Nigerian Entertainers Don’t Have Fans, They Have Onlookers
I have been a fan of the Nigerian Entertainment Industry for a very long time. It is great to see how far it has grown over the years. Nigerian Music is one of the top rated music in Africa and Nollywood (the Nigerian Movie Industry), has started to make movies that rival other indie movies from around the world. Lets just say Nigerian Entertainment is going places. As you know with anything entertaining, the consumers make it grow. The dedication and support for a brand can take that brand places. If you put out a movie and no one watches it, it will be tagged as not doing well. The entertainment industry needs consumers for it to flourish. These consumers are who they call fans. Before I continue, let us first of all look at the definition of the word “FAN.”
A fan, or fanatic, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or somebody, such as a band, a sports team, a genre, a book or an entertainer. – Keyword here is enthusiastically devoted. Do I think Nigerian Entertainers have fans? A loose answer would be NO!
Before I continue, let me just say there is an exception to everything. There are some Nigerian fans out there who follow the career of their favorite entertainer and support them all the way. We are not going to discuss the minority. We will however be discussing the majority.
All through my career as an entertainment publicist in Nigeria, I made one little observation about Nigerian Fans. They are for the most part fair weather. Most follow trends and only support entertainers that are relevant. If you are not in the news 24/7 you will be easily forgotten by the average Nigerian “Fan”.
Yes, you will get the occasional “Hmmmm where is xyz” but for the most part a Nigerian Entertainer does well only when they are relevant. Their craft slowly creeps into the abyss of distant memory till they are able to force their way in the faces of onlookers, even when they are working hard. I have witnessed so many times, a situation where an entertainer releases a single maybe a week ago only for a “fan” to ask the entertainer “oh when will you release new music?” I always scratch my head at this like, errr all you have to do was read the persons timeline and you would have seen the countless amount of tweet shouting “NEW SINGLE.”
This to me is a problem. Like I stated before the consumer helps the brand grow. If they consumer only cares when the media are reporting a certain brand, then its the media doing the work of the consumer. If you only remember and entertainer because you saw them on blogs, then you are not a fan, you are an onlooker. If you only follow an entertainer because of how gaudy they are or how rich in cash you think they are, then you are not a fan but an onlooker.
A lot will argue that this is the norm around the world. I agree to a certain extent but like I always say we are here to discuss OUR industry. I will also make this argument – I have seen bands who are not mainstream or known by the mainstream audience sell out concerts. I have seen entertainers I have never heard of in mainstream media maintain a massive fan base – unfortunately these entertainers are not Nigerian and with the way Nigerian Fans simply follow trends, probably can never be.
I once proposed a question on twitter abut Nigerian fans supporting entertainers and I was met with a lot of response. Some said it is because “the entertainer likes to form”. Some even said “it is because they wont follow back.” I made the argument that I support Chris Brown and do not expect a follow back from him. If you are not expecting a follow back from Rihanna but still support her, then why is Waje not following you a problem?
I understand that some Nigerian Entertainers can be self centered (not all), I understand that some will feel they have arrived so start to treat people like they are substandard (not all) – I also understand that there are a lot of genuinely good entertainers in our industry who simply can’t respond to all of their “fans”. I still feel a true fan supports without expecting anything but good quality entertainment. I have seen Nigerian fans ride hard for Adele then throw jabs at Omawumi. It makes absolutely no sense to me.
I have worked with some international fan groups – Beliebers (Justin Bieber), Beyhive (Beyonce) and TeamBreezy (Chris Brown), and the way they ride for their entertainer amazes me. They follow hashtags, create hashtags, news, create tons of fan pages, purchase merchandise and create a community among themselves. They are there to defend and support, they are there to ride for this person whose product makes them happy.. This to me is a moral boost for any entertainer. In Nigeria on the hand, some of the most popular entertainers, who spend time and resources to make they fans happy can’t even get up to 100 retweets most times. Wizkid has over 1 million followers yet his hashtag numbers are very weak. Same goes for people like 2face, Dbanj, Don Jazzy and the list goes on.
I recently checked some hashtag numbers on Instagram of some of our popular entertainers and below is what I found. This may be apples and oranges but I also did a comparison to Chris Brown’s hashtag. Even if we were to minimize things. These entertainers should be doing at least 500% better than what you see below.
2face Idibia – 1,676
Don Jazzy – 8096
Dbanj – 6899
Wizkid – 28,061
Chris Brown – 2,158,509
The most shocking was 2face. I expected him to do numbers larger than Wizkid because he has been around longer, the quality of his music is great and he is one of our greatest exports. What these numbers tell me is that Wizkid did better because 2face isn’t constantly in the news for his music. This does not mean 2face is not working our putting things out. It simply means onlookers are once again looking at what is trending and not being a fan.
Entertaining is not an easy job. I know a lot of people think it is fun and games but the hard work that comes with entertaining should never be overlooked. If Michael Jackson’s fans were onlookers and not supporters, he would not have the legacy he has today. He would not have put his country and his race on that map as creating one of the greatest entertainers of our time.
A lot of our Nigerian Entertainers are now looking beyond the shores of Nigeria for dedicated fan base and rightfully so. It will be sad to see that, an entertainers career will depend on those outside of Nigeria because his or her own people have moved on to the next trending topic. It would also be sad to see a lot of talent go to waste simply because they did not get support from the consumer.
Yup! I agree, I’ve felt this frustration about people just being on some hype and not actually following a piece of work or art/ist. I think it also shows up when at parties people just wanna sing along to the top overplayed songs and don’t care about anything that isn’t played out. Like geez, good music is good music, just dig in and dance…it doesn’t have to be just what you ‘know’. But I think it may be a two way thing as well, because I could argue that some artists don’t make art, but things that should be consumed and be on a hype. So it’s hard to really build that culture of being a fan.