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Lagos Govt’s support for ‘The Headies’ Award, 2022

Sanwo-Olu deepens access to health insurance with reach to vulnerable

The increasingly fascinating fact that Nigeria’s music industry is arguably the most innovative and vibrant in Africa, with a compelling global attention worth a reported total revenue ofUS$39 million in 2016,should send a profound message to the political leaders of our oil-dependent economy. In fact, it was projected to rise at a 13.4% Compound Annual Growth Rate to US$73 million by the previous year, 2021.

Good enough, that the amiable, forward-looking and people-friendly Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the Centre of Excellence, Lagos has keyed into the largely untapped potentials of the music industry. This time around, he is beaming a brilliant light to the dream of the Ayo Animashaun-led ‘The Headies, 2022’ which will be the 15th edition of Nigerian music awards.

Billed to be held at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, United States on September 4, 2022, the expected glitzy and glamourous event has started to generate and grab global attention through the fast-spreading social media outlets and beyond.

Apart from iconoclastic Burna Boy, who broke the music record of being the first Nigerian-based music star to win the Grammies in 2021, the mere mention of Wizkid, who leads nominations with ten, along withTems and Ayra Starr with eight each, with Davido and Adekunle receiving seven each have added more vibes and interest in the upcoming music award. But what is it all about?

Put in its proper perspective, ‘The Headies’ happens to be a music awards show established in 2006 by the Hip Hop World Magazine of Nigeria. Its noble aim is to recognize outstanding achievements in the Nigerian music industry. The annual ceremony features performances by established and promising artists. It is usually broadcast live onHipTV to viewers across the country.

What will definitely stand this year’s edition out is the history that the Lagos State government will be making by its debut as a major backer of the music industry, by sealing a partnership with the Headies. It is an academy award modelled after the hugely popular U.S. Grammy award.

The million-Naira question that remains include the significant lessons we all could glean from the state-government’s support. According to the world-renowned, veteran music producer, Kenny Ogungbe, the Lagos State Government’s intervention is a “powerful turning point” for the industry. He noted and rightly so that the development could potentially leap many local talents to the world stage.

He made this known during the recent gathering of the music industry’s veterans and practitioners for a pre-award event aptly tagged: “Lagos Constellation of Stars”, organized by the state government and ‘Headies’ to celebrate the 2022 award nominees.

“It is not something we have just created today; creating a thriving business for creatives in our entertainment industry is something that has been part of our economic agenda as government from the outset.

In fact, Ogungbe, the co-founder of Kennis Music, observed that many record label owners had laboured to invest their personal resources to produce most of the contemporary songs creating positive image for Nigeria across the world. He also emphasized the fact that the intervention initiated by the state government would go a long way in supporting young producers to turn out more talents.

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“Kennis Music has produced over 80 musical albums that have nothing less than 12 tracks each; these works were produced from our sweat. We never had the opportunity of support from any Government. Now that we have a reasonable Government that believes in the future of youths and their talents coming to support creative young people, this is a powerful turning point for the music industry,” Ogungbe said.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Smooth Promotions Media and founder of HeadiesAward, Ayo Animashaun, celebrated what he called “defining moment”, applauding Sanwo-Olu for initiating the intervention. He confessed, with immense delight that it was the first time a state government would deem it important to lend large-scale support to talents in the creative industry, stressing that the intervention should not be seen as a political move.

He added that: “If these young Nigerian stars who will be attending the Headies award in Atlanta are accepted by the global audience, we would have exported products that the world would continue to demand and this would translate to growth of our GDP.” Well said.

But the Lagos state’s support provides a golden opportunity to take a holistic look at Nigeria’s music industry. The aim of course, is to identify and frontally tackle the challenges the industry is bedeviled with, so as to make it a veritable platform not only to entertain us but to create lasting opportunities for the economic empowerment of our talented youth.

As highlighted in my article titled: ‘The Problems of Nigeria’s Entertainment Industry’, back in May 2003 these include piracy, lack of creativity/originality, professionalism, quality products, private initiatives and specialization of the artistes. Added of course, is the inexcusable lack of government incentives and needed patronage.

Piracy for instance, is a global phenomenon, which involves the mass production/ dubbing of the creative ingenuity of artistes. The works so produced are substandard. They are lapped up by the gullible public, which is denied quality production.

“We are excited to be collaborating with the practitioners in the creative community to discover more talents and export not only our culture, but also our music”

The government loses billions of Naira from a veritable source of revenue. Most painfully, the artistes themselves are brazenly robbed of their source of living. Some smart Alecs are somewhere reaping from where they never sowed a seed. I can feel their passion and pain.

The bitter truth therefore, is that Nigeria which gave the civilized world Afro beat, Juju, Highlife, Fuji, Akwete music genres, still lies prostrate like a sleeping giant when it comes to tapping the huge potentials inherent in the music industry.

As rightly stated by Professor Femi Osofisan, once the General Manager of the National Theatre, our successive governments have shown only cosmetic concern in tapping the immense benefits derivable from the entertainment industry, while more advanced countries are reaping more money from entertainment than oil.

Entertainment has been one of man’s pastimes since time immemorial. Beyond the hustle and bustle and the grind of daily struggles for man survival, man has always devised means and measures to create excitement for himself. Through music and motion pictures, folklores and festivals, concerts and games or simply admiring Nature’s vast and varied beauties, man has soothed frayed nerves and eased tension.

Today, however, entertainment has not only proved to be a stress-buster, but a money spinner too. Those with entrepreneurial skills have cashed in on other’s leisure to rake in billion of dollars.
With the Lagos state government spearheading the intervention, other states and the federal governments, in addition to the private sector should join the music train and give their much-needed support. Also, there should be an articulated vision to include the local musicians and the tourism industry to sell our rich, cultural values to the world.
Big kudos to Gov. Sanwo-Olu.