Nigeria is six decades into her independence and how could we have summarized the journey so far if not with a popular line from Afro-beats and Nigerian ‘music god’; Fela Anikulapo-Kuti which says ‘We are suffering and smiling’.
Yes! As a nation, we’ve been suffering and smiling. Suffering in our national development, security, education, health, and so on but we’ve to cover up by smiling with entertainment being a major catalyst in the smiles on our faces.
Nigeria, despite being blessed with everything to enable it to become one of the top nations of the world, is behind the times. The Nigerian system is nothing to write home about even at 60.
The entertainment sector is unarguably the only area we have experienced a major boost since we had independence 60 years ago. It has been the major headway we’ve had as a nation after six decades and has made us a force to reckon with globally; Nigeria has been represented on the world map positively via our artistic talents which has made us smile despite all we’ve been passing through.
Nigerian Entertainment Industry
The Nigerian entertainment industry is one of the few areas we seem to be getting it right. No doubt, it has played a huge role in the Nigerian economy and has been making us proud all over the world.
Nigeria is the world’s 20th largest economy, it’s worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively with the entertainment industry contributing significantly to this great figure.
In 2013, the entertainment industry accounted for over 1.4% of the GDP. By 2014, the Nigerian film industry alone was worth USD $5.1 billion and makes up 5% of Nigeria’s GDP and hasn’t slowed down since then.
The Nigerian entertainment industry comprises of the movie and music industry which was merged in 1992. It is made up of the actors, film directors, producers, marketers, editors, cinematographers, musicians, music directors, comedians disc jockeys, hype men/gals etc. Each has played a major role in making Nigeria a force to reckon with globally through their arts.
Nigerian Entertainment Industry: A Force to Reckon with Globally
Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth and is quite well known all over the world for positive and negative reasons. We have quite lived up to the hype as the greatest African nation in our entertainment which is quite a force to reckon with all over the world.
The Nigerian film and music industry have both made us proud even though we are haven’t gotten to our rightful place among the nations of the world.
Our entertainment sector has improved since the turn of independence and has made the whole world to relate with our arts and culture.
Nollywood to The World
The Nigerian film industry, ‘Nollywood’ has imposed itself as one of the world’s largest film industries. Today, it comes just behind the American film industry (Hollywood) and the Indian film industry (Bollywood).
Nigerian movies have been put on the world map thanks to the collaboration with Netflix; an American technology and media services provider and production company movie .
‘Living in Bondage’ by Kenneth Nnebue in 1992 helped pave the way for greater things in the industry which today has its sequel ‘Living in Bondage: Breaking Free’ among several films which include ‘King of Boys’. ‘Elevator Baby’, ‘Merry Men’, and other blockbusters in the list of Nollywood movies to the world via Netflix to showcase lifestyle to the world.
Another Nollywood movie on Netflix that has given us more international recognition is ‘Lion Heart’ produced by one of Nigeria’s finest actors in Genevieve Nnaji. The Nollywood action drama film features top of its artists such as Pete Edochie, Nkem Owoh, Paul Okoye (music artist), Phyno (rapper), and so on. ‘Lion Heart’ became the first Nigerian movie to be nominated by the prestigious films award, Oscars. It is quite a quantum leap for the Nigerian entertainment industry.
Nigerian born actors in the diaspora has also made us proud globally with their roles in blockbuster Hollywood movies. Names such as David Oyelowo (Queen of Katwe), John Boyega (Starships), Nonso Anozie (Seven Days in Entebbe), Sope Dirisu (Gangs of London), Uzo Aduba (Beats), Rotimi Akinosho (Power) and so on are some of the Nigerian brand to the world in the film industry.
Afro-beats to The World
The Nigerian music industry has been a force to reckon with globally. The music industry has really grown over the years as the world can now relate more with our music genres such as ‘Afro-beats’ popularized by the legendary Fela-Anikulapo Kuti.
Gone are the days when we have American Hip-hop songs making the bulk of our playlist. Today, parties could go on for 24 hours without a foreign song been played and the vibes would be endless. No wonder Big Brother Naija host, Ebuka gave kudos to the Nigerian music performers following a Saturday night party of the Big Brother Naija reality TV show.
