe at Zylofon, a clever and unprecedented initiative by a young Ghanaian businessman, Nana Appiah Mensah, who has awfully failed to entrust what was otherwise a brilliant concept into the hands of capable minds and distinguished individuals.
On the face of it, the idea of Zylofon (Music, Media, Publishing and the others) is undoubtedly a magnificent needed enterprise. But right from the beginning, it became apparent that it was not going to be just a struggle—rather disastrous, looking at the those who occupied the upper-echelon of the realm of execution and management.
My first public outburst in relation to Zylofon Media was a few weeks after its inception and it bordered on the unpardonable mistakes and poor grammar defining pieces of write-ups an entity that was supposed to become the Messiah of Ghana’s Creative Arts Industry was sending out to journalists and bloggers, as press releases. The unprofessional and contemptuous manner the pieces were circulated pointed out to me that Zylofon was going to recycle a bunch of Industry mistakes and attempt to coat them with gold—and sell to bystanders as real gold.
At the time, it was a bunch of conceited dim-wits, parading themselves in cheap suits, unbacked by any real clout, education or professionalism that represented Zylofon. Today, nothing has really changed—if anything at all, the number of pseudo-experts at Zylofon has increased, with the addition of BullDog and Mr. chief buffoon, Willi Roi to form an occult that seeks not to entertain even the slightest of criticism of their operations or activities.
Beyond the obvious under par human resource at Zylofon lies another bigger problem, which somewhat makes you question the “reasonableness” of the successful man who is the financial wheel behind the mediocre establishment—and that’s the relentless singing of public praises by each and everyone around Zylofon, unquestionably influenced by money and the financial rescue Nana Appiah Mensah seems to have given the singing birds.
Through a PR firm I co-founded, Via Fame PR, I did a consultancy work for Nana Appiah Mensah—for one of his other companies, Menzgold. I met him in Accra for a meeting and I can say he’s a fine young man: extensively generous and full of ideas. But he’s not perfect, neither are his words, ideas or decisions. Out of my dealings with him, I saw him as a reasonable man who should earnestly appreciate criticism, brutal truths and even open his ideas and decisions to be challenged.
Contrary to this, he has mistakenly surrounded himself with an orchestra of sycophants—day and night praise singing parrots who are bent on destroying even the mildest form of criticism with sledgehammer and defining every criticism an attack on their empire. It’s all about the money these people can get out of him—and nothing else. Without Nana Appiah, they wouldn’t have even had a car or anything to their names.
The truth is, and I am being extremely generous here: Nana Appiah Mensah does not know the inside problems of Zylofon because those around him are misrepresenting issues and “fanning” the furnace of problems with lies. The plausible alternative is, he’s aware of the gross incompetence which have been at work from day one but because he has an exigent need to be extolled, he has surrounded himself with those who would only “lick” his feet and worship him.
Behind the scenes, a lot of Zylofon artists are worried and continue to complain but they are scared to speak out. I had a private meeting which I wouldn’t be able to disclose the conversation with another Zylofon artist—and I am not talking about Stonebwoy or Becca. The artist complained bitterly about Zylofon’s hovering incompetence and the sort of “culture of silence” except shouting of praises that has been instituted, backed by threats—to keep all of them mute in enduring their suffering.
When I asked: “Why don’t you tell Nana Appiah about this,” he answered: “They are not even letting you have audience with him and he hardly picks his phone too. He has through these same people instructed that we shouldn’t be coming to him with our problems but we should deal with the problems with those who are the cause of the problems.”
That’s how bad it’s at Zylofon.
But in the face of it all, the signees are compelled to sing public praises. Perhaps, compelled is an erroneous word to use. After all, the African relationship between the rich who rescues the poor is such that, the poor has to in perpetuity be grateful to the rescuer not by being honest in his dealings with him but by being in support of everything the rich will do or say.
Apart from the Stonebwoy-Zylofon problems which we are all now aware of, I can confidently state that Becca, Kumi Guitar and Obibini have deeper problems and issues with the way affairs are ran at Zylofon and the non-progress of their careers despite the vast financial resource the entity sits on.
What’s happening at Zylofon was inevitable, albeit sad.
If you have a bunch of hungry desperate folks who are not just unintelligent but also douche bags managing an entity and taking the easiest path to becoming the CEO’s favourite, which is by just singing praises, what else do you expect?
It has brilliantly been argued for many years that no foolish man can become rich, even the lucky lottery winner had to do something. Therefore, I believe Nana Appiah Mensah knows what he ought to do to safeguard his ideas, even if he cares less about his money.
Dear Nana Appiah Mensah, money can buy everyone they say, but at least buy the few intelligent honest fools—capable of delivering and handling issues competently. Because your legacy has become a joke, even before taking shape.
The smartest should appreciate his honest critics and grow sceptical of the incessant praise singers–for that will strengthen his path to excellence.