Mo Abudu

Ten years ago, TV host Mo’ Abudu toyed with the idea of owning a TV channel that will cater premium entertainment to Nigerians  and Africans at large. With unbridled passion and determination, Mo made that dream come true five years later.  The birth of EbonyLife TV in 2013 signalled a new chapter in the life of the media entrepreneur. From producing high grossing Nollywood movies to intriguing TV series, Mo has become a force to be reckoned with in the media industry

Five years later, Mo is still standing tall. Her success so far still feels like a dream to her.

“If you ask me to do it all over again, i’m not sure I will know how,” she told the group of pressmen gathered at the Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi. 

To mark this milestone, Mo is steering her ship in a new direction. She rolled out a few changes with the most crucial one, the change of the brand identity. EbonyLife now has a new colourful and vibrant logo that gives it an  edgy and contemporary look. In addition, EbonyLife  is now segmented into different platforms such as EbonyLife TV, EbonyLife Films. EbonyLife Media, and EbonyLife On- the new app. The mobile app is the most exciting leap for Mo who sees it as a big step towards meeting the growing demands of technology in today’s clime. Subscribers can access various entertainment programmes  on the platform including its new legal series Castle & Castle which stars famous Nollywood stars like Richard Mofe-Damijo and Dakore Akande at a  low cost.  

 As part of her mission to reach a global audience, EbonyLife TV will also end its exclusivity with leading cable network DStv. It is now partnering a rival company StarTimes to achieve its global expansion.

 “This is an exciting time for us. StarTimes is a force to be reckoned with in Africa. It is a privilege for EbonyLife to have an additional home with the network. Together with the global reach of EbonyLife ON, we will have the potential for millions more people to enjoy our gripping dramas, riveting talk and fun entertainment shows,” she said. All that will begin from August 1, 2018.

New Highlife Sensation  Lands Recording Deal

Iyke Bede 

Like in the case of most musicians, the gift of music is a gem usually discovered at an early age. HI-10, a contemporary highlife musician, easily lands into this category of child performers. Many years ago, HI-10 started his musical journey as a 12-year-old known as Joel Arochi, Influenced by his mother and sister’s love for highlife music, HI-10 was convinced that being a highlife musician was his true calling. His road to discovery as a performer  was launched following the unfortunate event of his sister’s injury which she sustained from an accident returning from a show and in effect, rendered her temporarily indisposed. Filling in for his sister evidently fast-tracked his experience process from working behind the scenes to performing on the main stage. He described the experience as ‘intimidating’ and almost wanted to relinquish the rehearsed set.

“When I started singing, it was like something came over me, I was on fire.” Joel said describing how he felt after performing a few lines of the billed song. At that point, he came to realise his potential as a performer. 

Inspired by his new love for performing, he coined his stage name HI-10. A name he derived from  fusing highlife and the number 10. He attributes greatness to that number 10, saying that it is the core essence of the name. 

Following years of nurturing his art, HI-10 finally lands a record deal with newly launched Blue Lake Media that is helmed by longtime industry expert, Chidi Uzoeshi. HI-10 described his kind of music as contemporary highlife, a process of infusing different genre elements with highlife music to give a modern appeal as seen in the fashion of popular highlife singer, Flavour. While he acknowledged basic similarities between him and Flavour’s style, he maintained that his art form  has a unique twist to help him garner the deserved success he needs to thrive in the industry.   

To boost his building career, his two singles, ‘I Gat You’ and ‘24/7’, have been serviced to several websites and radio stations to kick off the campaign. Both tracks embody the highlife essence to various degrees with ‘24/7’ bearing heavy highlife influences with a strict use of Igbo. 

Giving insights into the outfit’s vision to thrive in a competitive market, Uzoeshi said:

“With regards to coming into the industry; staying power and all that. Yes, the key to staying in power is always being able to run a structured business. It is not about how much money you make or how quickly you make money, it’s about being able to stand the test of time. It is being able to run your business in a model that reflects how you want to be perceived in the sense of being an institution.” 

Ella Henri’s Students Thrill with ‘Greatest Showman’

Exactly eight years ago, Elsie Ijeoma Okpala embarked on a journey as the proprietress of Ella-Henri schools with a specific vision, “to groom children that will be top notch amongst their peers.” This goal so far has reached a new milestone with the graduation of the school’s pioneer set from primary level into the secondary level. To mark this landmark, a send forth ceremony was held in their honor recently.

The main ceremony was preceded by an hour with a red carpet session; the entrance to the reception hall was flooded with upbeat, rhythmic sounds that emanated from talking drum of drummers who stood adjacent to the glass door leading directly into the hall that housed the frost themed décor accentuated with touches of royal purple.

As expected of a children’s event, parents, guardians, and relatives were greeted to the cheerful chatters of their kids. The kids were enthralled by the rollout of lined-up fun activities bespoke for their audience. In a manner to properly kick start the ceremony, an orchestral rendition of the national anthem by the primary school graduates set things into motion; this was shortly followed by a valedictory speech by preschool pupil Kitan Fashesan, who, with air of bravura earned a standing ovation for her speech.

