This is an article I wrote that originally appeared on JustCurious.co.za
We always talk about the people in the entertainment industry being forever 25. Idols is back on our screens and for quite some time now, I’ve been seeing rave reviews about the twins from Durban, Neliswa and Anele. These girls have amazing voices that could bring you to tears. They brought Unathi to tears. Literally. I couldn’t help but notice how young these girls are. In fact, they looked even younger than they are. This made me ponder a few things on age and the entertainment industry.
There obviously is no such thing as too young when it comes to entering the music industry. We have seen (those of that generation anyway) the Mowry and Olsen twins grow up right before our very eyes to become the stars that they are today. (I grew up with the YoTV kids.) However considering that a year ago, Idols contestant Rethabile Khumalo was sent home due to her age, I wonder if the Durban twins will suffer the same fate. The entertainment is very shrewd, as we all know, and it requires a thick skin to deal with. When observing these girls, I see the talent, but I do not see the thick skin or confidence that is needed to make it in the industry. By no means am I raining on their parade. They are truly talented and with time they could definitely learn how to deal with fame. Is that time now? I do not think so.
Rethabile has returned this year and she seems more confident and grown up than before. Hopefully she will make it further in the competition than she did last time. I think the Durban twins also need a hiatus to build their confidence and grow thicker skin.
The other flip of the coin is whether or not there is a cut off age for entering the entertainment industry. For the very same competition, contestants are required to be no older than 30 years old. Does this mean that this is the age at which the industry deems you unsuitable for a big break? For many years, yes. Artists who entered the industry at a young age were frowned upon, but today we have artists entering and breaking through at much older ages than before. Think Tamar Braxton, who entered the industry years ago but is only gaining recognition now with her much anticipated album, Love and War, which was released yesterday. Another example is Kerry Washington who got her first big break in her 30s.
All the above considered, I can’t help but wonder… If the general public does not mind what age an entertainer is, what is the industry’s obsession with age?
Do younger people look better and therefore sell more albums and boost TV ratings? What are your thoughts?
Check out the twins from Durban HERE.
By Richmond Sajini