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The Overkill of Trends


There's nothing more ugly than when a trend picks up steam in Nigeria. Dignity of product loses its savour, its flair, when every person jumps on its bandwagon. Yes, the ardent following of trends happens everywhere in the world, but nobody does it much better or preferably carries it to much terroristic levels than Nigerians. There was a time when someone opened up a frozen chicken shop in my neighbourhood. Suddenly everyone else knew they had a frozen chicken vision and little shops for frozen chicken sprouted everywhere.  The more recent and obvious bastardizing of trends are Blackberry, Velvet, Brazilian/Peruvian (add the rest here) hair, even drinks like Moët are not left out. Every Nigerian music video has to have the impassioned featuring of this drink, of which was obviously copied from American hip hop videos. But rather dwelling on the obvious, this piece would take a different route.

Pure water business was an ingenious initiative. It was easy, accessible and cheap. I would not be surprised if Ragolis, Eva and Swan felt some dent in sales due to its invent in the 90s. Unfortunately, many Nigerians caught on this ingenious bug. There began an influx of pure water bags with names veering on the ridiculous. They ranged from generic Nigerian sayings to biblical inspirations such as Genesis or Rehoboth. The quality of product also reduced and water in the bags would begin to have sordid tastes to them. I have always wondered if the original inventors had a patent or ever made use of it to keep such charlatans in check.

Another trend that fell into the suffocating hands of 'trend copycats' or preferably 'trend killers' are the aggressive sets of bloggers that pilfer mostly showbiz news from one another. They pilfer to the extent there's no distinction when you switch between Nigerian blogs. News have reached most ears that blogging can pay the bills. This explains the aggressive need to be a blogger by tooth and nail. It is so obvious that they would never have caught on this 'hobby' if it didn't have the possibility of paying them 'well' because Nigerians do not do what they love but what would make them rich. That is why most of us aimed to be doctors or engineers and not photographers, but that is a story for another day. Now I have to add that, the act of blogging is a respectable pastime or profession, and those with a knack for it should be encouraged.

That brings me to the bastardization of Nigerian movies. Nollywood as it is popularly called today started off with a steam that everyone looked forward to watching. The movies were simply told in simple drama form but still grasped the audience. The diction of the actors (not fake accents) was superb. Story lines actually made sense. But with everything Nigerian, Nollywood never climaxed in the late 90's and early 2000's in the aspect of good story lines and visual upgrade, rather it went a disgraceful downhill, although still maintaining its popularity. Story lines began to lose every iota of sense and made you appear stupid for watching them because every Tom, Dick and Harry thought himself a storyteller, a director, or a producer. Every Nigerian with a camera was a person to be feared because he could kill your sensibilities with his epiphany of being a movie producer, director or writer. Why? Because there was money to be made in Nollywood and only money inspires the Nigerian. So an agreement was reached subconsciously to bastardize the movie industry.

Still on Nollywood, there began a trend for ritual stories. Movie producers dealt severely with us by overusing ritual killing themes in most of their productions during that period. Plots set in the past like 'Igodo' also picked some steam and for that period most movies were set in the past. Haaaa! How can I forget romance themed story lines? I am so sure Ramsey Noah must have been tired of seeing his face on posters with love themes. It is so annoying that we don't get satisfied until we suck out all usefulness to the point of irritation before we take a breather.

Anyway, in the simplest words, to all those who starts things first, I raise my glass to you. To the terroristic trend copycats, this world would definitely be a boring place without you and serial gripers like myself wouldn't have anything to write about. So more grease to your elbows!

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