GROWING up as a boy, I had my fair share of entertainment on television. This fair dosage of entertainment showed me that there are many interesting things about the workings of this life across the world. In its own way, the entry of satellite TV in many Zambian households opened up our view of the world.
There was a time when satellite TV was reserved only for the really well-to-do homes in Zambian society; this was probably from the mid-90s going backwards in our history. From the late 90s to date, satellite TV has been made more affordable and hence more accessible across the spectrum of income earners in Zambian society.
Watching a lot of entertainment on TV those days, I remember hearing the famous words – there’s no business like show-business, on a number of commercials and movie attractions that ran on television.
I barely knew what it meant as a kid, and even today, I still don’t fully understand. Admittedly, I don’t follow the American entertainment industry as much these days, but I have come across some interesting stories from there that have valuable lessons to be learnt.
If there is one place that epitomizes how quickly human beings can start from nothing and rise to high heights, it has got to be Hollywood.
Things move so fast in Hollywood. Actors, musicians, celebrities in general, rise from nothing to everything in a few years. Some of them stay on top, while others fall from grace in no time leaving the limelight in humiliating fashion.
Forgotten so quickly
They are forgotten so quickly you’d think they never existed. It’s a fast paced environment. What I find fascinating though is who rises, and how they rise as celebrities. It appears apparent to me that you get very few people riding on a “somebody’s” influence to get somewhere. Others start as bodyguards and later on venture into the industry of the celebrity they are guarding. Others start as backup dancers but eventually get noticed and become the lead star.
This small, yet fundamental aspect is what I have chosen to take away from the American entertainment industry and talk about in this column. I know and appreciate that rising from obscurity as a result of talent, effort and happenstance also happens here in Zambia. However, nowhere can it be seen more glaringly or even dramatically, as in the American entertainment industry.
People become millionaires literally overnight
This is so because people become millionaires literally overnight as a result of talent, effort and/or happenstance.
In the mid-90s, one of the most successful hip hop record labels was called Death Row Records.
They had a star-studded roaster of rappers and producers. The record label boasted of household names that are regarded as industry legends today such as Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, the Outlawz, MC Hammer, among others.
The Founder and co-owner of the label was a man called Marion Knight AKA Suge Knight.
At its peak, Death Row Records was the most successful hip-hop label in the world. This meant Knight was making millions. Interestingly enough, a few years earlier, Knight, who spots a tall, big figure was the bodyguard to then rhythm and blues singer and industry superstar Bobby Brown.
The journey from bodyguard to millionaire CEO of a record label is not one that you would expect to hear about in Zambia. I will not delve into Knight’s spectacular fall from grace because that is besides the point of the article. The point is to illustrate that we all get a chance at one point or another to be what we dream of every night.
No matter how low your situation, there will always be a window of opportunity and you must jump on it. From bodyguard to millionaire CEO is just one example.
Take Justin Bieber for another example.
Bieber is a hugely successful pop musician.
Bieber is a hugely successful pop musician. Like every other individual, he has his own story. In his early teens, Bieber would record videos of himself singing.
He would then post them on Youtube. This led to his being noticed by a talent manager and he signed for one of the record companies in America. Since then, he has not looked back in his career. It has been the rise and rise of Justin Bieber.
What the odds of someone spotting a video of you showcasing your talent on youtube and that literally changes your life? The odds seem pretty long, yet they materialized in Bieber’s case.
The point of the article dear reader is to show that moving forward in leaps and bounds is more possible than many people would want to believe.
And it is often tied to those that seem least likely to become something of a special achiever in society.
Legends are often born out of obscurity.
And the circumstances that see them rise from obscurity to prominence are often characterized by talent, constant effort and luck. It is almost always unbelievable when you follow the trail of one’s footprints from obscurity to prosperity.
I guess this is why those old worlds that the universe conspires are immortal.
It’s pretty much the best way to describe the chain of events that often lead to prosperity. Only God knows.
Everybody’s time comes and yours will too
So for those Zambians out there looking to tow the frontline in the battle for economic independence, do not despair.
Everybody’s time comes and yours will too. At times, the further from realizing your dream you look, the universe may very well decide that you are closer than you think. So keep going, keep fighting on. Tomorrow is for those that can get through today.
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