I just attended my last Industry Night at Oriental Hotel. I was told WizKid was to perform. Yes, he is one of my favourite Nigerian artistes and has shown that he is leading the team of extraordinary amazing young talents in the nation. I went with some friends. First, I was not really enthusiastic about going, because last time I went, I almost choked from the rings of smoke serenading the entire jampacked hall, which had almost all the Nigerian artistes in it.
From my understanding of what an Industry Night should be, the one done at Oriental Hotel is an absolute bull-crap, a complete failure and a caricature of some sort. It is funny how Nigerians can always copy stuff from the West and quickly bastardise it.
It is annoying. Yet, I understand our frustration in trying so hard to be part of globalisation. However, our imbecility is such that maligns our self-gratification and the love for the black race, that particular race that is always trying to do what other races have done.
I know what an Industry Night is. It is not for college students. It is not for jobless people. It is for people who matter in the industry; it is a networking platform. How do we make things better in the industry we belong to? It is a place where the best minds meet to find innovative ways of making things work better in the society. What you see at Oriental Hotel every Wednesday is sham, useless gathering of show-offs! Yes, beautiful women in high-heeled shoes and college boys in very colourful clothes, coming to make sure they take photographs with celebrities.
There is just not one single person that comes to the Industry Night at Oriental Hotel that understands what the joke is all about. They sometimes assume they are coming for a birthday party or maybe, a special concert from one of the artistes hoping to promote his newly released single.
The question is: do they even understand what it is all about? Where are the record label owners? I know there are no record labels in Nigeria? Where are the representatives of management companies and where are the DJs and VJs? Where are the media representatives? They refused to answer these questions and you know what these guys did on Wednesday, the 22nd of February, 2012? They brought in some well-built men, called bouncers, to harass people at the entrance, collecting a fee of N2000 each. And I asked myself: ‘For what?’
I remembered what a friend said in an sms to me: “The Industry Night is depressing.” Yes, I agree with her now. It is and I don’t advice anyone who wants to do something with his life to go there. You will leave, completely depressed with no idea what you might have achieved. Okay, I get the fact that WizKid is a big shot, but to pay that money to watch him monkey around on stage, when this was supposed to be a socialising platform, where people exchange cards to create more business opportunities and share affinities? Oh Jesus Christ, Nigerians are mad!
For those who have marked Wednesdays to always be at Oriental Hotel, I understand how jobless they must be. For the college students who make sure they come there in colourful clothes, I understand why you have to fail your exams and never attend classes on the following day. And for those artistes who come to show off and tend to intimidate people who are better than them financially, it is high time you understand that snubbing a fan doesn’t make you special.
Onyeka Nwelue is the CEO/Founder of Blues & Hills Consultancy.