Entertainment

March 2, 2024

African Grammy not to alienate home bred award shows – Minister Musawa

African Grammy not to alienate home bred award shows – Minister Musawa

*Says, it’ll be a shame for Nigeria not to be part of the move

By BENJAMIN NJOKU

Minister of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa has allayed the fears of organizers of home bred award shows that the move to have an African version of Grammy Award would jeopardize the progress and unique cultural identity of African music.

The minister who made the clarification in an interview with Saturday Vanguard at the opening ceremony of Omniverse in Lagos assured that the organizers of home award shows would not be alienated when African Grammy becomes a reality but rather strengthen the award bodies and reposition them for global outlook.

Her clarification came weeks after some industry players criticized the planned move.

She confirmed that the Federal Government was already in talks with the organizers of Grammy Awards, adding that such conversation was necessary because Nigeria cannot be left behind in view of the giant steps we have made globally in music.

Her words: “We’re in talks with the Grammy, obviously, to see how we can work together. The Grammy Africa is coming to Africa anyway. Three African countries, namely Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa, were already in talks with the organizers of the global Grammy Award to explore the possibility of having its version in Africa. And it will be a shame for Nigeria not to be among the African countries making that move because none of those countries is making the kind of waves that Nigeria is making. Afro beats is here in Nigeria, even amapiano has been adopted by Nigeria. Nigeria is at the forefront of music, not only in Africa but in the global music scene.

“So, if a brand such as Grammy is coming to Africa and signing with African countries that do not have the musical strength of Nigeria, I think it would really be disappointing for Nigeria not to have that conversation with the Grammy to see how we can be part of it. The conversation with the Grammy is necessary because Nigeria cannot be left behind. But it does not mean that we are going to alienate our own home bred awards. At the same time, we will continue our conversation with the stakeholders to see how we can come up with an award system that will be able to get the kind of structure that will be able to go global”, the minister stated.

Musawa said that her ministry was ready to work with stakeholders of the industry to see how the government can support them to come up with our own Nigerian awards that will be global.

Stakeholders want the $617m investment fund used judiciously.

Meanwhile, stakeholders in the creative industries have described as a welcome development, the $617 million Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises, iDICE, Fund, announced by the minister during the ceremony. The stakeholders however advised that the fund should get to the target audience and should be used judiciously for the purpose it is meant for. The fund seeks to empower entrepreneurs not just in the creative industries, but also acting as a catalyst to economic growth across the country.

The minister said the iDICE Fund signifies the administration of President Tinubu’s unwavering commitment to empowering our creatives and entrepreneurs, fueling economic growth, and driving socio-economic transformation across Nigeria.

In his reaction, Alex Eyengho, former president of Association of Nollywood Core Producers, ANCOP, described the programme as laudable. “This is one effort under President Tinubu’s administration that seeks to empower entrepreneurs not just in the creative industries, but also, acting as catalyst to economic growth across the country. It’s my hope that the fund should be used judiciously for the purpose it’s meant for, and allowed to get to the target audience without qualms with all the attendant benefits,” Eyengho said. He said that unnecessary bottlenecks and bureaucracies in accessing the fund should be kept off the way of critical stakeholders who need the funds, particularly in the Nigerian Motion picture sector, otherwise known as Nollywood.

On his part, Fidelis Duker, the founder of Abuja International Film Festival, AIFF, said the launch of iDICE was a significant step towards fostering growth especially for young and established creatives who require funding for different projects and innovations in the creative industries in Nigeria.

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He added that “the beauty of the fund is that it’s administered by the Bank of Industry, an organization with a track record in the creative space. I think the fund holds a lot of promises for nurturing talent, supporting entrepreneurs and driving economic development within the creative ecosystem, paving the way for a flourishing creative economy for Nigeria,” Duker added.

Speaking in the same vein, Dr. Victor Okhai, National President of the Directors’ Guild of Nigeria, DGN, and founder of IN-Short Film Festival, described the launch of iDICE fund as “a great idea,.”

He expressed hope that the fund would not be another largesse that will be given to people who are not industry practitioners. “The last time something like this happened, people hurriedly registered companies and the politicians used them to siphon the monies meant for the creatives. If they are truly sincere, they need to work through registered and approved associations,” Okhai added.

Explaining how the fund would be disbursed, Ife Adebayo, National Programme Coordinator of the iDICE fund said that it would be disbursed by Adventure Capital Limited, with financial backing from institutions such as the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Agence Française de Developmental, and the Bank of Industry,BOI.

The programme is said to be a direct response to the constraints in the creative industries, by providing enterprise and skills development, expanding access to finance, and providing an enabling environment and institutional support.

Despite being a laudable programme, industry’s stakeholders are uncertain about the disbursement of the fund, drawing instances from the experience of the previous intervention funds rolled out by the past administrations to boost the industry.

Recall that in 2015, former President Goodluck Jonathan announced a N3 billion ($115 million) grant called “Project ACT Nollywood” to develop the competencies of filmmakers and actors across the country.

But rather than boosting the industry, the fund was used for other purposes, prompting the stakeholders to call for probe of the disbursement of the fund. The N3billion grant was announced, after the former President had also rolled out the initial $200 million loan scheme which he created in 2010, following complaints of inaccessibility that trailed the loan scheme by stakeholders.

Vanguard Newspaper