Arts Entertainments

The physically disabled in the Nigerian entertainment industry

The late Ray Charles had lost his sight at the age of seven and his younger brother, two years earlier. The world in which he was once seen and enjoyed his beauty and serenity had turned dark and hazy. Facing hardships and seemingly insurmountable mountains as he weary traveled the road of life, he found comfort in music that turned out to be an escape route through which the late Ray Charles triumphantly walked to stardom. Such was the life of this great artist (albeit blind), who played the piano with skill that in 2004 “RAY”, a biographical film starring Jamie Foxx and directed by Taylor Hackford, was released. Our parents would certainly have a nostalgic feeling, reliving hit songs like “I got a woman”, “Georgia”, “Hit the Road Jack”, among others and with a dozen Grammy Awards and others along with groundbreaking achievements recorded in their Profile. Ray Charles, who rose to glory on June 10, 2004, was a true legend.

“This track is so delicious, I’m going the way of Cobilicious” was the intro to the rap lyrics that Cobhams Asuquo repeated on Dekunle Fuji’s hit track “No Lele”, although many Nigerians were unaware of his ‘zero vision state’. His popularity skyrocketed among the populace when he performed the beautiful thought provoking chorus on the song “Lagi Mo” (The Roof Top MCs) which saw the song reach the number one spot on some Nigerian chart shows. He won the 2007 HIP Hop World Awards in the “Producer of the Year” category, increasing the number of statuettes he had already received. He is currently one of the most sought-after producers in the music industry, making guest appearances on television shows and reality shows (Project Fame West Africa, season 1) along with requesting his services that extends to corporate bodies, banks ( Sky Bank’s advertisement with the song Akuna matata)

The icy hands of death nearly took Yinka Ayefele in 1999 when he was involved in a car accident. The shock affected his spinal cord and he was sentenced to life in a wheelchair. Through the fiery trials and the end of the pity party, he was brave enough to put the ordeal behind him and gush like water from a rock to quench our thirst with a refreshingly refreshing evangelical flavor. Fame, fortune, local and international awards have voluntarily made their way into his life.

The Nigerian music scene can boast of this duo who have triumphed on their stage, but the same can be said of the film industry. We have seen roles for the physically disabled (visually impaired / lame) played by non-disabled actors in the best possible way, but wouldn’t it come as a surprise to millions of moviegoers if people with medically proven and physical disabilities naturally perform such acts? roles assigned to their healthy counterparts. Who says there are not talented among them whose acting skills cannot be polished? After all, not all A-list actors studied theater arts or attended specialized schools to harness such talents.

There are many talented people with physical disabilities who rot simply because no one has dared to give them a chance. After all the scripts can be converted into Braille letters for them to read, at least we know that their sense of hearing is more functional than that of the peer who sees at first glance. A host of reality TV shows have hit screens in recent years (predominantly in the entertainment sector) with new ones popping up day by day, such as Gulder Ultimate search, AMBO, Next movie star, The Intern, Maltina Family dance all, Star Quest, Soccer with Fash, The Twelve Ambassadors, Big Brother Nigeria, African Apprentice, West African Idols, Nokia First Chance, West African Fame Project.

No reality shows have been made for people with physical disabilities, probably due to fear of not getting sponsors (who are focused on making a profit on their investments), or fear of outright rejection by the many viewers. Who says that a reality show in which the physically disabled can function cannot be conceived and given birth, it is about ingenuity and who can say if such a reality show can end up being the best among all, nothing is impossible !

No one chooses to be born with a disability, a microscopic percentage touches topsoil with a disability, while a dominant proportion can be attributed to ‘neglect of man, accidents and in some cases’ remotely controlled African incidents. Stevie Wonder and the late Ray Charles had the opportunity to clinch their tickets to stardom, which they did gratefully, simply because someone believed in them and created opportunities for them to show the world what they had. Let us help the physically disabled to live their dreams in Nigeria, because without an iota of doubt, disability ability!

See you later … [email protected]

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