By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Tolu Oniru-Demuren, widely known as ‘Toolz’, has one of the most popular voices on Nigerian airwaves. As a multi-award winning presenter, talk show host and assistant director of programmes at Beat FM, she is already a media mogul. Not the least insecure about her figure, she has carved a niche for herself in the broadcast industry, while also serving as an inspiration for women all over world – especially curvy ladies.
With confidence and style that seem to flow from her scalp to her toenails, Toolz has consistently shared personal stories about her tough experiences before attaining her present height, a journey that has spurred her to educate and push others to find confidence and pride in themselves.
Since her return to Nigeria in 2009, Toolz has consistently dominated news headlines and social media trends, with conversations either covering her popular weekly radio show ‘Midday Show with Toolz’ or new photos on her social media pages – generating controversy among critics about her body shape and weight.
Based on her personal experience with body image and finding self-esteem, the media personality and business woman has decided on a bold move – to launch an inspirational brand for plus-size women trying to make a statement. As a plus-size celebrity, she found her way to wide recognition and acceptance through creativity, resilience and boldness.
In Nigeria, plus-size ladies have psychologically ostracized and consistently attacked, becoming subject of discourse among health and well-being experts on how to change the perception about body weight. Growing into confident ‘self’, Toolz stands out in any environment due to her self-confidence and strong ambition.
This, more than anything, is the message that she intends to share with the new brand – something to change the lives of plus-size women. A brand that truly defines, represents and captures every curvy woman’s beauty, both inside and out.
I Wanted to Smash Bottle on Fathia Balogun’s Head—Remi Surutu
**I Don’t Regret Slapping in Public
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
It came as a rude shock to fans of the movie industry in Nigeria recently when news emerged that two of the leading actresses engaged in a shameful public display.
How it happened
It was the burial of the father of a socialite, Mr Bamidele Omosehin, in Lagos, with Remi Surutu, Fathia Balogun and others in attendance.
While the party was going and the guests were marrying, Remi Surutu stood up from her table and went straight to where Fathia was sitting with others. She gave her colleague an unprovoked slapped, which attracted the attention of others.
It took the prompt intervention of others around to stop what would have been an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Remi explains the reason for her action
Speaking with City People in an interview about why she fought Fathia, who she acknowledged once live with her at her Magodo residence, Remi said she was angry that her former friend could be gossiping her in the industry.
Hear what she said
“My fight with Fathia Williams started when I began hearing all manner of jargons, she was saying about me. I heard she’s been going about running me down in the presence of many of our colleagues and movie producers. She’s messing up big time and somebody needed to put her in a place where she belongs.
“This is the person I took in as a sister. We were very close when she joined the industry. I can say it boldly that I was instrumental to her relationship with Saidi Balogun then. They were both living with me in Magodo. I had to send them out because they always fight, and they almost injured my mum.
“I don’t know why she suddenly grew that hatred for me and started running me down. To date, I still cannot say what I’ve done to deserve that from her. There are so many other things she did that I can’t say here.
“Faithia is full of herself, probably because they used to deceive her, by calling her the Queen of all the Actresses, Pelu awon tani (with who?).
“I decided to confront her and deal with her at that event because somebody needed to call her to order and God saved her that day and thank God for the intervention of other colleagues around. I told her if you move closer to me, I will break a bottle on your head.
“When people started calling us to settle it amicably, I told them I am not ready to settle anything with her and I don’t feel remorseful for attacking her. I have no regret at all, she’s really messing up and she needed to be put in her place.”
SoundCloud Restructures Artistes’ Royalty Payments System
By Ahmed Rahma
An online audio distribution platform and music sharing website, SoundCloud, has declared on Tuesday that it will become the first streaming service to start directing subscribers’ fees only to the artists they listen to, a move welcomed by musicians campaigning for fairer pay.
Unlike other streaming services like Spotify, Deezer and Apple, which put royalty payments into one big pot and dish them out based on which artists have the most global plays, the company based in Germany is set to direct royalties due from each subscriber-only to the artists they stream from April 1.
Many artists and unions stated that the system used by other music apps is grossly unfair, giving a huge slice of the pie to mega-stars like Drake and Ariana Grande, and leaving almost nothing for musicians further down the pecking order which also means that many fans of more niche artists and genres fund music they never actually listen to.
