Sierra Leone: Entertainment Industry Gears Up for Progress

The Ministry of Youth Affairs Tuesday brought together various stars in the entertainment industry to a dialogue forum in a bid to chart the way forward in reviving the industry and making it outstanding in the West Africa sub-region.

Speaking during the event, hosted at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Hall in Freetown, legendary musician Jimmy Bangura aka Jimmy B, said entertainment was a profession that should be respected and embraced by all and sundry, adding that he believes that a changing dynamics in the industry was very necessary and timely.

He said the entertainment industry had been lagging behind in terms of development because those involved in it have not been united.

"We would have been far ahead in terms of development had we been that serious and united. Music is a business and you should take your ego aside. Let us move from our cocoon and respect ourselves," he urged.

He underscored the need for musicians to respect disk jockeys, stating that "Our music industry had been crippling because we don't respect the DJs."

Speaking also, Dr. Julius Spencer, who is also active in the entertainment industry, urged the need for a paradigm shift from entertainment to creative industry.

"We should not regard ourselves as entertainers but creative people," he said.

He urged the need for government to create the enabling environment for the creative industry to strive and make more money, by reviving the Copyright Act.

"We should make sure that the Copyright Act is active so that the Arts would make more money," he urged.

Dr. Spencer further underscored the need for training of interested parties in various arts and called on the Ministry of Youth Affairs to set up a committee that would look into several issues that have been bedeviling the creative industry.

Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, Luseine Kallon, said music and performing art are very important sectors, and if managed well could generate revenue for government, provide jobs for youth and market the country's tourism to investors.

"Music is a powerful means of connecting people. It bridges language and cultural divides. And music is a vehicle for national identity," he said.

He stated that the musical environment was expected to generate rich cultural, social and economic benefits for the people, but this is missing.

"You will all agree with me that entertainment industry is both revenue generation and job creation sector. It is also responsible for shaping our views about the society we live in and the way we discuss politics and other national issues. My appeal to you all is to join us regulate the industry by shaping the thinking pattern of our musicians, our actors, our performing arts and our DJs who are key in the industry. Let us challenge them to compete with Ghana and Nigeria," he said.

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