Vanessa Obioha captures entertainers and events that made 2019 an OMG! Year
2019 started on a high note for some entertainers and is ending on some sour notes for others. We look back at the exhilarating and shocking moments that literally left our jaws on the floor.
Burna Boy: It was at the 2018 Soundcity MVP Awards held in January this year that Burna’s Boy winning streak began to blaze. At that awards, he scooped four awards including best song of the year for his 2018 hit single ‘Ye’. Burna would go ahead to win other awards such as the BET International Act of the Year and the MTV Europe Music Awards African Act of the Year. Prior to his performance at the international music festival Coachella, Burna grabbed headlines when he condemned the diminutive space the organisers gave him in the promotional ad.
He took to Instagram to express his displeasure, posting that “I really appreciate you. But I don’t appreciate the way my name is written so small in your bill. I am an AFRICAN GIANT and will not be reduced to whatever that tiny writing means. Fix things quickly please.”
The moniker ‘African Giant’ will end up being the title of his next album, a body of work that has received tremendous reviews. Burna was also among the artistes who recorded with award-winning American musician Beyonce for the ‘Lion King’ album. However, the most significant thing that happened to Burna this year was his nomination in the Grammy. His ‘African Giant’ album was nominated in the World Music category. The ‘Anybody’ crooner is confident that he will bring back the gramophone trophy home next year when the awards holds.
Joel Kachi Benson: Benson is one of those documentary filmmakers who allow their works to speak for them. A young man with big ambitions, Benson made history this year when he emerged the first African and Nigerian to win the prestigious Virtual Reality Award at the 2019 edition of the Venice International Film Festival. His surprising win was highly lauded and celebrated in the media. The winning film ‘Daughters of Chibok’ yells the story of Yana Galang whose daughter is among the missing girls from the infamous 2014 Chibok girls abduction. Benson’s immersive storytelling helped to remind the world of the plight of the women who are still waiting for their children to be returned.
Teni the Entertainer: Teni, the younger of the Apata sisters stamped her presence in the music industry this year with the chart topping hits she released. From ‘Power Rangers’ to her latest single ‘Billionaire’, Teni continues to set new records. After becoming an instant sensation with her breakout song ‘Case’, Teni dominated the airwaves, scooping awards such as the Best New Artist at the 2018 Soundcity MVP Awards, YouTube Trending Artiste on the Rise, and even having her own sold-out concert this yuletide season. Her blazing trail could only suggest that she is almost reaching beyond the stars, particularly now that she wants to become a billionaire.
Mo Abudu: Not a few has wondered what other glass ceiling the media entrepreneur and filmmaker Mo Abudu will shatter.
This year has seen the founder of EbonyLife Films achieving milestones that almost seem insurmountable. Her film production company produced two films this year ‘Oloture’ and ‘Your Excellency’ with the latter, directed by Jennifer Akindele-Bello raking in over N50 million since its release.
More good news followed for the media personality after she was appointed Director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organisation responsible for staging the world famous International Emmy Awards last year. This year, she received a gold membership card from the organisation for her new role and became the first African woman to chair the 47th Emmy Awards Gala held recently
The most striking achievement of the 55-year-old entrepreneur in 2019 was the unveiling of the EbonyLife Place,a luxury lifestyle venue that offers premium entertainment and hospitality. The majestic building situated on Adetokunbo Ademola Street in Victoria Island is a sight for sore eyes, glittering with opulence at night. Forbes Africa’s Most Successful Woman has consistently shown that she is not resting on her oars. As 2020 beckons, one can only wonder what glass ceiling she will shatter.
Shina Peller: Few days before the Christmas celebration, Shina Peller, the gentleman behind the popular club Quilox, found himself on the wrong side of the law. Peller has declared a 36-hour marathon clubbing in his club on Sunday, December 22, a long-held tradition of the club according to those who are familiar with the activities of the club. The large influx of club revellers that night led to traffic congestion on the Ozumba Mbadiwe road where the club is located, drawing the ire of motorists who ply that route. By Monday, the Lagos State Government has sealed off the premises of the club for environmental pollution while three cars owned by patronisers of the club were towed. In an interesting turn of events, Peller who was said
to have gone to the Maroko Police Station to resolve the case ended up being arrested. While the police claimed that Peller had invaded the police station with thugs, leading to his arrest, his friends and fans claimed that it was a plot by the police to keep the businessman behind bars. Peller is also a member of the House of Representatives.
