This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Was Kardashian's Visit Worth the Buzz?

Photo: Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian

The answer to anyone who was at Dare Art-Alade's Love Like a Movie concert held in Lagos last week would seem obvious. To many guests, the only one amused by the blink-and-miss-it appearance of Kim Kardashian at the concert was the American celebrity herself who was, allegedly, paid $500,000, writes Lanre Odukoya

With high hopes, fans of the pregnant celebrity swarmed Eko Hotel, Lagos, to catch a glimpse of the brash reality television host. Her visit was one of the major highlights advertised as a fitting denouement for the Valentine's Day celebration. The other big headline act was Grammy Award-winning R&B singer, Maxwell.

While Maxwell's visit was greeted with sufficient enthusiasm, it paled nonetheless in comparison to the reaction that greeted reports that Kim Kadarshian would be making an appearance at Dare's concert.

And given that Kardashian would certainly neither act nor sing, it remained a mystery what the beautiful one would offer to wow them. She was in the country as co-host with Dare Art Alade - at least that was the impression the organisers created.

KK, the 32-year old celebutante is unarguably the most followed American female celebrity by Nigerians since the controversial sex (involving her ex-lover Ray J) tape leaked on the internet in 2006 which paid off after she was awarded a whopping $5 million by a court in the US. That singular development and her devil-may-care dress sense created in most Nigerians, a mental picture of the pretty socialite as just another sex symbol and an opportunist especially with her deliberate wreck of a 72-day old marriage to basketball player, Kris Humphries only to jump into the waiting arms of singer, Kanye West (whose baby she's currently carrying). Curiously, this was not strong enough to dissuade them from going to have an excitable moment with Kim.

Though a fulfilling talent as the highest-earning American reality TV show host, her divorce suffered monumental backlash from moralists in America.

Dare Art Alade may not have had a better option for commercial reasons at the time he was working on who's got the star power to pull the Nigerian crowd, but he must also have failed to ask himself a honest question: what really does Kardashian offer Nigerians beyond her presence?

All about Kim

A list of perception recalled here offer a glimpse of her personality:

President Barack Obama was overheard at a dinner in Washington DC saying, "Seriously guys, what am I doing here? I'm the President of the United States, and I'm opening for Jimmy Kimmel? Why am I telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian? What is she famous for, anyway?"

So, when she was tipped to be Nigeria's august guest for the celebration of Valentine's Day, a few observers remarked:

"The Kardashians have ridden to fame and fortune from where?" - Seun Toluyi from Lagos.

Ifeoma Joseph wondered that "if what we are celebrating on Valentine's Day is love, does Kim Kardashian symbolise that in any sense?"

"A whole lot of young people are inspired by her. And she's a lifestyle poster child. I think her visit means more to her fans than the showbiz community in general," said Bovi Ugboma, a comedian.

J. Martins, a professional musician said: "Well, the fellow bringing Kim Kardashian to Nigeria is my colleague, so I suppose he has his reasons which may include relevance. We all know what brought the Kardashians to fame and her many romance; so I don't know what we'll be teaching our young people having that character on a stage in Nigeria. Maybe he has tried to talk others into the deal and this was the best he could get, I don't know."

Dayo Odulaja, a journalist said: "As far as projections go, there are visible sparks of excitement since it became public knowledge that controversial model and reality star, Kim Kardashian, will make an appearance at the Love like a Movie event organised by Nigerian music star, Dare Art Alade. If the stunt had been pulled by a D'Banj, for instance; but coming from Darey, it was unexpected and funny enough. That adds to the excitement. In terms of indication, it means a lot to the young women who would like to be like Kim but lack the daring and controversial elements. On the other hand, it says you don't have to be a music star to earn mega bucks anymore; just be popular and it doesn't matter how."

Effort to get Dare Art Alade to speak on why he chose Kim Kardashian as co-host, the cost of engaging her, among other nagging questions, was abortive as he kept mum as at press time.

