Macron: Old fans rock Fela’s Shrine again | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News


Macron: Old fans rock Fela’s Shrine again

For most of the Nigerian bigwigs spotted at the New Afrika Shrine last night, President Emmanuel Macron of France who chose the venue to mingle with stakeholders in the Nigerian creative sector as part of his state visit to Nigeria had just rekindled an old flame in them.
The list of politicians, diplomats, government officials, showbiz entrepreneurs, and entertainers was as unprecedented as the long wait, as the visitor, who had earlier touched down in Abuja to see President Muhammadu Buhari got to Lagos three hours behind schedule. But the night, at the Shrine, was unusually charged for these old folks who not only recalled old times in their private conversations, the media kept them busy with questions bothering on the legacy of the late Afrobeat founder, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti  vis the place of culture and tourism in the export reserve of Nigeria.
From the likes of former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba to former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; Senator Ben Bruce; Senator Florence Ita Giwa; former manager of Fela, Mr. Femi Esho, Founder of Africa International Film Festival, Chioma Ude; CEO of EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu, and entertainers like Olu Jacob, Joke Silva, Jide Kosoko, Kunle Afolayan, Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde among others, the Shrine shone with eminence.
Touted as a celebration of African culture, the evening of music, fashion, Nollywood, dance, visual arts, and performances with President Emmanuel Macron of France had celebrated singer and actor, Banky W, as Master of Ceremony while CNN presenter, Keturah King and French media personality, Claudy Siar were Nigerian and French hosts respectively.

Macron who arrived the venue with Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode was first taken on a tour of some art exhibitions of artists like Ndidi Emefiele, Victor Ehikhamenor and Abraham Onoriode Ogbobase, and just before his brief media chat on stage, he requested to be ushered round the Shrine, climbing to the topmost floor from where, having attained a full view of the venue, he made the Fela signature fist, earning a louder ovation across the hall.
Footprints of David Youth Group had opened the show, doing the Sango dance with attendant energy. Their song eulogised Macron and Ambode, while a shimmering effect portrait of both men presented by the group sealed their show. This was just as a sole portrait of Macron, painted by an 11 year old boy named Kazeem was added to Macron’s souvenirs.
Put together by Trace Events, a division of global broadcast and digital company, Trace, Highlight of the event sponsored by Ecobank was the official launch of Season of African Cultures 2020, an initiative of Macron for the showcase of the best of African creative endeavors in France.
There was no dull moment as Afropop queen, Yemi Alade opened the stage for musical performances on the night. Guests were also treated to the dexterity of Ara with the talking drum as well as the sonorous voice of Cameroonian singer, Charlotte Dipanda. Giving a befitting climax to the musical segment was Femi Kuti, son of the legendary Fela and his sister, Yeni Kuti with their electrifying performance.
The potpourri event was also spiced with a cultural segment including art exhibition curated by Tokini Peterside of Art X Lagos; a fashion show by Jane Michaek Ekanem; a Nollywood skit designed by Kunle Afolayan and a short video presentation by Chioma Ude, announcing Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF)’s partnership with French film school, CineFabrique.
In his opening remark, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Charles Kie noted that one of Ecobank’s aims is its strong resolution to help grow and develop Africa’s businesses and economies, adding that Africa’s strong heritage in dance and music has brought many together by integrating them through entertainment and sheer interest.
According to Kie, “Sales of African art at Christies in Paris raised €6.1 million in June and just over a year ago Sotheby’s inaugural sale of modern and contemporary African Art generated £2.8 million in aggregate sales. Nigeria’s British-based artist Yinka Shonibare MBE’s ‘Crash Willy’ sold for £224,750.”

Ambode, while reiterating his determination to tourism, hospitality, entertainment and sports for excellence, as components of his T.H.E.S.E agenda, described Lagos as the fifth largest economy in Africa, and Macron’s visit as a dawn of a new era between France and Nigeria, “especially for the myriad of talents that have made Lagos their home.”
Macron who said he has a different view of Africa than a lot of people in Europe, said he is determined to champion a new narrative about how Africa is perceived, adding that the African Cultural Season 2020 is one of the ways to project the continent positively.
“I believe that we have to build together, a new and common narrative. And this new common narrative is not based on what is important for Europeans, but what is important for Africa about their culture – how they want to build their culture, how they want to explain their culture, how they want to promote their culture and which places are important for them for these promotions.
“European leaders are not here to lecture African leaders. African leaders are here to take care of their people. They are not there to lead the young generation to believe that their future is outside Africa. They have to build their future here in Africa.
Macron and Femi Kuti
French President Macron and Femi Kuti
“We decided to organize African Cultural Season 2020 in France for several reasons. It is about a team of young creatives coming from different parts of Africa. You’ll have contemporary artistes, painters, people involved in fashion, movies, visual arts, architecture… all different arts existing and present in Africa, especially Nigeria.
“Some people say this is a tremendous continent. This is a unique place…. And at the same time, some people say Africa is a place of terrorism… these two messages are true at the same time.  But why I believe it is possible to change all these negative messages is because what we need is for African people to speak about Africa. Because you always replicate, mirror Europeans impression about Africa. When I say we need new narratives, what I mean is that we need you people to make these narratives. I see a new generation of artistes, of entrepreneurs, of people coming from civil societies, of journalists, of intellectuals coming from Africa and explaining, speaking about Africa in Europe and everywhere…,” he explained.


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