/ 21 February 2014

AKA ‘done with opening shows for international artists’

Aka 'done With Opening Shows For International Artists'

Talking point in hip-hop circles has been Kiernan Forbes's latest and welcome tirade on social media.

The rapper, known as AKA, tweeted that he would no longer open for visiting international acts.

"That's it! I'm done with opening shows for international artists that get superior treatment when performing in our country," he tweeted.

AKA was referring to how fellow South African artists, who were part of the Miller Boomtown Kendrick Lamar South African tour line-up, were treated earlier this month.

"We don't get the same sound or lights as the international artists do. I heard that our artists who performed at the Kendrick Lamar concert were told that if they walked on Lamar's ramp, he wouldn't perform."

"This concept of exposure doesn't make sense to me," the Jealousy rapper told the Mail & Guardian.

"Who are you exposing me to? My own people?"

AKA has opened for Kanye West, Snoop Lion, Rick Ross, 2Chainz and most recently, Big Sean, which he said has been a more pleasant experience compared to other concerts he has opened for. 

"Big Sean's was the biggest concert I have been part of. There were activations [and] commercials that we were part of. For the first time we had an ad campaign that promoted both Big Sean and us. I really loved being part of that concert – especially because we used the same equipment on stage and we could interact with him backstage."

AKA said it's the responsibility of artists to change the way local artists are treated at big concerts. "I can't be the only person speaking out about it. We need to all stand together and say 'this is the minimum standard we are going to accept'."

"It can only change once we stop feeling like it is a great honour to open for these artists. I don't think there actually is a need for local artists to open at these concerts – unless they grant the opportunity to up-and-coming artists."

"Local artists not being allowed to use Kendrick’s ramp was one of his requests in his contract. Local artists should also learn to put in their demands, as long as they are not unrealistic," Miller Boomtown publicist Melanie Ramjee told Sunday World.