Dear Nigerian creatives.
I’ve noticed a trend among you, most especially the performing artistes, you do not like to pay to increase your knowledge, you do not like to pay to watch shows, you do not attend workshop or any program that has 1 Naira as fee, but you expect to be well paid when you do a job. Right?
Now let’s take a moment to breakdown the psycho-economics of our sector.
Money doesn’t spring out from no where, money rotates, and the more it rotates close to you, the more you’ll have access to it before it makes a full cycle. Which in essence means, the more you pay for things you enjoy or participate in within your sector, the more you will get paid, it’s simple logic. In the creative sector, we have created an economy that revolves around the absence of liquid cash, “My guy please help me do this, my girl let’s rough this thing together” but when we get paid for jobs, we disseminate the money into other sectors but ours:
Each time you buy a recharge card, you’ve invested into the telecommunication sector.
Each time you pay for your uber or brt, you’ve invested in the transportation sector.
If you pay for school fees in that money, that’s going to the education sector.
Each time you buy food and drinks, you’ve invested in the agriculture sector, including all the logistics that brought that to you.
If it is meant for house rent, you’ve supported the ever rich properties and estate owners.
When you buy clothes with that money, you’ve invested in the fashion industry.
When you fuel your generators at home or in your studio, you are supporting the multi billion Naira petroleum sector.
And the list goes on and on, so in essence, the damage we do to ourselves all the time, is that we all have developed a habit of not wanting to pay for anything by one of us, we go to each other’s event hoping to get a free ticket, if one of us begins a magazine, no one will buy it, if we come up with merchandise, no one will buy it. Therefore, when a dancer thinks of a Business, he’ll go sell clothes, you’ll see an actor selling Zobo to other actors, because that’s what they’ll buy, a light designer will become a victim of MMM, musician will spend his day at 234 Bet, instead of being in his studio, he’ll be trading recharge cards, what the hell is a creative doing at Balogun market. Well, the unfortunate truth is that, it is only the citizen of a place, that will move it from whatever shithole status it has, to whatever they want to make of it.
The bad news however, is that, if you continue this bad habit, there will continue to be less and less cash flow within your sector, it will never become an industry, banks will never trust you with loans, you will not achieve really great feats because you are damn broke all the time, when you apply for visa, to eventually go make real money abroad, you’ll be denied, you will not rise above sea level, and will continue to go work for those who have no business in the Arts, simply because they stayed close to a sector that understand the psychology of economics, you will continue to be paid transport fair and chop money, when you work on a project handled by someone entrenched in the sector. One of yours.
If you want to be well paid for doing projects, that really brings you joy and fulfillment, then be the change by taking up the habit of paying for workshops, paying for shows and invest your own money more within the sector, then it will come back to you in one full cycle.