Sjava: When Industry Clashes With Your Culture

Sjava wants to be able to practice his culture openly

By  | Feb 03, 2020, 12:34 PM

Being an artist in a country that boasts so many cultures, languages and races sounds is something to be celebrated. But, as Sjava points out, it can be tricky when an entertainer wants to represent their culture.

What happens when the industry that is known to not be kind and considerate of those varied cultures and practices, restricts you from representing your culture?

That is what musician and rapper Sjava spoke out about when he sat down with Ebro Darden, for the Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio tour of South Africa. Speaking about his rise to fame, he also let people know of how he was barred from burning impepho (incense) on stage at his One Man show.

Sjava is known for rocking traditional attire and rapping in vernacular. He has also spoken out about his use of 'umuthi' and not being ashamed of it.

During his memorable One Night With Sjava show in October 2019, he had intended on burning incense to chase away 'bad vibes.'

"I remember like 20 minutes before (the show started), I asked one of my guys, 'can you please go put it on stage, before we start so that it keeps away all the bad vibes?' They were like no. It was so small but they were like, 'nah, you can't'. They said it will put the whole building in danger. I was like you have flames coming out of the stage and you're complaining?" he said.

He also spoke about the time when he was nominated for a BET award and how he was so excited to represent the country and his tradition. During a discussion with the people from his camp, the uMama hit-maker spoke about how they discouraged him from wearing his traditional attire in the United States.

They would respond; "Please don't go and embarrass us. Please don't wear that." To not embarrass himself, they suggested he wore an Italian suit.

Paying no mind to the discouragement, he won the BET Award in 2018, and dressed stylishly in his traditional outfit.

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Picture credit: instagram/sjava_atm