Following the 50th birthday celebration of the governor of Imo State, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha and the 10th anniversary of Rochas Foundation on the October 8, 2012 in Owerri, some artistes have cried out on the way they are being discriminated against during the programme.
According to some of the artistes who spoke to www.otowngist.com on the ground of anonymity, the event poster which was believed to be organized by Rochas Foundation did not make any formal approach to artistes on who to perform on that day.
The artistes who are from the hip-hop and R&B genres said that in recent cases, none of them has been considered as top artiste in any event being organized by the government or any of her agencies and in most cases when they are given opportunity to perform, they are never paid at the end of their performance.
Speaking on the issue, the Director General Imo Talent Centre (Bongo Square), Emma Duru said that the event was not a state government event and was organized by Rochas Foundation, which is independent of the state government.
“The foundation could have chosen another part of the country for the anniversary, we chose Imo because it coincided with the Governor’s birthday and I did not plan the programme, I only worked with the acting DG of Rochas Foundation Uloma Okorocha.”
On the claim of the artistes that none of them appeared on the event poster, while Tuface, MI, Bracket, Sound Sultan, Igo Die, MC Egbeigwe (Imo State based) and AY had their pictures placed on the poster. Other artistes on the poster had just their names written without pictures and they include musicians, comedians and dancers, with Acharaman, Xbuster, MC Ichie, Laughing Gas, Da Angels and Princessa amking the list amongst others.
“I cannot not say if these artistes with their pictures on the poster were paid, but I know that they are all members of Rochas Volunteer Corpse. They came to support the programme which the foundation is holding.
MC Egbeigwe is based in Imo State and so, no one should say that no one from the state has his picture on the poster. There were also names of some musicians, comedians and dancers on the poster”
Mr Duru rather blamed the communication gap between the foundation and the state based artistes on the numerous activities that took place during the 50th birthday of the governor but stated that there were radio jingles inviting these artistes who believed that they should have been formally contacted to perform .
He stated that he is committed to promoting talents in Imo State through the Imo Talent Centre.
The event had three Owerri based artistes performing who are Acharaman, Aifee and Xbuster.
Although, other artistes see their performances as betrayal, Acharaman spoke out to say that he performed because he was there. “I could not fold my hands and watch artistes from other states thrill the crowd which I am part of, so I had to perform to show what I am made of”
Acharaman accepted that he was contacted by Emma Duru before the event, but denied receiving any payment for his performance.
Although artistes in Imo State are claiming to be marginalized when it comes to events organized by the government and other cooperate bodies in the state, they still do not have an organization that unites them.
This is therefore a call to the artistes to see that they are united in one organized body, while the government should see to it that her agencies in charge of entertainment is making direct contact with the entertainers and not middle men.