Textile artist Nike Davies-Okundaye worked as a construction laborer and carried water and firewood to survive. The art of adire gave her global fame and she is now educating generations of women in Nigeria.
There was no way Nike Davies-Okundaye could look the other way. For after all, she too had been a victim in her early teens.
Too many women were being pushed down the traditional path of marriage and child-rearing in her country.
Born in 1951 in Ogidi-Ijumu, a small village in western Nigeria known for its spectacular rock formations and traditional art industry, Davies-Okundaye resolved to fight this practice four decades ago.
“By the age of 13, they wanted to marry me off because my father had no money. I had to run away from home and join a traveling theater. I said I didn’t want to marry and wanted to pursue art,” recalls the internationally-renowned Lagos-based artist.
Not wanting to become one of six wives to a minister, Davies-Okundaye found her escape through adire, the name given to the Yoruba craft of tie-and-dye where indigo-dyed cloth is made using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques. Growing up in a predominantly art and craft household, Davies-Okundaye is a fifth-generation artist who decided to take the craft seriously due to poverty.
“I had no money to go to school and the first education parents give you is to teach you what they do. So, when I finished primary six and I had no support to go to secondary school, I said to myself, ‘let me master art so I can teach other women to also use their hand to make a living through their own artwork’.”
Davies-Okundaye was forced to work in the male-dominated construction sector, carrying concrete in pans to builders in order to save one shilling, just enough to buy a yard of fabric to create what she called wall-hanging art.
Her goal was to use the traditional wax-resist methods to design patterned fabric in a dazzling array of tints and hues. The adire design is the result of hand-painted work carried out mostly by women and through that, Davies-Okundaye saw a way to help women to become economically empowered. After all, her first break in life came as a result of that.
“There was no other job I was doing apart from adire. I was lucky the American government came to Nigeria to recruit an African who will teach African Americans how to make traditional textiles or crafts in the state. That is how I was lucky and got picked.”
Davies-Okundaye was the only woman in a class of 10 men who were flown to Maine in northeastern United States in 1974. That is where her whole outlook on life changed.
“Before I went to America, I used to carry three drums of water every day and carry firewood to be able to survive. It was like a breakthrough in my life when I reached America. I said ‘is this heaven?’ I was the only woman in the class and all the men were learning women’s looms and I kept telling them ‘this is for women’ and they said ‘yes, in America, what a man can do, a woman can also do’.”
This was in stark contrast to what she knew to be true in Nigeria at the time.
“If your husband is an artist, you are not allowed to do art. In the 1960s, if your husband has a PhD, you are not allowed to also have a PhD. You had to give room for your husband to be your boss.”
She decided to beat those age-old stereotypes.
As one of 15 wives to her then-husband at the time, Davies-Okundaye, with her newfound knowledge gained in America, started a revolution at home. She encouraged the other wives to create their own art business using adire.
“I said ‘if you learn this, you can earn a living by yourself and get your power because your money is your power’ and that is how they also started learning it. I didn’t stop sharing the knowledge there. I gathered girls on the streets who were selling kola nuts and peanuts and started training them. I said ‘if this textile can take me to America, let me teach other people’,” says Davies-Okundaye.
And that has been her calling ever since. Davies-Okundaye is the founder and director of four art centers, which offer free training to 150 young artists in Nigeria in visual, musical and performing arts.
One of the centers is the largest art gallery in West Africa comprising over 7,000 art works.
“They used to get the police to arrest me because they said I was trying to teach feminism in Nigeria because I went to America. They said I was going to corrupt our Nigerian women but I believe God sent me to liberate a lot of women who have the passion for what makes them happy but are afraid to do it because of what people will say. I say do what makes you happy always!”
– Forbes Africa
ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS LOANS: The Top Options
For creatives and entrepreneurs pursuing artistic projects, sometimes the biggest challenge isn’t the creative process itself (although that certainly comes with its own set of challenges)—it’s securing the right entertainment business loans so you can get your project off the ground and share your work with your community.
For many artists and entertainers, navigating the financial world is tricky, nonintuitive, and, frankly, uninteresting. But the reality is that, in certain cases, funding is necessary in order to create your project in the first place—whether it’s a short film, a play, a video game, a comic book series, a full-length album, a digital short, or another project that requires gear or materials, a cast and crew, and other pricey incidentals in order to come to fruition.
But because individual creators and business owners in the entertainment industry often seek loans in order to fund a business idea, entertainment business loans may not be the conventional lump-sum bank financing you’d expect. Here, we’ll show you just a few of those creative funding ideas that may work for creative entrepreneurs.
A Quick Rundown on Entertainment Business Loans
If you’re seeking entertainment business loans, you can certainly try your luck with debt financing, which is the exchange of money for the promise of repaying that money, plus interest, over a predetermined window—in other words, it’s the arrangement that likely springs to mind when you think of a conventional loan. But for financial institutions to trust that you’ll hold up your end of the bargain, they need substantial evidence of your financial solvency. Typically, that evidence takes the form of industry experience, a strong credit score, high annual revenue, and a serviceable DSCR, among other factors.
