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#LIKEITIS: Talent Africa must turn Bebe Cool into an African Music Superstar. Short of that, there will be nothing to write home about this deal!

Bebe Cool and Talent Africa's Aly during the 2016 MTV MaMas held in South Africa.


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Nicholas Kalungi.

In his pursue for continental and global glory, Ugandan, East Africa music star Bebe Cool, original names Moses Ssali has continued to implement an impressively robust branding and promotion strategy.

For the past three years, Bebe Cool has invested massively in his music production, brand promotion and positioning. This investment has delivered pleasant results among them dominating East African music waves, signing several Commercial Endorsements & Sponsorships, endless Jigs and Performances, winning several Ugandan, and Regional Accolades plus being nominated in several Continental Awards.

All the above accomplishments have come at a very huge cost. Even though there are no audited records to attest to this, I can reliably tell you that from 2015 to date, the ‘Love You Everyday’ musician has injected in music career monies in the region of UGX 500 million cash.

Music Icon of the Decade: Bebe Cool a.ka. Artist of the Decade

Music Icon of the Decade: Bebe Cool a.ka. Artist of the Decade

While his fans plus several objective followers including yours truly believe he is doing very well and moving in the best and most right direction ever, several critics insist that he is ‘overspending yet attaining lukewarm success.’ This is open to debate. As such, we can expound on it when we meet after Sunday mass. Today, let’s focus on his latest big announcement!

A fortnight ago, it become official that Bebe Cool had joined Talent Africa Group as his international booking and marketing agent, thus confirming one of the music industry’s worst kept secrets. Yes, it was one of the ‘worst kept secrets’ because as early as September 2016, there were indications that Bebe Cool was working with Talent Africa Group, with only a formal communication missing to prove the same. For those that follow Uganda’s music industry ‘proceedings’, you so much remember that Bebe Cool traveled to MTV MAMA Awards in South Africa together with the Talent Africa boss – Aly Alibhai. He also attended the Chris Brown Mombasa Concert with the Talent Africa Team including Aly Alibhai. All this was never by coincidence!

Bebe Cool and Talent Africa’s Aly during the 2016 MTV MaMas.

This deal has since been inked and publicized.  To confirm this, Bebe Cool posted the message below on his Facebook page on 30th May.

“”If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. I am proud to announce that I have joined the Talent Africa family. We put ink to a deal that will make them my official international booking and marketing agents. Our first move is being part of this year’s Coke Studio Africa starting next week.”

For the benefit of those that may not know much about this company that Bebe Cool has signed to, here is something for you.

Talent Africa ‘Group’ describes itself as “the leading 360 entertainment company in East Africa. Firmly at the forefront of the booming entertainment sector in this region, Talent operates within a multi-platform, multi-purpose 360 scope of services that includes a talent management, booking agency, events management, promotion, record label, audio production, video production, public relations and advertising. Talent Africa operates all over Africa but our corporate headquarters are located in Kampala, Uganda.

For the last ten years, ( since 2007), Talent Africa Group, originally Talent 256 has been in the game; majorly involved in Events Management, Artistes Bookings and Talent management. Under the steady stewardship of Aly Alibhai, Talent Africa has continued to spread its wings across the continent.

I for one approves their past work for both local and international artistes, local and international events. The list of the people they have worked with is endless but includes Navio, Micheal Ross, HB Toxic, Tonix, Maurice Kirya, Sauti Sol, Psquare, DBanj, Beenie man, Akon, Sean Kingston and so many others.

While they have evidently done well, several critics have never felt either their works or impact. Many of these critics are of a school of thought inclined to a notion that Talent Africa and its partners invest so much resources, which when compared to the ultimate outcomes never make any commercial sense. To them, Talent Africa it is a story of ‘huge investments, and average results’.

One of such critics, Don Mohamed Kimbugwe, a Ugandan writer and Events’ host had this to say after learning about the Bebe Cool – Talent Africa partnership.

“Bebe Cool puts pen to paper with Talent Africa as his official ‘International Business Agents. Of course Bebe needed to breathe life into his international trade and much as I have always had issues with Talent Africa, I hope Bebe will be their first tangible success story!”

Reaction to Bebe Cool – Talent Africa deal as captured off Facebook.

Don Mohamed is just a single example. There are many others with related thoughts about Talent Africa.

Having observed that, it is important to note that the timing of this deal is very right. Bebe Cool is so eager and working extra-ordinarily harder to become a continental icon. He is investing as much as he can.

On the other hand, Talent Africa, even amidst its past mixed accomplishments now has a chance of proving doubters wrong. It has signed an artiste with undoubted Talent, Resources and Goodwill. Talent Africa also has Resources, and the Right Contacts.

A combination of these two camps should in my opinion only spur matchless success and continuity.

That they have kicked off this new partnership with a Coke Studio deal including a rumored USD 15,000 cash payment makes it even more interesting. A journey that has officially started at Coke Studio (though unofficially started before the 2016 MTV MaMas) should at least turn in a music fairy-tale across Africa.

Like it IS, the Bebe Cool – Talent Africa partnership will only be considered a success if the latter turns the former into an African Icon. Short of that, there will be nothing to write home about it!

Manager Tick-Tah, Katsha and Bebe Cool at 2016 MTV MaMas.


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