The US Embassy in Uganda has unceremoniously called off a song writing competition after Ugandans on twitter called them out for “lack of respect to creativity” by offering a low fee for the winner of Shs200,000 ($54USD).
Trouble started when the embassy in conjunction with Kampala Film Development Foundation tweeted, they were looking for song writers to showcase their skills in putting together a theme song for the upcoming film and cultural week.
The creators were supposed to submit their finished work before end of March and a winner would be announced with a shs200,000 as prize.
Anne Whitehead, a communication strategist and researcher in reply to the tweet called out the embassy to value the time and talent of the people while making budgets.
“Respectfully, can we value people’s time and talent in the budgets? How much is the average day rate for most of the people you’ve got working there at the embassy, the bazungu in particular? Is it more than 200k? Why pay a Ugandan song writer less?” she posed.
John Kay, the president of Uganda Song Writers Association called out the embassy for their lack reorganisation to the importance of the theme and the works of the writers.
“I am worried whoever is in the logistics hasn’t recognized the importance of a theme song and the work of a songwriter. We appreciate the opportunity but the design and the respect that comes with it doesn’t respect our art. Uganda songwriter’s association. It is a joke, I guess,” he said.
Several people castigated the Embassy and their partners for thinking so low of Ugandan talent while they pay their expatriates and workers huge sums in allowances, this prompted the embassy to immediately call of the campaign and issue a statement.
“We appreciate the creative community feedback on the #FilmandCultureWeek2021 jingle contest. The contest was intended as an opportunity for aspiring songwriters. In light of concerns raised, however, the organizers have suspended the competition,”reads a statement from the embassy.
“We value the role of creatives and believe they should be recognized and fairly compensated for their work. We do fully compensate for commissioned work and welcome ways to continue engaging with creatives and developing emerging voices,”the statement continued.