But considering that many artists and creators seek financing to start their projects, hopeful applicants simply won’t have the credentials needed to secure debt financing from traditional lenders or online platforms. That said, there are a couple forms of debt-based business financing that are accessible for entertainment business owners, mostly because these methods don’t involve going down the straight-and-narrow business financing path (but what fun is going the conventional route, anyway?).
In many cases, though, entertainment business owners—by which we mean individual artists and creators, or owners of entertainment-related businesses, like production companies—secure their funding without creating debt. Zero-debt financing can take a few forms: You can seek investors to put up their money in return for equity in your business or project; or solicit generous strangers to donate small amounts of their own money.
Entertainment Business Loans: Your 6 Top Options
With that primer in mind, here are just a few of the best options for entrepreneurial artists seeking entertainment business loans:
For most artists and creators, the safest route toward securing at least part of your required finances is through a crowdfunding platform, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Depending on the platform you choose and the nature of your project, you can provide your backers with rewards in return for their donations, like an advanced copy or demo, merchandise, a ticket to the premiere, a commissioned art piece, or a cameo in your project. Often, rewards increase in value (and work, on your end) along with the dollar amount your backer pledges.
There are so many upsides to crowdfunding. First off, as long as you’re aligned with your particular platform’s guidelines, virtually every creator is eligible for this form of financing. And in addition to receiving money for your project, creating a crowdfunding campaign is an excellent way to forge a community of guaranteed fans and supporters even before you deliver your product—a boon for every artist hoping to publicize their work. You can also use your crowdfunders as a testing ground and receive valuable, direct feedback about your project.
On the downside, however, crowdfunding most likely won’t provide you with all the cash you need for your project; so if possible, this financing method is best used in tandem with a more substantial method, like one of the forms we’ll outline next. Also be aware that most crowdfunding platforms charge a fee for the use of their services, so a small percentage of the money you do end up raising won’t actually make it into your pockets.
As we mentioned, certain forms of zero-debt financing involve the exchange of money for some form of influence over your business—and angel investing, another popular type of entertainment business loan, is one such financing method.
Angel investors are individuals who offer up their own wealth to help early-stage businesses and projects they believe in get off the ground. In exchange, angels often take equity in the business. Depending on the investor and the stake they take in your project, they may expect a key decision-making role in your processes or, at the very least, they’ll provide their guidance and expertise.
Business owners will often need to leverage their personal and professional networks to find angel investors. But if your network is limited, or if you need to brush up on your in-person networking strategies, you can also turn to online platforms like AngelList and Angel Investment Network to connect to potential investors.
Whether you find your angel investor through a personal connection or online, be prepared to prove why your project is worth their investment. Create a presentation or document detailing your unique value proposition (or, in the case of creative projects, how your project differentiates itself from what’s already on the market), how much money you need and how exactly you’ll use your funds, your financial projections, and your marketing plan. The better prepared your presentation, the more likely potential angels will be to believe in both your financial responsibility and the value of your creative project—and to offer up their money and guidance to help you get that project started.
Friends and Family Loans
As an artist, you understand how crucial it is to surround yourself with people who support your work; and at a certain point in your artistic career, you may need to tap that network not only for emotional support, but for their financial backing, too. If you’re approaching your friends and family for a loan, however, do so with the utmost care. Prepare a detailed loan agreement or promissory note so they understand that you’re legally bound to repaying their contribution, and don’t be afraid to solicit the help of an attorney if need be.
Kiva loans are a kind of hybrid between crowdfunding and an alternative lending platform. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit is an online lending platform that offers businesses and individuals with 0% interest loans up of up to $10,000, with repayment terms ranging between three and 36 months. Like a crowdfunding platform, loan funds come from individuals who can browse the Kiva site and contribute to the causes they believe in. Unlike a crowdfunding platform, however, those lenders will receive their money back, according to a repayment schedule determined between Kiva and the business owner.
While several types of businesses and initiatives can be eligible for a Kiva loan, the platform intends to create funding opportunities to the individuals who are often excluded from traditional lending institutions, or who simply don’t have access to traditional forms of financing—including women, refugees, IDPs, and business owners in developing nations and conflict zones. But even if you’re not one such business owner, you may be a good match for a Kiva loan if your project is inherently socially conscious or environmentally responsible. Take a look at Kiva’s Arts loans page for a better idea of the types of creative businesses that have been approved for these unique loans.
Personal Loan for Business
If you need a substantial sum of money for your entertainment business or project, it makes sense to want to turn to a bank or online lending platform for that lump sum. But as you now know, very few of these lenders, whether brick-and-mortar or online-only, are willing to risk extending credit to new businesses.
But if your personal credit score and financials are strong, you can consider securing a personal loan from a bank or online lender. Unlike a business loan, which you need to use for business-related purposes, you can use a personal loan for virtually anything you need, including your startup or creative pursuit. As is always the case, however, you need to be certain that you can responsibly repay your loan and interest within your lender’s repayment period. There’s no doubt that your work is important—but in the long run, it’s probably not worth getting caught in an unnecessary cycle of debt for.
