* Says, “I’m preparing for Akpororo V.S Akpororo show”
By AYO ONIKOYI, Entertainment Editor
Kehinde Adegbite, popularly known as Mallam Yankee is the chairman, The Bank club, Abuja and Yankee Entertainment. He is an entertainment entrepreneur who has worked with several Nigerian artistes and has given many a good platform that launched them into reckoning in the music industry. Mallam Yankee is so visible on the entertainment scene that he is being regarded as the man that transformed entertainment and nightlife in Abuja. In this chat the Abuja baron of nightlife talks about his hard-knocks life in the entertainment industry. Excerpts:
You have been talking so strongly on the growing activities of entertainment in Abuja;what is the secret of this renaissance?
The secret is simply due to our unyielding effort to revive and bring entertainment in this beautiful city to a level that it can become a point of reference when evaluating other economic activities in Abuja. Mind you, our effort was borne out of the realization that entertainment can transform the economy of a state or a country. This goes to show that our zeal is a selfless one for all and sundry and not really because we want to make so much money. It’s actually for the benefit of the FCT as the nation’s seat of government. One wonders what FCT would have looked like without entertainment. I also think that the resurgence of rich entertainment activities in the city is because of the growing awareness among residents who have now realized that relaxation can actually make them achieve better results in whatever jobs they do in the FCT. This is why today, you now have Abuja nightlife competing favourably with that of Lagos, and we are still working round the clock just to make sure we get to that point.
So how has the journey been so far, and how did you get to this point?
It has been both rough and smooth. In every job, there are hazards. But comparatively, when the hazards outweigh the positive results, then one needs to have a rethink. In my own case, we cannot totally discard the hazard, but I think we have continued to fly above those hazards. At some point, it was rough. This is because usually at the cradle, you need to find your feet, you need to define yourself, and carve a niche. I think we have now gone beyond that stage. I started with many people after I graduated from school, but some gave up along the line, because it’s true that the business of entertainment is quite challenging. You need funds to package what can draw people from their homes; you need to package very well to ensure that these show patrons keep patronizing you. You need to give them good content, for them to bring out their money for shows. These are some of the initial challenges. But if you are able to address all these and build your contacts, you will surely sail through. I think we are already at that point.
Can we talk about your past shows? Would you say all of them were successful?
I have organized well above 20 shows across the country, and I don’t think I have had cause to regret any particular one. Sometimes, there could be low turnout due to obvious reasons, but we have been able to beat our own record most of the time. Most of the shows we organize in Abuja are oftentimes sold-out, glory be to God for that. We have had Charly Boy Show-Live, Dbanj show, Iyanya first and second album launch, May D’s album launch, 2Face album launch and Eargasm, and a couple of comedy shows. We have also had Wizkid album launch, Owerri-must-laugh and a host of others. I think in all these, we have done incredibly fine.
Which would you now consider as your most successful show?
It’s difficult to say, but I think it is 2Face show of Last November at the Transcorp Hilton, then Iyanya’s album launch and Charlyboy Show-live also did quite fine. I think most of our shows have been extremely good, especially those ones done within our constituency- FCT.
What is your relationship with some of the artistes you invite for various shows?
Very cordial. Entertainment is business, and just like we need them to do the show, they need those shows for their pay and visibility. In any case, through some of my shows I have promoted great artistes. I have contributed greatly to bringing some artistes fame, but unfortunately some of them are not grateful, and have refused to accept that fact. But on the whole, my relationship with most of them is very cordial. We speak on ideas, and they listen and respect me when it comes to event, because that’s basically my own area. I also respect them when it comes to their creativity, hence it is two-dimensional.
You just said some of them are not grateful. Can you please be specific?
They know themselves. You know some up and coming acts can be funny. When they need you to climb to fame, they will hang around you, begging you to put them in one show or the other. When the fame they seek finally smiles at them, they zoom off. Next time, you are like every other business partner, no appreciation. I think in whichever area you are, you need to appreciate those that pushed you up the ladder, even if it means calling them once in a blue moon.
What is Mallam Yankee up to at the moment?
At the moment, I’m preparing for Akporo V.S Akporo. The event is holding on Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. We will have comedians like Akpororo, Seyi Law, Osama, Chuke D’general, Acapella, Yellow Mouth and Shortcut. We will also have musical acts like Timi Dakolo, Wonders J, Henry Soul and DJ G-Funk. The hosts shall be Gordons and Helen Paul. We will roll out more events after this particular one.
What message do you have for young people going into event packaging and entertainment?
Just keep struggling. It won’t come easy, but when it comes, it will stay. Don’t give up on your dreams. Most importantly, don’t get involved in dirty deals, be clean.