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Nigerian showbiz needs to be liberated from Western influence, says NECLive convener

Ayeni Adekunle, the convener of NECLive, says the Nigerian entertainment industry needs to be liberated from Western influence.

In a recent interview with Arise TV, Adekunle cautioned against emerging issues in the country’s entertainment sector.

He said while the industry is flourishing and gaining global recognition, there is a danger of overreliance on Western systems.

He also stressed the need to develop and sustain indigenous infrastructure to ensure long-term autonomy.

While most of the issues affecting the Nigerian entertainment industry have been addressed or partly fixed, we can now see fresh issues and challenges,” he said.

“We think that as we are globalising and key infrastructure is being put in place, this is the time to make sure that 10 years from now, we do not wake up and realise that although our music and film are doing well with great talent, it is still being controlled by Western infrastructure.”

Adekunle also questioned the logic behind categorising African music under a single category, such as ‘Afrobeats’ at international awards like the Grammys.

He said African singers deserve to be ranked in the same category as their contemporaries abroad.

Artistically, we are one of the most talented people in the world, he added.

I am one of those who cannot wait for Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, and other great Nigerian artistes to be ranked with their contemporaries based on the quality of their music and not be grouped into subgroups like Afrobeats.

Adekunle established NECLive — which is believed to be West Africa’s largest and longest-running entertainment conference — in 2013.

The annual conference not only serves as a nexus for industry luminaries but also fosters connections between established figures and emerging talents.

In May, NECLive celebrated its 10th anniversary.

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