Entertainment is seen as a tool to unwind and learn. It has become a big channel of money making. Aside from its ability to teach, indoctrinate and strengthen societal values, entertainment has become a branding tool which can be used to communicate and promote national ethos.
From Music, folklore, standup comedy, live theatre/Stage play among many other channels, Nigerians and Africans are developing this industry into a Multi-Million Dollar trade. Take NollyWood, A Nigerian version of HollyWoood, for instance, this industry has produced and thrown up several international stars who had become champions in their own trade. Omotola Ekeinde, a Nigerian screen diva, has been recognized as one of the 100 people of influence by Times Magazine. Just few days ago, Davido, A Nigerian hip Hop artiste clinched another Award in BETS 2014. This is not to mention Musicians Like TuFace, D’Banj among others who are household names across the continent.
Some of these known entertainers are also clinching several brand Ambassadors’ deals in and across Nigeria and Africa. The lists here are endless. Aside from the financial benefits with its attendance capability to change individuals’ status, entertainment is a now a big industry across the globe that is spinning money and creating values. It is also shaping national and regional perception based on what actors are producing to target audience. NollyWood in the past has been promoting African as a land full of fetish stuff. Besides this, average encounter with most of the movies viewed often promote evil tendency as well as a high level of rituals. In many cases, these had shaped the average image of the country.
Think of Nigeria or Africa, the image that comes to mind is that of a native doctor or witches operating in the dark. To add to this most of these people are programmed to be evil with a mission to destroy anything that is good. Or promoting cultural imbalances that place women and especially widow at a disadvantage of an item to be distributed, shared by late husband’s relatives. Even when education, level of civilization is gradually eroding this culture with series of women empowerment programme springing up here and there couple with a high level of advocacies against such, the actors have refused to rephrase their themes with current trends or realities.
While the impact of Nigeria and Africa’s entertainment is being felt across the globe, Nigeria’s Nollywood is reputed to be in the top three class of producers of movies, one begins to wonder how this industry can truly become a channel for the Continental Development initiatives. Here are some of our opinions.
Campaign: the impact of entertainment on the audience is huge. Every stakeholder needs to note this. There must be strategic campaign which focuses on changing perception of players to understand the magnitude of this responsibility. They must therefore be conscious of national image and reputation. The entertainment value of every action should not be lost though, but at the same that the responsibility of communicating right value about Africa is also important.
Theme: in addition to the above many of the themes African entertainment industry is promoting need a little readjustment. Entire focus on money aspect will do no one any good. While active players need to get adequate reward for the acts, it is also important to adjust themes to present realities. For instance issue of widow as inheritance in eastern Nigeria is changing with a Supreme court judge. It will be wrong to keep promoting issues that has received a change through court order.
Investment and returns: Government must see entertainment industry as a fertile ground which needs right Policy and huge investment for growth. So it will not be out of place for Ministry of Culture and Tourism in various African countries to help the industry with required fund.
Business strategy and proper promotion: For some of the active players, strategic business development and proper promotion are still big hurdles to cross. This requires that business and strategic professionals must move in to help build proper foundation.
Talent and human capacity development: if we must properly take advantage of entertainment industry to develop Africa, it is essential that we focus more or real talent hunt as well as capacity development. Great institution that can help active players in the industry need to be created and developed to international standard which will enable the industry to compete well with advanced Countries and Continents.