CREAM… Dbanj’s lifeline for creative talents



Keen observers of the showbiz industry will attest to the fact that a lot has changed in the life of popular hip-hop artiste, Dapo Oyebanjo, otherwise known as Dbanj. Beyond being an entertainer, the Kokomaster, as he’s fondly called, seems to have left the ‘show’ side of the entertainment industry to concentrate more on the ‘business’ of it, with the intent of support young talents.

From the point he floated D’kings Men Media Ltd, it became obvious that the former More Hits star is out to play big, even as his music career remained low. Though he was visibly out of circulation for some time, especially back home, Dbanj, perhaps, used the break to appraise his career.

Particularly, his contribution at this year’s Nigeria Entertainment Conference (NEC) was an insight into the Kokomaster’s new thinking; less show, more business. Of all topics available for the conference, Dbanj spoke on Content Is The New Crude, where he highlighted the numerous business opportunities that currently exist in the creative industry. From being just an entertainer, the Ogun State native, who has since launched his Koko Garri and other business interest, has found a winning formula to engage the creative industry.

Just last week, Dbanj held the first draw to select winners from thousands of talents that registered on the CREAM Platform, a new opportunity created by Dbanj, in conjunction with Bank of Industry (BOI) and MTN, Nigeria, to support and reward young creative minds in the Nigerian entertainment industry.

All through the session, which held at the Federal Palace Hotel & Casino, Dbanj sounded very passionate about his new project. In fact, unlike the days of ‘Oshe, I’m Dbanj…’ or ‘File…’ the Ogun State native was business like in his delivery.

“About a month ago, you might have read on the Internet and some media houses when I launched the CREAM platform; I launched the platform on my Instagram page. What is CREAM? It’s an acronym that represents the whole creative industry: Creative, Reality, Entertainment, Art and Music. This came as a thought from when I was appointed the ambassador for Bank of Industry (BOI) on creative,” he recalled.

In working with BOI, Dbanj realised that the bank had earmarked some funds and was ready to support the creative industry. However, lack of credible platforms in the industry became a major challenge in executing the task.

“In working with the bank for two years, the first year for me was to understand how it works and how I can help. Secondly, I said, ‘okay, this is what we can do…’ I spoke to them and I said, ‘let me work on something that I believe would be a platform of opportunity that would help the bank achieve their aim and help us in the creative industry achieve our aim. I saw that we could use the CREAM platform to get the word out there,” Dbanj hinted.

He continued: “We have been looking for this kind of corporate backing since I’ve been in the industry and I said to them, ‘if we have this platform, would you support it’ and they said ‘yes’. We went after it, I did my research and my company, DKM Media, has secured a VAS license (value added service), we’ve secured ourselves a lottery permit and we’ve decided to do this for everyone out there to see the visible hope and have that opportunity without leaving their comfort zones,” he said.

The CREAM platform, which is supported by the Bank of Industry and MTN Nigeria, provides creative minds the opportunity to live their dreams of showcasing their talent to the world. Lucky winners of the lottery get to win exciting opportunities, including a recording deal, which consists of recording a track, shooting a state of the art video, a collaboration with any artiste of their choice (music or video collaboration), talent showcase, talent branding, promotion and marketing among other opportunities.

“We have created this platform to reward tons of creative minds out there, who don’t have the right platforms to showcase their talent to the world. Nigeria is filled with so much art and creativity and what better way to promote this great heritage than to give these young minds the right platforms. I’m happy to bring to my loyal fans and lovers of good music this exciting platform that the world can benefit from.”

In creating the platform, Dbanj noted, “the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘where can we find these talents?’ we have over 200 million Nigerians and 60 to 65 per cent of them are young people. I said to myself that, ‘if a youth is in Abuja or Bauchi, Abeokuta and that youth has a creative talent, all he/she need is an opportunity.’ So, if there’s a platform where the youth can be on and his talent can be harnessed, the same way it’s done in the developed world, that’s what we are about and that’s where CREAM came from.”

On the choice of mobile phone for the contest, the musician observed that mobile device has become the fasted means of communication in the whole world.

“Everyone has one or two mobile phones. So, I said to myself, ‘if I can get this platform to you on your mobile phone, wherever you are, you get the same access, the same benefits, the same financial or marketing support that are needed for your own content,” he said

Before now, breaking into the mainstream of the industry most times involves relocating to Lagos, which is considered Nigeria’s entertainment capital. But with the CREAM platform, Dbanj sees a new trend.

“I said, ‘if we can have a platform where, whether you are in Kotangora, you can get the same opportunity that the established people in the industry get, then our problem is solved.’ We need the opportunity to be able to express and market our talent; we need the marketing support, we need the financial support, we need distribution support. All these and more are all the things that the platform provides for young talents,” he said.

By dialing *466# on an MTN line, a subscriber is linked straight to the platform where you have the opportunity of choosing the genre you need help from.

“At the end of every month, there will be two different types of selection that will happen. One is a raffle draw to choose 10 winners across different categories that we have. Is it that you have a song and you need a music video or you have your song already recorded, but you need a music video? Is that all you have is the idea and you need to record, but you don’t know how to do so? Let’s say you have a great script that you’ve written and shared with friends and they’ve told you it’s a good script, how do you take it from there? I’ve been to one or two of my friend’s places and they’ve turned their living room to a fashion outlet and that’s where they do the measurement and get the style done. From there, the world sees what they do; it’s not like they have a big place.”

He continued: “So, how do you get marketing and public relation? So, in all these different five categories, from a standard music studio session to a whole full music video or movie sponsored or collaboration that you think will take your career to the next level, this platform will give you the opportunity; all you need to do is to clink on the link,” he said.

The five different categories available include Showbiz, Showcase Talent, Music, Collabo and Video.

“With the state of our economy, a lot of corporate organisations that usually support the industry no longer do so. So, how do we create the opportunity for young people to showcase themselves? So, if I can create Showcase Talent and you can showcase your talent on the platform where you have Bank of Industry, MTN and other great people, then that’s the opportunity you need. This is the platform that you can go to for those that need services in the creative industry or even we in the creative industry and have our creative dreams monetized and businesses grown out of it,” he said.

Within just one month of operation, over 500,000 people have registered on the platform that charges N20 per day for subscription.

“That shows you the number of youths that need help in this country. In one month, we have about 500,000 people registered. Enough of the negativity about Nigeria; I’m not part of that. Let’s face the fact, there’s a lot of revenue to be made in the country,” he concluded.

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