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CROYDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 01: Wizkid performs on stage on Day 2 at The Ends festival at Lloyd Park on May 31, 2019 in Croydon, England.

Listen to Wizkid's 'Made In Lagos' Interview with Apple Music

Wizkid speaks on Apple Music's 'The Zane Lowe Show' about artistic growth, being an old soul and working with Damian Marley and Ella Mai on his latest album, 'Made In Lagos'.

Wizkid has revealed deep insights in his latest interview on Apple Music's The Zane Lowe Show. The Afrobeats star reflects on the success of his latest album Made In Lagos which dropped in October of 2019. The interview with famed DJ and radio host Zane Lowe is a musical musing on collaborations, resilience, lessons learnt from the COVID-19 lockdown and artistic growth. The dialogue forecasts Wizkid's current music-making for a post-pandemic era.


Read: Wizkid Releases Highly-Anticipated 'Made in Lagos' Album

Wizkid has reportedly called the resounding success of Made in Lagos a "blessing". According to Botswana Unplugged, he said that he's thankful for the global positive reception. When the 14-track album dropped, The Source called him a "musical titan" who has the ability dominate unfamiliar music markets. The powerful album proves this with features from fellow Nigerian star Burna Boy, American singers Ella Mai and H.E.R as well as Jamaican artists Damian Marley and Projexx. When asked about the collaborations, Wizkid does not hold back:

"You know, first of all, like when two artists go in the room to make music, especially two great artists, you definitely going to create magic. But when you have like two real people or like three real people in the room that you're bound to make, even like exceptional music. So me getting in the room with Projexx, Damian Marley Ella Mai, everyone that I made music with. I just wanted to make sure I'm making music. I'm not making music for the name or just cause the name looks nice together."

The 30-year-old father reflects on how the COVID-19 lockdown broke the illusion of touring, stating that it's easy to get stuck in the distorted reality of that world. He also laments the loss of performing live and the energy exchange which he used to receive from audiences. The lockdown has in effect, sobered him up and invariably led to a new drive for making music. "So right now it's like, I'm making some of the most purest, realist music I've ever made in life", he says to Lowe on the show.

While he's known for upbeat dance music, Wizkid revealed that he has always connected more with older people and that he is more at peace as he grows older. The artist coolly expressed that he does not think too much about the music he is making for the future because it comes from a real place. Staying true to himself is part of his brand.

Listen to the full interview here once uploaded on Apple Music's The Zane Lowe Show.

Listen to Made In Lagos on Spotify:

Listen to Made In Lagos on Apple Music:

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Photo Credit: Screengrab from Chief Daddy 2: Going for Broke

How This Netflix Film Sparked A Fierc​e Conversation About Nollywood

Since its release on Netflix, Chief Daddy 2: Going for Broke has received a scathing reaction from critics and users on social media. The movie sparked all kinds of conversation about the future of Nollywood films.

On the first day of January, Netflix released Chief Daddy 2: Going for Broke, the sequel to the 2018 dramedy about the gilded household of Chief Beecroft (whose death leaves members of his family scrambling over his wealth.) Even with its many flaws, the original was a major hit, making N385.7 million at the Nigerian box office. So it wasn't surprising Netflix acquired the second installment.

However, reviews have been overwhelmingly negative. The tone was even more unforgivingly scathing on social media, where criticism was rampant. On Twitter, fans savaged the editing, acting, and thin plot. One of the viewers who shared their disappointment with the film was Joyce Alao, who expressed her sentiments on Twitter from a burner account.

“It was a pointless film and I couldn’t believe what I was watching,” Alao told OkayAfrica. “ I was speechless from scene to scene, looking for something or anything redeemable but couldn’t find it. My main issue is why this film is on Netflix?"

Alao said the online outrage was nothing like she had seen before. Nigerians were uniting to not just criticize a film but to demand better from the Nollywood industry. And the pushback became so fierce it dominated coverage around the film. “It was an interesting moment and I hope this trend continues," Alao said. "We can’t continue to accept everything from these filmmakers.”