Channeling real life, the grandaunts wowed with an impressive drama presentation which simulated the profound effects of parents’ social behavioural pattern have on children’s perception of education in the real world. The drama ended on a positive note, highlighting the workable methods by which parents can make learning easier through discipline and dedication without compromising leisure.  

The drama presentation was a mere warm-up to the slew of dance presentations that followed.  Taught by celebrity choreographer Lovette Otegbola, the dancers were split into two groups, choreographing in alternate patterns. They brought to life a performance of ‘The Is Me’ originally performed by the cast of ‘Greatest Showman.’ Plotted to hint a rivalry approach from one group to the other in the style of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It,’ they somewhat, through the song’s message of self acceptance and inclusion, found a middle ground, uniting and forming a stronger coalition.

Other notable numbers that added essence to the day were ballet recitals quaintly executed by little ballerinas who donned pink leotards and platter tutus. Deviating from most of the western influences that provided the day’s entertainment, the cultural troupe coordinated by the celebrity dancer gave two different renditions; one representing the Efik people of South-South Nigeria and the other alluding to the Isoko tribe.

Seated amongst parents and guardians was a beaming Okpala who savoured every experience provided by the young talents. Impressed, she briefly highlighted her experience with her students. She said, “Working with children brings out the part of you never knew existed, they make you laugh, they make you cry, they make me a better person.”

With a mapped five years short-term plan to become a reference point in the Nigerian education system and a 20-year long-term plan to produce future greats, Okpala is quite certain that she is on the right path to achieving this feat.

A Chance to Upgrade Your Creativity

Prolific filmmaker and Executive Producer of Zuri 24 Media, Femi Odugbemi is teaming up with the Chief Executive Officer of X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko, and Executive Director of Xpose Technologies and Human Capital, Adeoye Abodunrin, to present a one-of-a-kind training to young creatives. The two-day training which will hold on July 17 and 18 at Freedom Park, Lagos Island will be a great opportunity for young talented persons to learn the business side of creativity. 

“Creativity and talent are great but they are simply not enough. You need to know how to convert them to cashflow, business and global relevance,” said Odugbemi.

Themed ‘Creativity Upgrade 101’, the series will feature insights into the evolving world of the creative industry. as well as mastering the business side of it. Registration is ongoing. 

Simi features Ebenezer Obey in Aimasiko video 

 There is no doubt that Simi is on a meteoric rise to fame. This year so far has seen her clinch awards as well as release top-chart singles. Her latest effort, ‘Aimasiko’, featured legend, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey. The music video, also starring Simi’s band, The Banjos, wraps up the visuals to tracks off her album, Simisola. Shot and directed by Ani James of Aje Filmworks, Aimasiko highlights daily struggles in life as people search for solutions to their different problems while praying for God’s intervention.

 

Opera News Gives Away Brand New Car 

– Yinka Olatunbosun

For the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the World Cup may have come and gone but the excitement remains with many fun seekers in Lagos who witnessed their last match in an ambience of sheer frenzy as Opera news gave away a brand-new car.

Arguably, one of most gratifying news apps in the city, Opera news app, gave away one of the two brand news cars, Akinpelumi Oladayo, a 24-year-old student and entrepreneur. The winner emerged after a suspense-filled match at LASCOFIS Bar, Ogba in Lagos which was punctuated by the Opera News Shake Contest. It was an open contest to everyone who had downloaded and used the app to access news and information. Since the commencement of the FIFA World Cup 2018, Opera News introduced a new feature called “Shake’’ wherein users are required to shake to win amazing prizes on a daily basis.

Of course, the emotion-filled night of the infamous match between Argentina and Nigeria distracted a few who shook their phones and mistakenly, their bottles. The announcement of the winner of the brand-new car cheered up the downcast fans who were eyewitnesses of the 87th minute goal that threw Super Eagles off-guard. Speaking to the journalists after the announcement, Akinpelumi expressed her gratitude for the 2018 Kia Rio.

“I was shocked. I didn’t expect it and now I am winning myself a car. I can only say that this is a dream come true and it is unbelievable. I am so happy right now,’’ she said in excitement.

She revealed that she had been a user of the app for a couple of months as someone who is interested in entertainment news and more. 

The car was given away by Opera News in collaboration with Jumia through an interesting competition in which users needed to collect nine pieces of a car puzzle to win a major prize. Finalists who completed this 9-piece puzzle entered a raffle draw and after a random selection, a winner is declared.

According to the Global Head of Marketing and Distribution at Opera, Jorgen Amesen, the car is the biggest of the prizes.

“There is one more car to be given away in Nigeria so we suggest for people to keep playing with the app and to keep an eye on our social media channels.

For those who may not have the prospect of winning the cars, there are other exciting gifts to be won. Stanislaus Martin VP, Growth Marketing, Jumia revealed that a Jumia voucher is required to redeem the prizes.

“The winner of the brand-new car was able to redeem the car using a Jumia voucher on the Jumia website. Hundreds of thousands of Jumia Vouchers are still up for grabs in the month of July,’’ he declared.