The world is watching us
By Hazeez Balogun
The Nigerian movie and music industries have come a long way. Nigerians are now looking inward for good entertainment. Before now, if the music and movie were not from abroad, they couldn’t be appreciated due to poor quality and lack of creativity.
Nigerian artistes have indeed come a long way, not only in the production of good quality movies and music with a broader appeal cutting across social classes, but also in the expansion of their acceptance far beyond the shores of the country, while building for themselves the revered status of international stars.
Since Nigerians began to create masterpieces that are good enough to feature on international TV channels such as Channel O, MTV Base and AfricaMagic, they have seen their status gradually transformed from 'local champions' to pan African super stars at the very least. Nigerian artistes in the last few years have leveraged on the reach of cable stations especially DSTV and of recent HiTV, to showcase their skill, talents and ingenuity to other Africans across the continent, thereby earning for themselves an ardent pan African fan base.
Where, just a few years ago, the interior of a typical video club would be draped with posters of foreign artistes, local video club owners have since substituted John Travolta and Angelina Jolie posters for Pete Edochie and Genevieve Nnaji's. Even music has experienced a major shift. Where music sellers used to attract customers with enormous speakers playing sounds from the likes of R.Kelly and Usher, those same speakers now play music of D'Banj, 9ice, Ikechukwu and the likes. Even a typical D.J. will affirm that Nigerian music is more likely to spark up a party and get people dancing than foreign music.
In fact, Nigeria has gone from minimal mentions at Kora or Channel O Awards to dominating and even hosting such shows. At the last MTV Base Africa Music Awards(MAMA) in Abuja, Nigerian artistes practically dominated the nominations. At the Channel O Music Video Awards, Nigerian music videos featured actively at the nominations and winners tables. This is an emergence from an era where Nigeria could barely get a mention at the Kora or Channel O Awards.
This is not to presuppose that Nigerians no longer appreciate foreign acts. The number of Nigerians who turn up when international stars are brought in to headline big musical concerts would readily attest to that. Even at the MAMA Awards, the attendance of major stars like Flo Rida, The Game and Kelly Rowland served as major promotional tools for the show. There is also the common practice of inviting international movie stars to movie award ceremonies. At the last African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), the ageless Angela Bassett graced the occasion and the year before, it was Monique of the Phat Girlz fame. These stars added colour to the glamour that already pervaded the scene as Nigerians clamoured to rub shoulders and even have their pictures taken with them. Indeed Nigerians retain a consistent appreciation for the international stars.
Nonetheless, the penchant for local entertainment has skyrocketed beyond measure in the past few years. There is an unprecedented clamour by Nigerians for their own music and movies. Nigerians who are widely known to have soft spot for foreign merchandize have become born again, now enjoying the pleasure of their very own. Incredible?
Nigerian artistes are becoming bigger, signing big time endorsement deals and making Africa proud, and this is just the start.
Kudos to Nigerian entertainers who have placed the country at this status of home to African entertainers....more