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awesome photos

the albino photos weird me out

what was up with the albinos? maybe i missed it but i didn't see them mentioned at all in the article

I have seen the Devil, and he works in Nollywood.

maryi ajayi

AFRICANS MAY BOYCOTT TIME MAGAZINE: BOB EJIKE

Nigeria’s King of Pop, Bob Ejike just released 25 singles and an album all at once, making music history. Mary Ajayi spoke to him in this revealing interview. Here are the excerpts.
Ajayi: The late Tony Ibegbuna of Radio Nigeria used to refer to you as Nigeria’s King of afro pop. Now The Guardian calls you Nigeria’s King of Pop. How are you carrying the title?
Ejike: First of all I need to understand the full implication of the title because on one point pop is a dying genre, on the other hand pop refers to the entire gamut of music, and the Nigerian music industry is full of kings.(laughs). While accepting the long deserved honour, I don’t want them to upset other stakeholders and most importantly, I don’t want it to go to my head.
Ajayi: Prof. Bob Ejike, you have just been given the Award for the Most Popular African Artiste on The Internet, how does that make you feel?
Ejike: Among the other awards that I have won, that is the most flattering. Besides launching my website www.hiphoprhythm.com I did nothing else, I didn’t even know I was famous on the web.
Ajayi: 25 different singles of yours and a 16-song album, Forever and Ever, have just been released what’s the reason?
Ejike: I’ve been in the entertainment industry for thirty years, and it appears my major impact was made in Nollywood movies, but I’ve done much more, like presenting NTA’s Tropical rhythms, anchoring The Sun’s Klieglights, publishing books, modelling, video editing, voiceover. I suddenly start getting this creepy sensation that time is running out. Maybe it is the middle age crisis.(laughs) I still want to shake the earth, cause a tsunami, move mountains.
Ajayi: Won’t the sheer number of releases invite pirates to your work?
Ejike: I don’t make my music for money, if I can help it I’d give it all out for free.
Ajayi: How do you intend to tackle competition from the grassroots Nigerian artistes who have already created an accepted naija sound?
Ejike: Art is a gift from God and cannot condescend to the vulgarity of competition. Michael Jackson did wako and sold, and Marvin Gaye played cool and still sold. However, there is as much naija in my music as in Timaya’s.
Ajayi: Your album Forever and Ever features Ugandan star Cindy Sanyu singing in Igbo and pidgin English. Couldn’t you get a Nigerian star to feature with you?
Ejike: I am a pan-Africanist. The African borders were created by European imperialists, but research has shown that some Ugandan peoples actually came from Nigeria, so I was only bringing home one of your lost sisters. (laughs). Anyway let’s appreciate the fact that she sang without an accent.
Ajayi: How is the response to these recent releases?
Ejike: I am told that the collections are already in most countries in Africa. Now, I can’t take the credit for the success, because the collections also include works from D’banj, P Square, Bracket, Keffe, Wande Coal and other great Nigerian artistes. My fans are truly enthusiastic about Forever.
Ajayi: In your website www.hiphoprhythm.com you appealed to your fans to request your music. Why did you find that necessary?
Ejike: Most people who claim to know me have not heard 1% of my music, and I don’t have the good luck of having a Kennis Music on my side, so the only way I can make an African Queen is through my fans. I am still appealing to my fans and friends throughout East and West Africa to call their favourite DJs and presenters on radio, TV, discoteques, nightclubs, and Nkwobi joints, everywhere and request for Bob Ejike songs and videos.
Ajayi: Did you read Ruben Abati’s article on the Nigerian music industry? What’s your impression?
Ejike: Ruben Abati must have read my mind. This is an article that I wanted to write long ago but I restrained myself because you know many of us do not understand the commitment of the art critic, and how he brings about better understanding of the art towards the development to the industry. Instead they begin to accuse you of jealousy, envy, sometimes of being envious of even less able people.
Ajayi: Who are your favourite Nigerian artistes?
