I was inspired to write about this issue after I watched an episode of Moments Girls Talk, a popular Nigerian panel talk show on YouTube. On that episode, there was a handsome male guest with an American accent (phone) but unfortunately, the guy couldn’t properly articulate his thoughts; I felt like I was trying to understand the words of a 2-year-old child. It was quite disconcerting to watch. In the end, most of his sentences had to completed by Bolanle and Toke.
I’m not writing this post to make fun of that guest (I don’t even know who he is tbh) but to highlight a problem that I have noticed in Nigerian Media. It seems like the only requirement to get a broadcasting job in Nigeria right now is an American or a British accent and a pretty/handsome face of course. The broadcast industry is dominated by IJGBs (I just got backs) and there are very few people with Nigerian accents that make it in that industry. I’m not trying to be divisive but it does make me a bit sad when I notice how over saturated Nigerian media is by IJGBs. I know we are all Nigerians and all that but please can we have more Nigerians with Nigerian accents; Representation matters. I don’t know why Nigerians are offended by Nigerianness (I don’t know if that is a word). I believe Nigerians love for all things foreign and rejection of all things indigenous is one of the lasting effects of colonialism and white supremacy.
I make fun of people who fake accents but when a young aspiring broadcaster with a Nigerian accent notices the current state of the industry, they will most likely feel compelled to meet the requirements of the industry. People who don’t naturally have those accents are forced/pressured to fake an accent to make it. Toke Makinwa has been accused of faking her British accent for years. I’ve seen some of her old work and I think her accent is a tad bit exaggerated but I guess she realised for her to make it in the OAP game she had to package herself well and nobody can deny the effectiveness of her rebranding.
In summary, having a foreign accent doesn’t mean a person can communicate effectively.