Top Nigerian Entertainers are counting their noses as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt activities lined up for the first quarter of the year as the industry continues to record low revenue.
From music to movie and comedy, the entire entertainment sector is quietly accepting their fate with the raging coronavirus. Already Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial centre and the base of entertainment has been on lockdown for two weeks. The lockdown is to enable government and health agencies to battle the spread of the raging virus.
Award winning singer, D’Banj took to his twitter handle to express his concerns over the effect of coronavirus on the music industry. According to him, he is worried about the creative industry and the huge blow the spread of the virus has dealt it.
“I’m a bit concerned about how the creative industry is going to cover up the losses brought up by the lack of shows and physical performance: “I love the challenges circulating in the internet, it reminds us who we are, what we are, what we have and what we can do, with this whole pandemic going on”, he said.
D’banj’s reactions is coming weeks after Afro Pop Star, Davido was forced to cancel his North American Music Tour, “A Good Time Tour”. I am saddened to halt what has been a fantastic sold out tour so far, but postponing it is the right thing to do”, he announced via instagram.
Following the cancellation of the tour, the singer had lamented that COVID-19 is biting hard at his fortunes and he is beginning to spend funds meant for savings. The singer who seems to be the most affected had his fiancée Chioma testing positive for the virus.
Also, Afrobeat Star Femi Kuti announced the cancellation of his European spring tour. According to him, the cancellation was due to the global pandemic . “Due to the prevailing circumstances, our spring European tour has been called off, our thoughts are with every one, stay safe” he announced.
Kuti had not only cancelled his European tour, but also stopped weekly musical gigs at the new Africa shrine.
“The management of the new Africa Shrine has decided to cancel all musical activities this weekend as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation”, he said.
Over 10 Nollywood flicks scheduled for release in April 2020 have been suspended due to the raging pandemic. Toyin Abraham whose film, “Fate of Alakada” scheduled for an April release expressed sadness, but maintained that the safety of the general public and fans remains paramount to her.
Meanwhile, the box office numbers from Cumscore and published by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria has witnessed a major decline following the lockdown which has prevented cinema outfits from operating in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja. The numbers had drastically declined films currently in cinemas which are no longer enjoying viewership from the audience.
One of the biggest comedy shows in the country ‘AY Live’ scheduled for Easter Sunday, April 12, was suspended. The man at the helm of affairs Ayo Makun popularly known as AY said the decision to postpone AY Live is inevitable as we strive to do our quota by stopping the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging social distancing.
Similarly, popular comedian, ‘190 die’ has cancelled his upcoming show aimed at celebrating his 25th anniversary on stage, while Gbenga Adeyinka first cancelled his 10th edition of Laffmattazz show in Ibadan to curb the spread of the virus.
“In the same vein ID Africa, organizers of the Nigeria Entertainment Conference (NECLIVE) announced the postponement of the 8th edition of the annual conference originally scheduled to hold in April,” ID Africa said.
“The recent outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID -19) is challenging the world including Nigeria with several new cases detected over the past weeks.
“As a responsible organsation we believe this decision is in the best interest of every one, we are thankful to our partners, sponsores, exhibitors and media friends who through the years make necessary preparations to support NECLive in various ways.
“For now the NECLive organizing committee will continue to monitor national and global developments on COVID -19 and work on our plans remotely, whilst reducing or completely avoiding all non essential physical meetings or gatherings. A new date for the conference Teni be announced in due time”.
Other entertainers who have been forced to cancel their events include: Wizkid, Teni, Asa, Seun Kuti, Neophlames amongst others.
AMP Annuls Controversial Election That Produced Two Presidents
The Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Association of Movie Producers(AMP), has annulled the controversial general election of the body that produced two presidents in one day as well as all the organs set up for the purpose of the elections.
The election which held in Lagos and Asaba respectively on Saturday, August 29, 2020, produced two presidents of the body. While Mr. Myke Parish Ajaere was elected as President of the body in Lagos, Ms. Peace Anyiam Osigwe was elected president of the same body eight hours later in Asaba, Delta State.
