2023 In Review. Highlights In The World Of Entertainment
One would agree that 2023 gave us more than a few glamorous and thrilling moments, especially in the entertainment industry. The Nigerian entertainment scene keeps waxing stronger yearly, and 2023 was no exception. It’s been spectacular, from the movie industry to the music business and fashion shows. There’s no denying any of that.
For this expose, we will outline some of the outstanding acts and feats for 2023.
There’s no way we would be highlighting the events of 2023 in the music industry without mentioning the exploits of Mr Money himself, Asake. Since his hit collaboration with Olumide on the track Omo Ope, it’s been from one high point to the other, and he clearly has no signs of stopping. From back-to-back hits to awards that still keep rolling in, to releasing his sophomore album Work of Art in June last year, to filling the 02 arena for his concert, it’s safe to say that his accolades would have his shelf breaking into pieces if they could all get stacked into one. Hit tracks such as Amapiano and Yoga reached number one across streaming charts and on TurnTable Top 100 to add to the already impressive achievements under his belt. Nominations and awards weren’t in short supply for him in 2023, with multiple nominations at the 2023 Headies awards, securing a win in the “Next-Rated” category and the “Album of The Year” category.
Along with awards, his hit track Omo-Ope also broke the record for the most weeks spent on the Turn-Table official streaming chart. Asake was among the most sought-after artists for collaborations and show performances locally and internationally. His rise to stardom just this year alone has been nothing short of spectacular, as it’s every upcoming artist’s dream to reach such heights and make themselves known to the world.
Davido’s Timeless Album
If there’s an album that was most anticipated and also lived up to its expectations, there’s no doubt that it would be the Timeless album from one of Nigeria’s biggest entertainment exports, Davido. A masterpiece that housed hits such as Unavailable, Feel, Na Money, Kante, and No Competition, to mention a few. Released on March 31 2023, Timeless, which is Davido’s 4th studio album, wasted no time taking over. Within four days of its release, Timeless racked up 22 million streams, beating the previous record of 18.8 held by Love, Damini.
Along with the album getting nominated at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards for “Best Global Album”, its impressive feats didn’t just end there. The hit track Unavailable went ahead to be the first song to amass 100 million streams on Spotify, as well as also getting nominated at the Grammys, but this time, it was nominated in the “Best African Performance” category, making it the first time he has ever been nominated. The Timeless album also holds the record for the biggest first-day streams for an African album in Apple Music history and “Highest Charting African Album” in US Apple Music History. The superstar has had a tour for the album and performed at numerous locations outside the tour venues, where he has lit up stages and given his fans moments to hold dearly for a long time.
001, as Davido is often called, surely did something right when cooking up this album, that’s certain, especially at a time when he was still mourning the loss of his 3-year-old son, who passed in November 2022. The tragic event led to him having a five-month hiatus from social media before returning with one of the best albums for his fans. Davido is known as one of the biggest artists from Nigeria and Africa in general, and this album, along with its achievements, has shown us why he is regarded as such.
Untimely Passing of Rising Star, Mohbad
On September 12 2023, the Nigerian entertainment world woke up to the news of the tragic passing of one of its vibrant upcoming artists, Mohbad.
Mohbad, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, was a fast-rising rapper and singer formerly signed to “Marlian Records”, a label formed by Naira Marley. In 2022, Mohbad parted ways with the label and became an independent artist.
Mohhad was said to have given up the ghost on September 12 2023, after being administered a Tetanus vaccine by a nurse who was later found to be an unlicensed nurse upon investigation by the Lagos State Police Command.
Two days before his untimely passing, he had been performing at the D’General’s Bitters Ikorodu Show, along with Zlatan, Poco Lee, Nasboi, and a few other artists that graced the event.
Allegations arose, which had fingers pointing towards his former label boss, Naira Marley, and his associates being involved in the death of Mohbad. His death brought about a social movement, “Justice4Mohbad”, which was a protest concerning the events that led to his demise. The protest caught the attention of international rappers such as Meek Mill, Lil Durk, and Kodak Black, who also paid their respects to him.
A number of allegations came up and led to the ban of his former label’s music catalogue from being played by several radio and television stations.
According to Mohbad’s mother, she believes her son was murdered, and there’s more to this than what they are actually telling the family and the general public. Bella Shmurda, his best friend, vowed to make sure that justice is served and that his friend’s death wouldn’t be for nothing. The news of Mohbad’s death and the circumstances surrounding it had everyone glued to their devices as there was always breaking news and updates about the case, whether it was true or false.