Nigerian music is now consumed by people from different cultures of the world. The likes of Wizkid, Davido, Burnaboy, Tiwa Savage, Dbanj, Rema, and so on have painted our flag on the world map.
Afro-beat is gradually taking up its place in world music alongside other genres such as reggae, Hip-hop, Soul, R&B, and so on with notable Nigerians making this possible.
Fela’s song has raised the roof of the Madison Square Garden in the US when Nigerian-born UK heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua made an it an entrance themed-song in a famous fight with Andy Ruiz.
Davido’s ‘Fall’ has been played in NBA matches, Wizkid’s ‘Soco’ has raised the roof in Manchester United’s dressing room, 2baba’s ‘African Queen’ used as a soundtrack in Hollywood’s ‘Fat Girls’ movie, Rema’s ‘Ironman’ has made President Barrack Obama’s Summer playlist while Burnaboy’s ‘Ye’ has been enjoyed by protesters during the ‘Black Lives Matter Campaign’ in Germany.
Recently, Nigerian-born boxer, Israel Adesanya aka ‘The Last Stylebender’ also used a Nigerian song ‘Opomulero’ by Ruggedman featuring 9ice as his themed song as he retains his UFC middleweight championship in Abu Dhabi.
Nigerian music got more global recognition when Burnaboy’s ‘African Giant’ was nominated for Grammy’s Award but narrowly lose out to Beninese/Nigeran born singer, Angelique Kidjo.
The likes of Wizkid, Davido, Burnaboy, Dbanj, and has received international awards such as BET, MOBO, and so on to put our name on the world map when it comes to music.
Just like King Sunny Ade and other legendary Nigerian artists, Wizkid, Davido, Burnaboy, Olamide, and so on have shut down venues outside the country in their concerts.
Wizkid in particular sold out a concert in UK same time as a European Champions League final night featuring two English teams. This is a testament to how far our music has travelled all over the world.
Our disk jockeys, producers, songwriters, and so on have also played a huge role in making us go global. Tekno has produced for top music artists such as Drake while singers such as Yemi Alade and Niniola were part of Beyonce’s ‘Lion King’ album which also had Wizkid in one of it’s hit songs ‘Brown Skin Girl’.
Nigerian music artists and record labels have also teamed up with international platforms to make our music have more audience worldwide. The likes of Rema, Mr Eazi, YBNL, emPawa Records, Mavins Records, Simi, Tiwa Savage, Fly Boi Inc., Kizz Daniel, Olamide, YBNL, Fireboy and so on are currently benefiting from deals/partnership with international platforms in this regard as Nigerian music/video gets more views and streams on music platforms worldwide.
Singer, Fireboy benefited from this international collaboration via YBNL/Empire Distribution partnership as his song ‘Scatter’ is set to feature on FIFA 21 as soundtrack as well as Rema’s ‘Beamer‘ song courtesy Apple Music.
Comedy; Another Landmark Made Globally
As a nation known to ‘suffer and smile’, comedy is another way we’ve kept on going and has also make us a force to be reckoned with globally. Despite the harsh times in the country, our comedians have helped to put smiles on our faces and have taken their acts outside the shores of the country.
The likes of Basketmouth ‘Basketmouth Uncesored’, Bovi (Bovi Man onFire), and AY Makun (AY Live) has pulled crowd in their shows globally and has made Nigeria more relevant in this sense.
The new trend of comedy on social media platforms such as Instagram has also helped to showcase our talent and lifestyle to the world.
What Are Nigerians Saying About The Entertainment Industry At 60?
It has been said that the entertainment industry is the only sector we have had a major boost since independence.
This is what Nigerians have to say about the entertainment industry today:
Entertainment is what youths are after these days just like sports.
_ Mr Daudu, National Library, Abuja.
Our musicians are really trying, Nollywood actors and actresses are also doing us proud.
_ Miss Nkiruka, Asaba.
The Nigerian entertainment industry has really improved from what it used to be before. Our actors & actresses, musicians and other entertainers have done very well for themselves and the country.
_ Mrs Randu Abata, Garki, FCT.
We cannot but praise the Nigerian entertainment industry for making us proud, showing our positivity and vibes to the world as well as contributing positively to our economy against all odds. Although there are more hurdles and bars to jump and get us our rightful place, we can and we will always get there.
Happy 60th Independence Anniversary, Nigeria.