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Richard Akuson: Declaring a State of Emergency on the Nigerian Entertainment Industry

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I am a huge fan of appropriateness and paying of one’s dues. It’s just a cardinal rule in life, you can’t possibly by-pass it for the ultimate prize. However, I am constantly reminded of the absence of this hierarchy in our entertainment and creative industries today. It’s like all you need to make it in the industry today is a knock-kneed grasp of a kaleidoscope of accents – mixed into one big cup of “American or British” accents (most of them combine the two at the same time), good rapport with the press and an alarming presence at every event in Lagos and beyond. There’s really a need to have a conference where stakeholders in the industry can sit and define some terms and words, so we can really begin to sift the chaff from the grain.

We need to know what level of success, hits, achievements will warrant a person to be called a “star”, “superstar”, “A-lister” and “fashionista”, to name a few. We need to also know how many red carpet appearances can automatically catapult you to the “celebrity” status when there are better names for it like “gate crashers”, “Social Climbers” and “socialites”. We need to also know if talent is also a requisite for getting scripts in Nollywood,  television and radio or you just need to sound or look a certain way.

Because if the former is the case, then we need to sack EVERY “OAP”, “TV personalities”, those badly dressed “red carpet hosts” and 90% of these new generation actors; because in all honestly they can’t even act to save their lives, except of course for the good faces and bodies that they have going for them.

I also understand that modelling takes a lot to not only make it, but also still stay relevant (hey, Naomi Campbell)! I mean, we know a few that almost made it to the top, but…well, didn’t – and are now back home… hustling like the rest of us. So, if those ones who really had the chops for it couldn’t, what in God’s name makes every tall Nollywood “actor or actress” a model or in some cases “top” or “super” models? Biko, what catwalks have they walked other than those hugely proliferated money making runway shows in Nigeria (story for another day). It’s like it’s never enough to be JUST a compere or host, or actor, or model, or social climber, or gate crasher or nothing, you just have to be ALL!

I was watching the last AMVCA awards, and I could have sworn that I almost had a fever afterwards. It’s like talent is just the rarest thing in this hustle. I saw supposed “hit makers” blatantly lip synch, without fear or shame. They had no decency to even do it right; you could tell without trying that they were lip synching. There voices and the music were parallel to each other. Yet, there was no backlash, or some pretentious apology or blames. I can’t forget how America went into a frenzy when Beyonce was accused of lip synching at the super bowl. It was almost career ending. She could have lost her livelihood because of that, had she not redeemed her self at the White House. Yet, our “artistes” have made lip synching a cool thing (and you all pay top Naira to go watch them do it), and they want to be noticed or taken seriously? They’re on a long thing.
Note: All those collaborations won’t do anything, except of course they’re meant for their African fans (because truth be told, we appreciate and celebrate mediocrity). Likewise, the Americans are about substance and not form. So, if you can’t sing like Chris Brown or Ariana Grande; for starters, then please, respect your old or young age and be content with the little thing you have going on here. Wonder why those international stars are not even proud of those collaborations? My people, even Adele, Rihanna and their likes have to constantly keep proving their worth to the American people, otherwise, you don’t sell records and labels drop you like it’s hot.

Similarly, I guess we have to also enforce a dress code at all formal events and awards and adhere to them strictly! The last one I saw, people were even wearing wings and agbadas. Now, I am all about promotion of our cultural heritage and thinking outside the box, but please, not to a black tie event, especially when it was written on your invitation. Unless we start barring these “celebrities” from accessing some of these events, we’ll continue to wallow in this mediocrity.

By the way, what’s really the meaning or definition of a crooner? Please, not in our context. I mean, in its original context? Because the way things are going, every Tom, Dick & Harry is a crooner. Like, what’s the singular yardstick for such an adjective? It’d be nice if we could have a standard definition to guide our usage of this word and many more.