In a resolution, taken in the face of the crisis threatening to tear the body apart, the BOT has constituted an interim caretaker committee to restore peace in the troubled association and organise a credible election within six months from the date of constituting the committee.
Fatal Arrogance: Pete Edochie Cries Out Over Threat To Life
A veteran actor, Pete Edochie, has raised alarm over threat to his life for acting in a film that portrayed Shiites as terrorists.
The Nollywood actor, cried out after his life was threatened over his involvement in a multi-million naira movie sponsored by the Nigerian Army aimed at depicting the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as a terrorist organisation.
According to Sahara Reporters, the movie titled, “Fatal Arrogance” was sponsored by the Nigerian Army as part of a cover up of the December 2015 massacre of Shiites by soldiers.
Over 348 people were said to have been killed, with 347 bodies secretly buried by the Army in a mass grave during that incident.
In the movie shot in Enugu State and produced by Anosike Kingsley Orji, Edochie was featured in a role with an outfit resembling Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the IMN, who has been in detention since December 2015.
Reacting in a 12-minute video following the backlash that has greeted the movie production, the Nollywood actor claimed that he was not aware of the theme and script of the film before accepting the contract to feature in it.
He disclosed that he also minimised his role in the film production as a guest actor and asked Nigerians not to condemn the movie until it was released.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, also known as Shiites, has attacked veteran Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie, over his role in the new movie, ‘Fatal Arrogance.’
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Musa Ibrahim, and made available to the media on Tuesday, the IMN said it found Edochie’s explanation of his reason for participating in the movie “flawed and his excuses unimpressive, irrational, and at best absurd.”
The veteran actor had in a-12-minute video clip on his Facebook page, explained his role in the movie which the IMN believes was sponsored by the Nigerian army.
“Firstly, any serious artiste worth the name must, first of all, undertake some kind of serious research to get the facts of any script brought to him right.
“This must be done through intense reading of the literature and interviews with scholars who are conversant with the facts. Pete Edochie did none of that.
“Had he been bold enough to cross-check, he would have realised that genocide took place in Zaria in 2015 where over a thousand lives of Nigerians were wasted by the sponsors of the film.
Nigerian Lesbian Movie Set For Release, Dares Censors Board
Nigerian lesbian movie, Ife, produced by Pamela Adie and directed by Uyaiedu Ikpe Etim is set for release despite stern warning from Nigerian Film And Video Censors Board (NVFCB) that the film which means love in Yoruba language violates the country’s strict laws on homosexuality.
But according to a report by BBC, the film makers are determined to get the film across to Nigerian audience.
The report says the film makers are planning a surprise on line release to catch the regulators off guard. According to BBC in its report, the Censors Board is well aware of the plan and diligently monitoring all digital platforms to checkmate the release of the movie.
According to the censors board boss, Adebayo Thomas, both the producer and the director and indeed all involved in the film could be risking jail terms of 14 years sentence for promoting homosexuality in a country where same sex relationships are forbidden.
The report says the film makers are planning a private screening in Lagos at the end of the month for which they feel they do not need the nod of the regulators to go ahead. It was also reported that the film is billed for international premiere in Canada in October this year.
BBC quotes the producer, Adie as saying that the film was to show an accurate picture of lesbianism and bisexual women in Nigerian movies.” “If a lesbian woman does appear in a standard Nollywood movie, they are often portrayed as being possessed, influenced by bad friends or forced into homosexuality and always needing saving”, she said.
“You rarely see stories about LGBT people especially about queer women that speak to the realities of our life.
‘Ife’ is a story about two women played by Uzoamaka Aniunoh and Cindy Amadi falling in love as they spend three days together? They then have their love tested by the realities of being in a same sex relationship in a country like Nigeria “.
The lesbian ,gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in Africa is becoming increasingly vocal and visible, thanks to the internet providing a space for films, talk shows and websites. But that has not stopped film makers from getting into trouble with authorities. The head of the NFVCB said there was no space for Ife or any homosexual movies in Nigeria, citing the law.
“There is a standing law that prohibits homosexuality either in practice or in a movie or even in a theatre or stage if its content is from Nigeria, it has to be censored”, Mr Thomas said.
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