It has been a week and four days (I’ve been counting) since news broke of Black Sherif‘s alleged arrest for a breach of contract, and the public is still left with more questions than answers.
In the wake of Black Sherif’s alleged arrest and subsequent bail, the news cycle has been buzzing with various headlines, among them, the stolen cash by Cecilia Dapaah‘s maid, the passing of former Minister of Health, Madam Sherry Ayittey, and the rescheduling of the Ghana Party in the Park event due to weather concerns.
Amidst all these headlines, what is obvious is Black Sherif and his team’s notable silence on his ongoing drama.
While the ‘Kweku the Traveller‘ rapper has proceeded to perform at the Uniland show at the University of Ghana, there has been no official press statement addressing the allegations surrounding his arrest and breach of contract.
In the early days following his arrest, many pundits and industry players believed that the reasonable course of action would be for Black Sherif to address the allegations directly, presenting his side of the story.
But, to the dismay of his fans and the general public, both the artiste and his team have opted for radio silence, leaving us with more questions than answers.
For most people who missed out on the tea (that’s what Gen-Zs call it these days) sources close to the situation reveal that the arrest was due to a conflict over a show he was booked for in Greece, scheduled for August 2023.
According to an inside source, Cruise People Limited, the show promoter, agreed to a fee of $40,000 for specific deliverables through Black Sherif’s talent agency based outside Ghana. An initial deposit of $20,000 was made, but there was no agreement for a press conference or video submission.
In response to the situation, Black Sherif’s team claims that the show promoter demanded $50,000 instead of the agreed $20,000, which led to a dispute.
Ghanaian blogger Stephen Mingle, known as GH Hyper, who first broke the news of Black Sherif’s alleged arrest, revealed that he recommended the ‘Second Sermon’ singer for the show and that Mr. Van, the show promoter, is his uncle.
However, Black Sherif’s team maintains that there was no agreement for additional promotional activities, and the only contractual agreement was for him to show up and perform at the event.
The show promoter threatened to sue the agency over the failure to provide a promotional video. The agency offered to refund the $20,000 initial deposit since it was paid to them, debunking claims of Black Sherif having an account in London where the money was paid.
Black Sherif’s team also allegedly ignored attempts by Gramps Morgan, Amakye Dede, and Baba Saddick to intervene, which eventually led to the case being reported to National Security before the musician’s departure.
Professionalism and accountability in GH entertainment industry
While the details of the incident have sparked public interest, it is essential that we address the broader issue of accountability and professionalism within the entertainment sector as an industry.
Black Sherif’s brand has evolved in the past 3 years from just a collective of ecstatic high school boys in a house on Anum Yemoh Street in East Legon to a recognized and respected entity in the music industry.
With such recognition comes the need for proper governance and adherence to agreements.
It might sound foreign to Blacko and his squad but a brand like his needs to follow all the proper rules if he is to remain relevant in the next 30 years.
Being an artiste of remarkable talent, it is possible that Black Sherif would want to respond to this issue through his music, just as is common with most artistes.
However, in the current situation, relying solely on his music as a medium for telling his side of the story may not suffice to address the complexities at hand.
While music undoubtedly has the power to convey emotions, experiences, and personal journeys, the matter at stake goes beyond mere storytelling.
Crisis Management Lessons: Transparency and Open Communication for Black Sherif’s Brand
The alleged breach of contract and subsequent fallout including an impending civil case demands a more comprehensive and transparent approach in handling the situation.
For many individuals within the industry and concerned fans, the current situation is deeply disconcerting, as Black Sherif’s team has chosen silence and attempted to shape the narrative by selectively sharing information on social media.
Allow me to offer a valuable lesson in crisis management for both Black Sherif and his team: a brand of his stature demands transparency and open communication, not cover-ups and diversion tactics, as witnessed on Twitter in the aftermath of his arrest.
While jumping on Twitter trends to share updates about the ‘Oh Paradise Music’ video and recent performance at Uniland may be tempting, it falls short of addressing the gravity of the issue at hand. Such major challenges call for a direct and sincere approach.
By failing to address the issue head-on, Black Sherif’s team has not only disrespected his fans but has also jeopardized the artiste’s credibility.
The Second Legal Issue
This incident marks the second time in a short period that he has had to face legal issues.