“Many in the industry have wanted this for years. We are excited to be the ones to bring this to market to better support independent artists,” said Michael Weissman, SoundCloud’s chief executive officer, in a statement.
The company said the new payment system is known as “fan-powered royalties” or “user-centric model” and would empower listeners and encourage greater diversity in musical styles.
“Artists are now better equipped to grow their careers by forging deeper connections with their most dedicated fans,” the statement said.
“Fans can directly influence how their favourite artists are paid,” it added.
Major record labels are thought to have resisted such a move, in part because the current system allows them to generate massive profits through a relatively small number of huge stars.
A study by France’s Centre National de la Musique earlier this year found that 10 per cent of all revenues from Spotify and Deezer go to just 10 artists at the top.
That has allowed the major labels to amass record revenues over the past year, just as most musicians were thrown into crisis by the cancellation of live tours due to the pandemic.
Earlier this year, label bosses told a British parliamentary commission investigating the streaming economy that it may be too complicated for platforms to shift to fan-based royalty payments.
But SoundCloud said this was exactly wrong that its computing calculations took just 20 minutes under the new model, compared with 23 hours under the old one.
“The most important takeaway from SoundCloud’s data is that none of the previous modelling has been accurate, that when you actually run a user-centric system, the rewards to artists that have an audience are significantly improved,” said Crispin Hunt, chair of the British Ivors Academy, which has been running a campaign to “fix streaming”.
“It proves the distortion in value that the existing model delivers,” he said.
Spotify to Commence Operations in Nigeria, Others
A Swedish audio streaming and media services provider, Spotify, has announced its intention to commence business operations in Nigeria, some African countries and others in the coming days.
To ensure usability in all of these new markets, the company also officially added support for 36 new languages to its platform, including Romanian, Hindi and Swahili. This means the platform now supports more than 60 languages in total.
Spotify explained that it was expanding its services to many Africam nations because these areas represent more than one billion potential new listeners.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to building a truly borderless audio ecosystem— connecting creators, listeners, and content—Spotify is embarking on a sweeping expansion that will introduce the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service available to more than a billion people in 80+ new markets around the world, and add 36 languages to our platform.
“These moves represent Spotify’s broadest market expansion to date,” the statement on the official website read.
According to Spotify, its full global music catalogue will be available in each of the new markets and the entire podcast catalogue will be available in the majority of them.
In each new market, “We will work with local creators and partners to expand our music offerings and deliver a Spotify experience that meets the unique needs of each market.”
Spotify offers digital copyright restricted recorded music and podcasts including more than 70 million songs, from record labels and media companies. As a freemium service, basic features are free with advertisements and limited control, while additional features, such as offline listening and commercial-free listening, are offered via paid subscriptions.
Users can search for music based on artist, album, or genre, and can create, edit, and share playlists on the platform.
Disney Offers Customers More Viewing Options
By Ahmed Rahma
Walt Disney is set to introduce a new brand, Star, which will feature more viewing options for adults and a higher price for everyone using the Disney+ service.
With the new programming, subscribers will be able to watch more shows from the world’s largest entertainment company, including the ABC drama Grey’s Anatomy, FX’s biker series Sons of Anarchy and Hulu’s Love, Victor, about a teen coming to terms with his sexual orientation.
There will also be R-rated movies, such as the Queen Anne biopic The Favourite and Marvel’s Deadpool 2, which moms and dads can wall off from kids by activating parental controls, Bloomberg reported.
According to the report, the price for Disney+ will increase to €8.99 ($10.87) a month from €6.99 due to the development.
The new Star brand is also being introduced in Canada, Australia and Singapore as a sixth “tile” on the Disney+ home screen, alongside Marvel, Pixar and other labels.
Disney+ has been a runaway success, garnering nearly 95 million subscribers globally.
The challenge now, as the Star launch underscores, is to grow beyond the current customer base of families with young children and adults who love Star Wars and Marvel.
In Europe, the problem is magnified because consumers in some countries don’t have a history of paying for TV. Local streaming rivals are also starting to emerge, including Sky’s Now TV in the U.K., Vivendi SA’s Canal+ Series in France and Nordic Entertainment Group AB’s Viaplay.
“A lot of consumers are looking for relatively low-cost entertainment,” said Richard Broughton, research director at London’s Ampere Analysis.
