Jason's Jive January 2022 By Jason Inanga
Compliments of the holiday season to you. By God’s grace we have made it to the end of another year, filled with its mix of fun and challenges. We have a lot to be thankful for.
I am going to dedicate this Jive to my African heritage, specifically Nigeria, where my late father, Professor Emeritus E. L. Inanga is from. My mother, from St. Kitts in the Caribbean is a retired music teacher and some of her former students are now big musicians in their own rights.
So, I am going to comment on the success of the global exposure to Nigerian culture, as conveyed through the vehicle of music. Older generations will be familiar with the likes of musician and social critic, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, whose style of music paved the way for what has emerged as Afro Beats, which is apparently the new rave. I listen to Sirius XM Radio in my car and a current popular hit, ‘Essence,” by Wizkid/Tems, has taken over the airwaves. He just had a series of concert in London with about 20, 000 people in attendance, each night. The younger generation of Nigerian musicians have exposed the world to Afro Beats music and of course they are reaping financial rewards for their craft. Sadly, the government for the most part has not been able to appreciate the influence of this aspect of culture, to promote tourism and other economic gains, or even to promote the arts. We cannot all be lawyers and doctors or bankers. Other professions make the world go round. More and more, this genre of music is growing in popularity. You have the song, “Jerusalema” from South Africa that took the world by storm with dance challenges all over the world. Go on YouTube in your spare time and you can see what I am talking about.
Similarly, the African movies have grown in popularity on Netflix and other related services. “The Wedding Party,” was such a huge success on Netflix, that a sequel was done. There are many others like, FINE WINE, CASTLE and CASTLE, NAMATSE WAHALA, ISOKEN and WHEN LOVE HAPPENS…among many others. These movies have propelled the African Culture in ways respective governments have not been able to.
When I lived in the Caribbean, the movies became very popular and were a big rave. Viewers could not keep up with the weekly releases on DVD. BLOOD SISTERS, a movie based on how a mother showed favoritism to one child over the other, created that avenue for the growth of these movies. But through these movies, lots of folk got exposed to the African culture, saw modern images of Africa and above all, these movies produced in regular English, showed that the arts, once encouraged, can bring gainful employment to people, and also serve as avenues of cultural exposure, globally.
The sad part in all this is that many African countries do not take proper advantage of this, to promote the arts locally, thereby creating jobs for people. Props have to be built, costumes made and much more.
I write all this to simply create an awareness for you my dear reader, to explore other cultures from the comfort of your home. Corona has tried to keep people from travelling, but from your home, you can literally explore the world. Nollywood movies, Ghallywood, Bollywood – there is a lot going on out there. To my Indian friends, there is a popular movie on Netflix, THE BIG DAY, which basically is an immersive look at Indian Weddings. I was honored to meet the film producer, Fariz Arif Ansari, in Dallas, a few months ago, while he was here for the South Asian Film Festival. I will feature a conversation with him, in one of my 2022 columns.
As I wrap up, I will include a few more interview type Jives with people, in 2022. I hope to have things spiced up for you next year, so you hear more from others, not just me.
Have a great Christmas and a blessed new year. Please stop and say a prayer for someone out there who is in need. THAT’s THE JIVE!