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Living upcoming: Tale of entertainers on Nigerian streets

Chinedu Hardy Nwadike

Everyone finds a constraint as an excuse for not getting to the top, same thing with me, because I should have made a video documentary of this. So what was the constraint that prevented this? The usual thing every Nigerian is facing. Fund.

When I sit back to watch satellite TV channels to enjoy the entire celebrity buzz they usually bore us with, I ask myself where these people came from. Did they just become stars or did they pass through anything before getting there?

In Nigeria, experience has never been anyone’s teacher, because we are mostly afraid of change. We can only embrace better technology; change our wardrobe; fatten our bank accounts; make more TV and radio appearances; pose on the cover of magazines and newspapers, and so on. But are these really the changes we want?

How can we see the changes in the life of an individual as change? What happened to the system? Is it not what we are supposed to change to embrace total change?

A country where a community can boast that they have received dividends of democracy because an administration helped one of them build a mansion and buy cars. They talk as if everyone will live in that house and drive the cars. They forget the roads everyone will walk on; the tap everyone will fetch from and electricity that will light every body’s path. We need to start changing the system.
Living upcoming is one of the worst things happening on Nigerian streets and it should be one of the things we should be working towards changing.

When I thought of this article, I spoke to many people who complied on the ground of anonymity, meaning I won’t be mentioning names here but every sour experience here belongs to a Nigerian, who is someone’s brother, sister, cousin and child.

Being an upcoming entertainer in Nigeria is never a profession, one has to get another job that will fetch the money he will be investing on the entertainment side of him.

In Nigeria today, who pays the media more, the stars or the upcoming entertainers? Returning the favour, who do we see more on the screens, magazines, blogs and who do we hear more on the radio? The stars or the upcoming one?

Many guys have turned gay and many ladies became lesbians because they want to make it. Ladies gave up nights to satisfy countless men and some guys have done same to satisfy ladies who promised to do one thing or the other for them. This is the system we live in.
Studio rats wish to be stars; rats that will one day grow into gorillas and melt out the same punishment they received on others that are still rats.
A certain male artiste said “I spend most of my time in this studio. I run errands for the producer and at times I do cleaning for him. He buys me food when there is money, when there isn’t, I find a way to eat. In return, he gives me a beat and under him I can have my own songs. I do this because I cannot afford the normal recording fee in bulk.”

Another female artiste said “I want to sing but I don’t have money to pay for studio sessions, blogging and radio airplay. But if I can mingle with these people, within a short time, I can get them free of charge. Anything goes, as long as I get what I want”.
An upcoming female model said “I’ve had several sour experiences in the industry especially when we have to work as ushers in big events. They don’t make provisions for our accommodations for a reason, because we’ll have to pass the night with one of the very rich guests. Sometimes their offers are irresistible. You just have to take it because you want to be a super model in Nigeria someday”.
“We are often kept in rooms with others, and any day you’ll be unlucky, you’ll get a lesbian as a roommate. They usually give you horrible nights. The worst ones are those with the backings of the organizers; there is simply nothing you can do. At times they can promise you a top spot, as well as more competitions. The truth is no matter how much we say, we can never say everything we have seen because we need to retain our dignity as women” another female model told me.

I have witnessed a case where a crew member ran out of the hotel room he was sharing with another guy in the middle of the night because his gay roommate was trying to molest him. What did the owner of the event do? Nothing!
A female artiste once told me that a DJ said she must be sleeping with him regularly for him to be playing her songs. The question will now be thus, if she sleeps with every DJ that will be playing her songs, how many would she be sleeping with at the end?

Another pretty singer came to me wearing an engagement ring, I was surprised and she said “Do you know how it feels to have almost every man you come in contact with trying to sleep with you? Some of them respect the ring, while others don’t. But at the end, it helps better than ordinary words”.

Many pure talents quit because of this horror upcoming artistes are subjected to and radio presenters are not left out.
I have recently ignored complaints from upcoming artistes about a certain gay radio presenter who would like to sleep with them before he can start playing their song.
I haven’t seen a lesbian presenter, but well and well they exist somewhere subjecting females to the same horror.
Most male presenters are the worst in this act, they take cash from guys and sex from ladies. And the fact that most ladies would love to sleep with these guys whom they see as celebrities makes it easier for them.

When was the last time the media put these sufferings into consideration? When was the last time the so called politicians put the plights of these young people in their budget? Would human right activists ever remember them to say we want to invest in saving these lives that are being lost gradually?
Most of them have turned drug addicts, most of them are sex slaves and it is funny no one is talking about it. We just dwell on the polished experiences of the stars, written in a way that it can only entertain but never inspire nor call for change in the system.

Does these upcoming entertainers have their part of the blame? Yes most of it. Some complain they do not have a dime to pay for services they desire, yet at night you see them in bars and lounges spending above N7000 on alcohol and tobacco.

If you can buy alcohol, why not buy good clothes, shoes and other accessories. Some ladies would prefer bags of N30,000, hairs of N50,000 to the money they would use in recording and promoting themselves.
They would prefer to have expensive looks so as to be accepted in the world of famous people, forgetting that something is still missing. Costumes can make a goat look like a lion, but it will never give it a roar, and the looks will never last because one day, the real lions will feed on the goat.

Can we all join hands in this sensitization? Encourage these youths who are mostly graduates to take up an alternative job [Although most of them have joined the ‘Entertainment Industry’ because there are no jobs. And the industry is one way anyone can employ himself] to see that they stay away from these tigers that have come to do nothing but devour them.

Can we give then the courage to expose these people who in most cases are tagged ‘untouchable’ because they run the media?

Can the media device programmes that will give these people the coverage and encouragement they need? Do not forget that these upcoming artistes are dumped in our recycling points. Every star will come from there, while some who have tasted stardom, will still go back there.
These are our brothers and sisters.

Chinedu Hardy Nwadike is novelist, singer and blogger; he writes from Owerri Imo State, Nigeria.
[email protected], @hardynwa

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