Exploring the Connection between Nigerian Cultures and the Entertainment Industry


Exploring the Connection between Nigerian Cultures and the Entertainment Industry  - Observersmag

By Miracle Adebayo

Ojude Oba has come and gone, leaving an unprecedented impression that has become ingrained in our daily thoughts. Before now, I had only known it as a cultural festival celebrated by the Yoruba people in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. However, the recent display of the festival has demonstrated that it extends far beyond its cultural origins.

Nigeria is composed of an incredibly rich cultural heritage that exceeds mere origins. Characterizing Nigeria as a country abundant in cultural diversity would not be an overstatement. Whether in the South, West, or North, the display of cultural exposition has consistently been impressive, but still in need of better organization and promotion. Despite the presence of various tribes and ethnicities, there is an extraordinary interrelatedness in the shared cultural values across the nation.

Generally known as the total way of life for humans, culture can be interpreted as a multifaceted and complex concept that encompasses the beliefs, values, customs, traditions, arts, social practices, and behaviours of a group of people. It is a shared system of practices that defines and describes the way of life for certain groups, usually communities or societies. Culture exists at various levels, not limited by any factors or geographical areas.

One important aspect of culture is its role in shaping individual and collective identities, providing a sense of belonging and solidarity in a community or society. It helps individuals establish their self-identity and connect with others who share similar cultural backgrounds.

Art, music, dance, and literature are all integral parts of culture, serving as creative expressions and reflections of society's values, beliefs, and experiences. They provide avenues for self-expression, cultural preservation, and storytelling, fostering a sense of cultural identity and promoting cross-cultural understanding.

In line with this,  culture plays an important role in the boost our entertainment industry has witnessed over the years. Whether through storytelling, visual aesthetics, music performances, or interactive experiences, entertainment aims to evoke emotions, stimulate imaginations, and create memorable experiences.

Entertainment has cultural and social dimensions. It reflects and shapes cultural values, norms, and trends, serving as a reflection of society's aspirations, concerns, and collective imagination. Different cultures and communities have unique forms of entertainment influenced by their history, traditions, and social dynamics. Through entertainment, cultural expressions, stories, and artistic traditions are preserved, celebrated, and shared with audiences.

An example of this is the movie titled "Elesin Oba" produced in 2022, a Yoruba language Nigerian historical drama based on true events in Oyo, Nigeria, in 1943 during the height of World War II. The movie, adapted from a stage play titled "Death And The King's Horseman" by Wole Soyinka, recalled our memories of the traditional practices in the land of Oyo, as the drama was based on true-life stories. Aside from reminding and recognizing the practised culture and beliefs, the movie was able to achieve, "Elesin Oba" also served as a source of entertainment, captivating the people's minds with pleasure while showcasing the significance beneath the Yoruba land's beliefs and culture.

Tellingly, the entertainment industry of Nigeria has successfully merged the totality of our way of life, and our culture, to influence the pleasure we seek to derive from entertainment. With diverse creativity embedded in our culture, I have not only observed the uniqueness of Nigerian culture but also discovered that Nigeria's culture plays a pivotal role in shaping the country's vibrant and influential entertainment industry.

The rich and diverse cultural heritage of Nigeria serves as a wellspring of inspiration for artists, musicians, and filmmakers, giving birth to the creation of unique and captivating content in the realm of entertainment.

One significant impact of Nigerian culture on entertainment is the infusion of traditional music, dance, and storytelling into various art forms. Nigerian musicians and artists draw inspiration from traditional folklore, proverbs, and oral traditions while reflecting the inspired and observed culture in their performances. This incorporation of cultural elements not only preserves Nigeria's heritage but also resonates with audiences globally, creating a sense of authenticity and reliability in our entertainment industry.

The recently released short film by Theniyifagbemi based on the Ojude Oba festival is another typical illustration of a story that integrates culture and entertainment. The short film, titled "Ojude Oba," was based on the cultural festival of the Ijebu people known as "Ojude Oba," which means "The king's frontage." The festival fulfills the purpose of paying tribute to the Oba of the land annually. The film successfully shows the totality of Yoruba culture, from the traditional group display of music, dance, and drum performances to the different attires, including Aso-oke and lace, and the drums, horses, and dane guns used during the festival. It depicts nothing but the entire totality of our way of life in creating our pleasure.

And as stated earlier, Nigerian cultural festivals and celebrations serve as a source of inspiration and content for the entertainment industry. Festivals such as the Durbar festival in the northern region, the Eyo festival in Lagos, and the New Yam festival (Iri Ji) in the southeastern region are not only celebrated locally but have been incorporated into films, music videos, and stage performances. These cultural events provide a visual spectacle and a deeper understanding of Nigerian traditions, captivating and entertaining both local and international audiences.

The popularity of Nigerian music, films, and fashion has undoubtedly been a dream come true for the entertainment industry in Nigeria, thanks to our natural way of life in the country. Our culture continues to be a continuous source of inspiration for the entertainment industry.

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