Nigerian producer Michael Collins Ajereh (popularly known as Don Jazzy) has been invited to a workshop taking place in southern African country Zimbabwe. Slated to start on Thursday 21 April, the workshop is tagged, ‘Africa Unite through Entertainment.’
In heading to Zimbabwe, the producer will be following in the footsteps of Aliko Dangote, widely considered the world’s richest black man. Last year, the billionaire mogul was invited by Zimbabwe’s Josey Mahachi, who runs BrandMe Investments. Dangote and Don Jazzy have a relationship that became known after the businessman was revealed to be the one who reconciled Don Jazzy and rapper Olamide after a fallout broke out on social media after the 2015 Headies award ceremony.
Mahachi’s invitation to Don Jazzy, however, is a product of a different connection. Both are valuable individuals but with influence in particular demographics.
“The idea to do this came from the time that Dangote came to the country,” she told The Herald of Zimbabwe. “I realised that he was someone for the big people but I believe that we should never leave the youth out of anything that we do so I wanted to do something that is directly for the youth.”
Although generally aimed at the youths of Zimbabwe, Don Jazzy’s visit will be potentially of use to the country’s music industry as the producer of such hits as ‘Dorobucci’ and ‘Surulere’ will bring along an entourage, and a tour is factored into the programme of events.
Lee Gore, PR manager for BrandMe said, “There are many exciting activities lined up. Don Jazzy is bringing three of his top artistes. There will be a city tour and a video shoot. There are two days of workshops, one for musicians and another for producers.”
Part of the idea of the event is a replication of the vibrant music scene of Nigeria, which has contributed to the country’s economic growth. It has also boosted the country’s international profile as Nigerian pop stars are recognised across the continent. They have also worked with major western artists culminating in recent Wizkid and Drake collaborations—on the latter’s ‘One Dance’ and the former’s Ojuelegba. Nigeria’s other famous popstar Davido signed a deal with Sony and was profiled by American magazine Fader and reggae artist Patoranking has been signed by a Jamaican label.
“When you look at the Nigerian entertainment industry,” says Mahachi, “It is serious business and a big part of the economy. Why can we not do the same here? We have a lot of talent.”