Tekno: Nowadays, it is unclear what direction Tekno’s music is taking. Nonetheless, the young singer has not relented in his ambition to be one of the superstars in the country, even if it means sacrificing decency on the music altar. In August this year, Tekno hugged headlines after a video showing scantily clad women dancing to his song went viral.The risque display on a mobile ad truck was visible to anyone playing the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge that night. What followed was a cacophony of gasps and sighs that reached an irksome climax when the Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency, (LASAA), the body responsible for outdoor structures for signage and advertising, wade into the matter, promising to bring the perpetrators to book.
In his defense, Tekno released a statement on his Instagram page, giving details of the events that led to the indecent show.
According to him, he was only using the vehicle to convey his crew to a location since some of the cars scheduled for transportation broke down. He would later be invited by State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba, for questioning while LASAA suspended the practicing licence issued to Provision Media System Limited, owners of the unregistered advertisement truck used for indecent exposure.
The singular event generated a discourse in the public space with dissenting voices arguing on the widespread of indecency in the society. Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe condemned the act, urging Nigerians to reject such stain on the Nigerian culture. Tekno received no serious punishment but may perhaps have learnt that being a musician requires a level of responsibility.
Wizkid: You can call Wizkid a child of luck and you will not be completely wrong. He manages to come out on top each year irrespective of the trend. In 2019, Wizkid arguably made more headlines than any artist. If it’s not about his rumoured relationship with female music star Tiwa Savage, it’s about how he shut down the O2 Arena with his Starboy Fest concert in London. This year made it the second time he’s achieving the feat.
There is also the ingenious collaboration between him and Beyonce ‘Brown Skin Girl’ that dominated the charts as well as won awards. The song was highly praised and with the feature of Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy, it garnered more positive reviews. In August, it was reported that the ‘Ojuelegba’ crooner was the first African artist to have eight million monthly listeners on the music streaming platform Spotify. He was also paraded as the most streamed African artiste with over 1.7 billion streams. Before his Starboy fest held on Boxing Day, Wizkid told his fans on Twitter that he would release one last album as Wizkid, suggesting either a retirement from the music scene or a change of name.
Yinka Ayefele: The year started well for Yinka Ayefele, the gospel music artiste who has been confined to a wheelchair for over two decades due to an accident that affected his spinal cord. He was finally blessed with triplets after searching for the fruit of the womb for more than 10 years on January 18. The news was an exciting and a scary one for the artiste who is also the owner of Fresh FM in Ibadan. For fear of losing them, he hid the news of the birth of his children from the public until June. He held a special dedication ceremony for his triplets in November.
Kizz Daniel: The legal battle between Kizz Daniel and his former record label G-World Wide Entertainment continued to generate discourse this year; the latest being the threat by the latter to stop the planned concert of the former scheduled for Boxing Day. Yet, Daniel and his legal reps have assumed an unperturbed disposition, insisting that the show will go as planned. The grudges between the two parties stemmed from Daniel’s insistence to exit the label in 2017, a decision the label didn’t take likely. Though Daniel had changed his name, flaunted his own label, G-World Wide Entertainment insists that the singer breached the mandatory buy-out clause and accused him of infringement of the Intellectual property rights of the label. As such, they are demanding he pays back the company’s investment and damages from loss of earnings from scheduled programmes/events prior to the termination.
Tiwa Savage: So far, Tiwa Savage seems to have had a good year. She landed a deal with Universal Music Group Nigeria immediately her contract with Mavin Records expired, released a visually stunning video for her ’49-99′ single, and involved in the never-ending love storyline with Wizkid. To end the year, she held her own concert where she brought on stage two dominating female music stars, Yemi Alade and Simi. It’s been rumoured that Savage and Alade hardly get along. By bringing her on stage, she quelled every rumour about their relationship.
Don Jazzy: Don Jazzy would have made major headlines if he settled down this year, a wish his fans have constantly clamoured for. Nevertheless, he was on the spotlight for many reasons this year. One of the significant reasons was the discovery of Rema, the young lad who is slowly becoming the poster boy for the record label. Perhaps, the most outstanding achievement of the producer and singer is the unveiling of the record label creative studios. Jazzy chose to make the announcement on his 37th birthday, stating that it was a gift to himself. The Mavin Creative Studios is located in Lekki while the corporate office of the label is in Victoria Island.
