US Enhances Cultural Connections with Nigeria Through New Programmes

US Enhances Cultural Connections with Nigeria Through New Programmes

Vanessa Obioha

As the United States continues to deepen its relationship with Nigeria through its people, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Lee Satterfield was recently in the country to announce new programmes that will unlock creative opportunities for Nigerians. 

These programmes, unveiled during her visit to the University of Lagos, include a music mentorship programme, a TV initiative and a one-year film study.

While providing a support system for the booming Nigerian creative industry, the programmes will underscore its global acclaim across music, film, TV, and other creative spheres. 

The concept of the American dream was once embraced by nations like Nigeria in the 1980s, portraying the U.S. as the land of opportunity. However, this perception is evolving as Nigerian creatives gain international recognition for their exports. From Nollywood to music, Nigerians are shifting focus from the American dream to pursuing global recognition through their arts and culture, embodying the essence of the Nigerian dream.

This much was highlighted by Satterfield in her speech as she pointed out the increasing recognition of Nigerian creatives from Hollywood and beyond.

“American entertainers are increasingly collaborating with their Nigerian counterparts and U.S. creative companies like Netflix, Disney, Paramount, Sony, NBC Universal, and YouTube to fuel growth across Nigeria’s creative industries,” she said.

However, the new programmes announced by Satterfield go beyond the glamour on screens. It targets those who work ‘below the line jobs’ – from set design to sound and editing to promotion and production, giving them equal opportunities as their counterparts in front of the camera.

Announcing the launch of the Africa Creative TV initiative (ACTV), Satterfield disclosed that the new professional development programme will focus on TV writers, producers, and those in other technical fields such as art direction, cinematography, editing, line producing, and more.

“ACTV is a partnership with the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and was created as a result of President Biden’s 2022 Africa Leaders Summit and is in recognition of the creative industry’s influence and impact in Africa.”

Eight TV projects will be selected for a four-week residency in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California. While there, participants will work with U.S. professionals to develop skills and prepare for writing, development, and production. 

The American Music Mentorship Program (AMMP) – a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the Recording Academy (Grammys) – will, on the other hand, focus on the business of music.

“It will bring international mid-career music industry professionals to the United States for mentorship and networking opportunities, with an aim to cultivate a professional music industry ecosystem locally, support creative talent, and strengthen the creative economy globally”

Satterfield announced that five participants will be selected from Nigeria for the programme.

For Nigerian filmmaking students, Satterfield unveiled the one-year film-focused Community College Initiative programme that will take participants through the process of script to screen.

“The programme will include four Nigerian filmmaking students and will support our broader efforts to build capacity in the creative economy, particularly through the lens of technical education.” 

These opportunities, according to Satterfield are deliberate as the US recognises the economic opportunities that Nigeria’s creative industries provide for millions of people from Hollywood to Nollywood.

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