The year 2011, which will soon roll into history in less than 24 hours, was a mixed bag of fun, scandals and tragedies. But in all, the remarkable events of the season are certain to ring in the minds of entertainment lovers into the New Year and beyond. For an industry that plays a very pivotal to the social well-being of the people, the events of the past year could be largely classified as the good, the bad and the ugly. However, despite losing some notable figures in the industry, it recorded some unprecedented strides within the period. One of the best things to happen to the industry in 2011 was Kanye West’s GOOD MUSIC Entertainment signing on D’banj and Don Jazzy of Mo Hits Records while Tuface, P-square and Wizkid were signed on by Akon’s Convict Music. Anthony Ada Abraham brings out the review with the bright side of entertainment industry for the period under review with no particular order and date of events.
Many would say ‘love is blind’ but for Nollywood star actor, Chinedu Ikedieze, aka Aki, love will continue to see because 2011 is a year of joy and happiness as he got married to his long-time heartthrob, Nneoma. The colourful union which took place and was witnessed by the crème de la crème of the society and Nollywood in particular at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church Primary School, Obolo Isiala Mbano, Imo State and the Redeemed Christian Church of God (Abundant Grace Parish) Ogba, Lagos State respectively. An event which pessimists had thought would not come to pass, Ikedieze proved them wrong by showing that a man, who was simply seen as a boy and Lilliputian in movies, was actually a real man in true life. We look forward to seeing more, brothers.
That was not all for celebrity marriages in 2011. His colleague, star actress Mercy Johnson, and her fiancé, Prince Ordianosen Okojie wed on August 27, 2011 amid pomp and tight security. The wedding took place at the church headquarters of the Christ Embassy, in Lagos, while the reception followed immediately.
Many will not forget in a hurry the allegation of bigamy that was levelled against her fiancé by a Canadian-based Nigerian, Lovelyn Okojie, who had two children for him.
The church itself cleverly refrained from asking the audience the conventional question of whether anyone in the gathering was opposed to the wedding. In whatever form you may see it, has shamed her detractors and now bears her husband’s name.
Another musician, Muma Gee Uwame, also wedded her long time Nollywood lover, Prince Eklips Eke in a glamorous ceremony in Rivers State. That at once put paid to rumours about who the actress actually wanted to be married to and pave the way for her to move on in her chosen career. In a way, 2011 could rightly be called the year for couples.
Another joyful event of 2011 was the birth of a baby girl into the home of ace comedian, Basketmouth. Those in the know say his talks these days are on how beautiful his daughter is and how he is making plans to buy a gun to keep ‘predators’ away. He is right, for as the saying goes, ‘where your treasure is, there your heart lies.’
Then came Karen Igho, who became the first Nigerian female winner of Africa’s biggest reality TV show, Big Brother Africa (BBA). She emerged the co-winner of the $ 400,000 prize money alongside Zimbabwe’s Wendall Parson.
She got a six-country vote: Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and the Rest of Africa, regarded in the show as one country, to claim her prize.
Fellow housemates did not give her a breathing space as she fell in and out with several of them, going into the show’s final week on her own. She was seen as one with ‘limited vocabulary’ by fellow housemates, but all of that did not matter as her fans across Africa became even more relentless in their support.
Karen Igho has followed in the footsteps of fellow compatriots, Kevin Chuwang-Pam and Uti Nwachukwu as Nigeria’s past winners of the show. Her feat makes it three consecutive wins for Nigeria in the past three editions. What a year for the industry! In addition, Channel O Awards which took place in November 11, 2011, saw Nigerian artistes dancing away with most of the awards. D’banj won the award for ‘Most Gifted Male Artiste Video’ as well as an honorary ‘Special Recognition’ award.
Other Nigerian winners at the event include Darey Art Alade who won the award for the ‘Most Gifted Dance Video’ and Naeto C for the ‘Most Gifted African West Video’. Ice Prince had to beat fellow Nigerian Wizkid to clinch the ‘Most Gifted Newcomer Video’ while the show’s co-host Banky W walked away with the award for the ‘Most Gifted R and B Video.’ There were several other achievements by entertainers both in the movie and music industry.
