Shining light on Surulere, the Silent Entertainment Hub in Nigeria

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Surulere, one of the major areas in Lagos, Nigeria sits 18.1Km away from the State’s Capital Ikeja. Surulere translates to “Patience is Virtue” in Yoruba language, one of major languages spoken in the country. Beyond the existence of a lifestyle reflecting patience, hard work as a lifestyle is evident in this region. Surulere as a residential and commercial Local Government Area stands as one of the most vibrant areas in the Lagos mainland, mostly known for being a boiling point for the city’s Sports and athletic affairs. The region houses two international sport venues and this spirit is evident in its resident’s energetic display. Sports accounts for one of the Nigerian major source of entertainment and this has Surulere boiling over constantly with activities surrounding Sports. It’s easy to see culture reflected in the lives of the region’s residents, as most inhabitants of the area and its surroundings are wake early to jog, cycle or run along the road close to and around the National Stadium. Rich and overflowing with businesses, Surulere has a large number of the most prominent Clothing stores, Interior Design boutiques, car dealer shops and sports shops popular on the mainland area. Asides staying bubbly all day, there is no sleep in Surulere too; numerous bars, lounges, clubs and pubs, gives enormous life to the area’s effervescent night life.

Considering these realities, it’s no surprise that region today is giving birth to an increasing number of bright stars, covering sports, music and movies. One of these stars is the very iconic Afropop star, Wizkid aka Starboy. Wizkid the young artiste who is redefining Afropop across the world has paid homage to his humble roots, Ojuelegba in Surulere in a track titled “Ojuelegba”. On the single, he sang and recounted the huge influence his birth place played in shaping and forming him into the star he is today “Ni ojuelegba - in Ojuelegba / they know my story / From Mo'Dogg studio/ I be hustle to work…” Wizkid today might be named as the most successful and most iconic Afropop artiste in Contemporary Nigerian Music scene. The 27 year old is going places many before and after him can only dream of. With numerous enviable awards, international features, international tours and a number of world billboard charts tops tied to his name, this young star is putting not just Nigeria but Africa on the global map with his artistry like no other African Artiste of his time. Among his numerous endorsements is one with the international beverage giant, Pepsi reportedly worth 350,000 U.S dollars! Time and time again Wizkid has named his Surulere root as one of his biggest influence.

An interesting element of influence to Wizkid’s success story is the late, legendry Music producer and artiste OJB Jezreel. OJB, another Surulere born and bred icon played a key role in laying Wizkid’s career foundation. OJB was a strong pillar in building the bubbling Music industry both as a Producer and as an artiste. He released unforgettable singles like ‘Searching’ and ‘Pretete’ amongst others.  At the peak of his career, he worked with 2face Idibia, single handedly producing 'Face 2 Face' album; the album which had the singles “African Queen” and “Ole”. African Queen brought home to Nigeria for the first time the MTV Best African Act award (2005) and was used as an original soundtrack for the film Phat Girlz, an applaud worthy feat at the time. Beyond 2face, OJB worked with Bennie Man, Faze, Iyanya, D'banj, Durella, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Jazzman Olofin, Weird MC, Paul Ik Dairo, Daddy Showkey, Sir Shina Peters, Olu Maintain to mention a few.

 

I can’t say for sure if it’s something in air or in the water at Surulere but another fast rising star has sprouted out from this same area and has mentioned her participation in Her local church Choir perhaps back in her Surulere place of birth as a strong foundation to the start of her career. Simi, the new Nigerian music sweetheart is stealing the heart of the country and the continent at a rate no one expected. In the highly competitive Nigerian Music industry, one notably ruthless to women, Simi stands out and has kept her success pace rising through the years. She’s set to release her second studio album titled after her, “Simisola”. Simi was born back in 1988 in Ojuelegba, Surulere just like Wizkid. Today she has a number of hit singles, features, quite a load of nominations and awards to her name in a rather short period of time.

 

The Surulere light shines beyond the music industry, into the local Movie industry so much so that it has been named by some the entertainment capital of Nigeria mostly for the role it played and still plays in producing fresh crop of Actors and Movie producers. Surulere has been recognised by many as the official birthplace of Nollywood. Though in recent times due to the high cost of production in Lagos, Film production has since moved to other cities down the South East, especially Asaba, an otherwise sleepy and calm town, Surulere still plays a role in housing many production houses and studios. Nollywood resonates across Africa into distant continents telling authentic Nigerian and African stories in the most Original ways. During the early stages of the industry back in Surulere, movies were popularized at first through video cassettes which traded locally and across Africa, today the industry has a number of channels on satellite and cable television channels, as well as on streaming services like iRokoTV. Though most Nollywood movies are delivered in English and local Nigerian languages, Francophone African countries now tune into the buzzing industry through, a satellite channel called Nollywood which offers viewers round-the-clock movies dubbed into French.

A number of active Nollywood actors like Ramsey Noah, Desmond Elliot, Damiola Adegbite, Linda Ejiofor amongst others have mentioned Surulere as their birthplace, root and center of influence into stardom.

Olamide’s “Wo”: Another win for the streets

Olamide’s “Wo”: Another win for the streets

2017 has indeed been a good year for good music in the Nigerian music industry. With the steady and gradual redefinition of sound in the industry away from the older upbeat, fast tempo tunes to more laid back, chilled tunes. A fresh sound that is being celebrated by many as a breath of fresh air. Alternative sounds like those of the Nonso Amadis, the Odunsi’s, the Teknos, the Runtowns and the Mr Eazis have worked their way into mainstream. Following increasing pressure on the Nigerian music industry by international demands to “go global”, artistes are clearly working on writing better lyrics, reinventing the old “Kpangolo” afropop sound and adapting more international sounds, of trap, R&B and new school Hip Hop.

