Thabiso Phiri: The new ‘Miss’ Zimbabwe


BEAUTY, according to comic Clive Chigubu, is in the eye of one holding a beer.

As a teetotaller I have to speculate that when sufficiently inebriated, one can then decide who is beautiful. Stuff what everyone else thinks.

So it is that two years down the line, Thabiso becomes the new Miss Zimbabwe. If she did not win then, did she grow more beautiful or did other girls get uglier? Beauty, beauty, beauty!

Thabiso Phiri
Thabiso Phiri

But it was rather mean spirited to not allow the dazzling Bongani Dhlakama to hand over the crown to Phiri, a 22-year-old law student. Phiri tried for the crown in 2012 but came short.

That is the year in which Dhlakama won the crown. Bongani should have handed the crown to Thabiso but the organisers thought otherwise.

I wondered why. Why did the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority allow the seeming travesty considering how much they utilised her during her tenure and beyond? She did render a “national service” didn’t she when the country did not hold the pageant?

I saw her in the “shadow” of Karikoga Kaseke the ZTA boss during Intwasa and other national events.

But there he was the ZTA boss with only Miss Carnival queen at the Miss Zimbabwe trust. Kiki Divaris did not say a word to address the anomaly and disrespect perpetrated on our girl child only heaping praise on the new organisers.

The beautiful Bongani was totally ignored and we minded that slight.

A hard lesson to wannabes
Yes, the world of showbiz, worse still beauty and modelling is a dubious universe, a literal bonfire of vanities. I think that in the end if our young girls want to join the bandwagon they must be prepared to endure the slights and subjectivity of being judged by some other people as ugly.

Moreover, women tend to be quite vicious with one another. How else should one interpret the obvious and glaring snub on Bongani?

Worldwide: Beats by Dre
Indeed you can name them all in the pantheon of hip-hop titans from TUPAC, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Eminem and 50 Cent they have all had beats being done by Dre.

He is the Midas with the golden touch when it comes to producing hits for fellow rappers. Small wonder then that he is now possibly be the richest hip hop artist ahead of Puff Daddy and Jay-z.

Apple just bought the company (Beats Electronics) that makes headphones amongst other things. The headphones will set you back between $120 and $200! Dr DRE founded the company with Jimmy Iovine the chairman of music giant Interscope in 2006. Again it’s a collaborative effort that is going to get him to reach the net worth of $1 billion dollars! Only in America?

The art of the deal
Recently, Apple agreed to pay $2,6 billion in cash to acquire hip hop star Dr Dre’s Beats Electronics for $3 billion. The remaining $400 million will be in Apple stock. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close by the end of 2014. Iovine intimated that Beats had always “belonged” with Apple.

Apple is a company that has successfully milked popular culture. Company chief executive officer Tim Cook reportedly said: “Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple.”

“That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

Beats Electronics: The company history
The company was formally established in 2006, a time when Iovine identified two major problems in the music industry: The impact of piracy music sales and the substandard audio quality provided by Apple’s plastic earbuds.

According to reports, Iovine reminisced that Dre said to him: “Man, it’s one thing that people steal my music.

“It’s another thing to destroy the feeling of what I’ve worked on.” Iovine sought the opinions of musicians with “great taste”, during the early developmental stage. The promotional strategy for the company has hinged upon endorsements by pop and hip-hop music performers, product placement within music videos and partnering with musicians and other celebrities to develop co-branded products.

All of the members of the 2008 US Olympic basketball team were wearing Beats earbud headphones when they arrived in Shangai in China according to news global reports.

Wanna be celebrities in local music circles do not do collabos as a matter of course. But in 2001 Jay Z ghost wrote the lyrics to Andre Young, aka Dr Dre’s Still Dre hit song off the album The Chronic which remains one of rap music’s epitome of self praise.

Dre is more a beat producer than he is a lyricist and most of the work he has produced is largely collaborative.

That is the crux of the American enterprise: respect for the genius of others. The Americans have profitably perfected that ethos.
Game recognises game so goes an American street adage.

Thus even the late Michael Jackson as “big” as he was in terms of superstar status, could “down” to the level of a third tier celebrity such as R Kelly to have a song written for him (You are not alone) by the so called Pied Piper of R’n’B.

Collaborative effort or working synergistically is a path to greatness in our cultural or creative industries.

Artists with parochial interests or foolish ego pursue the path of selfishly creating their works and continuously produce mediocrity that does not really fly off the shelves. Locally, what Sulu did with Jay Prayzah on his hit song Sean Timba from the award winning album is an example of what artists can achieve.

Sulumani Chimbetu finally shook off the mantle of being the lucky son of a great musician and came into his won as an artist worth recognising for his own musicianship.

He was the multiple winner at the National Arts Merit Awards of 2012. The awards included a people’s choice accolade certifying that he was indeed the crowd favourite apart from the judges’ selection.

The following award ceremony was dominated by his collaborator Jah Prayzah!

To truly succeed, our people need to adopt the abundance mentality which says that there is enough to go around, let’s share in the enterprise.

But there may be too many people who will try to trip you for excelling in your vocation. What a waste maAfrica!