An exclusive interview with DJ Edu Diamond talks about his life, music, and the next generation of artists.
Diamond was beaten at the recent BET awards in the US by Burna Boy, but it was Diamond whose picture was all over:
“I decided to wear a Maasai dress because I thought what’s the point of wearing Gucci or Louis Vuitton? They’ve got that there, you won’t stand out.”
Not everyone was supportive of Diamond’s US trip. Some of his countrymen said he didn’t deserve the BET nomination because of his unapologetic support of Tanzania’s covid-denying former President Magufuli. Diamond is not fazed by his critics:
“It’s like football. If there’s a match between Manchester and Liverpool, don’t expect everyone to agree with you. I don’t take it personally. And in music it can be useful, it gets the fans out.”
Diamond was asked to stand as a member of parliament himself, but for the time being he’s not tempted:
“It’s not my thing. I still need to do things for the music industry.”
Diamond’s stage shows are second to none. He’s an amazing performer and dancer. He’s also a very astute businessman, steadily building his Wasafi empire, and his international fanbase. In the US he was also recording a new album:
“The executive producer is from there, and we were recording with American artists. But of course, no matter how much I want it to be a global album it’s not going to take my Swahili Nation taste out of it.”
“I was also making connections, and seeing how we can empower our African music, and not just African music but East African music in particular.”
He posted pictures on his social media of himself with Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beats, and Diddy.
“I want to create a path so even if I’m not here tomorrow, it can be easy for the next generation to get there. I want to prove to our fellow youth that anything is possible.”
So where does Diamond see himself in ten years?
“That’s a cheeky question! I always wanted to prove a point to the African youth that you can use music in a very positive way, using music to employ more people, and becoming one of the richest people in the world – like Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.”
So will Diamond be flying into space? Or spending his money on causes he believes in? Will he be Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates?
“Neither of them. Better than them!”
“I don’t see myself flying to the moon because I am scared of flying. I’ll be empowering the youth. What makes me happy is when I hear someone say it’s because of Diamond that I am here today”
You can hear Edu’s conversation with Diamond Platnumz on This is Africa on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa, and you can listen online here: www.bbcworldservice.com/thisisafrica
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