From inception, Austin Aimankhu has consistently dedicated his fashion show to promoting arts and culture. Understanding the limitation of the fashion and art industry, he carefully carved a niche where he can substantially contribute to the growth of these industries simultaneously.
His has been a self-appointed task which looks daunting on the surface, but nonetheless achievable. Not satisfied with creating a recognisable menswear brand, Luzol, he has also established a vehicle to drive this vision. That platform became known as FashionArtFusion – a unique blend of arts, culture and fashion on the runway.
Apparently, his modest efforts at the last two seasons of FashionArtFusion have resonated in the right places and attracted the attention of the federal government which has offered a hand of fellowship through the Federal Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism and National Orientation.
The working relationship between Aimankhu’s FashionArtFusion project and the Federal Government was announced recently at a meeting with journalists in Lagos. The 2016 FashionArtFusion will be executed under the broad theme ‘Wear Nigeria’. Joining Aimankhu to unfold the plans was Grace Gekpe, Director, Entertainment and Creative Services in the ministry who expressed government’s keen interest to use the platform to promote Nigerian fabrics.
Aimankhu and Gekpe bemoaned the low patronage of made-in-Nigeria textiles and the epileptic state of the textile industry.
“Ninety per cent of the fabrics we use in Nigeria are imported. 80 per cent smuggled. Our textile factories are gone. There is a part of this industry that people don’t know about-the local weavers. If you go to places like Abia and Ogun state, there are local weavers. They are everywhere but are not celebrated, recognised or acknowledged,” said Aimankhu.
Against this backdrop, the ‘Wear Nigeria’ campaign was chosen as the theme for the third edition of the fashion event. ‘Wear Nigeria’ will be a campaign to promote made-in-Nigeria fabrics. Unlike previous editions, this year will feature exhibitions as well as fashion show. The three-day event will feature two days of exclusive exhibition of Nigerian fabrics and on the last day, the main runway event will hold.
Gekpe, while emphasising the rigorous process it will entail, pointed out that the ministry is committed to assisting local weavers in order to promote patronage by Nigerians. She explained that the next couple of months will witness a selective period where a research team will visit five states in the country.
“There are many indigenous fabrics in Nigeria that are not exposed, that’s why we partnered Luzol (Aimankhu’s fashion label) to showcase them. We will carry out a pilot research on these states: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Ogun and Kwara. We want to use this platform to empower them and draw the attention of the private sector. I believe this is one of the ways to diversify the economy,” she said.
Scheduled to hold in November, the event will feature fashion designers who will use the local fabrics to create exquisite designs on the runway.
As its tradition, the runway will be a blend of fashion, music and art. Aimankhu already promised that some talented artistes from the South-East will perform at the event. Another promise that has been kept consistently through the FashionArtFusion platform is donation of part of the proceeds from the event to a charity. The benefiting charity this year is the Down Syndrome Foundation.
FEMI BRANCH CELEBRATES ON DEMOCRACY DAY
Renowned playwright and director Femi Branch is set to showcase his latest stage play titled ‘Shalanga’ at the eighth edition of Yaw’s annual event holding on Sunday, May 29 at the Eko Hotel Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The play is one of Branch’s new books in celebration of his 25th anniversary in the entertainment industry and it features the acting talents of Steve “Yaw” Onu and AY. Shalanga is a satirical stage play that mirrors the past and present of the country in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. It is the latest in a series of stage collaborations between Yaw and Branch following previous edition of the show that featured Koffi in a stage play ‘PO’.
In addition to the much-anticipated stage-play, the night will also feature performances from Phyno, Olamide, Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Burna Boy, Solidstar, Seyi Shay, Adekunle Gold, YCEE, Naomi Mac, Reminisce, Humble Smiths, Lil Kesh, Vector and comedians of the federal republic.
NEW MEDIA CONFERENCE HOLDS
The New Media Conference enters its second edition Friday, May 27 at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. This year’s edition is geared towards deepening and broadening the conversation on expanding digital space.