Ejike: Dare Art-Alade, without a shadow of a doubt is the best singer and songwriter in Nigeria. Mr. Cool is definitely one of the best. 2 Face, D’Banj, Timaya, Wande Coal are great showmen, and show sells more than musical substance, however musically speaking I still feel a strong nostalgia for Fela, Ofege, Joni Hastruup and Monomono, B:L:O, Bongos Ikwue, Harry Mosco, Chris Okotie, Kiu Amakiri, Dora Ifudu, Gbubemi Amas, Ozo, Jide Obi, Felix Liberty, Dr Alban, Sade, Seal, of course I enjoy my own music, which is why I play it.
Ajayi: Can you comment on the tremendous development we are witnessing in the Nigerian music industry.
Ejike: Tremendous? Some Nigerians are knocked off their wits because a few erstwhile impoverished artistes are jeeping loudly around town. However, my experience and study show that there isn’t a great improvement in the quality of music we are producing now in Nigeria. What has changed is that the linguistic vehicle of communication has changed to Pidgin English, thus making the lyrics more comprehensible to the ordinary people. However, the industry lacks originality, most of the songs are copies or outright clones of other previously released pieces, using different words. Nigerians now buy and listen and dance to Nigerian music, something they had curiously refused to do for decades, so kudus to the former Nollywood marketers who are now selling music thanks to the decline of the film industry. But even the successful music marketers are not more than 6. You can count the beneficiaries of this new development in your fingers, and that is not a revolution. During the boom of Nollywood we had hundreds of executive producers lining up at Winnis Hotel seeking artistes and thousands of artistes and crew, marketers and video club owners made their living from the film industry, now that was a revolution, a renaissance.
Ajayi: Which musicians influenced your music?
Ejike: Chris Okotie, more than anybody else, Magic Fingers Ayo Bankole jr, Fela, James Brown, Prince, and Michael Jackson.
Ajayi: Where exactly do you live ?
Ejike: It’s hard to tell because my time is equally divided between Nigeria, Uganda and Italy. Much of my audio recordings are done in my studios in Kampala, My videos are all shot in Europe, Uganda and Rwanda. Around the summers I am singing nightclubs in Italy, after which I fly to Lagos for promotions because of the vibrant nature of our entertainment industry.
Ajayi: So you have homes in the three countries?
Ejike: Yes I am crushing under the weight of maintaining four homes in three countries with staff and vehicles and paying taxes on them. (laughs).
Ajayi: Five years ago you predicted that Nigeria would lead the music world ten years from then, do you still hold that view?
Ejike: You need to understand my role, my gift. I am not exactly the superstar type, but I am an intellectual artiste, a thinker, a pioneer, a wall breaker. Ever since I launched R.M.D with my film Echoes of Wrath in 1982, when I was still a child, ever since we made the first Nigerian film on home video Okpuru Anyanwu, in my village Oba, my calling has been that of conceptualizing new forms of expression for Nigerian art, creating new avenues for the enhancement of artistic creativity and creation of wealth for artistes. I could see then that Nollywood was going to cave in and the music industry would inherit the marketing structures and international network we have created.
Ajayi: Which are the other areas of original undertaking that you have been involved in?
Ejike: Besides pioneering Nollywood, the fastest growing film industry in the world, I contributed to the expansion of the Nollywood reality in Europe through exhibitions, symposia, public lectures backed by Nigerian film screening, workshops, Internet journalism etc. I was the first Nigerian artiste to establish in Italy and this fact helped in no small measure in establishing Nigerian art and film in the peninsula. Thereafter, I became the first Nigerian artiste to reside in Uganda, and indeed the most popular West African musician in East Africa. This has also helped to place Nigerian film as the foremost home entertainment here in East Africa. I am building a bridge between the two regions, inviting artistes to play from both sides, I am the first person to bring Ugandan music into mainstream Nigerian art. There are other innovations I intend to add to the music industry, but the less we talk about them for now, the better.
Ajayi: But Prof, many people think that Living in Bondage was Nigeria’s first home video film.
Ejike: I made Echoes of Wrath starring R.M.D ten years before Living in Bondage, and won the national award NAFEST with it, and my village movie Okpuru Anyanwu was a hit two years before Bondage.