Nigerians should be proud of what she has achieved in Nollywood this year, like in the Movie Award, Academy Award, Best Of Nollywood Awards, Future Awards, City People Awards, and our own LEADERSHIP Awards.
Susan Peters and Inse Etim won Best Supporting Actress, in North Carolina. And the biggest achievement was the award of Best Actress to Mercy Johnson Okojie who clinched the 2011 Most Outstanding Artiste award at the third edition of African Australia Music and Movies Awards, which took place in Sydney Australia. It was a beautiful year for our actresses and actors.
News filtering in recently says Nollywood ace actress, Omotola Jalade Ekehinde and actor Ramsey Noah were nominated in the Ghana movie award.
Nigerians were happy when Forbes released its Top 40 Most Influential Africans.
Expectedly, popular novelists Chinua Achebe clinched a top spot and made the nation proud. Three Nigerians made the Top 10: Chinua Achebe (1), Wole Soyinka (7), and Femi Kuti (10) with another eight rounding up the list: Genevieve Nnaji (19), Chimamanda Adichie (32), Tuface Idibia (34), P-Square (35), Don Jazzy (36), D’Banj (37), Nneka (38) and Asa (39). It was not a bad outing at all for Nigeria as 11 of its citizens clinched top positions in the Forbes ranking for the year.
The industry also witnessed some disheartening moments in the year. When the news broke that Sam Loco had passed on, the entire country was thrown into mourning.
One of the finest actors Nigeria has ever had, the iconic actor passed on Sunday August 7 and was buried on October 21, after spending over 70 years on earth. Even in death, the memories of the great actor remain indelible.
Obiajulu Nwaozor, better known as MC Loph met his untimely death while driving on the notorious Benin-Ore Expressway. He was travelling to Anambra State in for his traditional wedding when the accident that claimed his life, occurred. MC Loph, the only son in a family of four became an instant celebrity when he did a remix of the late Osita Osadebey’s ‘Osondi Owendi,’ an award-winning song that enjoys airplay till date. His death was a great loss to the entertainment industry.
In the same year, Ashley Nwosu, Christy Essien-Igbokwe, CD John, Chidimma Mbalaso, Alaba Pedro, a high life musician and a member of FAAJI AGBA led by Pa Fatai Rolling Dollars, Yemisi Eleto a Nigerian actress based in London, Nollywood veteran actress Geraldine Ekeocha, also passed on in 2011, leaving a vacuum that may be difficult to fill.
As Mercy Johnson, Chinedu Ikedieze, aka Aki, Muma Gee Uwame and others are busy enjoying their newly married life , it was however not a good year for Monalisa Chinda, Chika Ike, Kate Henshaw, and many others who were not successful with their marriages in 2011.
Even as he is, Jim Iyke, who is largely regarded as a responsible actor, was arraigned before an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court and charged with a N15 million fraud.
The Police Prosecutor, Mr Chijoke Okezie, told the court that on August 8, Habiba Abubakar wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IG) to investigate the fraud.
He said that investigation into the case revealed that the accused, a resident of Sunnyville Estate, Abuja, deceived Abubakar into acquiring 15 per cent equity shares to the tune of N15 million from his company, Untamed Records Ltd.
Okezie said the accused admitted that the complainant paid the money into his Oceanic Bank account No. 00500173691, deviating from his initial plan of investment and converted the money to his personal use.
Another ugly event of note was the sum of N25 million awarded to ace actor Baba Suwe by a Lagos High Court for unlawful detention by officials of the NDLEA. Though he is now considered a hero, he has been rejecting offers of a movie role on his experience in detention.
Terry G the ‘Knack Me Akpako’ crooner was accused of fighting, taking drugs and allegedly becoming bankrupt, allegations he has stoutly denied and dismissed as the handiwork of his detractors. Even as those accusatins are yet to go away, it may be difficult for him to deny beating up some of his angry fans in Benin when he was asked to render some of his ginger songs in a concert.
No matter what may have happened this year, the entertainment industry will continue to march forward. Entertainment Rendezvous hopes that 2012 will be a better year for the industry, as we wish you all a Happy New Year!