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At Google For Nigeria’scultural Night,YouTube Celebrates Africa

• Announces Initiative To Support Emerging Nigerian Artistes
By Eniola Daniel
ICE group performing during the event.
       Photo: Eniola Daniel
IT was a celebration of Nigerian culture at this year’s Google For Nigeria’scultural night, which held recently at the Podium, Lekki, Lagos.
Aside from cultural displaysfrom Edo, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Tiv and Ibibio lingual groups, some creative artistes were recognised at the event.
For years, YouTube has played an essential role in the discovery and development of African sound, exporting African music to listeners worldwide. It has brought so many people closer to Africa, opening up its music, culture and dance for global appreciation. 
Of the top 25 most-watched Sub-Saharan African artistes on YouTube, more than 70 per cent of their views come from outside of Africa. 
From Yemi Alade’sJohnny,which has 100 million views to Beyonce’sThe Lion King,featuring African artistes such as,Mr.Eazi, Tiwa Savage and Wizkid, there’s no doubt that global audiences are dancing to African beat and rhythm. Alade was also given an award for her efforts on YouTube platform.Shewas presented with Gold Play Buttons for crossing one million subscribers mark and TeniolaApatagot the Silver Play Buttons for reaching 100,000 subscribers.
  In June, the channel presented Silver Play Button awards to D'banj and 2Baba at YouTube Week in Lagos for their channels’ subscriber growth.
The channel also announced its support for Nigeria talent. In the immediate, it is teaming up withMr.Eazi and the emPawa Africa Initiative to build the craft, increase the fan-base and connect 10 emerging artistes to the world through its platform.
  According to YouTube, the contribution will enable the artistes to shoot videos, record music and get mentored. So far, emPawa has supported 22 Nigerian artistes and 100 artistes in total across 11 African countries.
YouTube has a long-standing commitment to Nigerian and African artistes, creators and other players from Burna Boy to Mr Eazi and British-Nigerian artisteMaleek Berry, who is part of YouTube’sArtistes Development Programme, Foundry. 
The culture night was attended by renowned American pop star, AliauneDamalaBadara, popularly known as Akon, the deputy governor of Lagos State,Dr. KadriObafemiHamzat;YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, among others.
Speaking with The Guardian, YouTube Content Partnership Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, AddyAwofisayo, said, “we visited the MavinsCrew, Chocolate City, Dbanj and others to listen to their musicand learn more about Nigerian music and the role YouTube could play in exporting Nigerian artistes globally such as, Mr.Eazi who did Lagos to London.
  “This is the third year of Google For Nigeria and this year is specifically crafted to include members of the YouTube music team who are in town to immerse themselves in Afro beat music and to make the cultural night a big part of music. We wanted to showcase art, culture  and music and that is why we have them under the same roof. We are committed to supporting and exporting Nigerian artistes. We are not just interested in promoting the big artistes but also emerging talents through emPawa to continue to strengthen their craft.”
On his part, the Lagos State deputy governor said in order to eradicate piracy and ensure that artistes and creative arts practitioners reap from their efforts, the Lagos State government was ready to curb piracy in the state.
Hamzat declared, “ these creative guys need to earn more from their work because it is their work. So, we must prevent people stealing their work. So we need to domesticate copy write law in Lagos. The moment we do that, the rest of the nation will catch up.”
While commending the board and management of Google on the revolutionary corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative geared towards promoting the cultural ideals of the country, he stated that Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration is strongly committed to the propagation, preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Lagos State, adding that a clear demonstration of this resolve was the inclusion of the entertainment and tourism sector in his development agenda.

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