Next Level Births Fresh Talents In Music, Dance, Creative Industry
As a way to encourage and foster cross-cultural creative exchange between Nigeria and the United States of America through hip-hop music and dance, the maiden Next Level programme, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State, has graduated its first set of 46 participants.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony held at the Freedom Park in Lagos, the U.S. Consul General, Will Stevens, said the world loves and admires the many talents produced on a regular basis in Nigeria. He added that the programme would afford both countries the opportunity to continue to share talents and boost the creative industry.
“It’s good to be back here in Nigeria. I just came back from Atlanta, Georgia and it’s interesting to note that two weeks ago, I presented the Best Album Award to Asake who won the category at the just concluded Headies Awards music ceremony staged in the city and hopefully, someone from this programme wins it next year.”
“In the last 70-years, America has benefited from the power of our culture as people look up to the United States because they think they know us through our culture, through our film, music and TV shows which give a slice of Americans to the world.
“This is why we’re investing in the Nigerian creative industry, because it allows Nigerians to tell their stories to the world through music, movies and culture. I must tell you that the world loves the creative talents being churned out of Nigeria. I was in a cab in New York two weeks ago and the number one song on U.S. radio is Rema’s Calm Down and I was so excited and proud,
“It is incredible how people are falling in love with Nigeria through music and film and I am so proud of this partnership, not just with culture but with business as well. So many Nigerians are reaching the world through YouTube and other streaming platforms and there is no limit to where talent can travel to in today’s world,” he added.
The event was the major highlight of the creative industry collaboration between both countries. Performers at the special live event included rappers, dancers, beat-makers, beat-boxers, and an aerosol artiste from four talented tutors from the U.S.
While in Nigeria, they conducted public concerts, had interactive performances with local musicians, lecture demonstrations, workshops, and jam sessions with diverse audiences.
Event sponsor, Idris Olorunnimbe of Ogidi Studios, urged the participants to jealously guard the connections they made during the programme and carry themselves along in everything they do.
Thanking everyone involved in the programme from conception till execution, its Director, Julius The Genius, said it was also a celebration of 50 years of hip-hop culture, adding that the programme was incubated for 18 months.
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