These were some of comments that preceded the actual visit. The show which kicked off with the red carpet moment which saw many guests loitering around the red carpet, apparently, in the hope their path will cross with Kardashian's if she sauntered into the venue any moment soon. Though the show did not commence way behind schedule as has become the norm, the strain of processing press tags erased whatever time may have been gained as journalists could not access the venue early enough and the press passes came in different variants (some with restricted access).

But before the show started, a glimpse of how much of Kim's fans had swarmed the venue, the regular ticket sold for N5,000 was already exhausted. The ATM vault close to the ticketing point at the Eko Hotel lobby became the saving grace to those desperate to be part of the show. Some had to cough out N30,000 for the VIP ticket while the Gold ticket was sold for N100,000. At last, the hall was half-full, we'd thought that the number of guests at the lobby would fill the hall to the brim, we weren't entirely right. But with time, it all changed.

Just a brief glimpse

Kardashian strutted the red carpet taking photographs with select Nigerian superstars like Tuface and Dare Art Alade, the host. Then she came to introduce the show amidst wild excitement. But no sooner had she done that than she literally disappeared after spending approximately fifty seconds on stage.

Things began to take shape as more guests stormed the hall, with the same hope that they'll find Kardashian on stage. It turned a mere wishful thought.

Darey practically monopolised the stage with his classic R&B renditions helped by some surreal acrobatic display and Nigerian dance queen, Kaffy, who in no small measure thrilled the waiting audience. From his songs to other great American R&B hits, Dare moved from one melody to the other. The stage backdrop was etched with graphics that highlighted Victorian romance.

Waje, the Nigerian singer was at her best in the duet that moved many to tears and thought Valentine's Day couldn't come better.

But even while the guests were still hopeful Kardashian who had been listed as co-host had already tweeted: "Thank you for the amazing time Nigeria. Can't wait to come back soon." And she went on Instagram to post a photo of herself waiting for the plane to take off.

Expectedly, the situation sparked some angry outburst from guests. "This girl must think we are fools in Nigeria," a guest, Taiwo Adedokun who came with his wife lamented. "How can she breeze in and breeze out before the show even climaxes at all? Most of us came to see her. It would be a different thing if we'd set our mind only to watching Dare Art Alade perform. This is too disappointing!"

Twitter rage

Of course, some Nigerians took to Twitter to voice their rage.

"Much ado over a female with little or no talent or skill apart from one boring s.e.x tape. "I don't see anything so special about this girl ooh!... I'd rather watch Nicki Minaj or Omotola or Nkiru than Kim K!!!"

Supported by First Bank, "in a bid to promote the arts and entertainment as a viable tool for driving national integration and family bonding," the concert with all its glitzy edge could be described as a brilliant idea that went awry.

In the words of Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, head, marketing and corporate communications First Bank of Nigeria Ltd: "At First Bank, we believe there is a link between family cohesion and socio-economic development. This explains why we are at the fore front of providing platforms and opportunities where family and friends can relaxed, get entertained and appreciate arts. Since the inception of our First@Arts, the special purpose vehicle through which First Bank supports arts, we have been able to promote various performances like the Umoja Concert, Sunmi Smart Cole Photography Exhibition, 5 Maids of Fadaka, Mad King of Ijudiya and the various carnivals at Calabar, Enugu and Benin. This year, we plan to take it to the next level and believe with this concert, the stage has already been set for a bigger outing."

It would be interesting to know what the organisation feels about the near anti-climax caused by Kim's cameo appearance, though.

The event was organized by Soul Muzik, a music production company which plans to use the power of music, entertainment and culture to contribute positively to the development of the country by empowering and uplifting a new generation of Nigerian youths.

The Love Like a Movie show was a Broadway style concert. The show flowed liked a story, told with the aid of dramatic skills, dance, acrobatics, dazzling lights and special effects.

The evening event which took place at the Expo center of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, drew the cream of Nigeria's showbiz world. It featured musical performances from artists such as Tuface Idibia, Waje, Banky W, Timi Dakolo, Tiwa Savage and the host Darey. It also included extreme theatre performances from an artistic production and performance team from Rome, Italy. They trilled the crowd with their special aerial acrobatics and stunts.

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