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Music industry not easy for females

LOCAL female hip-hop rapper and former radio personality Black Bird, born Nonkululeko Vundla, says she has been subjected to sexual harassment in the cut-throat competitive music industry in her journey spanning over a decade. Black Bird released a full length hip-hop album, The Rappetizer, in 2010 and the international touch in her compositions won her the prestigious honour of being the first female hip-hop artiste to perform at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in 2011. NewsDay (ND) Life & Style reporter Winstone Antonio caught up with Black Bird (NV) who opened up about her showbiz experience and below are excerpts from the interview. WINSTONE ANTONIO ND: It appears you have been out of the limelight since you left Star FM in 2013, what has been happening? NV: A lot has been happening. Music wise, I have been releasing singles mainly. I went to South Africa briefly then I moved to Zambia. I have been busy with radio and television presenting and training. In Zambia I worked for two radio stations Zambezi FM in Livingstone and Pan African Radio in Lusaka. ND: It looks like you had a full plate in Zambia? NV: Yes, before working at Pan African Radio I had trained all their 21 presenters. Last year I was working for Fresh TV station in Lusaka hosting a daily music request show, an hour of live television everyday. It was lots of fun, but I did not have time for my music and other business ventures. ND: Tell us more about these business ventures. NV: Two years ago I started a clothing business, Bantu Wear. This has been keeping me very busy, so eventually I left Lusaka to come to my dream destination here in Livingstone where I am also doing a bit of farming. I have always loved Victoria Falls, so being here is perfect for me. ND: Would you say the local music industry has fully embraced female rappers? NV: It is very tough being a female rapper especially because the men are in control of most key positions like at radio and television stations. They are studio owners and promoters as well. A female artiste is often seen as being not serious so I had to work extra hard to show that I was professional and could do this rap thing properly. ND: You recently dropped a 14-track multilingual extended play titled Bantu Queen in which you used seven different languages. Can you share some insights into the production? NV: The multilingual Bantu Queen EP is a celebration of Bantu culture and Bantu people. This Bantu Queen is actually a collection of songs I have been working on over the past two years plus two BB classics H-Town Hustler featuring Davina Green and Black Bird that features J Boss which were just singles. Since I have my roots in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia I decided why not use African languages — Zulu, Afrikaans, Sotho, Xhosa, Shona and Ndebele. ND: And you also included English? NV: English is the predominant language, so people all over the world can hear it, but now my fans can hear me spit in five different vernaculars too. So it’s very multilingual. The EP also features DJ Smiley on a r

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