The first instance involved his former record label, headed by Wayne Chavis. Allegations were made that Black Sherif went behind the label’s back to sign a record deal with another company, Empire.
Furthermore, he was accused of abandoning valuable assets, including a 7-bedroom house and a car, provided to him by his manager for personal use.
However, the Accra High Court presided over by Judge Justice Akua Sarpomaa Amoah, dismissed the injunction application against Black Sherif by his ex-financier on July 26, 2022, citing a lack of justifiable cause to proceed with the motion.
These two situations raise questions and evoke the proverbial Akan saying, “3dom ani sa de3 oso ntakra ky3,” which translates to “the eye of the crowd follows the one with the feather crown.”
As the reigning VGMA Artiste of the Year and one of Ghana’s hottest musicians, Black Sherif undoubtedly wears the coveted feather crown of the music industry, making him a target for scrutiny.
However, one cannot ignore the possibility that greed may also play a part in the repeated troubles faced by him and his team.
The allure of fame and fortune, especially for a group of young individuals, can be overwhelming, leading them to overlook crucial aspects of the contracts they enter into, thereby landing themselves in these predicaments.
It is concerning that there seems to be a lack of oversight when it comes to reading and understanding contracts before Black Sherif signs them. Equally important are the roles of his legal representatives and booking agent, and their expertise and experience in the field.
As someone who advocates for investment in the entertainment sector, it is surprising that even a confidant of Black Sherif, like 3Music boss Baba Sadiq, couldn’t ensure that the artist honoured the contractual details. This raises questions about who the Black Sherif team is accountable to and whether they show respect and honour towards their mentors and advisors.
Mentors and Accountability: Lessons from Sarkodie and Others
Even prominent artists like Sarkodie and Stonebwoy have well-respected individuals guiding them, and they take their mentors’ advice seriously, especially when it comes to matters involving contracts and agreements. Mentors such as the Late Cynthia Quarcoo and Kwame Sefa Kai have played crucial roles in shaping the Sark brand, and any issues of non-compliance could lead to significant backlash, as seen in the Yvonne Nelson saga.
For Black Sherif’s team to build a solid and sustainable brand, they must prioritize proper contract evaluation, engage experienced legal representatives, and work closely with a reputable booking agent.
By doing so, they can navigate the industry more effectively, protect their interests, and ensure a fruitful and respectful relationship with mentors and industry figures who contribute to their growth and success.
For someone who was jumping on GWRM trends on TikTok recently, what really stopped Black Sherif from creating a promo video for the Cruise People as part of the promotion for their Afro Cruise event if indeed that was part of the contract agreement??
Ending Unprofessional Behaviour in the Industry
With his immense popularity and goodwill among the youth and general public, it is disheartening to see him stumble in managing such situations.
It is evident that Black Sherif has a devoted fan base who fiercely defends him, even in the face of criticism.
However, this should not lead to complacency or a sense of immunity from accountability.
The narrative of the struggling kid from Konongo to Accra, which has resonated with many, should not be used as an excuse for overlooking his responsibilities.
While talent undoubtedly plays a crucial role in a brand’s success, Black Sherif and his team need to realize that the music industry is highly competitive, and there are numerous talented musicians in Ghana. If he is not professional in his business conduct and fulfilling commitments, he is setting himself up to be a passing facade in our industry.
Even though Black Sherif isn’t the first artiste to allegedly breach his contract as King Promise, Daddy Lumba, R2Bees and Nigeria’s Kizz Daniels have all been involved in this unprofessional act, this behaviour should end with him.
Black Sherif as the reigning VGMA Artiste of the Year needs to learn from these instances and not repeat the same mistakes because he has the opportunity to set a positive example for others in the industry.
If Black Sherif finds himself in a situation where the terms of a contract are not in his interest, open communication and negotiation with the involved parties are the responsible courses of action.
Returning funds or opting not to sign a contract be done in a respectful and transparent manner.
While we await the court’s decision on the matter, it is imperative for Black Sherif and his team to reflect on their actions and consider the impact of their behaviour on the industry as a whole.
The music industry is a business, and as such, it requires professionalism, respect for contracts, and a commitment to growth and prosperity.
Let us not forget that Ghana’s music industry is brimming with talent, and only those who uphold the highest standards of integrity will stand the test of time.