COVID-19: Nigerian entertainers face hard times
•Music concerts, foreign shows cancelled •Olamide, Asa, Davido, Wizkid express regrets
As the world continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic that has prompted many countries and business owners among others to take unprecedented measures that could stave off a global health crisis, some of Nigerian music stars who had lined up musical concerts in different parts of Europe are beginning to count their losses.
With many countries across Europe, Asia and African continent already banning public gatherings and enforcing social distancing as the death toll keeps rising globally, a large number of Nigerian musicians have been forced to postpone their multi-million naira concerts and tours as they return to Nigeria till the ban is lifted.
From Davido to Wizkid, it is tale of disappointment from their camps as they lamented the countrywide lockdown in many cities across Europe. Davido who cancelled his Good Time Tour has returned to the country while Wizkid is expected back any moment from now.
For some of their counterparts who are currently in Nigeria, they may equally be facing similar fate with some states already putting measures in place that would discourage public gatherings which would no doubt leave many musicians in bad shape financially.
On Friday, learnt that some entertainers, especially musicians and event hosts were already making refunds running into millions of naira as appearance fees they were paid weeks back before the virus took a disturbing dimension.
A popular musician and performer who doesn’t want his name mentioned said many entertainers may run into problems if this trend is not discontinued, adding that “This is what the Yoruba people would call wahala (trouble). I have had to refund some money in the last few days because I don’t want anyone to start dragging my name on social media. I am sure some of my colleagues are also doing same.”
Lagos State has already announced that it would not condone any public gathering that exceeds 50 people, urging taking the lead while other states may soon join.
From Port Harcourt in Rivers State to Edo among other states, many public events have been cancelled and more are expected to be postponed in the coming weeks in the wake of the dramatic rise in the outbreak of the virus.
Comedy shows are also threatened with popular comedians whose shows had been fixed for Easter Sunday may be forced to shift their events. While some of the comedians are currently weighing their options as they await the decision of state governments where the shows would be held, a top comedian and event organiser who spoke with R said he had put all promotions on the event on hold until the coast seems clear.
Asked what he may be losing if the event is cancelled, the comedian said “I don’t think anyone should be talking about what to lose now but safety of the people coming to the event. Whatever one loses can never be compared to the lives of the people.”
Sharing his thoughts on the virus, rapper and record label boss, Olamide told his fans that the novel coronavirus is real and advised them to take precautions against it.
The 31-year-old said this on Instagram on Friday when he shared a picture of himself in an aircraft wearing an outfit similar to a hazmat suit.
The Lagos-born rapper wrote:“Coronavirus. shit is real…stay safe out there everyone.”
Also announcing the postponement of the Lucid Tour dates in March, April and June, Asa expressed regrets, saying “due to the developing Covid-19 situation, and for your health and safety, I am sad to announce that I will be rescheduling my shows in London on March 29, in Lagos on April 11 and in Abuja April 13. All purchased tickets will be duly refunded and a new date will be announced as soon as possible. Please follow all health and safety precautions as advised. All my love.”
Super star Dj, DJ Neptune said “COVIDー19 has humbled everyone. My gig in Port Harcourt tomorrow cancelled, a wedding for Saturday too cancelled. Money lost but oh well my safety and that of everyone involved comes first. We shall overcome this.”