By Juliet Ebirim
What are your plans for this year’s edition of the Nigerian Music Video Awards (NMVA)?
The event is scheduled to hold on Wednesday, 26th of November, 2014 at the Exhibition Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites. We have decided to devote the event to deepening the consciousness of people towards a violence free environment. That is why the theme of this year’s event is ‘A world without violence’. We have over 26 award categories that have been released, voting is ongoing at the moment and people are jostling to outdo one another. It’s an entertainment night. This is the 8th edition and we want to make sure that this edition is properly organised.
How have you been able to sustain the event all these years?
Basically, it is the passion and the willpower enabled by God. It’s been one challenge after the other. We’ve had the challenge of where to get the resources to do the event each year. We’ve been able to go on because of the very strong team we have and goodwill from Nigerians. The artistes have also been supportive because they don’t request money from us to perform on our stage. Our technicians and even the media have been very supportive, we all work together like it’s a family affair. The event is run practically by goodwill. All these are the factors that have enabled the show to stay on this long.
Who are the official sponsors of this event?
We don’t have major sponsors, but anyone who contributes even a kobo is a sponsor. I can’t begin to list all of them. The Lagos State government has been supportive in the way they possibly can and that goes a long way. I’m very glad that they have come out to identify with us and I’m proud of Lagos State.
How’s this edition going to be different from the previous ones?
We have always been cause-driven and that’s why we use the platform to promote causes that are people-based. This year, we have decided to devote the event to condemning violence in all its ramifications. We want to let people know that you cannot leave a good legacy based on that. We need to be very supportive of a good culture. We are not just going to party, we want to use the opportunity to tell people that the way to go is to abhor violence.
How would you assess the kind of music videos being produced in the country today?
We have good music videos today. Music producers have really stepped up. They’re doing well, but that’s not to say that there are no mediocre videos, but as compared to where we are coming from, I must say that we have done very well. We enjoin people to be original in what they do, it’s not all about commercialism. We should be concerned about leaving a legacy. Generally, music videos are doing well, our songs are played in other parts of the world. It’s just a matter of time before we begin to blend internationally.
What’s your take on the increased emphasis on obscenity and nudity in Nigerian music videos?
It will not earn them sustainable glory or a good legacy. You’ll only get brief attention and soon, you’ll be forgotten. We condemn such videos and that’s why we don’t give awards to such videos. That’s our own way of discouraging it and that’s why we also call such things violence. It’s called media violence and we at NMVA have always condemned them, we don’t give awards to such people and they are not eligible for consideration.
That’s our own way of discouraging it and that’s also why this year’s event is tagged ‘A world without violence’ – physical violence like armed robbery, terrorism, rape, physical fighting, lewdness, obscenity, degradation of women etc. We do not like it. A couple of people like it, but it doesn’t last. Even though people have their creative right to do what they want to, people also have the right to hear whatever they want to hear and the general public have innocent sensibilities that must be respected. If they want to do adult music, they can do that for the adult community, just like there are strip clubs where people go on their own volition. Not when I sit at home to watch TV with my kids, I become embarassed with nude videos.
Even in the United States which is a liberal environment, it’s not everything that is shown to the general public. They can’t show such videos in public places where kids also visit. It is regulated.
To you, what makes a good music video?
From my study of music videos, they are basically in three forms – Performance, linear and conceptual. Performance has to do with the singing and dancing prowess of the artiste, while linear has to do with the story from beginning to end. The conceptual has to do with those abstract things that you bring into the video that makes it different and unique. These elements can be combined to produce a good music video. I judge music videos based on the use of these elements coupled with good costumes, camera and cinematography. Then, I also look at how well you’re able to interpret the message you’re passing across. To me, a good music video is not one that sells sex.
Do you have plans to set up a music academy to educate aspiring artistes?
What I’m doing presently hasn’t been fully expressed. I am known for doing a music programme on TV, ‘Live Beats’ which will soon become a full blown 24-hour music channel. There are different aspects to the award ceremony we are holding, we are going to have a ‘World without Violence Initiative’. It is a consciousness that is going to be pushed beyond the award ceremony. It’s a whole lot of work putting all these together and we want people to buy into it. I’m not saying they should give us money, but we want them to believe in and support the cause, so that we can see how well we can impact on the society.
Would you say that you’re satisfied and fulfilled with what you’re doing?
I’m happy doing what I do, it’s just that I think that at this point, I shouldn’t be struggling to get this show done. What you’re meant to do is to prove yourself, it’s quite different when you are just about to start something and people are not quite sure that you’ll be able to pull it off. I have done this award for seven years and this is the 8th year. I shouldn’t struggle to get people to buy into it. Besides that, I’m satisfied doing what I’m doing and most grateful that I’m still doing it.