shonaiya… angry

My very good friend, Olumide Iyanda, the editor of Saturday Independent is not on facebook. He likes to deceive himself that he is still anonymous and faceless, so he shies away from these networking sites that request for your pictures, date of birth, and allow remote friends access your virtual world. So for him, facebook, myspace, hi5 or Linkedin are no go areas. Another mutual friend of ours is about quitting facebook. Why? He says we’re all mugus (what does that mean in proper English?); that Mark Zuckerberg, the 23 year-old whiz kid who owns Facebok is worth over $1.5 billion – thanks to you and me and every other mugun who’s hooking up with friends on the network. I don’t particularly agree, not just because I don’t find that word mugun complimentary, but because I believe that life is all about give and take. Yes, Zuckerberg and his buddies at facebook are building a fortune, having now lured over 64 million people all over the world to be on facebook. But, does the site give us value? Come on. The answer is yes!

That’s the value to seek for; to use in making yourself, or your business better. For example, as a very nosy, restless reporter, I steal loads of information daily from people’s profile on facebook and myspace and hi5. I’ve gotten leads to major stories from these sites, and God knows how many of my subjects the networks have helped me establish contact with.

So I like facebook. No apologies. Okay, looking at it again: $1.5 billion is A LOT of money. A lot! And to think that we all helped the guy amass so much fortune. Now, Forbes is rating him as the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. Now, Microsoft is buying into his business, and a couple of other conglomerates are dangling a couple of more billions in his face, begging him to sell his baby. But, next time you think of these kind of figures (try finding out how much the guys at Google are worth now, or how much the owners of Youtube sold…), no need to fret. You’re helping others make money. You’re getting value in return. And then, you also have an opportunity to CREATE your own idea, see it to fruition and turn us all into your muguns. We won’t mind, trust me. For as long as you give us VALUE.

 In my opinion, it’s better to be a mugun to David Filo and Jerry Yang (the founders of Yahoo!) or to Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google). Imagine a world without Yahoo!; a world without Google. Truth is, we’re all muguns. I’ve thought about this carefully. All of us – that’s what we are – MUGUNS! But let me console you: one man’s mugun is another man’s Zuckerberg. So while there’s nothing we can do about we all being muguns, we can at least ensure that we develop and nurture the Zuckerberg in us.

So it was, that as a bonafide mugun on facebook, I logged in on Tuesday morning to discover the angst of another friend of mine, Ayo Shonaiya. Shonaiya, a filmmaker, talent scout and promoter, enjoys the best of three worlds – shuttling between Lagos, London and Atlanta. On a post titled ‘Tool or Toy: the 35mm craze, Shonaiya poured out his soul, lamenting bitterly about the sudden craze by Nigerian acts for celluloid. ‘I am sick and tired, not to talk of embarrassed, by the new craze in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Yes folks, never thought I’ll see the day when shooting on 35mm IS the main focus in a film or music video. Only in Nigeria!’, writes an embittered Shonaiya. He goes on: ‘I swear, 35mm is the new Hummer Jeep, everybody wants one! As it happens, the effizy kings of Nigeria, Kenny and D1, who tuned Nigerians in to the Hummer Jeep craze were the first cats to hype music videos on the cost and also claiming to have painted a whole aircraft in Kennis Music colours for Eddie Montana’s video. Where is Eddie now? I think I better leave that one.

Just like most things Nigerian in the entertainment world, we tend to make a lot of noise about unnecessary features; so and so artiste’s wardrobe was imported from Germany, hey, but he’s singing crap but who cares, I say his jacket was specially flown in by Gunther Jacketmaker himself!

Shooting on 35mm is good if you can afford it, or know how to use it for that matter, it does not however make your video the best or anything special if your concept is not tight. If you can afford to shoot 35mm and produce a good video, the good video part is what we should applaud, not the fact that it was shot on film, or it cost so and so amount to make, or it was taken to Los Angeles to edit, you can edit as good an hour away in Ghana.’

For someone who is not known to be so radically vocal, a lot of us have been shocked and surprised at Shonaiya’s outburst. But did he make any sense? Absolutely! He hit the nail on the head; doing at the same time, the job of a seasoned filmmaker (to guide), the job of a journalist (to inform and educate) and the job of a critic (to critique). And if we keep sentiments or pride aside, it’ll be easy to see that the dude only wants the best for our emerging industry.

 Let me give you a bit more of his venom: ‘A little Film 101 for all the 35mm “wannashoots” out there, It’s all about the LENS and LIGHTING! You can get crisp pictures with a good HD body and some cool Canon lens for a quarter of the cost of shooting and developing 35mm, unless the South African guys are giving you rock bottom bargains (which I doubt, they know you don’t know). 35mm is industry standard for film set for theatrical release (the big screen), music videos are often set for television (the small screen). If you want to shoot on film, you can shoot on 16mm or even 8mm if you want to really rough it. Your fans don’t really know the difference between video and 35mm, all they want to see is YOU, the artiste, because they love you, they want to see you dance, sing, rap, show off your 12-packs (note to P Square) and so on, please stop insulting their intelligence by telling them what you shot the video with or how much it cost, even though it’s true, let us enjoy you and your art.’

