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How the entertainment industry is holding up amidst COVID-19 chaos

It’s halfway through April and there are no signals of upcoming concerts and award shows, which normally flood the entertainment industry’s calendar for subsequent months to come. Everything exciting has gone dead silent; nothing to step out for, nothing to generate red carpet headlines, nothing to cause press briefings, basically nothing to talk about (well, except for social media controversies and singles on release).  The industry is literally tanked on the outside by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mainstream events and award shows have had to postpone their initial scheduled date to a later one with less guarantee of the virus getting washed off by the time the new date sets in. A major headline concert such as Ghana Meets Naija for example in the normal times would have by now gotten the entire media landscape across the country scoring predictions on which particular act fits the headline slot and who doesn’t. The Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, which holds the largest crowd of all award shows in the country would have by now be done with its Koforidua slated nominees jam and in speed heading to the big night where all major stars
in the music fraternity come to play.

The effect of the virus is not only harming showbiz event houses, but also on artists in the habit of putting together their own concerts and album launches in and out of the country. Highly acclaimed dancehall artist Stonebwoy in a confirmation post on March 13 announced the postponement of his live in New York concert. King Promise on the other hand halted his ‘As Promised’ world tour, while Adina called off her charity concert ‘Ahaban Benefit Concert’.

In spite of the outdoor lockdown of the industry, both old and new key players are clamoring on the digital space now more than ever to keep the entertainment spirit alive. The likes of EL, Sister Deborah, Kofi Kinaata, Stonebwoy, Shatta Wale, Sarkodie and more are releasing singles on monetized platforms alongside the traditional go-to media stations for song promos.

The tried and tested style of selling music, social media has been well received by the public, who have returned the favour by indulging in social media challenges with the released songs, making them background musics for their quarantine work-out sessions, rap tests and freestyle deliveries on Snapchat, Tik Tok etc. It’s more or less like the industry is still the same as before on the platform.

Virtual concerts have also become a thing. ‘The Anticorona’ concert by Edem was first to happen on March 28, followed by the Easter Saturday ‘Faith Concert’ staged by Shatta Wale from his residence. Per numbers, the
latter pulled a whopping of 40,065 views and the former secured a total of 1,268 views on their respective YouTube channels. It should however be noted that these concerts were also streamed on their other social media

The Ministry of Communications Ghana in partnership with various media houses staged a COVID-19 Virtual Concert on Monday April 13, headlined by Shatta Wale and Kuami Eugene with supporting acts such as Diana Asamoah, Great Ampong, Fancy Gadam and many more.

With the best and good coming out from the music industry, Gollywood on the other hand records nothing much to brag about as the industry was already in a choppy state before the virus overshadowed any planned production. As at the time cinemas closed down in the country, only three films; ‘Aloe Vera’, ‘My Partner’s Enemy’ and ‘The Perfect Picture: 10 Years Later’ had received a national premiere. Our only source for great cinemas now is to log on streaming platforms for old takes or stick with our favourite television channels to catch up with either a latest or old

The only vibrant part of the movie industry (before the virus and now), Golden Movie Awards and Black Star International Film Festival are still in active form as both sides recently closed in on film submissions for

Amidst limited access available to promote and sell their craft, a barrel of them have taken up philanthropic acts by donating in cash and essential items to the less privileged and frontline health workers fighting the virus. Atop the list is Stonebwoy, Jackie Appiah, Gloria Osei – Sarfo, Edem, Shatta Wale, John Dumelo and others.

It might take a while for music and movie lovers to get back to the usual style of patronising their own, but until then, the efforts put in place by industry players cannot be rated minimal.

By: Larry Adams

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