Ajayi: Besides art, what else do you do?
Ejike: Basically, I am a teacher, I started teaching from my Youth Service in Federal Girl’s Government College, Shagamu, I have since taught at Queen’s College, Yaba, the Italian Cultural Institute, and Alliance Française, Lagos. In Italy I taught at Oxford College, Milan, the Milan County Board of Education, The Polytechnic of Milan, and Universita Popolare of Rome, where I was also director of publicity. I have worked as a public relations and language consultant for Western ambassadors. I package the images of Italian aristocrats and politicians at the highest echelon. In Nigeria I have also packaged a presidential candidate.
Ajayi: Could that be Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu?
Ejike: The names of my clients are official secret.
Ajayi: As a Nollywood pioneer, how do you see the recent portrayal of Nollywood by Time Magazine?
Ejike: Time magazine is unhappy that a few inexperienced African artistes and “illiterate” traders have done the unthinkable, wresting film viewer-ship in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and much of the third world Diaspora from Hollywood. We have also, using digital cameras shown the world our reality, thus effectively disputing centuries of racist lies and stereotypes about the African humanity and way of life. Time magazine, therefore cannot be happy about the unprecedented victories of Nollywood. I don’t remember ever reading anything good or completely truthful about a Blackman or an African in Time magazine. When the subject is black, Time reads like a white supremacist tabloid, as if 400 years of slavery and colonization, followed by neo-colonization isn’t enough unjust punishment, they attack our image in an attempt to destroy anything good we initiate. Nollywood is only the latest victim of this racist onslaught. When Boutros Boutros Ghali became U.N Secretary General, Time magazine asserted that Egypt is not really Africa, attempting to ensure that black people do not take credit for his achievements, as if the Egyptian pharaohs were not black. The points of view of Time writers on the third world in general and Africa in particular are often condescending. They insulted the Arabs until they opened Al-Jazira. Africans can also open their own big media outfits to represent them adequately. Time should understand that globalization means that the big white man can no longer hold a monopoly of power and information, other power blocks are emerging and they can’t go on lying about other people, to discredit them with impunity. Now Africa has a voice in world media through Nollywood, and nothing written or photographed by Time, or other racist media will ever change that. A bore read almost solely by politicians and businessmen on transit cannot possibly influence global movie attitudes. The major world media is the Internet, and those African bloggers reproducing the nauseating photographs to complain about them are doing Time a favour. More so, Africans have the power to stop racist media from casting aspersions on their image and end this journalistic lynching. Time magazine sells in Africa. If Africans boycott Time they will be forced to stop the unprovoked press war against Africans and black people. We can reduce the sale of Time Magazine in Africa by 90% like we did to Hollywood films.
Ajayi: What is happening to Nollywood? It seems the Titanic you built is sinking.
Ejike: I have on occasion tried to convince my colleagues to keep government out of Nollywood, but they kept inviting one of the most corrupt organizations in the world into the affairs of Nollywood. The result is, like everything government is involved in, stalled development, with artistes running helter-skelter from Ghana to Sierra Leone, anywhere they can eke out a living.
Ajayi: In Italy you are seen as an Italian artiste, how do you think Nigerians feel about this?
Ejike: I am a full blooded Nigerian, but the fact remains that I have been an Italian citizen, living under the Italian cultural reality much of the last 21 years.
Ajayi: What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?
Ejike: Meeting Michael Jackson.
Ajayi: What other surprises should we expect from you?
Ejike: If I told you it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore (laughs).
(Bob Ejike’s photos are in google)
Mary E. Ajayi,
University of Lagos,
Akoka, Lagos.

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