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Non-Stop From Lagos To LA




In Ajegunle, a neighborhood located in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria, Tunde Amaechi is readying for an audition. This will be his 20th in a month and today’s audition is on the other side of town in Victoria Island. The trip will cost him two weeks’ wages but the potential gain is worth it.

“I am auditioning for a role in Desperate Housewives Africa. I get to say three lines, which is very good for me. When you get a speaking part, it means you are moving up and I think I will get this one by God’s grace,” says Amaechi.

Nigeria’s growing movie industry, known as Nollywood, is the third largest in the world following Hollywood and Bollywood.

Its growth has spawned a generation of young people desperate for the limelight and a chance to make it big in the movie business. For Amaechi, it is the only way he can help his mother and two sisters escape poverty.

Cast from 93 Days

“I lost my father at an early age and since then I have been the main breadwinner of the house. Making it in Nollywood means my family will be taken care of and my little sisters will have a chance at a better life. It is also my dream to make it and be as big as Ramsey Nouah [popular Nigerian actor],” he says.

With no acting background, Amaechi, like millions of young struggling actors, is looking for that life-changing role and no distance is too far to travel for that break.

Chuks Amaka is an actor and entrepreneur living in Lekki, Victoria Island. He has featured in a number of roles including M-Net’s flagship daily soap Tinsel as well as some local productions and also played the role of executive producer in his own movie. For him, the movie industry, like any other, is a business and the end game is money.

“The goal is to cross over from Nollywood into Hollywood. That is where most actors want to go and that is where the money is. They believe if you build a strong enough brand in Africa’s largest economy, then America will come knocking,” says Amaka.

That belief is not far-fetched. In 2015, American actor Danny Glover starred in 93 Days, a film on the deadly Ebola virus in Nigeria. Acting with the veteran Hollywood star were some of Nollywood’s finest, all vying for international recognition. Beasts of No Nation, the Netflix-distributed civil war movie starring another Hollywood bigwig, Idris Elba, was also shot in Nigeria and Ghana with actors queuing up for hours for a part in a big Hollywood production.

“The natural evolution for any Nollywood actor is to make a name in Africa and then hit the big leagues in Hollywood. These type of blockbusters are hotly-contested and every actor knows this is a potential golden ticket,” says Amaka.

For Amaechi, however, that dream is too big to comprehend. Making a name in Nollywood is already a tall order. He has been auditioning for roles for the past year and is yet to secure any paid work. He supplements his income by working as a waiter at the local Bheerhugz Cafe in Ikeja, Lagos. The Desperate Housewives Africa role will be the first time he may be paid for his work. He is optimistic his fate will change.

“This means everything. I love acting and all I need is the opportunity for the world to see my talent. I know I can be one of the biggest in Nollywood then the rest of the world,” says Amaechi.

Austin Abolaji is a Nollywood actor from Imo State, Nigeria. In 2012, he starred in the action drama film, Black November, with an ensemble cast of international stars including Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Vivica Fox and Wyclef Jean. The movie premiered at the Kennedy Center in the United States.

Omoni Oboli

“Nollywood is still growing and there are massive opportunities in this sector, however it will take a long time before actors are paid properly for their craft. When you look at the average Hollywood actor, they get paid a lot better for the same roles we are doing here. This is one of the reasons why people want to make it in Hollywood,” says Abolaji.

Another reason is the acclaim.

“After Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar, we all now believe it is possible. We saw her acting in MTV Shuga and to see one of us from Africa succeed in Hollywood is motivation for all of us. She is probably the biggest African actress in the world right now,” says Abolaji.

Nyong’o’s Oscar win has been the catalyst for a new lucrative career ranging from roles in Star Wars to brand endorsements with Lancome to being on the cover of Vogue magazine. Her success has opened up the once forbidden Hollywood dream to the rest of Africa and Nollywood’s elite is looking to follow suit one role at a time.

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Trevor Noah Is Laughing All The Way To The Bank



South African Comedian Trevor Noah Is The Fourth Highest Paid Comedian In The World. Here’s how he did it.

With earnings of a staggering $28 million Trevor Noah has become the fourth highest paid comedian in the world.

According to Forbes the Daily Show host, “earned the bulk of his income this year through stand-up, making him eligible for our list”.

Forbes’ methodology is using all earnings estimated from June 1, 2018 to June 1, 2019.

Burna Boy’s The African Giant Debuts On The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

“Figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Earnings estimates are based on data from Pollstar Pro as well as interviews with industry insiders,” they said.

He is signed to host the Daily Show until 2022.

On the show, Noah usually sits down with the biggest headline-grabbers in politics and entertainment.

Noah also covers the biggest news stories in politics, pop culture and more.

Recently he trended after devising a viral conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump is targeting first lady Melania Trump with his immigration policies.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah currently has over 5,3 million subscribers on YouTube alone and has had 1,9 billion views.

But apart from the show, the South African born comedian made more than 70 stops across the world and had his second Netflix special last fall.

His book Born A Crime, published in 2016, is still ranked as No.1 on the New York Times’ bestseller list for paperback nonfiction.

Africans across the globe celebrated Noah’s listing on social media with some expressing how inspired they are by him.

On the Forbes list, Noah follows after Jim Gaffigan earning $30 million, Jerry Seinfeld earning $41 million and Kevin Hart being the highest earner with $59 million.

On the top ten list the only woman on the list is Amy Schumer at the seventh spot with $21 million.

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Burna Boy’s The African Giant Debuts On The Daily Show With Trevor Noah



What happens when one of Africa’s global comedians meets an African global recording artist? African greatness, that’s what. Burna boy was interviewed on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, making it a proud moment for Africans world wide.

