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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prince William and Kate Middleton engaged

The look of sweet!

After nine years together, Prince William and Kate Middleton are engaged. They'll wed in London in the spring or summer of 2011.

The couple, both 28, became engaged last month during a vacation in Africa after he proposed to Kate and presented her with his mother's engagement ring, an oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds from the jeweler Garrard.

Good for them!

The world of Nigeria’s leading comedians

Generally, these people make money by being funny. Generations before ours regarded them as jesters. A wretched and unserious lot .This generation regards them as comedians. Nothing short of big boys of the land. We are taking a look at big boys in the comedy business. By big boys we mean those who have done well for themselves through comedy.

Ali Baba
Many regard him as the grandfather of modern comedy and the title is apt, because he gave an otherwise colourless profession colour and added a befitting business acumen which paved the way for comedians of his generation. Ali Baba began his comedy career back in his university days at the then Bendel State University (now, Edo State University, Ekpoma,).

As a student, he established himself as a force to reckon with in show business on campus. Way back in 1988, when fathers wanted their children to be lawyers, doctors and engineers, he was earning up to N150 per show in a business that many didn’t regard seriously . After his university education, he joined the Charlie Boy Show and in no time, individuals and corporate bodies began to sign up for his services.

Ali B as his contemporaries call him , is a toast of the presidency and corporate clients. He is a friend of billionaires of the land and the first choice of corporate brands who want a specific image for their firms. Ali Baba also has XQZ Moi, an event centre, in his kitty and drives around town in eye-popping car. He reportedly charges about N2million to compere an event.

Basket Mouth
Call him the present day premium brand of comedy and you won’t be wrong but you would be surprised to know that years ago, Basketmouth dreamt of being a big time rapper. His encounter with Ali Baba in 2001 changed his career when the veteran comedian advised him to drop the mic for comedy since he seems to be a better comedian than a rapper. He complied and came to Lagos and that decision paid off for this comedian who staged the Lord Of the Ribs , one of the most successful comedy escapades in Nigeria. At the moment, his brand of comedy is preferred in the corporate world. He is a Globacom ambassador.

Earlier in the year, he became the first African comedian to perform at the O2 Arena in the UK . That performance is historic, because the show sold out long before its actual date. Basketmouth dines with the high and mighty including Mike Adenuga and Richard Branson. His real name is Bright Okpocha and he does lots of shows outside Nigeria where he is paid in hard currency. Basketmouth is the comedian of choice for most banks when they have events. With his own house in Lekki, Basketmouth has proved that comedy is a money spinning machine when you know the right button to press.

Julius Agwu
Julius Agwu is called D’genius and his ability to reinvent himself and diversify without losing the true essence of his brand is his unique selling point. Julius is a comedian, an actor, a musician and above all a master of ceremony with lots of comedy in his kitty.

A Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Port Harcourt and the best graduating student in his class, he possesses the rare acumen of mixing music with comedy and that has put him on a vantage position. He also had a stint in acting and he did not do badly in films he has featured in. His Crack Ya Ribs TV show has earned him fame as he remains one of the few comedians that have hosted successful shows overseas.Julius has lots of corporate clients too.

Gbenga Adeyinka
If you are seeking a crowd and want to sell your products or organising a rally, Gbenga Adeyinka is the man to call. Over the years he has done more rallies than other comedians and has anchored big crowd events more than any of them. His unique selling point is his ability to handle lots of corporate gigs and comedy shows for corporate giants including telecommunication companies. He is preferred for all Nigerian Brewery events.

Gbenga Adeyinka’s journey into the comedy world began at the University of Lagos, where he compeered events for people. After he graduated, people continued calling him to be the Mc for their events and he later went to Murhi International Television (MITV) where he did children entertainment programmes. From there, Funmi Davies invited him to be part of her comedy programme and ever since then, this corporate event choice comedian has continued to wax stronger.

You don’t see TEE-A everywhere, but he is busy in the corporate world making cool money for himself. Though his charges are high , his clients don’t mind because they know what they get when it is brand TEE-A that is attached to their events or product. TEE-A is not “elitist” and ‘butter’. He’s got the street in him as well and he has demonstrated that he could do street shows and give Gbenga Adeyinka a run for his talent in handling a large crowd . He has the honour of being the first Nigerian comedian to stage a one man stand-up comedy concert, first Nigerian comedian to perform at the famous Hackney Empire Theatre bullion room. He is also the first African comedian to be invited for the California Comedy Conference in Palm Springs , California.

