THE rivalry between Jah “JP” Prayzah and Winky D is escalating to unprecedented levels.
Competition between the two singers has mostly played out in their music and timing of release of projects.
However, recent developments seem to signal a shift towards uncouth tactics to prove superiority — talk of sabotage and unwarranted social media attacks of an artiste(s). Music promoters have seemingly taken sides and so have some musicians.
What is even more disturbing are unhealthy fissures that have been created among music aficionados.
Jah Prayzah and Winky D are both Zimbabweans; however, it appears the artistes’ achievements (or participation), both on the domestic and global stage, are now being rubbished by locals, depending on which music camp one is affiliated.
Team JP does not see good in Winky D, and vice versa.
Divisions among fans are normal, as we have, over the years, witnessed fierce debates between the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi and Dr Thomas Mapfumo’s followers. It was the same case at the height of Alick Macheso and the late Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo rivalry.
The difference, though, is that Jah Prayzah and Winky D’s battle for supremacy — well, in the eyes of their followers — now borders on political affiliation more than anything else. That is not good for the arts!
According to records, not any one of the two artistes has openly declared support for a particular political party, as has been the case with Uganda’s music sensation Bebe Cool, who has been a fervent supporter of President Yoweri Museveni.
But, interestingly, JP and Winky D’s compositions have often been “conveniently” interpreted to suit particular political agendas, never mind what they feel.
Music is business and every artiste has the right to associate with any person, group or company for mutual benefit. Similarly, it is not an offence for artistes to participate at any political or national event.
Several musicians performed at President Mnangagwa’s colourful inauguration ceremony held at the National Sports Stadium last week. However, it was only JP’s presence that captured the attention of many.
Some are even caricaturing the “hallo, hallo; Jah Prayzah; let’s stop; chimira Jah Prayzah; chimira tazvinzwa” incident with the hope of demoralising the lanky singer.
There are some who believe the Y2K Entertainment-organised United Kingdom show was supposed to be a victory celebration for a wrongly anticipated opposition triumph in the recently held harmonised elections. Those of this school of thought argue this is the reason Winky D and Shingai Shoniwa, who features on Winky D’s latest offering, got “preferential” treatment on stage. Dubbed the Africa Music Festival, the August 26 show featured Jah Prayzah, Winky D, Makhadzi (South Africa), Shingai, Selmor Mtukudzi and Mambo Dhuterere, among others.
Winky D performed for more than an hour, while Makhadzi and JP had reduced slots of a combined 40 minutes.
Makhadzi vented her frustrations on social media, “claiming the organisers had conspired to sabotage her and Jah Prayzah” in order to promote Winky D.
“Winky D, I love you my brother but it’s like the whole thing was planned for your performance to destroy us . . . It’s like they gave us money to destroy our names. They were supposed to manage the time and the artistes. So, all I can say is that whatever happened there was planned for me and Jah Prayzah to fight because Winky D ended his performance when there was just 40 minutes left for the venue to close whereas Jah Prayzah was supposed to perform more than an hour and I was supposed to perform for 45 minutes,” she said.
JP equally felt hard done by the promoters. Ironically, this is not the first time he has experienced this in the few occasions he has shared the stage with Winky D.
A year or so back, at a concert held at the Harare International Conference Centre, JP had to endure performing for an exiting crowd, after Winky D allegedly “extended” his time on stage, going into the wee hours.
The Harare event also featured Nutty O and some DJs.
And just like was the case at the Africa Music Festival, switching from one act to the next on the line-up would take longer than necessary despite the show having started late.
“It pains me all the time because, when we come here, we would have planned a show befitting the sacrifices you have made to come here from faraway places.
“I know you have travelled far, some of you flew in and booked accommodation in order to attend this show and so I should not be performing for just 30 minutes and this happens year in, year out,” lamented JP on the Africa Music Festival stage.
Y2K Entertainment apologised for the mishap.
“The issue that disappointed most was not having enough time for Winky D, Makhadzi and Jah Prayzah. For those who have attended our previous events, they are aware that our time keeping has always been impeccable.
“However, for this event, time was affected due to a number of reasons. There was a major accident on August 25 on M1 involving the lorry that was carrying our festival stage and this took hours to replace as they had to bring another stage from Leeds, which led to the sound check planned for that evening being cancelled.
“The production team did not have enough time to work within the 9pm curfew set in licensing conditions as part of noise pollution management.
Therefore, the sound check was moved to Saturday (August 26) . . . and that put the whole event on the back foot,” Y2K Entertainment explained in a statement.
They also cited the issue of sudden massive showers that triggered a power cut, among other things, as having affected the smooth flow of the show.