On Monday 26th October 2020, the media team of Ambassador Anthony Navo Junior released a statement calling for calm, partnership and unity in the entertainment industry.
This followed rising tension within the camps of promoters of two ongoing reality TV shows in Freetown. Navo’s African Young Voices or AYV’s Media Empire is collaborating with Africell Mobile network in Housemates that the AYV is giving live coverage and broadcast; while Zainab Sheriff (Zed Zee) and Orange Mobile Company are staging Big Sister Salone that is given live relay by the national broadcaster, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
With the two mobile telecom providers’ involvement in the two shows that have been called to order at the same time having and depending on the same audience; and with Navo on the brink on one side, the stake gets sturdy, provoking tension. But it should not be an issue of ‘the clash of the titans’ where each is suspicious of each other, bringing superiority and inferiority complexes at play.
Hence, smelling the ‘divisionist’ rat in the entertainment industry, Navo, the Youth and Peace Ambassador ensemble, says it’s time to reduce the tension. Therefore his media team released this statement in order to reduce the tension and see how best they clear the mess and move forward.
The statement, which gave a brief background of the promoter and how he, Junior Navo, has empowered and inspired young people and has partnered with several organizations like SLAJ and Zed Zee in that quest, called for unity and partnership in the entertainment industry.
Below is the message from Junior Navo as brought to the public: “We have a small population of a little over 7 million people that is less than the estimated number of people in the entertainment industry in Nigeria. This means all of us who work in the entertainment industry must see ourselves belonging to a family. We may not always see things the same way or believe in the same ideals but we must always support one another to promote talents. We must promote healthy competition because it should provide a choice for the public. Whether in music, filming or reality TV shows, healthy competition also helps us to learn how we can transform the entertainment industry by improving quality and service for the public.
At AYV Media Empire, we are not in competition with anyone because it is our hope that other television stations will give equal opportunities to entertainment companies and artists to promote their shows and programmes. Just as we work hard to succeed as a media and entertainment company, we also want other entertainment companies to succeed because if they do it is better for Sierra Leone and creates more opportunities for young people.
Also, for our fans who promote artists or shows against each other, you can still do so by engaging in civil, courteous and constructive dialogue or conversations. Entertainment is not a life or death matter rather it is about entertaining the people in an atmosphere of fun, love and peace. So as fans and supporters you can all make a promise to stop abusing one another and stop the unnecessary and unhealthy competition. Let us spread love and not hate; let us spread unity and not disunity; let us promote healthy competition and not sabotage.
For members of the public, whether you watch two shows on different television sets or one show on your television set and the other on your mobile phone, you must be proud that they are both Sierra Leonean shows promoting Sierra Leonean talents. Ambassador Anthony Navo Jr. and AYV Media Empire remain committed to partnering with other institutions and we want to extend our best wishes to the “Big sister – Season 2 and other entertainment shows. We only have one Sierra Leone.”
What Navo is saying is that the population of Sierra Leone is too small for us to see ourselves as enemies in the entertainment industry. We only need to see ourselves as a family.
The brazen and frank talk came as an antidote to fans supporting the two shows, not least those coming from very big names in the entertainment industry. They will carry it as a harbinger of peace and tolerance in the industry.
However, since the release was made public, no response from Zed Zee has been heard yet. CEO Zainab Sheriff’s comments are awaited on social media but for now, there has been no official response.
By Ishmael Daddys Banguraby