TEJU baby face
Though deeply engaged in his show, The Teju Bbabyface Show, Teju has not lost his acumen in comedy . He is an extraordinary master of ceremony , and he comperes events for fees that will make a banker wonder why he has to spend so many hours earning his pay when he could just pick up the Mic like Teju.
Teju Baby Face embraced the entertainment world when he acted with A-list Nollywood actors like RMD, Liz Benson, Bimbo Akintola in Diamond Ring . He however left the tube and took to comedy.

Some call him a strategist and for those who followed his career from his days with Ali Baba, his rise to stardom depicts truly a man who knows a lot about winning. AY does lots of corporate and family events. Ayo Makun, is a graduate of the Theatre Arts from Delata State University. He made his mark in the comedy business with his almost perfect imitation of Rev Chris Okotie which earned him wide popularity .

AY cut his teeth under Ali Baba as his personal Assistant. AY was appointed UN Peace Ambassador in 2009 after winning six different awards in 2008 some of which include Comedian of the year, Diamond Awards for comedy, and Mode Man of the year.

A legend’s son rises to his own acclaim:“Say the government of Obasanjo, go carry all of us go for hell.”---Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti speaks like one of his many saxophone solos hands aflutter, voice rising quickly before a steep fall and hitting disparate pitches.

“I already believe we are already in a state of anarchy. But Nigerians are very resilient and are always praying and we want Jesus Christ to come down from heaven and change Nigeria for us. We are ready to wait,” the Afrobeat musician said.

He adds: “It’s boiling, slowly but surely. And if the government doesn’t quickly change … violence could start at any time.”

The driving rhythms of Kuti’s message follow that of his famous father, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who created the synthesis of pop and jazz fueling Afrobeat and served as one of the staunchest critics of military rule in oil-rich Nigeria. Now the focus of a Broadway musical, Fela’s mysticism and sexual exploits are reaching a new audience.

But Femi Kuti, 48, learned from the excesses of his flawed rebel father. A two-time Grammy nominee, Kuti found his own voice amid the growing noise in a Nigeria where freedom of speech exists like never before in his lifetime as well as a sustained commercial and worldwide following.

“I know when to be light; I know when to be hard,” he said in a recent interview.
The delicate balance of commercial success under the heading of world music helps Kuti and sister Yeni Kuti to keep open the New Afrika Shrine, a relocated version of the Shrine that their father lived and played in.

The original Shrine, raided repeatedly by police and later the military during Fela’s life, burned to the ground.

“A handful of unnatural, unbalanced people are running the world,” Fela once said, quoted by biographer Carlos Moore. He recounted seeing a rebel leader board a first_class flight from Berlin to Lagos in 1978, picked up by Mercedes Benz sedans at the other end.

“The leaders of the African freedom struggle will always want the struggle to continue. For them, it means travelling around on first-class tickets and being given VIP treatment wherever they go,” he said.

Much of that rage focused on Olusegun Obasanjo, then a military dictator and later an elected president who came from the same hometown as Fela’s family. After Fela’s mother died following a beating by soldiers, Fela carried her casket to the presidential estate in Lagos. It served a bold protest in a country cowed largely into silence by military rule.

“At the time of my father, there was nothing like human rights groups in Nigeria,” Femi Kuti recounted recently while backstage at the new Shrine. “He on his own solely fought the military dictators at that time and the civilians that they passed power through in the ’70s and ’80s.”

But life wasn’t easy for Femi growing up. When the military arrested his father and sent him to prison before a 1984 U.S. tour, Femi took over the band and displayed an innate business sense that kept the music alive, said Sola Olorunyomi, a Fela biographer and professor at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.

“All of this period, I think, came to shape Femi’s own disposition to chart his own course,” Olorunyomi said. “For outsiders, the Fela experience is fun. But for (Femi), it’s real-life brutality, it’s real-life denial, it’s real-life sacrifice.”

Fela died in 1997 of complications brought on by AIDS, a disease that sapped his energy to perform in his last years and one he dismissed in song, calling protected sex “unnatural.”

Today, a giant red placard at the Shrine warns concertgoers that “AIDS is real” and Femi Kuti has appeared in awareness advertising.

Kuti continues to bring a business mentality to his music. He acknowledges some songs critical of the nation’s supposedly democratically-elected government won’t get airplay on Nigerian radio stations that are leery of losing their licences, so he fashions apolitical tracks as well. He even offered his voice as a DJ on a funk radio station in the violent video game franchise “Grand Theft Auto IV.”

His songs offer a pop-like, frenetic pacing at times, such as the driving backbeat of love story in “Bang Bang Bang.” But others, like “Shotan,” carry an angry political message inside the pulsing rhythm: “Say the government of Obasanjo, go carry all of us go for hell.”