The International Women’s Day (Friday March 8) is just five days away. Usually, AIRTIME would single out women in a specific section in the general areas covered by this column in order to pay homage. Or just even to congratulate women for hanging in there. Surviving in the tough business of broadcasting, movie making, and the other sectors of the entertainment industry is not easy anywhere in the world for women and it’s of course doubly difficult in these parts. So do excuse all the clichés you may be coming across. Women’s Day is but one day.
Truth be told and to be totally ‘objective’, women make the entertainment world go round. From the women we see in front of the camera to those we don’t see who are behind the scenes. Women are getting bolder in broadcasting moving from being seen as window dressing to more substantial managerial roles as managers of critical departments and resources. And now women are setting up broadcasting stations. Chris Anyanwu set the pace with Hot FM (Abuja and Owerri). Amaka Igwe, straddling Nollywood and broadcasting, has followed suit with Top FM and a TV station. In Nollywood, women are leading the way at this point-in directing, producing and acting. Most of the movies which have made waves in recent times have been directed, produced or backed by women.
Hopefully with more of these success stories as examples, our young girls can rethink their participation in the entertainment industry which for now appears to be as valuable as the bubble gum effect. A discomforting percentage of musical videos use women (‘someone’s daughter’) as sex props/objects. Sound would be mindless, lyrics even more inane and the only glue holding this together would be some gyrating and equally empty (literally and figuratively) women. As my piece last week on the presidential reception for the Super Eagles showed, it isn’t only in electronic media that women are seen as objects.
Different cultures and traditions help to project women that way. This does not mean we must wallow in what’s not edifying.
What we need is a critical mass of women who are successful in the entertainment industry who have done so with dignity. Hopefully, that can help. AIRTIME salutes every woman. Happy Women’s Day!
Eku, Dolapo & the Extra Factor
I did not always automatically stop to watch 53 Extra on Africa Magic Entertainment (DStv 151). It’s one of those programmes that I made a conscious effort to see mainly because the synopsis didn’t always give an idea as to what each episode contained. Anyway, for some reason I’ve been managing now to catch bits of 53 Extra more often. The last time, I managed to catch Eku’s interview with Chocolate City artiste Brymo. At first sight, I’d mumbled: ‘But I’ve seen Brymo on this show before now’.
However the interview was handled by Eku in a way that I didn’t feel stuffed or a sense of déjà vu. That was when it hit me: There’s something extra that Eku Edewor and co-host Dolapo Oni bring to their jobs. They do have a way of getting you to pay attention. It isn’t in showing any affectation.
Eku is at different times part fan, part girl with a crush, part music lover, part party/fun girl. All of that comes together to communicate a passion that’s not over stated. Even when reading from prepared questions, you do not get the robotic effect you’d likely get from some presenters. I’ll try to finish this without getting into a long list of these kinds of presenters.
Eku is not focused on self where the viewers get confused as to who the interview subject is very unlike Michelle Attoh’s style. Yes, the show is called ‘At home with Michelle Attoh’ but the point of having invited guests is so we can get to know more about them in homely/relaxed settings; not to listen to long winded questions or have the host keep interrupting the guests just to communicate how important she is as an interviewer.
Back to the girls with the extra factor, all that’s been said of Eku can be replicated for Dolapo Oni, co-host of 53 Extra. If anyone is paying attention, it’s not just about the glamour. They do have something Extra to offer.
J’odie’s beautiful African Woman
The last time I mentioned J’odie (Joy Ese Odiete) was when I wrote about the success stories from Idols West Africa. At the time, her single ‘Kuchi Kuchi’ was ruling the airwaves. So when I came across her CD and first album titled African Woman, my ‘customer’ didn’t even need to convince me to buy it. I’ve only listened to it a couple of times and it’s a keeper.
I was struck by how thoughtful the 10-track album is. Thoughtful in this sense means the lyrics have real meaning; the words are well put together and of course sound pleasing to the ear. There aren’t any of those commercial and now generic nonsense where musicians just say the first thing that occurs to them about the opposite sex, love and relationships. Whole human beings are reduced to mere parts. Not necessarily the subject matter but the treatment and the depth of thought behind the songs. No, I’m not saying songs should be so deep as to become dense and pretentious.
The title of the album, African Woman is taken from Track 7 with a techno and upbeat tempo. It would make a good signature tune anywhere in the world. It has a certain standard and international feel. You’ll hear a soft rock sound and bits of South Africa’s Freshly Ground especially on Tracks 2, 3-My Own Story, Right Now. The album also contains old favourites ‘Kuchi Kuchi’ (although it’s placed all the way as the 10th and last song); and Under The Mango Tree. But I worry that not enough is being done to promote J’odie’s album. Why should the bad music get all the good publicity?
African Woman is very good effort and it’s worth your listen.
Grand Square’s No Change Policy
The point must first be made that this is a widespread practice. Of stores/supermarkets and others wilfully confiscating their clients’ change. It only makes sense to use Grand Square as ‘contact point’ for the other stores, some quite nameless who think giving change is a favour, because Grand Square just as its name suggests is a bigger brand. Moreover, in terms of scale, it would appear as if Grand Square Abuja has elevated this practice to a grand policy.
It isn’t just the lack of change but the whole attitude that accompanies the transaction. Quite often, the customer is handed her receipt and told offhandedly: ‘I don’t have N40, N60, etc’. It would now be left to for you to decide whether you have time to waste waiting for a mere N40. Actually, no one expects ‘a whole you’ to wait or be inconvenienced ‘just because’ of N40. In fact someone may tell you: ‘You’re more than that now!’ and except you’re thick skinned or a crank, you’ll then remember that you’re more than N40. Meanwhile, the store too is more than that meagre N40. But God forbid that you be the one to wonder why a store would still take your money when it doesn’t give discounts, no Christmas bonuses, nothing.
At other times, apparently under some pretext that the customer is being helped out, you’re asked if you have N80 or some other amount. In this case you have to be very good in Maths. Or at least a good Naira-mathematician which I’d thought I was until after one such transaction, I returned to my car and realised I’d been short-changed by almost N200, all because…
Sometimes, you’re not given any explanation at all probably because the sales person would’ve surmised that the amount involved is too small to bother you with any explanation. What they forget is that even a measly N5 multiplied by the thousands would amount to a sizeable amount which goes into the company’s purse. In any case, N1 or N5, it’s the customer/buyer’s money and her prerogative to do with what she pleases.
By the way, I’m sure there’s a business idea somewhere for people to supply stores with change. Because I have never been told anywhere else in the world, even in places they use real change (pennies, cents and all), that there was no change or that I should somehow get involved in the process of helping to sort out my own change.