We must declare a state of emergency on our creative industry until things are being done right. Otherwise, we can’t get to where we imagine – until we begin to collectively hold these “celebrities” responsible and accountable for all these and many more. They should be called out until they get it right, otherwise, we’ll be stuck in this mud while the world moves on.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Mimagephotography

Richard Akuson is founder at The PR Boy a boutique media and press relations agency for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands with a specialty in raising the overall awareness of a brand, product or image of a company or person. Richard is also a weekly columnist at Bellanaija.com ('On The Catwalk' and 'Collection Conversations'), he's also a party host at The Front Row and a vlogger at Get Pink with Richard . Want to reach out? Follow @richardakuson on Instagram and @richardakuson on Twitter or send an email to [email protected]

31 Comments

  1. Authentic Sunshine

    August 6, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I am soo with you on this one. Got my placard, worn my trainers, bag of guguru – check. Where is the neeting point. In between, pls does anybody know anybody who knows anybody who looks like the model in this write up?

    • Damilola's

      August 6, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      @ authentic sunshine

      I know someone that looks like the model but he’s all MINE.

      Nigerian entertainment is mediocre and garbage. The music industry is the worst and very embarrassing. I used to just listen to Asa, Bez, Nneka and didn’t listen to noise, non sense lyrics. This garbage music needs to be STOP, it’s getting out of control. Yet they want to gain international recognition. Why won’t BET awards give you awards backstage bcos it’s still below average. Yeah, these youtube videos have million viewers, but it still doesn’t take away from lack of quality. Outsiders are receiving our mediocrity bcos that’s what we claim and proud of.

  2. Olofofo at Gbeborun Inc.

    August 6, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Toke Makinwa is DEFINITELY a social climber; no shame in her game.

  3. Great Lady

    August 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Nice article. Well written.

  4. MsTilii

    August 6, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺
    Speak brother Speak
    Right on point, When you tell the truth and tell it like it is, they call u a hater.. You are on point on everything.

    MsTilii
    (African Movie Critic)

  5. Madame Solange

    August 6, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    10/10

  6. mimi

    August 6, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    True talk brother,we need to wake up and smell the cappuccino before its too late..kapish!!!!

  7. whocares

    August 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I stopped reading after the second “its like”. “I mean” was already pushing it, but “its like” broke the damned camel’s back. No offence author. I just hate that phrase. That and “as in”. Whatever else anyone has to say after that is always irrelevant to me; and to think I chuckled at the first paragraph and settled in for a good read.

    • mzjenñelle

      August 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      really??. who cares??!. point is he knows what he is saying, wat ever u say is Useless bye

    • whocares

      August 6, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      I am terribly sorry for having an opinion. I will try to curb that insane urge next time. What sort of punishment is to be meted on me for this grievous crime I have committed? (insert extremely droll look) Like I said, the bits I read, I chuckled, and I was prepared to enjoy it, but I couldn’t. Sue me.

  8. Ochokwu

    August 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    So on point!!!! Keep up the good work. All those conmenters on bellanaija…..When they see correct gist to comment on, they run away. Once its Tonto Dike and Timaya gist, they flood bella naija with stupid comments.

    Biko nna, jisi ike

  9. A Music Lover

    August 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I find it ridiculous that these artists get paid millions of naira to lip sync. We have talented musicians like Godwin Strings who plays violin and Tuke Morgan who plays the Saxophone yet they haven’t been endorsed by any brands. I’m praying for the day when real musicians will be celebrated in Nigeria

    • Blessedheart

      August 6, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Bless you for this. It irrirates me to no end that people pay millions to a so-called singer to lip sync. I was watching Asa perform the other day and it made me upset at the lip syncs all over

    • Idomagirl

      August 6, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      The lip syncing kills me. Even worse, some of these ‘performers’ have no regards for their fans, showing up hours late to jump about & lip sync after receiving millions. And if you dare complain, you’ll be branded a hater & attacked by their followers.

      I don’t blame them at all.

    • whocares

      August 6, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      I’m with you on that lipsyncing business. It kills me. I have been to some afrobeat raves and they start to sing and its like “ahan, I have youtube at home now” so what is this? I have decided I am only going to pay for quality musicians from now on. I saw Asa perform live for the first time last week. It was a free concert as well but she was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I could go on with the exclamation marks and the capital A) and that was a free concert. Imagine what she would do if we paid?!!!! No lip syncing, she was on time, no smesme. Just pure raw talent, stage personality, some guy even went on the stage to propose to her. LOOL. ahh she was genius. Pure genius. After her, if I have to see another Nigerian artist and I am subjected to nonsense lip sync or any smesme, I might lob my shoe at them.

