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Actors Kenneth Okonkwo, Tonto Dikeh honoured at Nollywood New Yam Festival

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Veteran Nollywood actors Kenneth Okonkwo and Tonto Dikeh have been honoured with cultural titles at the 2019 Nollywood New Yam Festival, an annual thespians’ fiesta, which showcases Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the duo received the awards at the annual cultural event held at the Heritage Africa Centre on Saturday in  Abuja.

Kenneth Okonkwo, a foremost Nollywood actor, was honored with the title ‘Agujiugo of Nollywood’, while Tonto Dikeh was named the ‘International Ambassador  of Culture for Nollywood’.

Mr Agility Onwurah, Chief Executive Officer of Agile 247.Com, organiser of the event , commended the awardees, adding that the honour was to “tell them that their contribution to Nollywood is recognised”.

“Nollywood is our own, and anyone who has contributed to its growth and development, in what ever  capacity should be celebrated.

“We hope that this honour will spur them to doing more for our dear industry,” he said .

NAN reports that it was a night Nollywood watchers will not forget in a hurry as they enjoyed the company of favourite Nollywood celebrities as artistes and cultural troupes took their turn to entertain guests.

Filmmakers and actors drawn from across Nigeria as well as traditional chiefs were present at the festival, which fans now look forward to every year.

Onwurah told NAN on the sidelines that the initiative was to present a platform where artistes as models and opinion leaders can promote Nigerian culture.

He noted that since the movie industry was a veritable instrument in communicating ideas and lifestyle, including cultural heritage, every artiste ought to be a cultural ambassador.

“Culture defines a people and anyone who forgets its culture, forgets its root and identity.

“The festival is simply a platform where celebrities identify with culture and promote it to their fans and followers that no matter the influence of westernisation, we must uphold what defines us.

“Artistes are supposed to be mirrors of society, and that is why we are proudly showcasing our culture to fans, especially young Nigerians who are the future generation,” he said.

He, however, explained that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, New Yam Festival was not a fetish practice, as it was just a medium of “celebrating what we have”.

“As you can see, no fetish practice was observed here, as we simply pray on the yam as meal and we share among to everyone.”

He explained that the festival had evolved over the years into a rallying point for Nollywood stakeholders, fans and culture enthusiasts.

He noted that the festival was already a household name in the FCT, and therefore urged relevant stakeholders to support the organisers for its continuity.

“Each edition of the festival has always come better, and this is a testimony that people are proud of our culture and want to identify with it,” he said.

NAN reports that  high point of the event was the unveiling of the roasted yam, spiced with traditional delicacies and the presentation of awards to some industry players and watchers.( NAN)

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Edited by Ifeyinwa Omowole

 

Entertainment

Women, groups eulogise men on International Men’s Day

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Men have continued to receive praise and eulogy on social media in commemoration of International Men’s Day.

International Men’s Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on Nov. 19.

The objectives of celebrating an International Men’s Day are set out in ‘The Six Pillars of International Men’s Day.’

It focuses on men’s and boys’ health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, highlighting discrimination against men and promoting male role models.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the accolades, which came mostly from women and social groups, praised men for their bravery and courage.

@Chibeie said, “To the father that never left and provided at all cost!

“To the man that believes in women’s rights! To the man that never raises his hands on a lady!

“To the man that never indulges in rape or Adultery! Happy #InternationalMensDay. You are the real MVP!”(Most valued person).

@BellaRizinti wrote, “Happy #InternationalMen’sDay To my friends & loved ones.

“To the men tackling toxic masculinity. To the men who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable.

“To the men who are struggling with mental health issues. To the men who are told to “man up”. You’re good enough as you are.”

NAN reports that the men were also encouraged to speak up about issues that disturbed their mental health.

@Melacomfort said, “Suicide remains one of the most common causes of death for men, aged between 18-50.

“All men should be made to feel comfortable about speaking openly and getting support.

“Asking for help when you need it doesn’t make you weak. It just means you’re human. #InternationalMensDay.”

@Ericafett said, “To the men out there that realise that your depth as a man and more importantly as a human, isn’t measured by how much you lift or how “tough” you are.

“Rather, your ability to be a good man. Bless all you good ones out there. #InternationalMensDay.”

NAN reports that the celebration in Nigeria was unofficial as the country is not listed as one of the 44 countries in the world that observe the Day.

This has reduced the level of awareness of the importance of the International Men’s Day celebration in Nigeria.

Seeing that the country celebrates International Women’s Day and officially organises events, some respondents noted that the lack of celebration for men was partial.

Albehi Salehi said, “There is Day for men. Sadly government isn’t running any event on this day. Partiality. #InternationalMensDay”

Johnson Akinwale said, “I feel men deserve a celebration as grand as women. Our struggles and pains are valid too and need to be acknowledged.”

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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YCee’s album ‘YCee vs Zaheer’ hits 2m streams

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‘YCee vs Zaheer’, the latest album of singer and rapper, Oludemilade Alejo aka YCee, has been streamed over two million times.

Nigeria News Agency reports that YCee excitedly shared the news on his instagram page @iam_ycee.

The long-awaited debut album entitled ‘Ycee vs Zaheer’ was released on Nov. 8 and has steadily become a fan favourite in the last couple of days.

The project comes as a follow up to his 8-track body of work ‘First Wave’ (2017) and ‘Late Night Vibrations’ in 2018.

The two-dimensional album featured collaborations with Davido, Phyno, and Niniola.

Among the songs contained in the 15-track project are `Its Amazing’, ‘Wahala Dey’, ‘Bossing’, ‘Chocolata’, ‘Cheque’ and ‘Dakun’.

Others are ‘Vibing’, ‘Mo Salah’, ‘So Nice’, ‘Mine’, ‘Love Like That’, ‘Bassline’, ‘Dada’, ‘Vacancy’.