Generally, the Nigerian music industry this year has proven to be more tolerant for newer and more experimental sounds away from the usual street-hop and club anthems. In this new wave of sound, Olamide who thrived massively in the 2014 – 2016 reign of Street hop sounds has been found struggling since the release of his sixth solo studio album title “The Glory”.

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Marvel Takes on Afro-Science Fiction with an Nnedi Okoroafor Comic Feature

 via preventheadacheguide

via preventheadacheguide

Normal is boring, we are sure everyone knows this. This why this Nigerian Born American Writer is taking African literature through an uncommon path. Nnedi Okoroafor is not your typical African writer this is why her works are receiving more and more international attention around the most uncommon spaces. Last week on her personal twitter page, the writer and author shared an amazing news of a recent development which she had hinted on her facebook page, she’ll be writing an eight-page comic for Marvel’s forthcoming Venomverse anthology, which is to be released in September 2017.

Venomverse is a follow up to Spider-Verse, Marvel’s popular 2015 comic release. Venomverse is based on Eddie Brock, the Venom symbiote from Spiderman, and will include “Venomized” versions of comic book characters like Deadpool and Mary Jane.

Nnedi’s novels and stories reflect both her Nigerian heritage and her American life. Mostly exploring Afro-science fiction, a genre that has hardly been explored by other African Writers. Beyond writing for Kids and young adults, she has also published Afro-science fiction novels for adults.

African literature through the years have remained rigid in storytelling themes. Stories are either about precolonial life, post-colonial life, civil wars, rural life, marriage, urbanization etc. Afro-science fiction before Nnedi Okoroafor’s exploration may be considered as alien. But today, her bravery is earning her more or more international features.

The coming comic, titled Blessing in Disguise, will be set in Lagos; and will tell the story of a young girl named Ngozi (a name that means Blessing in Igbo, Nnedi’s Native tribe in Nigeria). The plot is to show Ngozi in Lagos with other popular Marvel characters: Black Panther, Venom Symbiote, and the Rhino. This new marvel commissioned work is to be illustrated by Tana Ford.

Asides this great feat, the author has also shared other applaud worthy news this year, showing a reward for her hard work and bravery in choosing her themes. Just last month, HBO announced plans to turn her novel - Who Fears Death, into a series with Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin signed on as a producer, and she also recently announced that she was one of the 40 writers selected to contribute to the upcoming Star Wars 40th anniversary anthology.

 Via geeksofcolor

Via geeksofcolor

Our fingers are crossed and we wait with hanged breath. Just like previous works, we are sure this will be nothing short of awesome.

I can be your hero baby

AN AFRICAN START UP HAS BIRTHED THE DREAM OF CHANGING THE NORMS OF THE AFRICAN CHILD BY HELPING TO CREATE INDIGENOUS SUPER HEROES THAT WILL INSPIRE THEM TO BE BETTER AND SOCIETAL CONSCIOUS.

 Courtesy: Giphy

Courtesy: Giphy

Everyone knows Batman, Superman, and Voltron and most sometimes dreamt of being like them in their growing years. But Batman does not live in Africa, neither does Superman enjoy 80 percent of sunlight in a year. Voltron has no idea of what it means to have an African mom. This unknowingly was a gap to be filled that many were oblivious of. So, Jide Martin, a comic lover came up with an idea to create Super heroes from indigenous characters and names and called it Comic Republic

Comic Republic Global Network is a Nigerian comic character franchise that produces digital comic books to tell more compelling stories of Africa and her rich culture.

Jide Martin, CEO, Comic Republic said "I grew up consuming loads of comics and realised that we're in a society where the generation coming are not very big on listening to their parents or religion. I thought of what could I do to change this growing pattern I had a flashback of my growing years. I reminisced what did I when I needed to make tough decisions as a boy. I ask myself "What would Superman or Batman do? Superman would stand for what is right and Batman would be strong against all odds." So, I asked "Why don't I use comics to instill the right mindset in the present and even the next generation?" The same impact it had on me would still be the same impact I would like to share with the world.

Of course, I'm Nigerian and we already have western super heroes and I needed to reach people who are here in Nigeria and Africa in general. So, I thought "Why not use our culture and our people and portray them as heroes so that they can inspire and show the world in general what Africa can be?"

Scroll right for more pictures.

Jide added that "Comic republic has seen massive downloads even beyond the shores of Africa. Most downloads come from the US at about 40 percent. 30 percent from Nigeria, 20 percent from the UK and the rest of the world shares the other percentage left."

Akintoba Kalejaiye, Content Creator Manager, Comic Republic mentioned that "All of our comics are digital because it is very easy to access them digitally. As a result of this, people who do not initially buy comic books find it easy to download and read."

They pursue the dream of making the society a better place by creating more African Super heroes and making the younger generation better citizens one comic story at a time.

To view the comics please visit http://thecomicrepublic.com/

Nigerian Advertising, Take a Look at What UK is Doing

Nigerian Advertising, Take a Look at What UK is Doing

Advertising in Nigeria seems to be holding on tight to old ways and expressions. An industry that prides itself as “Creative”, the Nigerian Marketing and Communication space has proven to be very undeserving. Rarely do commercials are here sell products in creative and brilliant ways, at least never enough to make it to the ‘Brilliant Ads” page.

But beyond a lack of creativity there also are many modern day tone deaf expressions in many Nigerian adverts. Take for example, any detergent or food (especially bouillon cube) ad, would portray the woman as the hero of the house, sweeping, cleaning, cooking and stuck in the kitchen, sometimes supported by her little daughter while the boys are left playing football outside, the men watching football or doing other “fatherly duties”

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