With the theme ‘Business Unusual: Nurturing a More Vibrant New Media Industry in Nigeria’, the conference will include moderated sessions and exhibitions.
Key speakers like Chude Jideonwo, Audu Maikori, Bankole Femi and others are expected to cover topics relevant to the digital media such as corporate branding, digital agency, social media influence, tech blogging and new media.
However, the convener, Tosin Ajibade announced a new feature of the conference: NMC Showcase, featuring exhibitions in which selected participants will be allowed to showcase and exhibit ideas and the winner with the most creative idea will get a scholarship worth N300,000 from Orange Academy.
“This year’s conference is particularly important,” said Ajibade “we are converging to articulate interests and inputs from stakeholders in the Nigerian online/digital media space and seeking to turn the results of that conversation to real-world uses.”
New Media Conference is supported by Samsung, OLX, Orange Academy, HotSauce, Bella Naija and will be hosted by Oscar Gbemileke Oyinsan
KUNLE AFOLAYAN, AFRICA MAGIC ANNOUNCE THE CEO
Leading Nigerian filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan has officially announced release dates and other plans for the highly anticipated pan-African thriller, The CEO. The announcement came during a press conference, which held at the SilverBird cinemas in Ikeja, and followed a short screening of excerpts from the movie to excited guests, sponsors and the media.
The CEO will be exclusively screened on June 1 for a select audience on board an Air France flight from Lagos to Paris, in a first of its kind, in-flight premiere.
Set on a beautiful beach resort on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria, The CEO follows five top executives from across Africa who are dispatched on a one-week leadership retreat by a multinational telecommunications firm to determine who gets selected as the new CEO. Things go awry when one-by-one the executives are eliminated in sudden death circumstances, with the finger pointing to the last two remaining executive as prime suspects.
Afolayan described “The CEO as a truly pan-African film that boasts a stellar cast drawn from all across Africa. The movie will change the course of filmmaking in Africa, whilst undoubtedly and truly putting Africa on the global cinematic map.”
The CEO boasts an ensemble cast drawn from across Africa including Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and entertainer Benin Republic, Angélique Kidjo; Haitian actor and model Jimmy Jean-Louis; Nigerian actor Wale Ojo; French-Ivorian actress and model, Aurelie Eliam; South African actor and presenter, Nicolaos Panagiotopoulos; Nigerian actress, Kemi Lala Akindoju; Moroccan star, Fatim Layachi; Kenyan actor Peter King, Nigerian actress, Hilda Dokubo as well as Nigerian singer Adekunle Gold and Moroccan artiste, Ahmed Soultan who made cameo appearances in the film.
Speaking at the conference, the Director, M-Net West Africa, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu said: “The CEO promises to be unlike anything we have ever seen from Africa. We are familiar with the stellar work that Kunle Afolayan does with his Golden Effects company, and were therefore more than excited to jump on board The CEO project right from its inception. This partnership is in furtherance of our continued drive to support Nigerian and African cinema by investing in people, ideas and talent, and we can’t wait for fans and lovers of good cinema to watch this movie.”
MALAIKA, SODIMU, SELECT FUJI TALENTS
Arrangements have been concluded by Goldberg, a lager beer from the stable of Nigerian Breweries Plc, to commence the fourth edition of Fuji music fanfare (a Fuji talent hunt show). An indigenous music activation platform of Goldberg, Fuji Sowapo has in the last three editions led to the discovery of budding Fuji talents.
The auditions for this year’s edition of the annual activation, which would hold in eight cities, will kick off in Ota, Ogun State. Apart from Ota, other cities where auditions would be held are: Ikotun-Egbeda, Oyo, Ilesha, Akure, Ado-Ekiti, Sagamu, and Ibadan. Identified talents from the auditions will later converge in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital for the final selection of contestants that will proceed to the quarter final in the ancient city of Oyo.
Mr. Emmanuel Agu, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream lager and stout, said notable Yoruba artistes like Otunba Wasiu Ayinde Marshall (KWAM 1), Abass Akande Obesere, Sulaimon Adekunle Alao (a.k.a. Malaika), Dr. Wasiu Osupa, and Dammy Krane will grace the competition at different stages.