Mohbad was laid to rest the next day after his death right there in his hometown in Ikorodu. The sudden burial was done according to the Yoruba land tradition of burying a person early since both parents are alive.
Despite being buried a day after his death, his body was exhumed on September 21, 2023, by the Lagos State Police Command for an autopsy, which was carried out and completed on the same day.
Since his death, his songs have received more airplay and also broke into the Apple Music Chart. During the week of September 29 to October 5, a massive 2.3 million views were accumulated.
Another impressive feat after his demise was securing a record with six songs on the TurnTable Top 100 chart. His EPs, Blessed and Light, also received many streams, and his single Ask About Me proudly claimed the number one spot on the chart.
Nigerians still mourn greatly and still work towards getting to the root of what led to his painful passing.
Lateef Adedimeji: Jagun Jagun
The Nollywood industry has been delivering major blockbusters year in and year out; it’s really something to be proud of. From the story to the production, it’s all been a spectacle for movie lovers.
One of the most outstanding movies of the year is Jagun Jagun. A movie with a star-studded cast of Femi Adebayo as Ogundiji, Lateef Adedimeji as Gbotija, Odunlade Adekola as Jigan, Ibrahim Yekini as Gbogumni, Bukumi Oluwasina as Kitan \ Agemo, Bimbo Ademoye as Morohunmbo, Fathia Balogun as Erinfunto, Mr Macaroni as Moyale and many more, Jagun Jagun really delivered all the drama, and action fans all over the country and beyond expected.
The movie tells the story of a Warlord who begins to feel threatened by the potential of a young warrior, Gbotija, whose aim is to avenge the death of his father. Ogundiji has always been a dictator who succeeded in snatching a lot of kingdoms for the wrong leaders.
The movie gained much success after its release on August 10, 2023 on the Netflix. It went ahead to earn 2,100,000 views in just its first three days and 3,700,000 views by August 20, 2023. Its views and achievements made it one of the top 10 most-watched non-English movies in the world during that period. An outstanding act was Lateef Adedimeji, who was the protagonist of the movie; one would think he was a warrior in his previous life. With his emotions and the actions he brought to it, he definitely made the entire role his own. Lateef is always known to give his all in each role he plays and this movie was one of those in which he didn’t fail to give us what we all expected from him.
Nse Ikpe-Etim: A Sunday Affair
Released on February 14 2023, A Sunday Affair was Nollywood’s Valentine’s package for movie lovers.
A romance movie centred on a love triangle, Sunday Affairs tells the story of two lifelong best friends, Uche and Toyin, who fall head over heels in love with the same charming man, Sunday. Such an affair tests the loyalty between the two friends, and with time, they face the heartbreaking truth as it is finally revealed. The cast brought together to create this showpiece include Nse Ikpe-Etim as Uche, Oris Erhuro as Sunday, Dakore Akande as Toyin, Eku Edewor as Mrs Oyeyemi, Alexx Ekubo as Femi, Hilda Dokubo Mrs Okwara, Uzor Osimkpa as Kelechi, Chris Iheuwa as Sam.
In the initial stage, the affair between Uche and Sunday began as a one-night fling that took place at Femi and Kelechi’s wedding party, but as time went on, they discovered that they, Uche and Sunday were, in fact, in-laws as Uche was the sister of Kelechi, the bride. At the same time, Sunday was the brother to the groom, Femi. Sunday and Uche had so much sexual tension that it could be felt by their respective siblings just by merely looking at the way they both looked and talked to each other. While with Toyin, Sunday felt they had a real connection as they actually took time to know each other before eventually getting intimate. Both ladies didn’t know they had fallen for the same man until Toyin made it known to Uche, and even though it killed her, she couldn’t bring herself to hurt Toyin by telling her that he was the man she was involved with romantically.
Nse Ikpe-Etim and Dakore Akande were an elite duo indeed. It felt like they cast two best friends in reality to bring life to the script, and it worked out perfectly. You feel how genuine they had between themselves despite knowing each other’s flaws.
Upon its release, it became the most-watched Nigerian movie in the first quarter of 2023, and honestly, who could blame movie lovers for viewing a good movie?
A lot happened in the entertainment industry that this article will not be able to cover, so we will have a few honourable mentions, such as the recording-breaking hit Calm Down by Rema, Hilda Baci’s record-breaking cook-a-thon, and Tems Grammy Award-winning moment.
2023 for the entertainment world has had its downs, but it’s safe to say the high points have been way more than the low points.