If you had walked into Old English Bar and Grills in Owerri on 4th October, 2018, you’d almost think there was a wedding ceremony going on. But you’d be wrong.
Imo entertainers had gathered for the first ever Imo media and entertainment conference convened by social media Influencer, Jude Bonnison.
In attendance were musicians, actors, comedians, bloggers, influencers, TV and radio presenters, music and movie producers, supporters and fans of the industry. All the movers and shakers of the entertainment industry in the state that you could literally think of were present and they had gathered to change the narrative about the industry.
The only problem? There was not a good setting to get the ball rolling. Comfort was barely provided for. There was no stage, panelists sat in plastic chairs, and it was extremely difficult for those in the audience to see what was going on. It looked more like a wedding reception than a media and entertainment conference. The venue was not the problem because it is large enough. The problem was in the preparations. The event was poorly organized.
But here’s the bright side, it was worth the effort.
You see, there’s this perceived hate and disunity among entertainers in Imo and it had been blamed for so long as the major set back the industry faces. It is why the industry fails to progress like the one in Lagos. So the purpose of this conference was to heal old wounds, identify new ones and provide solutions, preach peace and love, form collaborations and partnerships, raise the standards, create value, work together and stay united.
Six sessions of four panelists each were organized to achieve this, but after the second session something happened. Emotions started rising both from the panelists and audience. People wanted to talk about the problems they’re facing. The evergreen problem of respect in the industry, bad publicity and value. These were real issues involving real people. People who felt offended in some way, were standing face to face with those who offended them.
So the Mc of the day, Prince White, threw the house open and gathered all the panelists together to talk and solve the problem once and for all.
Prince White’s decision to abandon the remaining four sessions and form a new one was not just brave but genius. It gave everyone the opportunity to vent their anger and frustration, and it provided a platform to talk about these issues. Coming together to talk is good. It shows the parties involved have realized that there’s a problem and want to solve this problem.
Grudges and resentments like that involving Xbusta and show promoters, Hot FM not supporting local musicians, perceived bad publicity by bloggers, bad comedy and sycophancy, to mention a few, were trashed. And even though at some point, it seemed like there was no immediate solutions provided, people became satisfied in the end. That calm spirit you get after you have vented your anger out. People felt that, and that’s a starting point to solving problems.
The truth is, no matter how much promoters want artistes to accept their terms, there are rules the artistes need to follow, especially if they’re under a label. No matter how much you want a radio station to promote local music, there are standards they follow and if you don’t fall within those standards, there is nothing they can do about it. No matter how much entertainers want bloggers to write only about positivity, negativity sells fast and a blogger would almost always prefer to put out what would benefit him.
There are such things as standards and values. They exist in every industry and they’re meant to be respected.
These issues raised in the #ImoTheNewLagos conference have been lying in the background for a long time drawing the industry backwards, but this conference literally brought it to bare. Now the problems have been identified, the next step is to find a lasting solution to them. There’s still a lot of work to do to get the industry to move forward, but the first step has been taken.
So even though it was not properly prepared for, #ImoTheNewLagos conference succeeded in bringing the industry together. It provided a rare platform to solve an agelong problem, to change the narrative, and so above all, it achieved it’s purpose. The convener Jude Bonnison and all those who worked with him should be proud because they have just written their names on the heart of Imolites. #ImoTheNewLagos will not be forgotten in a hurry.