The recent news stories surrounding the “Christmas Day Terror Attacks” led by Nigerian National, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23 (http://www.politicsafrica.com/2010/01/03/ending-radicalization-and-extremism-in-nigeria/), has Nigerians worldwide (an estimated 20 million people in the United Kingdom & United States alone) dealing with a number of emotions. Feelings range from anger, hate, embarrassment, shame, disgust and pride in some cases towards Abdulmutallab. In the mind of some Nigerians however, this “terrorist” who some believe is calling for Jihad should be scorned. His father has even denounced him and there is a national movement to even reject him as a native son. International news outlets report that the suspect, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab has ties to al-Qaida and tried to detonate an explosive aboard a Northwest Airbus 330 on a flight carrying 278 passengers. The flight originated in Nigeria and went through Amsterdam on the way to Detroit .
In the shadows of all this international attention stands One Man – Harrison “Harry Baba” Nwozo, who has taken on a crusade of his own. One would say that he has been quietly (if you’re just meeting him) staging a one man/one team counter attack for years. Nwozo and his team over at Tribe X Entertainment are working diligently to present a more positive image of their native land – NIGERIA or Naija as it is affectionately called. Enter: “Green October!“
“Green October” is a concept created by Nwozo, President of Tribe X Entertainment a Maryland, (U.S.A.) based marketing and events management Company. As a testimony to his hard work, Nwozo is quick to tell me that his “company won an award in 2008 for the Best US Based Promoter, which was presented by the Nigerian Entertainment Award Committee”.
So, as “Green October” prepares to hit the airwaves and online distributors, the mix-tapes boast appearances by Nigerian Artist D’banj, R& B Duo P Square whom have both won MTV Europe Music Awards, as well as Hip Hop phenom Naeto C, The MTV African Music Awards Best New Act. For those who know African Entertainment, Femi Kuti, the first son of the late Afrobeat creator Fela Anikulapo – Kuti and nominee for the 52nd Edition of the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album also lends his talent to “Green October” series.
According to Nwozo; “Green October’s mission is to open the eyes and ears of the world to a much more positive view of Nigeria. My desire is to include another talking point to the Western world regarding Nigeria as opposed to the constant discussions on corruption, fraud, political unrest and religious uprisings.”
When I asked him about the evolution of the “Green October” concept and how he selected the name for the mix tape series, he told me that, “Green”, in this context, stands for the “people of the land”; all the diverse Nigerian peoples (Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa etc), their cultures and traditions. “Green” also represents the stunning Nigerian terrain, and the country’s rich natural resources.
“October” has three distinctive meanings:(1) the month Nigeria had her independence (October 1960) from British colonial rule, (2) it also signifies the month Harrison’s mother, Pauline I. Nwozo, passed away from a long struggle with Ovarian cancer, (October 1996). Finally, it symbolizes a new positive “awareness” or “perception” of the international community’s view of Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole. October in this sense represents the autumn season. Old leaves pass away and “fall” to make room for new leaves to grow and thrive. The positive, progressive presentation of a Nigeria that the rest of the world is unaccustomed to (the old leaves), dies off and re emerges as “something new”.
Continuing my conversation with Nwozo, he informed me that Tribe X Entertainment; “is currently embarking on projects to further promote Nigerian creativity and art through fashion, African cuisine and various projects and services by forming joint ventures with African Organizations in the Diaspora.” When asked specifically what those were, he told me about, “Green October by Legend Couture,” which is a new fashion line of tee shirts created to help raise money to fight cancer in African Women. By teaming up with a non-profit organization in Silver Spring Maryland, Nwozo and Tribe X Entertainment can help with sponsorship of medical missions to Africa that provide cancer screening, mammogram machines and prevention counseling. Nwozo’s passion to fight against cancer is deeply rooted in the fact that he lost his Mom to the disease.
As we concluded our discussions, I asked Nwozo to tell me exactly what to expect from the Green October Series and this is what he told me; “I am providing not one, not two but 3 mix tapes with an average of 20 songs per mix tape. 60 songs of the best music out of Nigeria beginning in 2008. They are all formatted so that one can easily burn audio CD’s upload to itunes, MPE players, etc.” Teaming up with famed Nigerian DJ Manixx – we have compiled a comprehensive selection of the best, chart topping, popular Nigerian afro beat, afro hip hop and dance music. Besides the previous notables, we also have songs by up and coming underground artists.“
So, will “Green October” indeed be the re birth or re branding of Nigeria? Harrison “Harry Baba” Nwozo, Jr & Tribe X Entertainment sure hope so! In the meantime, you may sample the “Green October” Vibe above on the left.