 The argument is still on-going. For and against. Many are lending their voices to the discourse. And a lot of artistes who hitherto knew next-to-nothing about the difference between HD or DV or celluloid are joining in. in her comment, Lara George, a gospel singer says : ‘Brother, I bless God for u and this write-up. Thanks for making some sense. Please send this page out to everyone because I only stumbled on it by chance. We all need to wake up some!’ in Qudus Onikeku’s words : These are the sort of effort we need, let people understand that the art is not for business men and vulgar opportunists who call themselves pro-whatever… promoters or producers.’

And Bayo Omisore, the editor Of Soundcity Blast writes: ‘I was speaking with my good friend Clarence P who is one of the biggest directors in Nigeria about this whole phenomenon yesterday. He insists that they will all come back when they realise the folly in shooting on film. I spoke with Olu maintain just last week and it was about the same thing. The problem most Nigerian artistes (all, in fact, save three or four of them) have is that they do not in fact know anything about the business in which they are, and would not bother to arm themselves. They lack education. You know what Fela said, ‘follow-follow’. That’s the Nigerian way. One day perhaps…’

The responses are numerous and all so convincing that I’ve had to add my voice. My verdict? We’re paying too much (unnecessary) attention to the COST of videos; too much attention to the glamorous lifestyles (cars, houses, designer accessories etc) at the expense of CREATIVITY and ORIGINALITY. If only homeboys will spend half the amount of funds, attention, time and energy spent on videos and cars, on songwriters, beatmakers and producers. If only people like Ayo Shonaiya will voice out more often.

  But that’s not my point. See the kind of creative-constructive discourse even muguns can chart? Thank you Zuckerberg. Thank you Facebook!



  1. efemena adabamu Says:

    i agree with what Ayo Shonaiya is saying,most of our acts lack creativity and originality in their songs.Alot of our songs reads one and our videos interpretes another thing,its hilarious…..Then our Naija acts better understand music as an act and as business not just waking up,cookin one crap and d next thing is mtv base….doesn’t work..Sometimes,i wish mtv base ask them for their music themes before they air it….I am in dire need of the likes of AYO SHONAIYA’S words to come out more often…

  2. No lies 9ja artists dont know shit bout making money in those songs they do that its not all bout the album sales neither is it bout the money and quality of videos. Damn some naija artists now need to go for public speaking lectures b4 dey can do interviews.

  3. oh my God where do i start from? as a professional in the industry, a critics audience, a loving and patriotic of the great act, …and a novice who knows nothing about technical and business part of the industry let start with this;

    what happened to alicia keys and usher? what happened to kanye at grammy…?

    if that is political or tribalistic. what happened in zimbabwe is an example of what we are experiencing here, mugabe wants to be there for ever, not allowing others to be there.
    they have taking more than 5awards at the same time and wants to continue without working wise.

    some have forgotten that the moment you achieve, others who want to do more than you will start their home work, and thats what happened. ppl like Asha started her home work, so also 9ce, dj jimmy jatts, olu maintain and others. nut watch i pray all awardee of this year will have to go home with half award if any by next year bcos others are learning from their achievement.

    now, upon advice to a dfriend video director about acquiring 16mm and so on he can clearly see now that its not about buying 16mm, 35mm, 8mm, viper, genesis, 23p, hdcam cinealta, digibeta or ex-hd, xdcam, teh almighty RED ONE and so on but its all about concept creation, generation and distribution, of the video materials. ppl shld be schooled men.

    the style of do me i do u is nothing bbut the mock of nigerian acts and cinematographers and non-access to those facility. must u go to south africa to shoot on film, develop their economy and pump more money on a strangers business? what happened to stARWAR film it was shot on hd and it beat numbers of those shot on what ever form or format you want to mention, its not about lining up girls and shake the a** but what are the other creative elements?

    the artistic direction, props, set, locations, wardrobe, characterization,
    formats, lighting, editing, grading scripting, grip and more…

    wake up men.

    And for the way stylee was done, compare to … its glaring even a deaf can justify it.

    but for me i gave it to Asa, its classic, different, and artistic. what else do you want, though stylee is nt bad at all.

    O tun ku niban n ro, more are coming…
    rods and cones ltd
    film and tv productions

  4. Frankly i dont know much or almost amything about 35mm, 16mm etc but im a viewer who takes in the finished product. No doubt its great to see that the quality of Nigerian videos have improved greatly. Kudos to the young men and women who put in the effort whether its on 35mm, 16mm or wateva.

    However,my grouse with Nigerian videos is wats up with all the booty shaking? i just cant understand it. its done to the point that its vulgar, offensive and discomforting.
    I wonder if a nice decent video cannot be made anymore without boobs and ass shaking.

    Artistes should always take into consideration the message of the music,how its being interpreted and most importantly how it impacts the viewer.

  5. please tell them, it’s not about how much money you spend on making video,but how much creativity and idealism you want to put into what message you sending to your fans,bofore i forget i was at ALABA about 3 days ago and you guys now what d’banj’s cd is being sold for as low as 30naira.na ALABA boy’s which level.

  6. kenku baba Says:

    I guess he has no interest in it

  7. loyede reuben Says:

    fatai rolling dull is the most handsome male art [agreed]

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