It's no secret that Nigerians love to party. From launches to unveilings, openings, and award shows; it seems barely a day passes without there being some sort of event.
Are these red carpet events all style and no substance?
In Nigeria, we love an event but has the red carpet culture overshadowed what we have really gathered to celebrate?
It seems, they are where stars, big, small and everyone in between, goes to put on their most immaculate face and promote their current projects, show off their style, and, most importantly, make an impression on all those who might be watching. It seems, in the process of showboating, dressing up and making sure we get seen, we have lost the onus of what it is to attend these events.
Who invented the red carpet?
According to Mental Floss:
For the world premiere of the action-adventure film Robin Hood on October 18, 1922, Egyptian Theater owner Sid Grauman decided he would embellish the spectacle of seeing stars like Douglas Fairbanks arrive by having them walk on a red carpet. Grauman had workers unfurl the carpet outside the theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. It wasn’t just the first time a premiere had used such an adornment—it was the first movie premiere, period.
Grauman probably didn’t realise it at the time, but his selection of colour would be imitated at other premieres before being adopted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1961. At that year’s Oscars ceremony, attendees walked a red carpet to arrive at the auditorium, a parade of glamour and social status that might be the closest thing the United States has to a royal class. When the arrivals started airing on television in 1964—and the carpet’s color was telecast for the first time for those owning a color set in 1966—red carpets and Hollywood became intertwined.
The importance of awards shows
Now, red carpets at awards shows are the place where celebs go to shine. For most attendees, there is a chance they might win a career-defining award, so they put their best foot forward in stunning gowns and jewelry and present themselves to both their peers, adoring fans and the countless media outlets. For other attendees, whose names have no chance of being read from a sealed envelope, the red carpet is a shot at free publicity.
However, does this free publicity, outrageous outfits and red carpet stunts distract us from what we are really there to celebrate? Often times, we ready about what so and so wore and the backstage gist but can barely remember who picked up which award.
According to one film fan, Ayo, "All eyes are going to be on these events and if they are big enough, people want to be seen. Unfortunately, those coming to show off, take away the spotlight from those who have worked tirelessly to be honoured for their work. I feel that it's time we do away with red carpets and focus on the craft."
Whilst doing away with red carpets altogether might not be a feasible option, as we approach the AMVCA's, quite possibly one of the biggest awards shows in Africa; our equivalent of the Oscars if you will, whilst we can enjoy the show in all it's aspects, let's not forget why we are really there. The nominees have worked so hard to add value to our film and television industries, who have been noticed for their important contributions, let's ensure, regardless of any distractions, that they get the recognition they so richly deserve.
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