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|The Complicated Legacy Of Silverbird’s Ben Bruce. - Adewale Lawal by LeoThaGreat(m): 2:56pm On Apr 28|
Adewale Lawal (The Duke Of Offa) Writes:
When I wrote about Nigeria’s entertainment journey to the
Grammies, people said I did not highlight Ben Bruce name as
much as he deserves. I had wanted to leave it at that, but I
would be doing history a disservice if i do not place his record before the people to judge his contribution, before the
revisionists do it by the time he is no more with us.
I will begin with Onyeka Onwenu story.
Onyeka Onwenu song was used by NTA as MONTAGE, or more correctly “station idents”. The song was IYOGOGO.
NTA refused to pay her for the unauthorized use of her song. The oga of NTA at that time was Ben Bruce who Obasanjo had inexplicably decided to be the one to grow competition for Ben Bruce’s Silverbird, without Ben Bruce recusing self from managing Silverbird television. But that is another story.
Ben Bruce has lived abroad. Ben Bruce is seasoned in the
entertainmennt business. Ben Bruce has COMMON SENSE.
Common sense dictates that before a song is used as station ident, permission must be sought and gotten, and ROYALTIES, by whatever name, paid. Onyeka Onwenu, big and massive as she is had to go on hunger strike and cry at NTA gates for days before a “settlement” was agreed between her and Ben Bruce’s NTA.
If Ben Bruce can make Onyeka cry, who is anyone not to cry
from how Ben Bruce has run the entertainment industry as its biggest face?
Biggest face YES!!! His MBGN has taken the role of Miss
Nigeria, not that Miss Nigeria was well run anyway. But
representing Nigeria at international contests was legally a
Miss Nigeria right. Ben Bruce, the opportunist, capitalized.
Again, I digress. Forgive me.
Biggest face yes. Ben Bruce, whose brother sang the hit “Eje
Ka jo” from the early 80s knows artistes get paid for radio
playing their song. The number one person fighting against
royalties to artist in Nigeria is arguable BEN BRUCE. If this is
even disputed, I will show receipts that show similar
Make no mistake, Ben Bruce is a GREAT MAN. But has his
greatness been about developing Nigeria or her talents or
anything that will grow us, or has Ben Bruce Modus Operandi
been to bring what is foreign to Nigeria? Is he an importer of
culture or exporter? Juxtapose him and Dokpesi Raymond. I
will leave you to judge for yourselves.
Silverbird radio is about foreign accents and not good English. It was about foreign music, not local. Only artiste Ben Bruce thought was worthy is Fela Kuti and Afrobeat and he never really played it on his radio.
All through the development of Nigerian music, from the Galala/Conto days of Showkey and Baba Fryo, to the Nelson Brown days, Silverbird was hesitant to play Nigerian music. It was after the Cally Ikpes and Dokpesis and Ovie of NotjustOk and MTV Base etc. continued to believe in Nigerian music and exported it that Silverbird increased their local content. And of course, it was Mohits, the “Abroad” folks and such “Behind” acts that Silverbird and Ben Bruce latched on to.
Even Cool FM has Wazobia to celebrate his hatbis local to us.
Oh. But I love JAJ (who offered me a presenter position as
guest in entertainment, if he remembers my face) and
Temisan Ikomi and or course Onome Oyaide. I love Silverbird
and Rhythm 93.7 but they must agree they are latter converts
to local content, eapecially our music.
Now, let us take a closer look at Silverbird Galeria and Cinema.
Again, Silverbird ignored our local movies aka Nollywood for
aeons. The excuse? “the quality of the movies was low”. His
platform, like music on Rhythm 93.7 was for importation of
music and cultures from abroad and not to celebrate what is
ours. It was when he found out that there is a demand for
local content that some of our movies are making it to his
Now, a Raymond Dokpesi would have partnered with
Genevieve and Omotola and Tunde Kelani and Don Pedro
Obaseki or my legend who was then alive, AMAKA IGWE to
develop content worthy of the SILVERBIRD SCREENS. He
would not have scuffed at our local producers and productions without offering a solution. He would have developed a film or two in his locale Bayelsa or Lagos or Abuja to show Nollywood how it is done. But NO. He waved his hands and said “You Are Not Good Enough. Terminator 3” is.
