Sometimes, when introduced as a stand-up comedian, it comes with a feeling of disdain and ridicule especially when the anchor does it with a belittling tone. I remember how much it got to me in my early days. It really was demoralizing getting on stage feeling like a waste of time. It got better when I mustered the courage to shake it off. Afterwards, I started feeling the need to prove a point. I had to let my audience realize I was worth the platform, their time and of course their laughs. The problem with that phase was pressure to deliver excellently.
Imagine my happiness and peace of mind when I finally outgrew that stage with the awareness that I’m not just a piece of flesh hustling for cash but I’m the life of every gathering, I’m a creative masterpiece from the most creative being. I’m a gift, I’m worth every second of attention paid to me as well as every dime too. My only problem was that of identity, well, not personally but professionally. I didn’t know who I was, how much value I carried and where I belonged.
A doctor didn’t need to talk much you already know he’s a king in the health sector. An attorney didn’t need you to say much or it would be used against you in the court of law. Even a footballer, tennis player or boxer knows his place in the sports sector. Where do I belong? Maybe because there is no formal course of study for what I do, it took me time to accept that I was a part of the same industry as musicians, thespians and dancers. Don’t blame me, they all have certificates and the feeling of legitimacy is follow come as we say. It took the massive presence of people who are not professionally certified people in these fields for me to accept that I don’t need a certificate to build legitimacy.
Let me introduce you to my darling industry, an industry that represents itself to itself and the world at large. I choose to see beyond the politics and the beef, the dangers of the terrain and the many tragic narratives peddled. I overlook the challenges and obstacles posed by people who naturally should be leverages and mentors. I choose to ignore the many tales of disappointments. I choose to focus on the prospects of this amazing industry, to write about the sporadic growth of this giant industry among its peers. I choose to celebrate the melody of the music, the energy of the dance and the intrigue of the movies.
Standing at a staggering worth of about Ten billion US dollars, and workforce strength of over a million people, the Nigerian entertainment industry sits as one of the highest employers of labour as well as one of the highest generators of revenue for the nation. An industry that comprises a movie sector that could go head maybe not to head but shoulders with Hollywood, a dance sector worthy of note and unarguably the most influential music sector in Africa, you would definitely agree that the industry is doing well.
The Nigerian entertainment industry sees itself rise above various challenges yet falls flat at the feet of piracy, plagiarism and copyright flaws. Thanks to the internet that finally came to the rescue, putting the world in the palms of every individual who could afford a smartphone and data and for Nigeria, a power bank too. Social media and portals like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and others have broken the monopoly of analog marketing and replaced it with streams, views and likes. You could go viral and get instant fame through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, snap chat and even WhatsApp.
I take it that based on the aforementioned points, you would understand my sentiment and pride in belonging to such an industry that has thrived and has grown in leaps and bounds regardless of the never-ending challenges faced from time to time and with these few points of mine, I hope I’ve been able to convince and maybe confuse you too that The Nigerian entertainment industry is not an indoor street but a global village. Thank you.