South African born comedian Trevor Noah hosted Nigeria’s singer and song writer, Burna Boy on The Daily Show on Tuesday night.

Born Damini Ogulu, Burna Boy spoke about his recipe for Afro-fusion music, performing at Coachella and producing his album African Giant.

In a video released showing behind the scenes footage, Trevor Noah expressed his love for Nigeria.

“That’s the one thing I’ve always loved about Nigeria; it’s the love of Nigeria from Nigeria. If every African could have that, ‘we love our thing’,” Trevor refers to the zeal Nigeria has about their talent.

While at the show Burna Boy performed a medley of songs Ye and  Anybody.

Burna Boy who is one of this year’s Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list makers made waves recently after releasing his much anticipated album earlier this year.

The album was released in July and includes hit songs like African Giant, Dangote, Spiritiual, and international artists like Jeremih, Future, Damian Marley and Jorja Smith.

In the album categorized as afrobeats has some Fela Kuti influences, he asserts himself as an African and conveys the message of how Africa should not be marginalized.

“I am an AFRICAN GIANT and will not be reduced to whatever that tiny writing means,” he wrote on Instagram.

READ MORE | 2010 all over again: a musical extravaganza to honor Nelson Mandela

The album was released a month after he won the BET Award for the Best International Act at the end of June.

Already garnering thousands of listeners and viewers on platforms such as YouTube and Apple Music, Burna Boy has teamed up with Spotify to launch Burna Bank.

Inspired by the artwork for the African Giant album, Burna Bank is, “the installation features a unique ATM which will be dispensing custom, collectible bills designed by Sajjad Musa.

Each bill is inspired by Burna’s Nigerian roots, and his quest to call out corruption and the disproportionate distribution of wealth.”

The Burna Bank is an ATM that distributes these notes and launches this week making him one of the first African musicians to have his own currency.

Another one of his wins this year was recording a song with Grammy award winner Beyoncé, in a single titled Ja Ara E as part of her The Lion King:The King Album.

Burna Boy continues to prove he is a force to be reckoned with as an African giant and continues to put the continent on the map.

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Executive Travel: NaakMusiQ’s Dubai



The South African actor and musician was impressed with the city’s architecture, food and work ethic. 

South African actor and musician Anga Makubalo, known by his stage name NaakMusiQ, calls the Middle Eastern emirate of Dubai a luxury destination.

NaakMusiQ, who hails from Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, shot to fame after appearing in the award-winning South African soap opera Generations and has since been in a number of television shows.

He has also had a chart-topping music hit, Ntombi ft Bucie.

NaakMusiQ’s first trip to Dubai, known as the melting pot of the Middle East, was last year on an Emirates flight when he traveled Business Class. The fashion-lover admits to being a light packer, although there are some items he would never travel without, such as cologne, a pair of sneakers, and his music.

READ MORE | Executive Travel: Nomzamo Mbatha’s Kenya

“I also carry my scripts all the time. Because of the long flights, I can get tired of watching a movie, I can get tired of listening to music, so the next best thing is to get into my script and get a head start.”

He has been to Dubai before, but only transiting the airport connecting to another flight, so this was his first official trip into the glistening city.

“Dubai is everything that people say it is,” he says. “We went to the mall. It was crazy! I’ve never seen anything like it before. [The Dubai Mall] has a full-on aquarium inside. In the middle of the center, there’s like this huge fish tank. It’s crazy! That was probably the highlight of my visit.”

The actor was also intrigued by the city’s architecture and skyscrapers.  

“I’m actually very huge on architecture. It’s actually something I wanted to study. Their engineering is absolutely insane. The way they’ve built this place and the designs – it’s luxury, one after the other. We drove for hours admiring the architecture because I’m such a nerd when it comes to that. I love it.”

Dubai has a sizeable African expatriate community, and no dearth of African culture. As a musician, NaaqMusiQ had been invited to the city.

“Africans that have immigrated to Dubai request their favorite African artist to come over so that they’re still connected to Africa and home. The nice thing about that is, as much as it is our people that have invited us there to perform, they have influenced people from there [Dubai] and other parts of the country [UAE] to come and listen to our music.

“Because they’ve become residents there, they have friendships where they introduce African music to the people of Dubai. So when we went there, there were quite a lot of people, even though some couldn’t sing along, there were a lot of people who went crazy when my song [Ntombi] played.”

During his time there, NaakMusiQ was also taken to restaurants serving African food. This came as somewhat of a surprise for the actor that the Arab city boasted a range of eateries specializing in African cuisine.

“We had a lot of Kenyan food that I hadn’t tasted before, which was really nice. They’ve got Tanzanian food, they’ve got South African food, Zambian food; it’s just a whole African experience there. And they do well actually.”

READ MORE | Executive Travel: JJ Schoeman’s Prague

While NaakMusiQ didn’t interact with the natives of Dubai, he did get a sense of what they are like. The hustle and bustle of the city left him greatly motivated.

“Everyone in Dubai is there to work. Everyone is there to hustle. People think that Dubai is this big, fun place, which it can be, but even people from there aren’t out partying every night. It’s people from the countries that are visiting that are out partying. Everyone else is really working. Some people are so hectic when it comes to business and money that they don’t have a life outside of their work.

“When they do have nights off, they choose to be at home or to put in extra hours working. It just made me want to work harder. That is the impact… Everyone there wants to do better. The standards there are incredibly high. What we would consider as good here is probably entry-level there,” says the hit-maker who now plans to return to Dubai wealthier and with more cash to splurge.

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