The criticisms of Chief Daddy 2 was a Nollywood viral moment. Oba Kosi Nwoba, a producer-director known for projects like Umoja and Iko Ndu: The Palmwine Story, hosted a room on Twitter Spaces titled Nollywood: Enough is Enough! #WeWantNewNollywood.

“A lot of people on social media who I believe represent a significant percentage of Netflix users have come out to complain they didn’t like the story. That is something to take home,” Nwoba said. “People make films for different purposes, there’s always that arm aimed at commercial viability. Is it commercial success? We can’t tell yet. If it was released in the cinema, the numbers would say. I share a little sentiment with the audience with regards to the cohesiveness of the story. Let us call it a failed experiment.”

Nwoba has a vantage position as a filmmaker, but he holds himself to the unspoken cardinal rule of not critiquing another filmmaker’s work. At the same time, he feels these conversations are vital to have. The problems with Chief Daddy 2 aren’t new, even for a production from EbonyLife Films, a huge studio. The problems aren’t isolated, either. So why did it take this film to see that the industry was in crisis?

“First, I don’t think it took Chief Daddy for people to come to the realization,” Precious Nwogu, a film journalist for Pulse, said. “Its timing, however, played a crucial role in the collective backlash it received. Prior to the call out, there have been pockets of negative reviews of titles released on the streamer but this time, the holidays plus maybe high expectations from EbonyLife following the countless announcements of international deals fueled the collective criticism.”

One glaring issue with mainstream Nollywood movies is how they look the same, a formulaic recipe involving many popular actors, affluent suburbs, and drone footage of landmarks. It’s a production of empty calories. And since officially entering the Nigerian market, Netflix hasn’t left any tangible impact on filmmaking appetites. The desire to be “marketable” is strong as ever, and the streamer has only strengthened the impulse.

“Yes and no,” Nwogu said, on whether Netflix can be held accountable. “These guys are just business owners that ultimately seek to make profit. Their initial hosts sold them the narrative that box office figures reflected what the Nigerian audience wanted.”

“Where I can fault Netflix is not in licensing but in commissioning. It makes no sense recycling filmmakers and commissioning multi-year deals... Why not commission one or two, see how that goes then do the work of seeking out other talent heads in the industry?"

In a video, Mo Abudu, the CEO of EbonyLife Group, publicly acknowledged the backlash the film received. Furthermore, she promised corrections will be made in the future. (The film’s director, Niyi Akinmolayan hasn’t made any public statement.) While there’s some sincerity in Abudu’s apology, she diplomatically positioned the idea that Chief Daddy 2 had mixed reviews. She didn’t state the actual flaws of the film, which honestly would have been a self-flagellating exercise on her part. But the implication of stating the flaws would have been profound, an indictment of how other Nollywood pictures have been made.

In addition, actionable steps weren’t indicated, which suggests things will be done on her studio’s terms and shouldn’t warrant public pressure or micromanagement. In this state of affairs, what’s stopping the next random Nollywood film on Netflix from being like Chief Daddy 2?

“Nollywood needs a lot of money,” Nwoba said. “I don’t mean the survival money — the type you don’t count, you only weigh. Nollywood, since inception, has been a self-sustaining industry. Between 2011-2017, the federal government brought a meager sum... to support the industry. We can tell that it barely did anything, if not we most likely won’t be talking about the industry being this poor.”

Nwoba sees the industry as moving parts that need to function properly, from production to distribution and management. All these require financial support. Film funding is intentional business. Funding through film journalism, film schools, festivals, community cinemas, actual brick and mortar structures, and strengthening guilds could have serious impact on Nollywood. This doesn’t mean bad movies would disappear.

“It simply means that we won’t keep making a specific genre of movie because of its commercial viability,” Nwoba said. “Filmmakers will be more willing to take risks and explore the taste of the audience.”

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South African Director Oliver Hermanus on Remaking a Classic

The award-winning director behind Skoonheid and Moffie tackles his first film set outside his home country -- a reworking of auteur Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru -- which is premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival.