Major 2023 highlights that set Nigeria’s entertainment on global stage

By Abimbola Mohammed

It’s no doubt that the Nigerian entertainment industry has been growing bigger and better in recent times. It is also contributing significantly to growth of the economy as it can stand shoulder to shoulder with any other sector in the country.

From music to movie to comedy and other aspects of entertainment, it’s been stories of success as practitioners in the sector positively put Nigeria on the global map.

The recent successes are in line with a report by PwC in 2017, which predicted that the Nigerian entertainment and media industry would be the fastest growing in the world in the next 5 years (2022) with CGAR OF 21.1%.

The New Year started on a good note for the Nollywood industry as Funke Akindele’s movie, “A Tribe Called Judah” hit N1 billion, making it the highest grossing Nollywood film ever.

The movie has been shown at selected ODEON Cinemas in the United Kingdom (Surrey Quays, Greenwich, Streatham, Manchester GN, Birmingham New Street, Lee Valley), according to Akindele in a post on her X page.

Here is some of the major events that made Nigeria’s entertainment industry tick in 2023:

Divine Ikubor, Afrobeats superstar popularly known as Rema, delivered a thrilling performance at the 2023 Ballon d’Or award. He gave an electrifying performance with his song “Calm Down” with so much style and swag in the presence of football stars all over the world.

In the same vein, Spotify, one of the leading music streaming platforms, honored Rema for his remarkable feat as his track “Calm Down” hit astounding 1 billion stream on the platform.

Nigerian Afropop singer and songwriter, Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, popularly known as Ayra Starr, said the Recording Academy of United States of America Grammy Award has considered one of her songs ‘Rush’ for this year’s Grammy. She announced this on her social media pages.

It would be recalled that Rush was one of the hit songs in her debut album called 19&Dangerous (Deluxe). The same song was certified Diamond winner in France by the national syndicate of phonographic publishing (SNEP) after it surpassed 5000,000 units in sales.

David Adeleke, award winning singer popularly known as Davido, performed at the 2023 Professional Footballer Associating (PFD) Award alongside notable guest artistes. He also received three Grammy nominations for the 2024 Grammy Awards. The nominations include Best Global Album for his latest album, “Timeless.” The other two nominations are for Best African Performance for his song “Unavailable” and Best Global Music Performance for his song “Feel.”

Asake, a Nigerian music star, sold out all the tickets for his first-ever concert at the O2 Arena, with a 20,000 seats capacity. This achievement raked in as much as N2.86billion for him.

Tickets to the event ranged in prices from £43 (about N43,000) to £143.85 (about N143,000) as of August 17, as reported by Stereoboard and Axs, the official ticket partner for O2 Arena. This means Asake might earn a revenue between £860,000 and £2,860,000; equivalent to N860 million to N2.86 billion. Tickets for Asake’s O2 Arena concert went on sale on May 12, 2023, and were swiftly snapped up, highlighting his soaring popularity not only in the UK but also on a global scale.

Nigerian comedian Josh2Funny appeared on the America’s Got Talent stage, where he showcased his unique comic skills. His creative act left the judges and the crowd in laughter.

He entertained the crowd on the AGT stage with a performance that began with an imaginative portrayal of himself as a “speed reader,” the “Fastest Reader in the World,” the “Fastest Rapper in the World,” and then as a “magician.”

Olamide and Asake also have received their first-ever Grammy nominations for their collaboration “Amapiano” in the category of Best African Music Performance. This is the first time that either of them has been nominated for a Grammy Award.

The collaboration between Olamide and Asake on “Amapiano” was a success, with the song topping the charts and becoming a popular anthem in Nigeria and other African countries.

Burna Boy made history again, having bagged four nominations for the 66th Grammy awards, billed to hold on February 4, 2024 at the Arena in Los Angeles.

Burna Boy, who was nominated in two categories, Best Global Music and Best Global Music Performance last year, this year, bagged four nominations for ‘Sitting On Top of the World’ (Best Melodic Rap), ‘I Told Them’ (Best Global Music Album), ‘Alone’ (Best Global Music Performance) and ‘City Boys’ (Best African Music Performance).

Burna Boy was first nominated for the award years ago in the Global Music Award category with his album and won Best Global Music Album for his song. ‘Twice As Tall”

Other Nigerian singers who grabbed at least one nomination included Tems, Asake, Ayra Starr and Olamide.

Three Nigerian football players and a goalkeeper were crowned winners of the CAF Player of The Year, CAF women player award and women’s goalkeeper award sweeping the men and women’s player of the year awards for Nigeria at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech, Morocco. The Super Falcons also won the Women’s National Team of the Year. Nnadozie beat Morocco’s Khadija El-Rmichi and South Africa’s Andile Olaminii to the coveted award. This win is history in the making as this marks the first time one country will produce winners of both awards.

Temilade Openiyi known in showbiz circles as Tems earned her first Grammy award for her contribution to Future’s hit single ‘Wait For U’. Tems’ vocals were sampled on the single that also features Canadian megastar rapper Drake.

The award was added to her list of accomplishments following her Africa Future awards win and her Oscar nomination.

A Nollywood movie “Malaika”, produced byToyin Abraham, gained a whopping sum of 143 million naira in 10 days at the box office. The movie featuring notable celebrities such as Abike sugar, Muyiwa Ademola, Ibrahim Chatta, Emeka Ike and other notable stars hit the cinemas on the 22nd of December, 2023.

In just 10 days after its debut Malaika has now emerged as the second highest grossing Nollywood film in 2023.

Nigeria’s box office ended on a high note in December 2023, grossing N1.65 billion with ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ alongside three titles contributing 79% of the revenue.

The announcement made by the Nigerian box office via X (Twitter) showed that Akindele’s movie alongside the other three titles: Aquaman, Malaika, and Ada Omo Daddy released a few weeks before Christmas contributed to the bulk of the cinema box office earnings.


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