But Netflix looked at same Genevieve and our local producers and they are showing our content and culture to the world. While Ben Bruce is importing accents and music, netflix is exporting our movies as Mtv Base and AIT and Notjustok.com did to our music.
So it is no wonder that I see Ben Bruce and Wesley Snipes
hyping a colaboration. Once again, Ben Bruce is a latter
convert to local content and Nigerian entertainment
development, this time, MOVIES. And converted, he does not
go to Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 years a slave, or David Oyelowo,
or John Boyega or to Genevieve. He goes to Wesley Snipes,
hoping to continue his belief in everything foreign over
anything local or Nigerian
I can go on and on...
And it pains me to speak so of a great icon...But ask Ben Bruce if he pays Nigerian singers and artiste royalties for their songs he plays on Rhythm 93.7 and why not, if not.
And ask him if that is what obtains in America and elsewhere.
Ask him if he pays artistes that perform for him at his concerts in December, after collecting money from sponsors and using the show as content for his TV and radio.
Ask him if he pays the upcoming acts or established ones. He does not even buy COKE for the upcoming acts and does not buy drinks for any of the established ones. He makes booth for them and tells them he will “promote their music”.
Eff that! The acts need to be paid and not PROMOTED.
But it is Nigeria.
If 2Face or Dbanj then failed to turn up, they would be
The elites, of which Ben Bruce is one, find a way to swindle
the COMMON man and talk about COMMON SENSE.
Common sense is to pay for services rendered.
They play five songs, go to commercial and people wait so as to listen to Simi’s Duduke, till they come from commercial
break. But Simi’s newborn will not get a penny from those
adverts. Yet the baby danced in the video while in her mother, Simi’s womb.
Swindlers. Oppressors. Stealing from poor Nigerian artistes
who cannot fight back together, PMAN or not.
To not pay ROYALTIES IS THEFT
Even Fulanies pay Bayelsa money for their oil
But Ben Bruce and co will not pay Praiz or Sound Sultan, or
E Money and co. have to get money from elsewhere to
continue to invest in Nigerian music and entertainment for
Nigerian radio and TV owners to have content. No kobo goes
back to E Money from the radios. Instead he pays them.
Abroad acts like Prince and Michael Jackson did not need
promo for radio? Why do they get royalties till this day
Ben Bruce knows this. He knows what is the right thing to do
But GREED And disdain for Nigeria and everything LOCAL, including the culture and people...
Now, he wants to invest in Nollywood
After seeing Netflix believe in Genevieve and others.
Still he does not call Genevieve, but calls Wesley Snipes.
And he thinks he is making COMMON SENSE.
Nothing in this post removes from the fact that Ben Bruce is
an icon and a success-story.
We must however note how he did it.
He did not do it selling Nigeria to Nigeria or selling Nigeria to
the world. Okay MBGN YES. Agbani Darego. Clap clap. And he does make common sense when he talks.
But the fact remains that Onyeka Onwenu had to go on hunger strike before Ben Bruce did the COMMON SENSE thing, which is to pay her.
Ben Bruce and TV and radio houses, all of them, contribute to why our artistes are 419 on the side.
The elites go/come abroad and go back home and do the
opposite. Ask Ben Bruce to pay royalties to artiste the way
radio stations abroad do. Let him show he is different from
others, so we can believe his politics and big talks
And I am making common sense.
N.B I continue to condole with Ben Bruce on the loss of his
wife. She passed just over a year ago.
|Re: The Complicated Legacy Of Silverbird’s Ben Bruce. - Adewale Lawal by 1Alex: 3:01pm On Apr 28|
This can wait till later.
What we are talking about now is insecurity.
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