The emerging Sierra Leone arts and entertainment industry is not getting many returns compared to our counterparts in Nigeria, Ghana or even neighbouring Guinea. Sierra Leone has talent in abundance but what is lacking are the structures. There should be the required infrastructure and the right policies put in place for the industry to grow.
Successive governments have been using artists for their selfish interests. Politicians have been using musicians and filmmakers to promote their agenda during electioneering periods and even after. What they normally do is to gather a few artists, induce them with the almighty dollar just to promote their selfish agenda.
Our artists should realize that no entertainment industry has succeeded without the right policies, structures and infrastructure in place. Artists should demand more from the Government instead of receiving ‘hand-outs.’
Our governments should be seen and encouraged to imitate positive strides made by their counterparts in other countries to promote the arts. Take the case of Nigeria for instance during the tenure of the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan. To entice growth of the industry, he dished out the whopping sum of $200m (Two Hundred Million Dollars) in grant to the motion Picture of Nigeria under the Project Act Nollywood to build the capacity of filmmakers. He also established proper distribution platforms plus better policies to advance the industry.
It’s a shame to this day and age in Sierra Leone that the country does not have a single movie theatre, talk less of a performing arts centre. There are no standard studios for the production of music and no distribution channel. The copyright policy is yet to be implemented.
Artists should put their egos aside, come together and present their case with one voice to bring governments to enhance growth in the industry, not to pamper spraying of largess in the name of ‘buying over’ artists to keep their praise singing alive.