You’ve often had to suffer sermons at the hands of the elderly about how nothing in the present is as good as in times past. If you’re much older, then you’ve heard yourself ask the question. And if you are lucky-mostly because you are in that age range where you can relate to both the past and the present- then you understand how pointless that kind of conversation can be.
The truth is that the quality of anything at any given time rests heavily on the taste of the end user. At that given time. Take it. Or leave it.
So then if you followed the last public display of lack of regard that the Nigerian film industry blessed us with, then you belong to one of three camps: those who agree with Charles Novia and company; those who disagree with them and the blessed ones, who know that conversation was pointless.
If this is about to pass over your head because you missed the conversation in question, here’s a summary. So Charles Novia and company (because the “company” is known in Abeokuta, LOL – you’ll get it soon) aired their views on The Gist, a HipTV show, about how the much newer crop of players in Nollywood haven’t brought anything new to the table because “if you put Blossom, O.C Ukeje at the box office, and you put a different film, RMD and Ramsey, it is RMD and Ramsey that will probably pull more crowd”. Also, because you’ll be shocked to find that some of these people (OC, Blossom e.t.c) won’t be recognised if they cross into Redeem or Abeokuta. More context: because they are (probably) only Instagram stars
and the people of Redeem and Abeokuta do not have Instagram.
New Nollywood and some in Old Nollywood watched the show and weren’t having none of it. The clapbacks they dished out on Twitter ranged from mildly disapproving to shading and because some people just can’t care, they did what Generation Y calls ‘giving it back in full dosage‘.
It was all just a big mess. But we mean no disrespect to all those who partook in this particular discourse. It’s just that it was pointless. One because of the nature of the conversation (see above). Also,
because Charles Novia is always right. Why argue with the man?
Still, it is a conversation that we are grateful for. It has thrown up a few valid questions like what we are now asking: Is legend a question of depth or time?
Does a person only become a legend based on how long he/she has done a thing or being in a field? Or do we simply take into consideration importance and ‘evergreeness’ of the work they have put out in whatever space of time. For example, is King Sunny Ade a legend because he has put a large number of evergreen and timeless music or because he has been around, doing his thing for the longest time?
Is it okay to call Wizkid, Tuface or Don Jazzy legendary? Or knowing that she is no Anita Baker, Nina Simone nor Whitney, can we properly call Beyonce a legend?
What is the place of Instagram in determining who is legend and who isn’t?
And what makes Mr Novia competent to determine all of these? And since we are on the question of legends, what is the place of Tunde Kelani of Mainframe? Has he brought nothing to the Nigerian film industry because the ‘film people in Bajoga’ may not recognise him?
The fact is all of these questions may well be irrelevant. A legend is birthed from a combination of depth and time. Sometimes, more from time than from depth and other times, the other way round.
We may not know what Blossom looks like, just the same way no one might remember Alan Poza in 2050 (or 2018).
Creative mind. Enthusiast. Learner. Multipotentialite. And here, an assistant editor.