It takes the tinniest of ideas to flicker outstanding workmanship in the creative industry. However, the ideas and the people behind the vibrant theories need guidance and nurturing,” – reads a statement by the Innovation Village, a space created for creatives in Gulu to flourish.
This statement precisely describes the work that Guinness is doing to not only to foster innovation but also emphasise collaboration whilst shining a light on Uganda’s most passionate creatives.
This comes on a backdrop of an industry that has for so long struggled to gain recognition in society and with little or no knowledge about the inner workings of the industry in which success was a guarantee to a lucky few.
No one was celebrated for being creative, professional jobs where the gold standard of success and the creative industry was this elusive thing that no one seemed to know how to manoeuvre to guarantee success.
However, things have changed with the shift to digital technologies and quite recently the pandemic opening up new possibilities of doing things, even for Uganda. This shift has attracted the rapid growth of the industry, raising a new crop of creatives, ones that do not shy away from uncertainty and are willing to shine bright.
Numbers don’t lie
The creative economy offers a feasible development option to all countries particularly developing economies, says the UNCTAD’s Creative Economy outlook that was launched in October last year in Bali. The latest available data shows that in 2022, global exports of creatives goods increased from $419 million in 2010 to $524 million in 2020, while world exports of creative services increased from $487 billion to almost $1.1 trillion during the same period.
Unfortunately, even with the growth that the industry has registered, creatives in Uganda still lack the acknowledgement from society. Because of this, brands like Guinness are setting the stage for an inclusive, impactful, and lucrative creative industry by cheerleading on Uganda’s passionate creatives while setting the stage for collaboration through their global campaign Black Shines Brightest.
The Black Shines Brightest Campaign
Collaboration is one of the biggest pillars that informed the idea of Guinness’ Black Shines Brightest Campaign, a Pan African campaign that was launched in early 2022 to celebrate and bring together passionate and creative individuals to celebrate the spirit of Guinness and its home across African markets.
To launch the campaign, Guinness worked with real culture makers from across the continent who demonstrate how Black Shines Brightest. Ghanaian choreographer, Incredible Zigi, Nigerian artist, Fire boy, Kenya’s Adelle Onyango and Uganda’s Azawi were some of the creatives around the continent that worked with the brand.
According to Elizabeth Mutamuliza, the Guinness Uganda Brand Manager, the campaign is aimed at connecting with the brand’s consumers in the spaces that they feel most passionate about.
“The brand is at the fore front of acknowledging creativity, celebrating it and shinning a light on the culture makers and those that have boldly embraced the creative space fully,” she said.
The Bright House
The link between the Guinness Bright House experience and the Black Shines Brightest campaign is very important. Curated to bring the latter to life, the Bright House is a way of realising what the campaign was all about. The platform is an immersive experience that seeks to shine a light and collaborate with Ugandan youth that are shining bright in the different creative spaces that they occupy.
The concept of the Bright House is simple; invite creatives in the areas of music, art, fashion, content creation and sports to interact, collaborate and work with each other.
The idea is for creatives to not only get motivated or inspired but to also mix, mingle and collaborate with like minds so that they can shine brighter in the different creative fields that they aim to work in.
The programme includes master classes in music, fashion, and art. These master classes are carried out by renowned industry experts from the different creative spaces. It has also signed on creatives to showcase and perform at the Bright Houses.
With this, the brand has been able to invest in creatives by giving them a stage to be noticed and opportunities to be in the same room with like minds, an element that fosters mentorship and creativity. The platform has since been taken on the road to give creatives in all the parts of the country a chance to showcase their talents and to also work and interact with other industry captains.
The Tour that kicked off in Gulu late last year is now heading east to Jinja come May 6th and is set to collaborate with the biggest creatives in Jinja.
Simon Peter OJok is a visual artist from Gulu whose passion for art saw him drop out of university back in 2014 where he was pursuing a Business Administration degree. Ojok woke up to his face plastered across a business magazine. The excerpt highlighted Simon’s work with recycling waste in Northern Uganda, his passion for art and what it took for him to reach where he was.
In the interview, Ojok traces some of his biggest achievements as being a part of the Guinness Bright House in Gulu.
“The Bright House gave me an opportunity to showcase my talent and artwork, I also held a masterclass where I joined other big names in the creativity space like Benon Mugumbya and celebrated videographer Sasha Vybz and now I am in the papers,” recounted Ojok.
The platform has collaborated with creatives ranging from artists, painters, musicians and football enthusiasts. These include renowned music director and videographer Sasha Vybz, cinematographer Loukman Ali, veteran music producer Benon Mugumbya, fashion designer Sham Tyra, comedian and digital content creator Uncle Mo, veteran sports commentator Andrew Kabuura and Afro star Azawi who have worked with the brand during the Bright House to carry out master classes motivating creators in their respective fields.
This saw some of the most incredible projects emerge like Singer Azawi’s Collaboration with Sasha Vybz and Uncle Mo on the Video of her Smash Hit Majje, a hustler’s anthem that took the entertainment scene by storm.
Northern star, Polite Mosko is in the process of shooting his first ever video with famous music director and videographer Sasha Vybz. The two met at the Bright House edition in Gulu.
The impact of platforms like the Guinness Bright House are far more reaching than just tangible. It’s a conversation starter on careers and how the youth today can still make/earn a living while living their wildest dreams in pursing their passions. It is also a showcase of who the up-and-coming creatives can look up to and the master class enables them to have a fair understanding on the industry and which spaces they can comfortably occupy.
Platforms like the Bright House give a warm blanket and a foundation to an industry that needs legs to stand on. They also legitimise the creative industry making it easier for many youths to follow their passions whilst earning a living from their hard work. Safe to say that such platforms not only give voices in the creative space a platform to shine, it also gives them the ability to live passionate lives.
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