Let’s Talk about the AMVCAs
Stories by Vanessa Obioha
Since it held its eighth edition last week at the Eko Convention Centre, the news cycle has been spawning stories about the fashion and mammoth crowd at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA). It was as if a memo was issued to Nollywood, stating that failure to attend would lead to a ban. The Convention Centre could barely hold the well-heeled and ordinary guests. Early birds were lucky to find somewhere to perch. Yet, everywhere you turned, people were standing, some frustrated, others too dazed to worry about the disorderliness. The crowd somehow detracted from the event known for its class and panache.
Perhaps, the mammoth crowd can be attributed to the one-year hiatus of the event. Last held in 2020 before the lockdown period of the coronavirus pandemic, celebrities appeared to have been starved of the Glitz and glamour that punctuate the AMVCAs. Therefore, the red carpet turned out to be a fashion battlefield of some sort. Bold, eccentric, outrageous and simplistic styles were displayed. A lot of Met Gala themes were seen on the red carpet. There was the fashion designer and Real Housewives of Lagos star Toyin Lawani’s scary bull-head outfit and former Big Brother Naija housemate Ifu Ennada’s thousand masks dress which by the way generated a lot of discourse on social media following her outrageous revelation that the dress costs over $100,000.
Of course, the men were not left out in the roast. Denrele Edun, James Brown and Timini Egbuson were among those whose outfits raised eyebrows.
But the AMVCA was more than just the fashion. It was an eight-day festival of creativity that started with an opening gala on Saturday, September 7. The rest of the week had one event or the other. For instance, there was the first-ever AMVCA runway show which paid tribute to some of the iconic styles on the AMVCA runway in the past as well as rewarded budding talents who participated in the ‘Design the Stars’ competition. One of the significant events of the AMVCA week-long activities was the Digital Content Creator Day which specifically recognised the talents in the digital space as well as the abundant opportunities.
Former Director-General of the NBC, Emeka Mba, at the brunch held at Wheatbaker Hotel voiced his concerns over the fate of traditional broadcast platforms. According to him, the dynamics of storytelling are changing because of the platforms, “but even as they change, certain fundamentals remain the same.”
Also, Kenyan-born Jacktone Alufwani emerged as the winner of its Digital Content Creator competition. He won the Overall Best in Technical Skill, Lighting, and Performance awards after competing against hundreds of other content creators who entered the competition in April. He was rewarded with a Canon camera, studio earphones from Dolby, and a masterclass from the MultiChoice Talent Factory.
In a similar vein, MultiChoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Talent Factory also rewarded two runner ups with masterclasses. Evovo from Warri won the award for Best Theme while Rivers’ Allison Precious took home the award for The Most Creative Video.
To celebrate the beautiful culture of the continent, the organisers held the Africa Cultural Day on Thursday, May 12 at the Balmoral Hall of Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event was a vibrant display of fashion, arts, music and food. Seun Kuti who thrilled the audience with music performances reminded the guests that Africa’s culture should not be relegated to a special day but celebrated every day.
On the eve of the main awards, nominees and other celebrities converged at the Jewel Aidea in Lekki for the nominees gala. The gathering is usually a soiree for the nominees with music performances and comedy. Hosted by actress Adesua Etomi-Wellington and actor Etim Effiong, some of the faces at the gala included prolific filmmaker and theatre director Bolanle Austen-Peters, filmmaker and director Mildred Okwo, actors Nonso Bassey, Akah Nnani among others.
Earlier that day, a Hollywood and Nollywood exchange was held at the Grand Ballroom of Eko Hotels and Suites. Participants at the exchange included Hollywood stars Tasha and Sidra Smith and Brandon Hall. The session moderated by Nollywood actress and theatre producer Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju, focused on mentorship and training for talents in the film and TV industry.
The main awards was not void of memorable moments. From IK Osakioduwa and Deyemi Okanlawon’s recreation of the epic Will Smith and Chris Rock’s Oscar slap moment to the touching tribute to late Nollywood and music creatives by the top 12 contestants of Nigerian Idol and the music performances by Pepsi ambassador Rema and Lagbaja, and the eclectic performance by D’banj who brought the night to a close.
The award also witnessed first time winners such as Osas Ighodaro and Stan Nze who won the Best Actress and Best Actor in a Drama respectively for their starring roles in ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’. Others include Samuel Perry, aka Broda Shaggi, for his performance in the comedy series ‘Dwindle’ and Oga Sabinus who took home the award for the Best Online Content Creator for Mr. Funny skit.
Perhaps the major upset of the night was ‘Amina’ winning the Best Overall Film. Although the film bagged the most nominations, not a few in the hall rooted for ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’ which won Best Director for Ramsey Nouah.
With the new format of the AMVCA, subsequent editions will show if they are heading in the right direction or not. At least, the awards should be remembered for more than the fashion moments.