Labour of love or free work?

May 24, 2017
Bounty Killer

I find that people love to ask professionals in the creative industry to work for free. Why?

Probably it's because we often appear to genuinely enjoy our work, they figure that maybe we shouldn't really be getting paid to have so much fun. What you think?

Look here nuh, I have not done a proper research so I can't offer any empirical evidence to prove my point.

But just from personal experience and observation, I would venture to say without fear of contradiction that no workers in any other line of work are asked to give free labour as often as performing artistes.

Trust mi pon this. There are people who call themselves event promoters, who will pay the high cost of venue rental without question.

They'll also pay in full and upfront for light, sound, stage, advertisement and other production costs without even blinking.

But then, they call the performing artistes and expect us to put on our good-good clothes, bear the cost of transportation and come entertain the audience either totally for free or for ridiculously reduced rates.

What usually makes it worse is when they put forth the insulting argument that the free work will benefit you because you'll get exposure.

I don't know about you but I think something seriously wrong wid dat! And according to my reading of 1 Timothy 5:18, the scripture says you must not tie up di mouth of di cow who a work inna di cornfield and people who work deserve dem pay. Can the church say amen?

Now don't get me wrong. There's a thing known as work done 'pro bono'. Pro bono is short for the Latin phrase 'pro bono publico', meaning 'for the public good'. And that's a good thing.

It's a noble idea to offer time and energies towards worthy causes. It's both commendable and fulfilling to give time and talent in service to community, and donate labour to those who are unable to pay for your work.

Yes, it's definitely admirable to willingly work in service to our country. But not every day, though. Maybe mainly on Labour Day!

And on that note, I have to big up the people, especially from the theatre fraternity, who spent yesterday lovingly labouring on the refurbishment of the historic Ward Theatre. How about you?

What did you do for Labour Day? Did you engage in any labour of love?

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