As someone who considers himself to be highly cerebral, I have a preference for entertainers that I can best describe as intellectual entertainers.
From Dave Chappelle to Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, D. L. Hughley, Nas, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Ali Baba, Eva Alordiah, Ill Bliss, Olamide, and others. I love to be mentally stimulated as I get entertained.
The majority of entertainment, I have come to find, tends to be shallow. The creators are more interested in eliciting a response, an emotion other than to get you thinking.
A laugh, a chuckle, a smile, maybe tears too. Entertainers want to leave you happy and on few occasions, sad.
When entertainers go down historical routes, those are the few occasions when they get you thinking.
The subject matter tends to be heavy, which is often why you are thinking. From slavery to abuse, civil rights, scientific or political history, they grip your thoughts.
It is possible to cover any of these subjects without challenging your cerebral prowess.
Creatives can broach these topics without getting you out of your comfort zone. At the end of the experience, you have learned a couple of facts, but your thought process isn’t any different from when you started.
With intellectual entertainers though, you might have to stop between your laughter to rethink what you just heard.
It might be on your way home, or even two days later that you remember a line, and it changes your life forever.
Intellectual entertainers don’t just stop at your five senses, they leave an imprint on your heart and an impact on your brain.
I know how many new behaviors, life changes, and further studying I have had to do while listening to a comedy bit, watching a movie, or listening to music.
Other entertainers aren’t necessarily bad because they are not intellectuals. Sometimes, you just need a laugh, a dance, a rap along, and nothing more. Each form of entertainment will serve a purpose.
What I am not a fan of is crass entertainment. Using shock value, cuss words, and nudity to get a reaction and following.
As much as those methods will bring their fans, they also alienate a category of audience.
I am not saying intellectual entertainers should be rated G or PG. They actually use cuss words and sex-related words even more.
The difference is that first, it often serves a purpose. Secondly, it is done with class.
The number of sexual innuendos Eva Alordiah employs in her repertoire would leave a nun shamefaced.
That is probably after the nun has rapped every line, then have the said innuendos pointed to her.
For me, it is disheartening how easily nudity, controversy, and shock value can be used to fast-track an entertainer’s career.
Other than these, shallow, plotless, and mind-numbing contents have also been employed as the mainstays of some careers.
Some entertainers now have their names synonymous with subpar content.
I can remember a friend watching a movie and describing his experience to feeling his brains melt out of his ears.
For intellectual entertainers, success and fame are often more difficult to achieve.
Those already at the summit have no problem continuing to grow and prosper. The upcoming meanwhile get ignored by gatekeepers, influencers, curators, and other industry practitioners.
This in turn makes sponsors and promoters reluctant to back the acts. All of these helps perpetuate the idea that qualitative and cerebral entertainment cannot be economically successful.
I hope this changes. I hope the best of our intellectual entertainers get successful enough to encourage others to follow their paths.
On my end, I’ll continue to consume and support mentally stimulating entertainment.
The best of us should be supported to flourish, so the outside world gets introduced to a Nigeria that conforms with the image of a nation that has produced great intellectuals and titans in different industries.