I deserve this award—Tay Grin

The London Political Summit last Friday awarded hip hop artist Tay Grin with Best Emerging Politician 2019 Award. The award ceremony took place in London and the artist went to accept it. However, some Malawians on social media questioned how the artist was chosen among scores of youthful politicians with some insinuating that the artist got the award due to his celebrity status. Our arts editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with Tay Grin upon his return to discuss this and more.

Tay Grin: These awards symbolise hope for young people

Q

: How did the London Political Summit get in touch with you, or rather how did they identify you?

A

: I was contacted by the summit. They pick and choose who is awarded. I was awarded together with Ahmed Buhari who was an aspiring presidential candidate for Nigeria’s past elections. They looked for candidates who show promise, emerging young leaders on the continent who worked hard regardless of their outcomes.

Q

: Some Malawians on social media were of the view that you don’t deserve this award saying you got it because you are a popular musician. How do you respond to that?

A

: That is a perfect example of democracy at work. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. These awards symbolise hope for young people in politics. In my opinion, differences in party alliances does not make us enemies. I would like to see more young people involved. I worked extremely hard and if you look at the campaign numbers my constituency brought in the largest presidential and parliamentary numbers. This is very encouraging given that it was my first attempt at politics.

Q

: What is your take home message at the end of it all?

A

: Young people are starting to join national politics across Africa albeit there are still a lot more held back by fear of the unknown, fear of not knowing enough, the feeling that their voice doesn’t count. In addition to being proactive, young people should realise that they have a voice! If you have ideas of how things can be done better or new ideas on how we can improve our villages, towns, cities and nation as a whole. You have something to contribute to politics! Engage in whatever capacity and share your ideas /vision in a democratic way for the good of the whole nation. All young people can and should contribute positively to politics regardless of age, gender, race or background. The country is richer in all respects when the whole society is involved in planning for its future. All young leaders should guard this right for the sake of their country men and women. Young people should be pro-active and realise that they are valuable. They have drive, energy, ambition and are in touch with current affairs and technological developments which give them the capability to influence the future developments in their countries. Young people should work collaboratively and respectfully with older people in politics so that the country can fully benefit from and fully address both the current and future needs of the people. Young people need to be development-focused when engaging with politics and seek to breakdown any systems that are not conducive to effective governance, political security and democratic peace such as; corruption, tribalism, regionalism, the ‘follower/yes boss mentality’, cash for votes politics.

Q

: Is this the end of your music career since you have shown seriousness with politics?

A

: Music has always been an integral part of my life. I have raised my country’s flag through music. I have championed girl education through music. I have been a brand ambassador for several multinational companies through music and most recently delved into politics because of the platform music created for me. It will always be a part of me and I dream of helping my nation become a giant in the global music industry. I’m currently working on new material to be released soon. n

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