East Africa: Why Mbosso Won’t Releases New Music For 3 Months
17 November 2023
Written by Pharis Kinyua
Tanzania's music scene is no stranger to controversy, but the recent ban imposed by the National Arts Council, Basata, on the celebrated musician Mbosso, alongside his peers Billnass and Whozu, has sent shockwaves through the industry.
The cause of their troubles stems from the song "Ameyatimba," owned by Whozu, featuring both Mbosso and Billnass. The fallout from this hit song has now resulted in a three-month ban for Mbosso and Billnass, while Whozu faces a more prolonged six-month hiatus. The music video to "Ameyatimba" is at the heart of the dispute, with Basata claiming it violates the law and ethical standards, prompting a harsh response that has left the artists and their fans in dismay.
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Basata, through a public statement, declared that the music video for ""Ameyatimba"" violated ethical standards by featuring content suggestive of offensive actions and the mistreatment and humiliation of women. The violation of these standards, as outlined in regulations 259j0 and 25(6)(f), resulted in the swift punitive action against the artists.
The ban, which prohibits Mbosso, Billnass, and Whozu from releasing new music or engaging in music production, has taken a heavy toll on the trio's creative endeavors. The artists, known for their contributions to the vibrant Tanzanian music scene, are now facing a challenging hiatus that will undoubtedly impact their careers.
This is not the first time that Whozu has found himself on Basata's radar. The regulatory body had previously issued warnings to the artist and even imposed fines in response to his disregard for their guidelines. Despite these prior encounters with the authorities, it appears that Whozu and the two artists he collaborated with continued on a creative path that ultimately led to this severe ban.
The artists have also been hit with a financial penalty, each required to pay Tsh 3 million, equivalent to approximately Ksh 181,600, a significant sum by any standard. This financial burden only adds to the difficulties they face during the suspension of their music careers.
As part of the punitive measures, Basata directed the artists to remove the music video for ""Ameyatimba"" from all digital platforms. This move further underscores the seriousness of the violations and the regulatory body's commitment to upholding ethical standards in the arts and culture sector. However, the audio version of the song remains available on YouTube, leaving fans with access to the music despite the ban on its video.
Mbosso, well-known for his soulful and melodious tunes, expressed his reaction to the ban on his official Instagram account, posting an image with the caption, ""Stress Mbili Kwa Mpigo."" In this cryptic message, Mbosso appears to be coping with two significant sources of stress: his professional setback and his favorite Tanzanian football team, Simba, enduring a recent defeat. This candid expression of frustration hints at the emotional toll the ban has taken on him and the challenges he now faces in navigating a temporary absence from the music scene.
Mbosso's journey to becoming a celebrated artist is marked by his unique voice and emotional depth, endearing him to fans not only in Tanzania but also across East Africa and beyond. His captivating melodies have resonated with listeners and catapulted him to the pinnacle of the music industry. As he navigates this temporary ban, he, along with Billnass and Whozu, is confronted with the challenge of maintaining his artistic integrity and relevance while adhering to the regulatory framework.
The ban has not only left fans of Mbosso and his fellow artists disappointed but has also raised questions about the role of Basata and similar regulatory bodies in the creative process. As the artists and their management seek to address the situation, the incident underscores the need for a delicate balance between artistic expression and the preservation of cultural norms and ethical standards within the music industry.