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Hi Everyone!!!
How was your weekend? Mine was just….I have no words!
Anyway, I attended the 3rd edition of the ThisDay Music Festival last night/this morning. The ‘Africa Rising’ Event actually kicked off in Abuja last week when Naomi Campbell and some other celebrities planted tree in Nigeria’s Capital – Abuja. On Friday, 11th July 2008, the musical concert in Abuja took place with performances from Jay-Z, Usher, Rihanna along with local artistes including up and coming rapper, MI.

I didn’t attend the Abuja show but here are some tidbits and pics. I heard the music show went well although it started really late as well. Usher did an amazing job, the ladies were screaming. Jay-Z killed it as always. He and Rihanna performed ‘Umbrella’ together. They have done this only a very few times live in the past. All the guys were drooling over Rihanna, apparently she is the ‘freshest’ lady ever. Even one of my female friends who met her said her skin is like butter. WOW. Skin like butter + Chris Brown as a boyfriend….do we need more reasons to hate her? lol.
The fashion show in Abuja was unfortunately cancelled and Naomi & Tyson didn’t attend the fashion show in Lagos

Naomi planted trees in Abuja and visited an orphanage along with Tyson Beckford in Lagos

Usher, Jay-Z & Rihanna performed

Ozwald & Oluchi were there looking fab!

Portraits – Taken in Lagos

So I couldn’t decide if I should go for the Lagos show or not cause I was sooo exhausted on Sunday but I dragged myself out of bed anyway. The venue was the Lagos Polo Club, ThisDay setup a dome for the event. People who paid 5,000/10,000naira were seated outside the dome with a large projector screen to watch. Inside the dome, VIP (50,000) were placed at the end of the runway while Golden Circle (60,000) were infront of the stage/around the runway. The sponsors – Diamond Bank, Access Bank & GTBank all had elavated hospitality suites so they had a good view as well. ‘All Access’ pass holders watched the show from the stage and backstage. It was mainly Nduka’s kids and their friends, the ThisDay Staff, designers, models, photographers, crew etc…rather random bunch actually.

Anyway, the show was supposed to start by 6PM and surprise, surprise….It started almost 4 hours late….about 3 hours and 40 minutes late to be exact.

Started – 9.40PM

The crowd was a mix, many of the usual suspects that you see at every Lagos event but the crowd was dominated by teenagers!!!!! I guess with Chris Brown on the bill, that was to be expected. I have to admit that the new generation of Nigerians are incredibly stylish. These teenage girls and boys are not playin’, they express themselves very well with their style.
Anyway, I picked my spot right by the stage and I had an amazing view of everything!
The host of the show was veteran media personality, Olisa Adibua. He gave a brief introduction to hype up the crowd then comedian Basketmouth joined him on stage to ‘crack’ a few jokes. Soon after, Mary J Blige, the Queen of RnB arrived on stage. She was rockin a denim jumpsuit with grey boots and her signature blonde weave. My first observation was that Mary is fit! She has an amazing body and obviously works out. I also spotted her husband Kendu chillin at the side of the stage.
She started off with her old hits from the ‘What’s the 411’ album and took things from there! I have to admit Mary is an AMAZING performer! Energetic, passionate, fun, vocally on point! I was thoroughly impressed. For all the women in the audience, she had so many positive messages about loving yourself, being confident and all that. I felt her! By the time she began crooning her more recent hits including ‘No More Drama’ and my personal fav ‘Be Without U’, the crowd was eating out of the palm of her hand. Singing along, dancing, clapping! It was a great atmosphere. She closed off her set with her most recent hit ‘Just Fine’.

After Mary’s performance, Basketmouth and Olisa come back on stage. Basketmouth cracked the crowd up with his jokes. He was laid back and funny! While he was performing, the stage was being worked on for the next act so it was kinda distracting. Basket was on stage for a while….he decided to invite some entertainers in the crowd to join him. Ikechukwu did a freestyle version of his hit ‘Wind Am Well’. Wande Coal and D’Banj also cruised the stage for a lil’ while and dropped a few snippets. Don Jazzy, 2Face Idibia and Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha were at the event.
Next up was Chris Brown and to say the crowd went crazy would be a serious understatement. They were DELIRIOUS! But what’s to be expected with over a thousand teenage girls.
I have to admit that Chris is fine! Yes, I am like 5 years older than him but seeing him do his thing on stage was impressive. He killed it! He started with his hit ‘Wall to Wall’ and just took things from there. He, his dancers and his fine DJ…..worked perfectly together. The dance moves were well synchronised, the banter between him and the DJ was slick. When Chris took off his shirt, the crowd went crazy again! Overall, it was just an amazing performance! Even the oldies in the crowd were thoroughly impressed especially when he performed his ballads ‘No Air’ and ‘With You’. At the end of his performance, one of his crew threw his beanie hat into the crowd…it landed in my hands….then ricocheted to the 2 teen girls next to me. They then proceeded to wrangle over it for some minutes. The strongest won LOL.