Rema: The steady rise of Rema to stardom started when Don Jazzy signed him to his record label. His star wattage keeps increasing everyday following his ingenious ability to cross genre and appeal to both local and international audiences. Little wonder he made the summer playlist of former president of the United States Barack Obama. His song ‘Iron Man’ was also ranked No 40 on the Rolling Stones ’50 Best Songs of 2019′.
Big Brother Naija: MultiChoice Nigeria made history this year by building the first Big Brother Naija House in Nigeria for the fourth season. The house was built from scratch to finish and is said to have gulped millions of Naira. The new facility measures about 1800sqm with an additional 250sqm for support building services such as the sick bay, laundry and artiste lounges. It was designed and built to be bigger and better than any of the Big Brother Africa or Mzansi houses.
The reality show achieved quite some feats. This year’s edition made it the first time a female is winning the competition. Mercy Eke, a video vixen emerged winner after spending a total of 99 days in the house. She was rewarded with N60 million worth of prize. The ‘Pepper Dem’ edition marked the first time the reality show is garnering 240 million votes. Riding on the success of Big Brother Naija, the company will be launching another reality show ‘Ultimate Love’ next year.
Tacha: Against all odds, Tacha, the disqualified housemate of the Big Brother Naija season four somehow continues to gather clout on social media. Hardly a day she is not on the trending lists on social media, even for mundane things. Tacha was among the 21 housemates who entered the newly built Big Brother Naija House on June 30. The social media sensation was at first pilloried for her haughtiness but it was only a matter of time before she stole the spotlight. From her honest opinions on issues to her heated altercations with fellow housemates, Tacha became the real pepper dem housemate in the house. Despite being nominated many times, she was saved by her unrelenting fans whose loyalty to her is still unwavering. She was however disqualified after getting involved in a violent provocation with fellow housemate Mercy Eke who eventually emerged the winner of the show.
Nevertheless, Tacha is the most influential personality to have emerged from a reality show.
2Baba and Blackface Dispute: After a series of altercation between afro-pop artiste Innocent Idibia popularly known as 2Baba and his former band member of the defunct Plantashun Boiz, Augustine Ahmedu also known as Blackface, the two finally settled their differences amicably in November. The out-of-court settlement brought to end the back and forth accusations between the former band mates. 2Baba had in 2018 dragged Blackface to court for defamation of character, following several claims made by Blackface across various media platforms. Blackface had accused 2Baba and his manager/business partner, Efe Omorogbe of intellectual property theft, claiming that 2Baba stole his songs ‘African Queen’ and ‘Let Somebody Love You’. He also accused the duo of blacklisting him in the industry, and sabotaging his career. Under the new settlement, it was reported that Blackface agreed to tender apology to 2Baba and to desist from making any such defamatory claims in the future. On their part, 2Baba and his manager graciously accepted the apology and agreed not to proceed with the N50m claim in damages against Blackface, bringing to an end the long drawn media drama that has threatened to completely destroy the Plantashun Boiz legacy.
Cardi B: Cardi B’s visit to Nigeria was one of the highlights of 2019. The American rapper and media personality was the headline of the Livespot X Festival, organised by Livespot 360 Creative Agency. During her visit, Cardi explored Lagos, promoting the city as a tourism destination for hustlers. She also sampled Nigerian Jollof rice as well as visited a strip club and a motherless Baby home where she doled out gifts to the children. Cardi also nicknamed herself Chioma B and Nigerians likewise renamed her daughter Kulture ‘Ayo’. At the concert, she wowed Nigerians with her performances, twerking on stage to the delight of thousands of music fans who had come to watch her perform. Even after her departure, Nigerians couldn’t stop talking about Cardi B and her love for the country.
Ibironke Shileola: Ibironke Shileola is one of the reckoning forces in the film and TV content distribution landscape. Since she started her own content marketing company, MicroMedia Marketing Limited, the young lady has been shattering high glass ceilings. In 2014, she recorded a major milestone in her career with the launch of the first Nigerian produced telenovela, ‘Taste of Love’. This year, she pushed the envelope further by opening a cinema exhibition hall, Heritage Cinemas at the Alimosho area of Lagos state, making her the first female Nigerian to own a cinema exhibition hall.
