(Akiit.com) Dammy Krane, an emerging superstar in the Nigerian music scene, was born in 1993. This was the same year that the then military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, annulled what many still believe was Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections yet. The country was thrown into chaos as a result, President Babangida “stepped aside,” and we ended up with General Sani Abacha as head of state. He went on to lead Nigeria for five of its darkest years before passing away.

About the same time, the new movie industry in Nigeria was born. In 1992, a businessman, Kenneth Nnebue, who imported loads of videocassettes but couldn’t sell them, since CDs were becoming the vogue, decided to shoot a movie on those empty videocassettes and sell them as home videos. The movie Living in Bondage, shot in the Igbo language, took the entire country by storm regardless of tribe, and it inspired other businessmen and filmmakers to make their own movies. Nollywood was born.

The movie industry took on a life of its own, and by its 10th anniversary, it was already being called the third largest movie industry in the world (based on the number of movies produced). Today it is ranked second only behind India’s Bollywood, and is the number one movie market in the world for movies made in the English language — which makes it bigger than even Bollywood and Hollywood. With annual revenues of about $600 million, it’s impossible not to be impressed with the industry born just two decades ago with no structure in place.

Sometime around the late 90s, Nigerian music also started to experience a rebirth. Cable and satellite television became popular in the country and television stations that played music videos across Africa emerged. Most videos that made the cut at the time were South African, as Nigerians paid little or no attention to quality. But the more people saw the South African videos, the more people realized the need to step up and do better. And step up they did. Today, no party anywhere on the continent is complete without a good number of Nigerian songs.

Nollywood is huge and the Nigerian music industry is the pacesetter in Africa. But something continues to hold them back: intellectual property protection. Major record labels and film studios are still not convinced enough to come (back) into the country, as piracy is still rife and distribution is a major problem.

Pirates control entertainment in Nigeria, where the situation has evolved from them being faceless figures to unofficial distributors for these artists. It’s an interesting formula. Albums and movies are produced and taken to the pirates, in exchange for a large payout and the relinquishing of the artists’ rights over their works. It seemed like a wise financial move at the start, seeing as artists initially struggled to sell units worth anything close to $5,000, while the deals with the pirates had some of them cutting checks for between $40,000 and $150,000. But it isn’t sustainable.

Dammy Krane might have had a different story if he had grown up two decades ago, without the option of exploring his passion for entertainment — or if he had grown up in a future where piracy had undermined the business model of the entertainment industry. He, like many others in film, directing, production, styling, IT and the many extensions to the industry, is happily employed today simply because that option now exists. There are many like him who know how important the entertainment industry is, both personally and to the Nigerian economy — which is why the distribution problems must be fixed.
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(Akiit.com) Just a day after Saturday Night Live announced the midseason addition of Sasheer Zamata to the cast, and still weeks prior to her scheduled debut, at least one Hollywood critic was already scribbling an asterisk by Sasheer’s name.

*Token, undeserving, diversity hire.

SNL’s decision to cast a Black woman for the first time in seven years — the fifth Black woman in the show’s 39-year history — was dismissed as a “discriminatory PR stunt,” and an overreaction to a few “isolated complaints.”

“If SNL standards were relaxed,” the critic wondered aloud, “this special initiative is going to look misguided in retrospect.”

I read the article and cringed. It’s precisely this type of patronizing mentality from industry decisionmakers, who in 2014 are still largely lily white, that underlies Hollywood’s continued undervaluation of both Black talent and Black audiences. It is an unacceptable status quo.

I, for one, plan to watch the show Saturday night for the first time in a long time, and will be rooting for Ms. Zamata in her major television debut. Although this young comedian will take the stage under a huge spotlight, I applaud Lorne Michaels and NBCUniversal’s willingness to take an innovative approach to fill a critical void that their traditional casting process left empty for too long.

Back in November, we at ColorOfChange.org sent a letter to Lorne Michaels raising concerns about recent casting decisions, as well as SNL’s history of problematic portrayals of Black women. We sat down with executives at NBCUniversal just before Thanksgiving to discuss those concerns in greater detail, share a representative selection of feedback gathered from our 900,000-strong membership, and open up a dialogue about the kind of example SNL can set for other television properties — not to mention the broader comedic universe — in committing to modernizing its hiring practices.
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By Staff | - 7:38 pm - Posted in African-American News

(Akiit.com) Like so many the cold weather has gotten to me… Hard to get through the day yet I know one must push forward… Still It would be nice if only for a minute the sun makes an appearance… This winter seems so different from others… With that I’m so loving this Galaxy Note 3… The wife now wants one for herself, but I know
Reeds.com pearl neclaces would be a better gift for the one you love… Women in general love jewelry and of course shopping until they drop…

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By Staff | - 7:36 pm - Posted in African-American News

(Akiit.com) So glad to see Golf on Tv again… 2014 is here and Tiger Woods back on the golf course… I myself need to get my clubs out the closet and head over to our local country club… I often wonder if more kids will ever decide to embrace golf… This sport needs a more diverse crowd… With that which are adjustable when it comes to cases for my big Galaxy Note 3… I do love this android device… No doubt the best on the market… So glad I chose it over an Iphone… Anyway back to golf on Cbs…

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(Akiit.com) As a Mayor, , I can assure you that nothing is more important than investment in our water and transportation systems. Increasingly, our success as a nation depends on how we address our transportation and other infrastructure needs in our metropolitan areas. As Congress prepares for renewal of the federal surface transportation law in October, we must work together to expand our current levels of investment and avoid simply flat-lining these commitments.

According to a July 2012 report, U.S. Metro Economies: Outlook – Gross Metropolitan Product, and Critical Role of Transportation Infrastructure, we have found that over the next 30 years, metropolitan areas will grow by 84 million people. As one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the nation, Atlanta’s population is projected to grow by 67.8 percent from 2012 – 2042. It is hard to fathom how a constant or declining federal commitment will ensure that America reaps all of the potential economic growth in competition with regional economies worldwide.

Under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141) (MAP-21), our federal government has made important policy reforms by consolidating programs, improving project delivery, providing for greater accountability, and assisting project sponsors with more financing options. But we have yet to address the demands of an increasingly metropolitan American economy and the calls from local officials who seek greater empowerment in deciding how transportation dollars are invested.

We must strive to get all partners – federal, state, regional, local governments, private entities and the public – to the transportation decision-making table, instead of pretending that concentrating power with state transportation bureaucracies is the solution, especially in a nation which continues to concentrate more of its economic future in its metropolitan areas.

In Atlanta, our principal transit system – MARTA – is the ninth largest in the country, and our highway system is one of the best-maintained in the nation. There is no dearth of ideas and innovation for dealing with the challenges of growth and transportation in Atlanta, yet we continue to have some of the most significant congestion in the nation – largely because of a mismatch of resources to our needs.

The Atlanta Regional Commission just released recommendations for an update of our Regional Transportation Plan. The vision outlined in those recommendations would cost $123 billion to the year 2040 – yet we have available only about $59 billion during that period. An overwhelming 71% of all available funds will go to the maintenance of the existing system.

As a region, we will target our projects more carefully. Emphasis will be placed on travel demand management programs, basic bridge and road maintenance, safety projects, innovation in roadway design and cost-effective transit projects. We will focus our investments on our regional freight network, which will become even more important as international freight increases through the Port of Savannah.

Cities are the country’s laboratories for innovation. Cities are where public and private entities collaborate on the ground level to create jobs and build places people want to live. In Atlanta, one of the most prominent examples of how we have taken a proactive approach to build for the future and attract investment and jobs is the Atlanta BeltLine.
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