“Their incomes have been impacted by the pandemic. Now is the time to grab as many consumers as possible,” he added.
Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are the leaders in European streaming, and they’ve been active there much longer.
Disney+, at 14 million subscribers, trails Netflix’s 63.5 million, Amazon’s 43.2 million and Apple TV’s 14.8 million, according to Ampere. Disney doesn’t break out its numbers in the region.
The Star launch illustrates Disney’s differing approach to different markets. In India, a Disney+ Hotstar product featuring programs for grown-ups and live sports is already available.
In June, Disney will introduce Star as a stand-alone service in Latin America, with live sports. It will be bundled with Disney+ at a discounted price of $9 a month.
Disney has also announced 10 original series in the works for Star in Europe, a move that appeases countries with local content requirements, as well as consumers eager to see programs that relate to them.
According to the principal analyst at Digital TV Research in London, Simon Murray, ultimately, a library of programs such as espionage series 24 and domestic drama Desperate Housewives may prove a lure for 20- and 30-something consumers who haven’t signed up for Disney+ already.
“There’s quite a war going on there,” but nobody is losing subscribers,” he said.
Fabulous Bump NG Unveils Pregnancy Affirmations Journal
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A homegrown maternity fashion brand, Fabulous Bump NG, has released a new publication called the Pregnancy Affirmations Journal.
The Fabulous Bump NG was established in 2018 out of the need to see more pregnant women and nursing mums slay whilst their buns cook in the oven and even after delivery.
According to the founder of the brand, Ms Adetoun Jegede, the newest baby, Pregnancy Affirmations Journal, a 40-week power-packed journal, will assist readers with almost everything about pregnancy.
She said the book is armed with carefully curated words of encouragement and insight to help mums-to-be to stay encouraged and uplifted on their journey to childbirth, adding that an audio version filled with positive affirmations will also be available.
It was further disclosed that each chapter will have sections for ladies to fill in their pesky cravings, to their symptoms and weekly experiences.
In addition, mums-to-be will have a dedicated spot in the book to pour out their hearts in a love letter to their little one at the end of each trimester as well as share special milestones.
Mums can share the journals when their little ones have grown up and reminisce on what their pregnancy was like, a statement issued on Friday stated.
“I produced this journal with the sole aim of helping pregnant women create the world they want to have during their pregnancy as well as project what they want to see in their children.
“I strongly believe there is power in the tongue, life and death lie in it, so as they document their journeys they breathe life into the experience,” Ms Jegede noted.
She assured that readers, especially the moms-to-be, will feel support, encouragement, overwhelmed with love, boldness and strength to keep pushing through and a magical connection with their bundle of joy.
It was disclosed that the book goes N5,000 and can be purchased online through @fabulousbumpng with worldwide delivery. The audio version is expected to be available on all streaming platforms.
FG, CBN Sign MoU to Revamp National Theatre
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Revamping and Restoration of the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, has been signed.
The deal was signed on Sunday, February 14, 2021, between the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Bankers Committee.
This followed the approval of the Federal Executive Committee (FEC) on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, for the transformation of the national asset built for the Festac 77.
Before the signing of the deal today in Lagos, on July 12, 2020, the federal government officially handed over the National Theatre to the CBN and Bankers Committee repairs.
It was gathered that MoU signing and award of contract for the project witnessed on Sunday by the Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State; the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed; the Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Mr Sunday Dare and the Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
Others present were the CEO of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe; the General Manager/CEO of National Theatre, Prof Sunday Ododo; the Director of Legal at the Ministry of Information and Culture, Mr Nnanna Ibom, amongst others.
The National Theatre, when completed, would be one of the best event centres in Africa. It will also have the Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre (LC&EC), which will comprise four hubs: films, music, information technology and fashion.
Speaking at the signing ceremony today, the Minister of Information and Culture assured that there would not be a single job loss, rather, the project would create no fewer than 10,000 direct jobs.
In his remarks, the CBN Governor disclosed that the renovation of the National Theatre would take 15 months to complete, assuring that the edifice would be one Nigerians would be proud of.
Business Post reports that the construction of the National Theatre was started by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon and completed during the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976 ahead of the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977.
The facility a 5,000-seater main hall with a collapsible stage and two capacity cinema halls, all of which are equipped with facilities for simultaneous translation of 8 languages; among others. But for many years, the National Theatre was abandoned and left to rot away.
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