Africa’s star shines in Lagos

2013-03-10 10:00

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If you are not convinced that Africa is the new cool, you obviously weren’t at the main banquet room of the Eko Expo Centre in Lagos on Friday night.

It was here that the continent’s entertainment crème del a crème gathered for a night of fun and adulation.

African heavyweights in music, film, arts and entertainment crammed into the grand reception room for a pre-awards cocktail dinner of the inaugural Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.

The excitement was palpable as stars hugged, kissed and made plans for future projects.

Actor and director Akin Omotoso could be heard making plans for a 6am basketball game with another film bigwig.

He said: “This is how I de-stress. The awards show is a big deal, so I need to be relaxed before everything gets crazy.”

Omotoso’s film, Man on the Ground, which is based on one of the first victims of the South African xenophobic attacks in 2008, was one of the main nominations of the evening.

At Friday night’s dinner, dashikis were mixed with suits, cocktail dresses competed with full traditional regalia and the music was a heady mix of R&B, West African drum beats and soothing soul.

The guests were kept on their feet by the naughty love songs of Nigeria’s Praiz, while Nigeria’s Afro-soul diva Waje blew everyone away with her powerful voice.

“This is a fantastic night. Africa is doing it for herself,” declared Ghanaian superstar actor Majid Michael.

“We are growing as an industry and showing that we don’t have to rely on America or the UK to make it big,” he added.

Dressed in an all-white dashiki ensemble, Michael was irresistible to the ladies as one after the other posed for pictures with him, proving that his playboy reputation extends beyond the celluloid.

One lady in particular, Big Brother Africa winner Karen Igho, stayed very close to the sexy Michael while affirming his sentiments.

“Oh yeah, we are definitely reaching the climax now. ‘We are very close to Hollywood. “I really believe that,” she purred.

Among those who flew the African entertainment industry flag high were speakers Biola Alabi, who is M-Net Africa’s MD; John Ugbe, Multichoice Nigeria’s MD; and guest of honour Olusegun Aganga, Nigeria’s federal minister of trade and investment.

Big Brother Africa host IK Osakioduwa, who presented the main awards alongside StarGist leading lady Vimbai Mutinhiri, could hardly contain his emotions.

“We are finally realising how beautiful we are.

“We are realising that we don’t need to go anywhere to get that recognition.

“We are doing it for ourselves here and we are loving being ourselves,” said Osakioduwa.

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