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The huge success of Marvel’s Black Panther that smashed records earlier this year, shed light on the potential of super hero all black cast movies. Black Panther, the most-tweeted about movie of all-time, disproved the myth that investment on movies featuring diverse casts is not profitable. As a result, this segment of film making has all the attention of big players. One of the deals directly resulting from Black panther’ success is the one with Sony Pictures Television and Nigerian network EbonyLife that joined forces to co-develop TV projects inspired by African history.
However, what is not talked about is how this momentum was actually built by the efforts of local African entrepreneurs, who kept pushing to deliver premium content and break new ground for the African entertainment industry, despite the difficulty to make profit or break even due to local habits that had to be changed or the very big hurdle all African industries face: the absence of strong local distribution networks.
In this episode my guest is one the major Nollywwod film makers, one of the firsts who were able to produce films that became hits at the cinemas. Everyone of her latest 5 films ranked among the highest grossing movies in Nigeria. Omoni Oboli is revealing her journey to contributing in building Nollywood’s attractiveness.

We tried not to be embarrassed. It was tough. Many times we were very close to tears. But we kept pushing.

Omoni Oboli

4 Learnings From Omoni Oboli’s Journey

  1. Listen to your heart and find your voice
    Omoni did not give up her dream of becoming a film maker even after trying for four years. She ended up starting her first project although she did not have the money to complete it. It was a huge risk but sometimes, you just have to start with what you have and tackle fate. She got better film after film and found her voice. Humor is her vehicle to tell strong truths and bring change.
  2. Assume the effort of raising awareness and keep pushing
    Launching a project that needs a mindset change to work has 99% of chances to fail. So, being aware of the risk and taking the plunge implies that you are ready to face failure. Omoni chose to use the sense of Nigerian nationalism to educate consumers. She rose awareness about economics and the fact that all Nollywood revenues stay in Nigeria unlike foreign films for which only a fraction of revenue profits to local economy.
  3. Be resilient
    Even after winning her battle to change the dynamics and perception of Nollywood films, Omoni kept on doing meet and greets in cinemas.
  4. Grow a community
    That helped her grow a community that she nurtures through social media. Staying connected to a fan base regularly, not just when you have products to sell, is key.

What Is Your Recipe For Pushing A Project In A Tough Context?

Do you have similar stories where you had to keep pushing despite an unfavorable context and ended up meeting success? … Or maybe you didn’t achieve your goals. Either way, what do you think the recipe for success in this context is. Share your experience in the comments section, I would love to read your thoughts about this situation a lot of African entrepreneurs need to deal with.


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