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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

At the Awards

Spent yesterday recovering from a very hectic weekend. So Hiphop Awards huh? I remain a huge fan but its time to do a reality check, let me start with what works

a. The integrity of the awards remains thankfully intact in my view. The ability to recognise and awards non stylized or packaged talents like 9ice who won two awards or the hard working Wande Cole and the undoubtable mastery of Asa’s self titled album reassures me that Ayo and co are unwavering in their core values.

b. The energy and creative experimentation with concepts was also evident and laudable.
What didn’t work?
a. The transport arrangement sounded good but the situation where you then get to the car park and queue for “accreditation” is not on at all. What needs to be done is that as soon as the guests drive in, they should be handed their wrist tags, ushered into a car and driven to the venue. I waited in my car (got someone to sort out the accreditation as I sure as hell was not going to stand sweating with my makeup running actually that came later) for 20 fast tracked minutes and another 25 minutes in a sitted chaffered car we had to commandeer before being driven off in a bats out of hell convoy lead by RRS and LASTMA to the venue. As a veteran of many political convoys I detest the way people are run off the roads, traffic lights ignored and the general show of power. Besides I know too many aides and politicians who have died or got innocent people killed that way. A new generation of change makers must never be a part of that. The same convoy could have driven there in a civilized procession and arrived maximum 10 minutes later which would not have mattered as we were all going to be stranded on the bloody yellow carpet (damn, felt good to say that!).

b. I know that we have huge venue challenge for all sorts of purposes and had wondered how the HHW crew would transform the very limiting planet one location; I had faith because they had done wonders with the Shell hall of the Muson centre 3 years ago. The first disappointment was the yellow carpet which had all the surface elements of a brilliant idea but very poor floor management and coordination. The space was tight, convoluted and crowded creating a hot claustrophobic experience. As I walked in, I did the pap part and the fans stand which was a small floor space and does not give the photographers a lot of angles to work with. As you walk on, there is no direction so you stand stranded for minutes blinded by lights and deafened by the market place cacophony and body press until someone from a network comes to yank you in front of a camera to ask inane questions. Some of the on air yellow carpet personalities were great, in particular the young man from Ben TV, Deji from passion TV, Goldfish Dami, Ms Oyatogun from STV, some were fair but the two gals from HIP TV were completely clueless and I swear I am being charitable because I like to support girls. The yellow carpet ordeal lasted over an hour by which time I was sweating through Bayo’s makeup and Ugo’s hair was getting scraggly that is not to mention the fact that my feet had long died in my shoes. Several VIPs on the carpet whispered same to me. In fact a few said they were so tired of standing and the whole charade and wanted to go home. Nobody ushered us in so by the time we found out people were now being admitted into the hall, the place was full with many “VIPS” sitting at the back or not finding sits. No usher assisted me, in fact no ushers did much that night but hit you in the head with oversized promotional goodie bags whilst the waiters dripped dirty water from drinks carriers unto expensive dresses. The event started so late that the food had gone stone cold and the meat had started to go off. My seat was found by Bayo who commandeered it from the back and simply plonked it by an aisle.

Omotola and her husband plus a huge baclava clad body guard found a walk way to put their seats behind me. The red, yellow, green or black frigging carpets serves a purpose which is achieved only with careful back end work. The all consuming attention to the surface values of the photo op as against the finer details of organisation and treating guests well is something that must be worked on.

c. HHWA 2006 was special in the magic of the delivery of the show itself. This year the show was disjointed and glitchy, it started lamely, rises to moments of excitement and then tapers off weakly on and off. There was no cohesion between the hosts, Obi’s documentary was too long, Olisa’ didn’t play but I was glad that Olisa raised the point of honouring and including some of the fore runners. The awards will benefit from some careful association with and honouring of professional experienced older veterans.

