Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Nigeria: 53 years of entertainment

(Clockwise from top left) - Psquare, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, 2face Idibia, Genevieve Nnaji, D'banj, Don Jazzy, Wizkid, Funke Akindele, Davido, Ali Baba
(Clockwise from top left) – Psquare, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, 2face Idibia, Genevieve Nnaji, D’banj, Don Jazzy, Wizkid, Funke Akindele, Davido, Ali Baba
As Nigeria celebrates 53years of independence, despite the worsening economy, the entertainment industry has certainly enjoyed enormous growth recently.
With little or no support from the Nigerian government, the entertainment industry has become one of the most viable sectors of the economy. Entertainment in Nigeria pre-dates the independence of the country itself. On various levels, the peoples have been used to folklore, cultural dances, celebrating festivals and telling stories under the full moon.
From the first Nigerian films made by filmmakers such as Ola Balogun and Hubert Ogunde in the 1960s to the release of the first box-office Nollywood movie ‘Living in Bondage’ in 1992, the Nigerian movie industry, better known as Nollywood, has become Africa’s largest movie industry and the second largest in the world in terms of both value and number of annual  film productions.
According to the author of ‘Who’s Who in Nollywood’, Frank Ikegwuonu, about’1,200 films are produced in Nigeria annually.’ Actors such as Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Nkem Owoh and several others are now regarded as icons and have received world class treatment across the  country and beyond . Nigerian music has also come to be acclaimed globally, to the extent that many have started to notice the ‘Nigerianism’ in the sounds.
Nigerian artistes are winning international awards and touring Europe, America and Asia. The reach of our music has become global, often competing on the same stage with other international acts. In recent times, Nigerian artistes have also collaborated with many of the biggest artistes in America. D’banj, Psquare and Asa are even signed on by international recording companies.
Meanwhile, the likes of music video directors Clarence Peters, DJ Tee and others have been able to create world class videos that enjoy airplay and high ratings on cable and satellite TV channels, plus high volume views on Youtube.
The fashion industry has not been left out in this developmental phase. Nigerian designers have no doubt enjoyed international success with their indigenous creations and have also become regular features in top international fashion festivals, like the Paris Fashion Week, Amsterdam Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week.
Brands are also cashing in on the growth as they reward entertainers with multi-million Naira endorsement deals. Many of them have spent millions sponsoring movie projects and international standard fashion shows in Nigeria. Since the establishment of the first radio station in pre-independence Nigeria and television after independence, a new wave of radio and television stations began to emerge in the 90s.
Today, listeners and viewers have the opportunity to choose from several choices available. Through entertainment, millions have become gainfully employed. Amidst the crippling problems in the sector, many have made careers and directly or indirectly are earning a living from entertainment.
The cameramen, screen writers, bloggers, artiste managers, promoters, scriptwriters, publicists, producers and many others have been making a good living without necessarily chasing after government support.
Despite the many problems in the economy, Nigeria celebrates 53 years of independence. Many hope that the government will notice the bountiful opportunities that abound in the entertainment sector and the availability of untapped revenue sources, and put necessary systems in place to create a suitable environment for faster growth, instead of dishing out stipends and grants that only threaten to tear the industry apart
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