Meet Director Leoy V – A Visionary Videographer With Ghetto Youths At Heart Through The 'Ghetto Ark Sessions'

By Takudzwa Kadzura 

Dir. Leoy V is a familiar tag; we have probably seen it a couple of times but likewise we click on these music videos to see how our favorite songs have been visually reproduced, and not care who shot them anyway. This is the case for several other content creators talk of producers, sound engineers, bloggers, vixens and even friends of the artist. This is one technical demand that artists give in to – the nature of co-existing and sums making up a whole number. In this modern age, it is quite difficult for a song to reach its full potential unless it has been visually recreated for wider reach.

Director Leoy V
Leopold Tapiwa Vengesa, known as Dir. Leoy V 

We are in high spirits exploring the avenues of unsung heroes. Behind the scenes of timeless classics such as Kure, the videos airing on Trace Africa today, and the marvelous seed, the Ghetto Ark Sessions is the crafty hands of Leopold Tapiwa Vengesa.  

Born in 1998, the youthful videographer attended Seke 1 High and says his journey started as a grade 7 pupil at Chinembiri Primary school. His career would start in 2016 after securing a camera.

The Ghetto Ark Sessions is a video series where up-and-coming artists get a chance to perform their music in a barbershop. Yes, in a barbershop at a corner in Chitungwiza. Notable rappers who have featured include DaKid Verse and Stiiv. They have since surpassed 50 videos on the YouTube channel and to us it’s not just a number but a stepping stone for potential music superstars. 

We had a chance to speak with Dir. Leoy V so that we get to know more about this ambitious shot.

ZimSphere: From shooting a video that goes to play on Trace Africa and then shooting a series in the barbershop (ghetto), may you take us through the motive and inspiration behind the Ghetto Ark Sessions.

Dir. Leoy V: It’s this other day I was getting my hair done at that corner barbershop where for 7 years I have had my hair cut; the guy has (soo) much love for music, posters for local and international artists on the wood-made walls including Van Choga in his barber and I thought it would be a great idea to embrace his support. We decided to shoot local talents for free and give them a platform to showcase their talents since most of our well-made bloggers only pay attention to the firmly-established artists and personalities.

ZimSphere: Describe criteria that an artist should meet in order to get in one of your episodes?

Dir Leoy V: All I need from an artist is their song and hunger for work. They have to be very energetic!

ZimSphere: Is this series subjected [might change this] to Chitown artists only and who else is working with you to make sure you achieve your goal?

Dir Leoy V: I've had artists from Chegutu, Kwekwe, Harare - this movement is open to artists from all over the country, everyone is welcome no matter which genre you do!

ZimSphere: Your platform is catering for a large pool of talent, which artists have amazed you the most on Ghetto Ark Sessions?

Dir Leoy V: I've enjoyed songs from Dakid Verse, Beav City, Blxson ,Tuccy , Machoking, Mac Fox , Mai Gate , ChaNterTj, Treyz Fada, Ash Li  to mention a few because there is so much talent in all the guys.

ZimSphere: What has been the biggest challenge in doing the Ghetto Ark Sessions, capture how the artists have reacted to the project?

Dir Leoy V: I've been receiving positive vibes from most artists though critics are always there. The lockdown is the bigger challenge and hopefully everything gets back to normal so we can go deeper with this mission.  I’m hoping that our local artists can also support our local producers by getting beats from them. Another issue I have is that hip hop artist can't unite and move as a unit. I hope we can all unite and move together towards greatness

ZimSphere: How about on the side of the artist, where do you think they are going wrong even when you have shot them a video, tell us the reasons just in case they come across this interview?

Dir Leoy V: 1. I hope artist can stop singing/rapping on downloaded beats and promote their local producers.

2. I wish the quality of their music could improve.

3. Artists should write and sing their music targeting local audience first before they target the international audience.

4. Artists should learn to respect and unite with each other because that's the only way to move forward.

ZimSphere: What about the issue of drugs, interestingly something we can't ignore when it comes to the youths making music in the ghetto, has that been a challenge and what's your perspective towards it?

Dir Leoy V: On that issue with drugs, I've seen so much talent in most of the artists I've worked with and I strongly believe that drug use is a major drawback in their crafts; if they could focus on their music and minimize or end drug use we could move and make a lot of progress. Most artists claim that they can't make music unless they are under the influence of drug use which is a lie, talent doesn't require drugs to enhance you, just need to work hard and push your limits to get positive results. I've shot for some artists who use drugs and most of them don't even have mobile phones to push their videos and music. It is really hard to help them because they are already inclined to something else.

ZimSphere: And highlight areas you feel other players can support this initiative

Dir Leoy V: I was really hoping that other influencers could post and market us so that we could reach out more because I’m sure there are many artists out there who are looking for opportunities like these. So if pages like Zimgrounds , ZimCelebs, and Earground could post us frequently we could reach out more.

There you have it - from the lens of a visual director and how else would you love to see it. Given the support, Ghetto Ark Sessions is a tremendous leap towards achieving an all-round growth and like Noah’s ark, upcoming lads mustn’t miss out. 

You can watch videos on the Ghetto Ark Sessions by Director Leoy V via this YouTube link, and also subscribe to the channel.

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