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Mark Zuckerberg in Nigeria: Is Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde this elitist?

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By now, most of you have heard or should have heard of Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Nigeria last week. If you haven’t, catch up at the following link:  #MarkZuckerberginNigeria: Watch the Facebook CEO’s Q&A with developers and entrepreneurs.

Post his visit, Nollywood A-list Actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde took to social media to wonder why the Facebook CEO did not meet with users with the highest number of followers on his platform. Jalade-Ekeinde is in fact one of a handful of talents in the entertainment industry with one of the highest following on Facebook.

In 2013, she hit the 1million mark, and to date has 3million followers.

Her message:

“That weird moment Zuckerberg visits Nigeria and meets with Everyone but the ones with the highest Ff on his platform #welcomeZuck or #goodbyezuck? #jealousmuch #welovehimthough #controversialpost and #heworeasuit #facebook.”

Needless to say, she suffered a strong backlash as fans scolded her for her statement, and some believe and continue to believe she was being very elitist and egotistical.

Now, as some of you know, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde is one of my favorite actresses, if not the favorite, out of Nollywood. I like that she is fluid and flexible with her acting. I never get a one dimensional interpretation of a character from her, even if it’s the same script I’ve heard or seen repeatedly. I also like what I perceive to be a very humble disposition, and she has repeatedly proven she is on the side of the common man and woman.

However, her social media response to Zuckerberg’s visit appears to be snobbish. Was it just sarcasm? A joke? After all she does say” jealous much” and “controversial post,” plus she wasn’t even in the country (she was on vacation) at the time of Zuckerberg’s visit. So, either way, it would have made no difference with her ability to see him.

Jalade-Ekeinde is yet to let us know what she meant by her statement. While we wait for clarification, if any, suffice it to say Nigerian society can in fact be quite elitist. So, it is not surprising that many are choosing to interpret her statement as elitist and running with it.

In fact, I’ll tell you a story to underscore my point about how elitist we can be.

June of this year, I had the opportunity to be one of the few selected media persons, through my magazine Ladybrille, to cover President Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and to be part of the White House Press Pool at the event.

Mark Zuckerberg was also in attendance and in fact shared the stage with the President. You would think that Zuckerberg, in meeting the President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world, would wear a suit. He didn’t, and no one cared.

In Nigeria, however, while Zuckerberg deliberately snuck into the country to meet with the common man and woman, when it came to meeting the country’s president, he had to suit up, something that is so uncharacteristic of him.

Again, this is just to show the strong contrast in how Nigerians and Nigerian society handled a parallel situation of Mark Zuckerberg meeting with a president.

Back to Jalade-Ekeinde. I do not know her intentions but from a branding perspective, given her audience, I am not sure she should have even bothered placing herself in this light. While they say all press is good press, I think this was unnecessary and comes off as egotistical and elitist.

When you work as hard to build a strong brand the way Jalade-Ekeinde has, I see no reason to dilute it by creating an impression that is contrary to what everyone knows you to be just  because you “feel” like it in that moment.

But then again, she is human and has always insisted on living on her terms in front of and outside the public eye i.e. singing career, reality television, activism etc.

My 50 kobo for all it’s worth.

What is your take on Jalade-Ekeinde’s statement?

-Ms. Uduak

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law website and podcast show empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

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ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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