After Chris, there was nothing for about an hour. The crew was setting up the stage….Logistics! Forever the bane of Nigerian events. I wonder when it will change.

Up next, Joey Crack…Fat Joe. Dude might be fat but it didn’t affect his energy levels. I looked into his eyes and he had a steely stare. He was in the ZONE. He and his crew kept the crowd entertained with hits including ‘New York’ and ‘Lean Back’ when he performed ‘Make It Rain’ some decided to spray some naira notes…There was also a fashion show featuring designs from New York based Lola Faturoti during the performance.
Throughout his performance, Fat Joe kept on saying how it was so great that ‘Nduke’ invited him to Nigeria lol…he said it was many times and it was quite funny. the crowd had to correct him as per its ‘Nduka’. He invited ‘Nduke’ on stage to say Happy Birthday as today is Mr Obiagena’s birthday.
Overall, strong showing by Mr. Crack! He was sweating buckets though.

Another almost hour long interlude to reset the stage. BAD!

Then the fashion started, Chris Aire, the famous bling designer or should I say ‘innovator/designer/gemologist’ as he was described in his introduction video. His show featured bling. Lots of it. The models were all dressed in white and embellished with diamonds. Oluchi, Ojy and other models featured in the show.

Logistics/setup break – Almost hour long. BAD!

Next up, Ozwald Boateng. I love Mr. Boateng! He is talented and just sooo fine.
Clothes were on point as always. Cut to perfection. Fabric was lush. Colours were awe inspiring.
Mr. B strutted the stage at the end of his show. U can tell he is a fun loving dude. Loved it. He is sooo HOT!
Need I say it again. Another long break to set up! Bad, Bad, Bad!

My fave Nigerian designer, Deola Sagoe showed her new collection.
Deola has been so consistent over the years but this collection truly blew me away. Her denim is cut so beautifully. I am sure that sometime very soon….Deola Sagoe denim is going to be the ‘it’ jean brand a la Rock and Republic, Seven etc…
The rest of the clothes were beautiful. The models did their thing and showed it off well.
Break again to setup the stage. The crowd thinned out at this point.
Finally the Nigerian artistes.
Mr ‘Julie’, Shank performed. Was cool. The crowd were hyped. His dancers were something else. Very energetic though. Liked it.

To close things off, rave of the moment. 9ice.
He stepped on stage looking suave in an Okunoren Twins ensemble.
The crowd just loved him! Even the security guards who were stoic all night had to sing ‘Street Credibility’ along with him. He also hit us with ‘Gongo Aso’.
9ice closed the show off with a bang!

Ended – Around 4AM

To be honest, I had fun but the late start and all the lapses in logistics really tested my patience. On the bright side, Mary J, Chris Brown and Fat Joe held my hand LOL.
For the numerous people who got free passes – Press and All Access Passes. I think the festival was fabulous for them. For those who paid 5000/10000 naira for regular tickets but then wrangled their way to the front. Great for them but for those who paid 50000 and 60000 for VIP & Golden Circle tickets…..It must have been a little upsetting.
In all, kudos to Nduka. You could see him working and sweating along with everyone trying to ensure that the event was a success.
I see and feel his vision of trying to change the perception of Africa from a poor beggar to a fun loving prosperous continent that is inviting to perspective investors. That said, these ‘Africa Rising’ shows probably cost well over a billion naira in total to fund. I can’t help but think that perhaps there is a different way that such funds can benefit Nigeria and Africa.
After all is said and done, I totally respect the effort. Many sit and criticize but he is taking action.
Hope it works!

**All photos from the Lagos show were taken by me for BellaNaija but by the number of photographers present I’m sure that you will be bombarded with images from the concert over the next couple of days**


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