Music mogul AKA 'must pay' R500k
The rapper’s former manager threatens court action to force AKA to settle unpaid bills.
Raphael Benza, the former manager of rapper Kiernan Forbes (better known as AKA) has threatened the musician with court action.
This after the rapper allegedly failed to pay R500 000 to Benza’s record company Vth Season.
Benza and AKA have been at one another’s throats, accusing each other of not paying their bills. AKA’s business partner Prince Nyembe said Benza built his record company around AKA’s talent and success. Nyembe accused Benza of having “used him [AKA] to maintain the business”.
“Sadly, the gravy train has come to an end,” he said, and claimed that Vth Season did not bother to empower AKA when it had the chance.
City Press has seen court papers indicating that the parties signed a separation settlement agreement in July before a sheriff of the court.
In the documents, the two sides agreed that “each of them shall be entitled to arrange an audit” after a period of five months, “and to make copies of the accounts books, records, contracts and other material relevant to determine how much they owed each other”.
Although the actual figure hasn’t been finalised, City Press understands that Vth Season is adamant that AKA should continue to pay for services rendered dating back to March.
“Mr Forbes is in default as he has not paid Vth Season numerous amounts owing,” Benza’s lawyer David Feinberg said in an email.
“His representatives proposed a repayment plan on an estimated amount of R500 000 in instalments ending in September 2018,” Benza’s lawyer David Feinberg said in an email.
“The repayment proposal was apparently based on ‘affordability’. Vth Season has rejected this proposal as it does not believe it to be reasonable. Vth Season now has to consider legal action as a last resort in relation to the outstanding payments which are currently due, owing and payable.”
Benza is the founder of Vth Season – a talent management company and record label – which manages the likes of Congolese musician Tresor Riziki, Gugulethu “Berita” Khumalo and comedian Nina Hastie.
Feinberg told City Press on Friday that AKA’s failure to comply was a violation of an agreement that was made in an order of court.
He added that “Vth Season is taking advice from its attorneys about launching a contempt of court application against Forbes”.
This week, AKA denied owning Vth Season any money‚ instead saying the record label lost prestige after he left it.
But Feinberg said Vth Season was only sharing the information because of AKA’s “untrue statement” that he didn’t owe it money.
“Vth Season would prefer to allow the matter to take its legal course,” Feinberg added.
South Africa’s first music mogul
Nyembe said this week that “Vth Season owed Forbes more than he’ll ever owe them and that’s the truth”. Nyembe declined to put a figure to this claim, saying that the case was in court.
Nyembe is AKA’s partner in Beam Group Company, which focuses on music entertainment, brand development, film, production, photography and marketing.
Nyembe boasted about how his partnership with AKA changed the musician’s fortunes.
“All I did was empower him, give him his own business, let him control his money, let him decide who and what he wants to spend money on,” he said.
“Today he has a team of 23 employees at Beam Group that is making him an immortal superstar.”
Nyembe added that AKA was the company’s majority shareholder and had opened another arm of the firm, Beam Digital, which was intended to change the music industry and “save all Africans’ talent by giving them control”.
At Vth Season, he said, AKA had no payslip and his finances were poorly managed.
“Today, he is a happy man. He has made solid investments, he has multiple retirement plans, a trust built to look after his family, and an additional trust for [his daughter] Kairo’s future and education,” Nyembe said.
The court papers do not state the reason for their split, but AKA gave his fans a clue in a series of Tweets posted in October last year.
“Don’t stress y’all, this means more music, more growth and most importantly for myself and my family ... more money and a better future,” he tweeted.
Just when fans thought the war between AKA and Benza was done and dusted, Benza’s camp released a statement stating that they had lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission against Nyembe. This was for alleged “hateful, injurious and xenophobic comments” Nyembe made in email conversations with Benza.
In an alleged email conversation on October 24, Nyembe sent an email to Benza, which read: “And your [sic] clever? Your just a criminal that’s all. left your s**t country to come take advantage of our talented people!! go home!! you don’t belong here.”
Nyembe said Vth Season’s communication was one-sided and did not reflect the context of Benza’s emails to his company.
“I was trying to convey a message that, when Raphael came to South Africa, he came here to have a better and brighter future, but not to take away from an African child. I would not keep quiet and watch someone taking away from a South African,” Nyembe insisted.