Are talent shows really helping Nigerian music? – Onoshe Nwabuikwu reviews that, the recycled Africa Magic & more!

by Onoshe Nwabuikwu

The First Family

The First Family

Are talent shows helping Nigerian music?

The news around town is that another musical talent show, the X-Factor may be heading to Nigeria. Having followed X-Factor UK and recently X-Factor USA, my first reaction was one of joy. The thought of X-Factor Nigeria and how that franchise would be given the Naija treatment sounded exciting. But related events have had me questioning exactly what it is Nigerian music gets from these talent shows especially foreign franchises like Nigerian Idol. I’ve had issues with musical talent shows not paying enough attention to Nigerian music in the past. The way some of them are conducted, you’d think the winners of these shows are going to be working anywhere but Nigeria. Then there’s my favourite example: How many Nigerian music stars would’ve survived these shows? Is it D’banj? Fela? Naeto C? So why do insist on carrying on with shows designed as poor copies of American shows?

Forgive me if I appear to be asking too many questions in what seems like a void. What triggered these new questions were the performances of the second group of ten (in the top 30) in the ongoing Nigerian Idol. First of all, I didn’t understand why the contestants in what was their last attempt to make the final 12 didn’t have more control over their song choice. They were given songs by Michael Jackson (Black or White), Stevie Wonder, Trey Songz, etc. In effect, all the songs were by foreign artists. Last week again when the gala shows began, none of the top 12 performed a Nigerian song. Would we ever had a Femi Kuti, even a Yinka Davies (both Nigerian Idol judges) if songs from Trey Songz were what they had to practice with?

One has to wonder if foreign franchises are brought in to deliberately undermine Nigerian music. Is it too much to expect that a show called Nigerian Idol would actually devote some time to growing/showcasing Nigerian music? There are other issues with foreign franchises in Nigeria to begin with. The quality doesn’t always measure up to the original franchise either for reasons of inadequate sponsorship/funding or incompetence. Now, the deliberate absence of sufficient local content only worsens the situation. We may as well focus on watching American Idol and co.

By the way, there are musical talent shows which are helping to grow Nigerian music. I won’t mention names but if you check which talent show winners are currently doing well, you may understand what those shows are doing right.

 

Yeka Onka-Nigerian Idol 1st winner

Yeka Onka-Nigerian Idol 1st winner

Recycling Africa Magic

Is it me or are the Nollywood movies on the Africa Magic channels not getting older? It appears at this point as if there’s a ‘Back In Time’ theme going on. What makes this doubly obvious to me is the fact that I have some Africa Magic die-hards visiting. They’re content to leave the TV on any of the Africa Magic channels all day (PHCN permitting). It’s a little difficult for people to understand that my actual ‘work’ is watching TV and my ‘office’ is the living room. Anyway, I admit I’m not a fan of old movies simply because there’s not much I can do with them on this page. In any case, I’d have watched some of those movies when they were fresh and hot. And there are not that many movies I want to see more than once.

However, there does appear to be a really bad case of recycling going on. And these old movies are spread across all the Africa Magic channels from dstv151 (Africa Magic Entertainment) through 152 (Africa Magic Movies) across to dstv155 (Africa Magic World). Is it beginning to look now like there are too many Africa Magic channels or what? There ought to be one or two channels dedicated to old movies/classics. That way, those who just love old things would know where to go. Some people (like me) would know which channels to avoid at all cost. Then there would be another channel or two with fairly recent materials and the really new movies could be assigned to a separate channel.

 

…The Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards

There are many good things to be said in favour of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA). I support any venture that recognises and rewards creativity especially in these parts where people don’t always seem to get their deserved due.

However, there have also been many objections/complaints. Just the other day, one of my friends was complaining about the AMVCA categorisations. Why are actors in TV dramas and movies placed in one category, for example? For what it’s worth, as this is the first edition of the AMVCA, one expects that the organisers would consider all the complaints and suggestions for the next edition.

But I have a different kind of worry though. There’s at least one film that’s noticeably spelled wrongly: ‘Dumbi (Dumebi) the dirty girl’. How can this sort of thing happen? Didn’t anyone see the film or its jacket? It could be said that Mercy Johnson who is the nominee, featured in a film that doesn’t exist. Because technically there’s no film called‘Dumbi, the dirty girl’. I can’t be the first person who’s seen and heard the voice over say ‘Dumbi, the dirty girl’. So, why hasn’t it been corrected? I understand we all make mistakes but no serious medium should leave its mistakes on, wearing them like garlands. Just like another promo ad which misspells Kunle Afolayan as (Afoloyan) is still running.

And there’s the small matter of the announcer on TV. The guy’s murdering actors’/actresses’ names. If a non-African did us this disservice, some people would call for his head. What’s the big deal with pronouncing the African names of nominees for an African award? If this person couldn’t do it well, why not get someone who’s professional enough to learn African names?

 

NTA & sleaze at the Super Eagles’ reception

Did you by any chance watch the presidential special reception for the Super Eagles on NTA (February 13)? NTA’s coverage was nothing to write home about from bad sound to bad camera work. I could’ve sworn NTA was better than what I saw that evening. And there were presenters who didn’t want viewers to forget they were there. So they interrupted whenever they felt like it, just to remind us who’s covering or who covered an earlier part of the event.

Even far more disconcerting were the dances. I saw about three types of dances from Nigeria’s major tribes and each dance seemed designed to outdo the other in x-rated gestures. The bum shaking, waist wriggling movements were exaggerated. It looked very cheap and sleazy. Not the sort of thing you’d expect to see in a presidential reception. Whatever happened to dignified entertainment? And where was the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC?

 

So Patience died?

A friend called me Tuesday (February 19) night terribly pained while lamenting that NTA was showing ‘of all things’ Patience Jonathan’s thanksgiving service. In case, you didn’t know, the president’s wife held a lavish thanksgiving ceremony to mark her return from the dead, more or less. Remember Nigerians had been told that Mrs Jonathan only travelled abroad for a well deserved rest after a hectic campaign for her husband’s election? But it turns out she really had been very ill and was between life and death. Now, in her own account, she was dead for seven days. Surely beats Jesus’ record. The opposition has already raised some issues as regards the latest revelation from the Villa. Would not want to be a government spokes person at this point.

So we’ve confirmed once more that our leaders can’t be straight with us. They are also not very intelligent. Smartness doesn’t appear to be their strong suit. Otherwise, was the thanksgiving really necessary? Hadn’t enough noise been made already? Fresh out of N4b Peace Mission mansion brouhaha into a show of opulence, tales of death and resurrection. Why are we so blest?