WRONG FOOT FORWARD
Timi Dakolo did not look himself when he showed up for a magazine photo shoot last Tuesday. The
West Africa Idols winner is planning to release his first set of works to the public, as he tries to put his career in shape. But it was conspicuously evident on his face that things have not been funny. He looked detached and aloof; and his eyes seemed to be desperately searching for hope. That’s Timi – the winner of the first ever West Africa Idols! And guess what? When he made to leave, after posing for the cameras, he hopped into a Kia Picanto which was badly in need of a fourth tyre. Has he squandered all the hope and fortune he made from the Idols contest? Or have the sponsors and organisers failed to live up to their obligations to the gifted young man? I suspect the latter – and I hope those in charge will prove me otherwise. I hope Nigerians will begin to ask questions – why has none of the numerous music and movie talent hunt/reality shows produced a true star – with a total transformation and solid career footing?
The answer should not be far-fetched: because most times, they get it wrong right from the start. If Idol organisers could have appointed Dede mabiakwu – a Fela wannabe who is yet to show us his own body of work 11 years after his mentor’s death – as Judge on Idols, then we should not be surprised that they’re not bothered that nearly two years after the show, their winner is still roaming about, with no hopes of having an album to document his talent, while other finalists have pitched their tents with struggling labels in Nigeria.
It’s easy to get angry, lose our tempers and hurl stones at the folks behind all these. But if you understand how little they know about showbiz; if you understand the chaotic state of our local industry, and how desperate talents can be to append their signatures to contracts, it could help save us all from having heart attacks.
Unfortunately, as the industry continues to grow, we need initiatives like these, to provide activity, funding – and most importantly- the right springboard for hopeless talents who need their voices heard. But if it must be done at all, then it must be done properly.
That’s why we should all come together and condemn the selection of respected actress Joke Silva as the principal of the on-going Project Fame Academy. Ms Silva is an accomplished entertainer. And if you’ve met her personally, you’ll be overwhelmed by her passion for the performing arts, as well as her deep knowledge of almost any subject. Plus she’s got fine humour too. But to select her, from her domain in Nollywood, to come tutor ‘‘the contestants in the academy on the various aspects of being a music star’’, is, to put it as it is, a fundamental error to producers should not have made. And if they made the error, and Ms Silva has accepted the offer, then it is up to us to put a microscope to the act and let them see the enormity of the gaffe.
What would she be teaching them? It’s like choosing King Sunny Ade or Jacob Akinyemi-Johnson to head a movie academy. What would you expect them to bring to the table?
The landscape of the Nigerian music industry is littered with genuinely gifted, well accomplished and respected ladies and gentlemen who have proven themselves over the years. Why leave that terrain and stroll down to Nollywood to select a Project Fame principal?
The show is already airing continent-wide; and we’re loving it. We’re loving Kwame, TY Mix and Bibi Brew on the judging panel. We’re loving Dare Art Alade as the host. And we’re loving the fact that this time around, the producers are not promising some invincible mega record contract. But we are not loving this idea of Ms Silva presiding over a music academy. It’s not too late to bring in relevant and qualified folks like Onyeka Onwenu, Lagbaja, Sunny Neji, JAJ, Keke Ogungbe or OJB.
And should the guys in charge be too afraid of asking Ms silva to take her leave; would the respected thespian please resign?