The album also had Ycee engage a squad of fiery producers including Adey, JayBidz, Ballertosh, Fanatix and BeatsbyKarma.

He also worked with Syn X, Krizbeatz, Jay Popping, Buzzin Producer, AP Da Don, TwoSeven, Elmore, and KO.

Speaking on the idea behind the album’s title, the Headies-nominated singer had said that his choice of ‘Ycee vs Zaheer’ was a deliberate attempt to display his singing (Ycee) and rapping (Zaheer) side.

YCee rose to limelight after his single ‘Condo’, which features vocals from Patoranking, earned him two nominations at the 2015 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

He was also nominated for Best Artist in African Pop at the 2015 All Africa Music Awards.

In October 2016, Ycee signed a record deal with Sony Music, but terminated his contract with the label in February 2018.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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Wizkid wins SoulTrain songwriting award for ‘Brown Skin Girl’

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Afropop superstar, Ayodeji Balogun aka Wizkid has won SoulTrain’s Ashford and Simpson Songwriters’ award.

Nigeria News Agency reports that he won the award at the 2019 ceremony held on Sunday in Las Vegas.

The ‘Ojuelegba’ singer earned the award for his collaboration with Beyonce, Blue Ivy Carter and SaiNt Jhn on the sensational song of Beyonce’s ‘Lion Heart: The Gift’ album.

Wizkid shares the award with other credited songwriters including, Beyoncé Knowles, Carlos St. John, Adio Marchant and Shawn Carter.

Others are Stacy BartheAnathi Mnyango, Michael Uzowuru, Ayodeji Balogun and Richard Isong.

NAN reports that this was the third time Wizkid had made the nominees’ list for the prestigious award.

He was nominated for Best Dance Performance in 2017 for his song ‘Come Closer’ and in 2016 for the Rhythm and Bars category for his song ‘One Dance.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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‘Most music legends are not versatile’ – Singer, Simi

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Nigerian alternative music star, Simi Ogunleye has deemed audience ‘unrealistic’ expectations from artist as one of the main issues plaguing the music industry.

Nigeria News Agency reports that in a series of Twitter posts @simplysimi, she noted that Nigerian musicians are forced to cater to the same audience and switch their sounds to feed them.

According to the ‘Soldier’ singer, artists are forced to be versatile even when they have their own original sounds, as musical legends are usually monotonous in their sounds.

“I think one of the most trying things Naija artistes deal with is that we are mostly catering to the same audience.

“We don’t want to have to, but the structure of the industry makes it inevitable. We expect the same people to like Rap, street music, soul, pop, indie. Its strange.

“Strange for the audience because they keep messing around with your preference. You expect everyone to please you.

“Zlatan and Johnny Drille. Strange for the artist cos they keep messing around with your creativity. You expect everybody to like your music. A waste of time.

“So when I see someone tell an artist “you’re monotonous’’, it amuses me. Most of the legends are monotonous.

“Unless they don’t have a sound. Imagine Fela doing hip-hop today and RnB tomorrow or Whitney Houston – Soul today, akpala tomorrow,’’ she said.

NAN reports that Simi, who is married to fellow alternative singer, Adekunle Gold recently released a new album, ‘Omo Charlie Champagne’.

The album swiftly follows her acclaimed 2017 eponymous album ‘Simisola’ which went on to win ‘Album of the Year’ at the Headies and contained a bunch of fantastic singles, including ‘Joromi’ and ‘Lovin.”

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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Centre to produce documentary film on 1949 Iva Valley massacre

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The Center for Memories says it will produce a documentary film on the 1949 Iva Valley Enugu coal mine massacre to immortalise the victims.

A historian at the centre, Mrs Rina Okonkwo, said this on Monday during the wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the massacre at the New Market Roundabout, Enugu.

Okonkwo said that the documentary would avail the younger generation the opportunity to learn about the past “in sight and sound.”

She said that the documentary would help to capture the remaining form of the environment where the coal miners’ worked as well as interviews of the aged survivors of the attack.

Okonkwo said that the centre would also strive to produce the story and pictorial of the incident in a modern history book as “the Federal Government is restoring back history to school curriculum’’.

He said: “We are pushing ahead with the documentary project, however, we have funding challenge since the centre is not a profit-making institution.

“However, we are still looking ahead and optimistic that the project will be out probably before the next anniversary of the massacre,’’ the historian said.

Okonkwo said that the documentary had become expedient because “Nigerians easily forget, while most historical events and relics are fading away from our memories and sight’’.

Nigeria News Agency reports that on Nov. 18, 1949, no fewer than 21 coal miners were brutally massacred, while 50 others were injured by the British colonialists for daring to protest aginst racism as well as their poor working and living conditions.

(Edited by Sam Oditah)

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Creative industry set to build practitioners’ capacity

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The Creative Industry Group (CIG) says the 2019 National Entertainment Training Summit and Awards will help to build the capacity of practitioners in the industry.

Its President, Mr Felix Duke, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Monday.

Duke said that the event scheduled to hold on Dec. 7 in Lagos would serve as a networking programme for the industry.

He said that the summit with the theme: “Driving Entrepreneurship in Entertainment’’, would feature stars that had made the Nigerian creative industry strong in Africa.

“Legends such as Emeka Ossai, Paul Obazele, Ngozi Nwosu, Lillian Bach, Azuka Livon and Eedris Abdulkareem, among others, are expected to attend and speak at the occasion.

“The event which will hold in Ikeja, Lagos, will serve as a networking, business expositions and capacity building for practitioners in the creative industry,’’ he said.

According to him, the summit will feature many side attractions, entertainments, fresh alliances and reunions.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Adeleye Ajayi

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