He disclosed that Malaika; Yemi Sodimu, popular presenter and Actor; and Moruf Shadow, National President, Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria (FUMAN); will serve as panelists for the auditions that would hold in Oyo, Ikotun-Egbeda, Ibadan and Ota. For the remaining auditions slated for Akure, Ado Ekiti and Ilesha, the portfolio manager said Dotun Taylor, Filmmaker will join the duo of Malaika and Shadow.
It would be recalled that Antenna and Twinzobia Twins, the winners of the first and second editions from Oshogbo and Ibadan respectively, are now doing well in their Fuji careers. Akeem Okiki from Osogbo, Osun State emerged winner of the third edition of the Fuji music talent activation that had over 10,000 Fuji fans in attendance at the Trans Amusement Park in Ibadan, Oyo State. The winner of the contest will be crowned the Wura1 of Fuji Sowapo.
AFRIMA UNVEILS 2016 CALENDAR IN THE GAMBIA
Banjul, capital of The Gambia will host a four-day conference on ‘Using Music, Culture and Entertainment as Tools for a New Africa’, from May 22 to 25. The forum which is a joint effort between the African Union Commission (AUC) and the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) will be to unveil this year’s programmes and calendar for the annual continental awards. The Banjul event also coincides with the commemoration of the 10th African Union Youth Charter.
At the event, dates and timelines for submission of entry and guidelines, adjudication process, public voting and nominees’ announcement for the 2016 edition of the awards as well as dates for this year’s main AFRIMA ceremonies will be announced.
A letter from the African Union Commission (AUC) signed by Dr. Marie-Goretii Harakeye, the Acting Director of Social Affairs states that the conference will bring together award-winning music stars, creative/entertainment industry stakeholders, cultural enthusiasts government officials, corporate sponsors, and media practitioners among others.
The 10th African Union Youth Charter Conference featuring a high level roundtable and inter-generational dialogue and cultural presentations will witness a convergence of participants including President, Islamic Republic of Gambia, His Excellency, Sheikh (Dr.) Yahya Jammeh Babili Mansa; Vice President Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy; Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Alieu K. Jammeh; Commissioner for Social Affairs, Africa Union Commission, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko; and President, Pan African Youth Union, Ms. Francine Muyumba.
Others include Director, Culture Division, Africa Union Commission, Ms Angela Martins, Chief Brand Strategist, PRM Africa and President/Executive Producer, AFRIMA, Mr. Mike Dada; members of the International Committee of AFRIMA; AU Commission executives, AFRIMA 2015 award winners representatives that include Award Winner in the Best Collaboration category in 2015, AKA (South Africa); Revelation of the African Continent, Adekunle Gold (Nigeria); Best African Rock, M’vula (Angola); Best Artiste in African Reggae, Ragga and Dancehall, Stoneboy (Ghana); Best Female Artiste in Eastern Africa, Tsedenia (Ethiopia); Best Artiste in North Africa, Ahmed Sultan (Morocco), and Best Artiste in Central Africa, Stanley Enow (Cameroon) among others.
SIMI PREACHES DIVERSITY IN NEW VIDEO
Known for her comedic storytelling lines with evocative messages, Simi dazzled her fans again in her new video of ‘Love Don’t Care’.
Since its release, the song has received massive airplay due to its compelling narrative and beautiful harmony of the traditional instrumentals.
In the video, Simi employed visual arts and iconic images of historic leaders, driving home further the beauty of diversity. The use of space and African prints in the video also perfectly balances the folktale imagery of the song.
Directed by Clarence Peters, the video began with Simi lying on a bed. Another character playing her mother is also seated on the bed making a call while Simi beautifully sings. The video follows similar narratives, carefully making the characters glued to their part without direct communication with the singer. The video ends with Simi returning to her bed.
The X3M Music artiste also dazzled her fans with her ballet dance steps, proving once more that she is multi-talented.