Davido: It was a good year for Davido in the relationship department. He started the year by displaying his love for Chioma, his fiancée and mother of his son to the world. From surprising her with Valentine’s Day goodies to introducing her to his family members in September, he ensured that the world knew he was serious about making her his official wife. Few days later, he officially proposed to her and by October, the duo welcomed their first child together, a baby boy named Adedeji Ifeanyi Adeleke Jnr. On the music side, he scored some high points by collaborating with American singer Chris Brown for the song ‘Blow my Mind’. The song currently has about 35 million views on YouTube. He also released his sophomore album ‘A Good Time’ this year.
Nigeria’s Oscar Entry: 2019 marked the first time Nigeria will submit a film to the Academy Awards popularly known as the Oscars. Unfortunately, the feeling of fulfilment was short-lived when the Academy committee for the International Feature Film rejected the selected film, ‘Lionheart’ by Genevieve Nnaji for not meeting the language requirements of the awards. The category recognises films that are mostly done in indigenous languages. Their decision was greeted with mixed reactions. While a few argued that the approved selection committee, Nigeria Oscar Selection Committee (NOSC) chaired by filmmaker and director Chineze Anyaene should have met every requirement, others argued that English was Nigeria’s official language. Out of the 95-minute running time of the film, only 11 minutes featured indigenous language.
Nativeland Concert: It was a sad edition for organisers of the annual music concert Nativeland this year. The show which was held at Muri Okunola Park on December 19, suffered a major setback when the VIP stage caved in as Fireboy was performing ‘Party Scatter’. The native gods must have been listening to him as the stage chose that particular moment to collapse. Scores of people reportedly sustained various degrees of injuries. The organisers blamed the overwhelming crowd for the mishap and promised to get a better venue next year.
Filmhouse Luxury Cinemas: The leading cinema chain in Nigeria continued its quest to create innovative cinema experiences for moviegoers this year by launching the Coca-Cola MX4D Motion EFX Theatre at Landmark Retail Boulevard in Victoria Island, Lagos. The theatre is the newest evolution in 4D cinema experience, providing an immersive environment, where one feels the action on the screen from the built-in motion effects in the seats and theatre.
It was in April that Filmhouse sealed the deal with American cine-tech giants, MediaMotion to build the theatre which is also a first in West Africa. The new theatre boasts six cinema screens (one MX4D, four premium screens, and one cube), with over 300 seater, a fully stocked bar, a kids’ party area, and a self-service station. The company which currently boasts of more than 10 cinemas across the country is working towards increasing that number in 2020.
Tonto Dikeh: Known for courting controversies, this year saw the Nollywood actress delivering different shades of her personality in the public space. From the tell-it-all interview with On-Air Personality Daddy Freeze where she claimed her ex-husband Olakunle Churchill was diabolical and a 40- seconds man, to the social media war between her and popular blogger Stella Dimokorkus who reported that she was arrested in Dubai.
Dikeh, who doesn’t mince words, was again dragged into the public arena when she shared pictures from a conference organised by Modul University in Dubai. It turned out that she didn’t make any speech with an audience rather it was an audio conference. Though she tried to redeem her pride by posting an appreciative message from the message, it did little to clear the conceived perception from that act. Recently, she made her love for plastic surgery known, eliciting backlash and admiration from detractors and fans.
Living in Bondage Sequel: Charles Okpaleke and Ramsey Nouah made history this year by producing a sequel to the supposedly film that birthed Nollywood ‘Living in Bondage’. The sequel ‘ Living in Bondage: Breaking Free’ which followed the story of Andy’s (the star character of the original story) son Nnamdi received critical praise for the directorial expertise of Nouah and the story angles explored. The film marked the directorial debut of the actor. At the box-office, the film earned a total of N124.5 million, making it the tenth highest-grossing Nigerian film of all time.
Naira Marley: Hate him or love him, one thing is certain: Naira Marley’s growing influence is yet to wane. His popularity seemed like a daydream. It wasn’t until he was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on allegations of e-fraud did Marley began to gain a cult following. His arrest followed the release of his viral song ‘Am I a Yahoo Boy’. His fans compared him to the Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti after he was taken into custody, a comparison that the true disciples of Fela didn’t take lightly. Notwithstanding, Marley understood the power of publicity and used his time in prison to rise to stardom. He released a single while in prison and has continued to release more singles such as ‘Soapy’, describing the ordeal of prisoners to his advantage. But the longevity of his fame is a question that lingers on the lips of critics.