Open Letter To The Nigerian Entertainment Industry

Eizu Uwaoma CEO at the Hexavian Group
Eizu Uwaoma
CEO at the Hexavian Group

I used to say, “I pray my child doesn’t grow to become an entertainer”. It’s not a noble cause, no serious county grows or rides on the back of jokes, music and merry without tangible value.

In the table of men, entertainment is on the menu after what they actually came for. It’s profitable business beyond reasonable doubt till you do a balance score card assessment with cause and effect on our value system and actual ability to grow and lead a society right. Maybe it can make more money for Hennesy, SoundCity, strip clubs and Ciroc. And the crumb goes to the artist and their entourage, full stop. If there’s structure, it can do more.

There’s nothing wrong with being an artist if there’s real talent and depth away from just following a band wagon. But let’s look at data. The probability of success of being mainstream out of the hundred of thousands that sleep in the studio is less than 2 percent. Logically that age grade is the most productive and intelligence phase of any lifetime. We may never find it back once it is squandered. Like the saying goes, “when our youth is a blunder, it leads to an adulthood of struggle and an old age of regret’. The average life span of relevance after the first hit as an artist in Nigeria is 2 years. this is with exceptions to the likes of Tuface, Femi Kuti, King Sunny Ade, MI, P-Square et al, looking at them, you can see why. Nigeria needs help and entertainment can’t be the best we can produce in this 4th revolution led by nanotechnolgy, e-business, 3D printing and data driven intelligence by the world. Face the facts, China, Dubai, East Europe and America didn’t become powerful by people who wake up to dance their worries and sense away. I still think this way but the figures they generate are mind bugling. So let’s not curse the darkness, maybe we can strike the light. The entertainment progress is real.

According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, Nigeria’s entertainment and media industry is expected to grow from the $4 billion USD high it was in 2014 to $8.1 billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1%.

While noting that the Nigerian market is heavily driven by consumer spend, the report noted that our population trend and Internet access will be the main contributor to market expansion with revenues accounting for a remarkable 82% of the growth through to 2019. Nigeria is the biggest importer of Telemenundo and Zee TV. Our women are stuck with it, it’s fast becoming the official station you see in receptions of even corporate institutions. The Nigerian Gaming and betting Industry is the fastest rising in the world. Every where is Baba Ijebu pool stands, Naira Bet and BetNaija. Now, we know there’s trouble when an entire generation begins to place its entire future on luck, game and chance.. As this thing grows, it become a metaphor of how we live.

As this thing grows, it become a metaphor of how we live. Lifestyle. I beg of this industry, please create social businesses with content that makes sense and solve societal issues and inspire growth. Nollywood of recent has shown improvement, we see that in the quality of the works I see in cinemas and film festivals. Being one of the lead consultants to AMAA made me see that. HipHop failed in America as a mainstream genre when guns, drugs and murder became its theme in America, the result is the current black on black crime and stereotyping of blacks by white America. Makosa became a sex theme in Francohone Africa, its result is soft porn mapouka and sex trade. Reggae started as a freedom fighting sally, it lost it and became the marijuana symbol in Jamaica. It seems over to us and we can do much better with ours. Rewrite our future before it is submitted as a present of our past, gift. In every generation, their art directs what it will be remembered for. Perception is being created. Once delivered, it’s hard to erase in the neural pathways of our lifestyles. In life, I’m leaning how people may go where excitement comes around, but only stay where there is sense and depth. The artists that have lasted over a decade in this industry show a trend and a proof.

 

These days, the tunes in Nigerian music are sounding the same, with little or no content. The music videos don’t help. Please sit up or I’ll begin to call names. The music is getting embarrassing, the jokes are recycled, the finishing is poor. What is shows isnt just lack of creativity but laziness to put it in work, excellence and time to your craft. Its your business, take it serious. The consumers are not helping. I know we’d say that it’s what the market is demanding that the artists give. It’s a lazy way to think as a manufacturer. The truth is, the customer doesn’t always know what he wants, and you are to create products that help him see the better option, enjoyably. Timelessly, in arts, the curator has the power of influence. We can be more intentional with what we want out of this potential. I believe that anyone can fall off a ladder by accident, but no one climbs a ladder by accident. Being intentional is key. Gaining the right skill set and knowing the excellence and professionalism of the craft is another. Detailing the steps and ruthlessly executing your way has to also be taking into cognisance. We need more professionalism in that industry. I wish there could be an ecosystem created by intention. The world is gaining notice of us. Now, simply because you are one of the most promising industries after the collapse of oil and gas as our biggest export. I ask that we do not make the same mistakes twice with this export. Let’s create structure, depth and value for that industry.

 

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