  10. Xtine

    August 6, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    God bless you!i thought i was the only one who had these views

  11. kelechi

    August 6, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    My friend me sef af tire oooo…….

  12. Tunmi

    August 6, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Let’s add “throwback” to the list as well.

  13. Tunmi

    August 6, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    How do we resolve this? What are the solutions? A blog that does this? I know Ms. Tilii has one on films. Or a YouTube blog? Or a radio programme? And we cannot keep pointing out the ills. We also have to offer alternatives. Like @A Music Lover wrote “Godwin Strings … plays violin and Tuke Morgan … plays the Saxophone” and there is Brymo and Seyi Shay as well as others.

    Shall I borrow a leaf from diarybyemmy?

    • Her

      August 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      They called emmycollins are hater for telling them the truth.everyone and their cousin is a stylist,designer,fashionista.it is either u know fashion or you don’t.we have a long way

  14. Onuoha Emeka

    August 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    My broda i wonder ohhh like a wanderer, i have always been saying this if we want the best from our politicians, we want the best players to be called in and play for the super eagles and want the best man/woman for that job why don’t we require the best from our entertainers because most of the times they give us crap most of them can not sing or act to save their life giving us same old rubbish each time and when we complain they say Haters when they talentless all they do is fake about everything from Accent to Dressing like masquerade please we deserve better from this acclaimed social climbers and socialites. Eg, Ik Ogonna, Alex Ekubo, Kcee, Harrysong,Iyanya,Praise,Davido,Toke,Uti,Angela Okorie, Tonto,Halima Abubakar and too numerous to mention i beg make una help us.

  15. Benbella

    August 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Nice article Richard.

    It is great to see today’s artists being rewarded financially and critically for their craft, being well off and acclaimed for their artistic endeavors. Long may it continue.

    However they need to be more original, apply their creative sides and make music and movies that are truly Nigerian, but are of a respectable quality. Thats why I believe Odunayo is the best presenter in Nigeria, as she has unparalleled charisma in being easy to relate to, and getting her guests to open up.

    That is why I think Chigurl is wonderful. I once watched a video where Chigurl hosted a show in England which had many non-Nigerians in the audience. I am sure many of the Caucasians there didnt understand some of the dialects and slangs she used for her jokes, but because she is a natural entertainer and narrator, she commanded that room, and had everyone in stitches.

    Why is Fela perhaps the most celebrated Nigerian act of all time? Originality and credibility.

    And what is the route not to follow? I will give an example – well in the early noughties, there was this Nigerian rapper who was a DMX copycat. He shaved his hair off, and wore heavy dog chains and spoke in a deep gruff voice just like the New York rapper did. Everything about this Naija rapper’s music, performance, ad-libs and on-stage mannerisms were similar to DMX’s to a tee. He could have named himself Bingo.

    There was a time a presenter was interviewing the rapper on a popular Naija music TV show. Finally the presenter asked him the cliché question – what final word would he like to say to his fans out there. The rapper barked “Grrrrrrr…….” in the deepest growl ever.

    Madness.

    • madamnk

      August 7, 2015 at 1:23 am

      this story has made me laugh over and over again. “grrr”

  16. unique

    August 6, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    spot on!

  17. Manb4real

    August 6, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Is it my imagination running wild, or it really is Bruno aka Bruno fierce talking here. My mind tells me it’s definitely HIM. oya, Bruno, come and confess nowwwwwwww…..

  18. BlueEyed

    August 6, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    There is a message here (that I even agree with) but this brother just seemed too all over the place and not even constructive.
    P.S: Please wasn’t it at the presidential inauguration that Beyoncé was called out for lip-syncing and then redeemed herself at the Super Bowl press conference???

    • Her

      August 6, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      Ur point??

  19. Idomagirl

    August 6, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Then there’s also the alarming lack of originality…kai. Copy, copy everywhere. The mediocrity is just too much.

  20. mabel

    August 6, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Yet you also used the phrase ‘its like’ just like the writer @whocares. BellaNaijerians easy.

    • whocares

      August 7, 2015 at 7:55 am

      That was tongue in cheek….

  21. Maybel

    August 7, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Richie,you’ have said it all

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