I could go on but I don’t want to, in fact I usually go to the few awards I must, I smile at the cameras and firmly declare them as “incredible” (always a buzz word for what a Mickey mouse fiasco!) and I don’t get involved. Most shows are unspeakably bad, so silence is best, but silence does not bring improvement. With HHWA I feel an emotional attachment, I also know that Ayo can take it in good faith and perfect the process, besides I need him to succeed at this franchise because I sincerely believe he can and must become the reference point for awards of different segments of the entertainment industry out of Nigeria. He just needs to continue getting the support and the mega bucks required then he can simply hand the minute execution of the technical details of different aspects of each awards to the most professional and recognised hands in the industry from wherever they can be sourced whilst he keeps creative control of he franchise. The fact is most of the biggest award shows are produced and directed by some of the biggest names in that field. All that said HHWA are still my favourite awards show in Nigeria.

Thanks to Niyi Tabiti and Adekeye Adeniyi for the pictures


Uzo said...

Nigerian award shows bug me. Maybe because i shy away from the limelight but the ones i have been too have been a little too hectic for my taste with all the wrong elements being emphasized..Sure we like seeing what the 'celebs' wear (actually a lot of the time, i could care less but its fun still) but how about some thought to seating arrangements, sound checks, proper journalists asking relevant questions in correct grammer, cooling arrangements...etc

Oh well, we have still come a long way i guess but i will not be breaking the bank to buy an IT outfit for any award show anytime soon....

Sisem E. Naidem said...

Hi FI!
First of all, saw the Yello' (logoed) Carpet event on TV and I must agree with most of your comments on what went wrong especially those clueless HipTV babes that just kept asking all the celebs "who they were wearing". Midway through their spiel, one mic died and trust Ikechukwu to spot that out when he pointedly asked which mic was working and which was dead!
Second, you jumped the line in front of D-1 leaving the clueless babes even further clueless! A pirouette to show your gaping back and off you went leaving a slightly hassled D-1!
Saw your dressing and makeup got a lot of bashing on Niyi's blog but I won't go there...You looked good on screen. PERIOD!!!
Am I going to review the Hip Hop Awards 2008 on my blog (medianemesis.blogspot.com)? Methinks I wait for next year when the kinks are ironed out. Great job Ayo, and Niyi, and Funmi too...

Hair Azara said...

I think we should stop focusing on trying to get our shows to be like dat of the west and focus on being original and doing what works for us. But its all good I love how fast we're coming up.

Funmi I want to feature ur many beautiful hairstyles on my blog and will be sending u a proper email to ask. It would be an honor.


Anonymous said...

"Nigeria we hail thee. Our dear own native land......."

Asabe said...

I think it is good that you mentioned the down side of the HHW and if i were them i would take it coming from you.

I watched part of the Live Transmission on AIT and felt it must be chaotic judging from what i saw on tv.

Anyway i was not disappointed with the artistes that eventually won awards.

I laughed all thru while i was reading this blog but i am sure it was not funny to you.

Standing in front of the camara with THAT DRESSssssss you looked smashing.

Unknown said...

Organisation has never been one of naija's strong points. But we can get better if we put our minds and some effort into it.

Let's support the thriving naija showbiz industry instead of criticizing all the time. Focus not on what is wrong but how to improve on it.

Nigerian Drama Queen said...

Im glad Asa got awarded. Omotola looked good tooo

chetablog said...

I tried watching the show on AIT, and it was a disaster. Mediocrity is our last name. The annoying thing is that it will take just a few minutes to map out what you want to do and implement it but we just choose to wallow in mediocrity. One of these days someone will get it right.

chetablog said...

I tried watching the show on AIT and it was a complete disaster. I opted to watch Omotola and Van Vicker roll in the sack instead in MY STORY.

What annoys me so much is that it takes only a few minutes to map out a red carpet plan that is user friendly but no... we just cannot get it right.

Habeeb said...

The sound quality was a huge problem as the mic kept going off and on in the process of watching on tv. Someone said the reason for the flop was over planning but i doubt that, they tried sha but the thing about awards show is that every year should be able to better the previous, same goes to AMMA too.

Anonymous said...

Nothing FI compares to the thisday awards that I saw this year.... It was simply magnificent!!! I hope Ayo can take some time out to seat with the organisers of this year's thisday awards and learn at their feet......

Sugabelly said...

omg, Omotola's shoes are from Payless!!! They cost $10!!! This is not a bad thing because Payless is the only shoe store I can afford, but I'm a student so I'm allowed. But for a self-proclaimed movie star? Haba!!