Business Credit Card
A business credit card is one of the most accessible forms of financing for businesses, regardless of their industry, experience, or financial situation—in fact, if your business doesn’t have its own financial history to provide on your credit card application, then the card issuer can simply evaluate your personal financial information instead.
Of course, your credit card probably won’t give you access to all the funds you need to finance your entertainment business, especially if you’re working on a larger-scale, financially demanding project like shooting a movie or recording an album; and even if you did have access to a substantial credit line, your credit card’s short billing cycle probably wouldn’t provide you enough time to repay that amount without incurring added interest. Instead, use your business credit card to pay for any smaller, day-to-day expenses related to your entertainment business, like inexpensive gear, art supplies, or even meals for your cast or crew (even if you’re actually the only credited cast and crew member). If you can qualify for one, we’d recommend using a cash back or points card so you can reap additional benefits every time you spend.
The Bottom Line on Entertainment Business Loans
There are tons of alternative funding options for creative types, and this guide only highlighted a few of the more popular and accessible methods of securing financing for creative projects. Other options, for instance, are to look into both government- or privately funded grant programs, paid residencies, or scholarships, which may provide you full or partial funding as well as the time, materials, resources, and space you need to work on your project.
Remember, too, that many of these funding methods can be used in tandem with one another. Crowdfunding makes an excellent supplement to a heftier form of financing, for example, and a business credit card is a must-have for any serious business owner, regardless of industry, to pay for their incidentals (and earn perks and rewards in the process).
There’s no doubt that navigating the financial aspect of your entertainment business can become a project within itself—but probably not as creative a project as you’d like it to be. If you’re daunted by the task, start with what and whom you know. Reach out to your fellow creators and ask how they’ve financed projects in the past. Launch a Kickstarter or Indiegogo page and see if it gains traction. And, if it makes sense for your project’s needs, take a few minutes to apply for a business credit card online and start separating your business and personal finances. Then, as your project picks up, you can move onto larger forms of financing, like loans and investors.
KFC, Vida Café Pledge Support To Veterans In The Creative Arts Industry Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
KFC Ghana (a member of the Mohinani Group ) has partnered Vida Café to donate items worth ¢15,000 to the aged and the sick in the creative arts industry.
Items include bags of rice, oil, tin tomatoes, and other foodstuffs.
According to KFC and Vida Café, this is their way of giving back to society.
Acting President of the Musicians Union Of Ghana, MUSIGA, Bessa Simons indicated that the Union was concerned about the veterans during the coronavirus pandemic, hence the gesture is much appreciated.
Minister of Tourism, Creative Arts, and Culture, Barbara Oteng Gyasi extended appreciation to the donors for their support.
“The impact on the aged is severe. We appreciate what companies are doing for the creative arts industry. We want to take the steps to support the current people so they don’t go through what the aged went through. This will enable them to take care of themselves in the future.
“We are appealing for more support whilst they work to put the proper structures in place.
“We are also working on an insurance policy for practitioners in the industry. The current artistes will get the necessary support from now,” she said.
Mrs. Barbara Oteng Gyasi said she was hopeful of a great year, until coronavirus became a pandemic.
She is, therefore, urging all industry players to take advantage of the virtual space and social media platforms available.
“Use creative means to do great things to be able to put out the best when Covid-19 is over. The virtual space should be taken advantage of even though the industry will not derive much but they will support and make things happen for the industry,” she advised
President of the Creative Arts Council, Mark Okraku-Mantey also thanked the donors for their support for the industry. He asked institutions not to only focus on musicians but actors, as well as other sectors of the creative arts industry.
Other personalities present included, former Musiga President Diana Hopson, Administrator of Musiga Ahuma Bosco Ocansey, Scretary of the National Film Authority, Juliet Asante, Veteran musician Pat Thomas, Dela Hayes, Dr Mary Ghana and others.
Acting President of Musiga, Bessa Simons said the donation will be distributed equally among the aged, not leaving out those outside the capital, Accra.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the creative arts industry to a halt, thereby, making industry players lose a lot of money and revenue since there are no more concerts or movies.
Most industry players have had to resort to online means of entertaining their fans and showbiz lovers.
– Doreen Avio/Joy News
Ethiopia’s First Female Superhero Comic ‘Hawi’ Nominated for ‘Best Graphic Novel’
Founder of Etan Comics and Ethiopian writer,Beserat Debebe, has been been nominated for this year’s NOMMO Awards for African Speculative Fiction for his Hawi comic in the category of “Best Graphic Novel”. The Nommo Awards are presented in four categories namely “Best Novel”, “Best Novella”, “Best Short Story” and “Best Graphic Novel”. Hawi is the first female comic to ever come out of Ethiopia. Additionally, Debebe’s Jember, which was the country’s first ever comic, made it onto the long-list in the same category.
Hawi, as described in OkayAfrica’s interview with Debebe, “centers a female superhero, a young Ethiopian woman named Ement Legesse, who is tasked with having to rescue her mother after she’s abducted. The colorful visuals are stunning and showcase Debebe’s talented team of African artists and their unique ability to capture the vibrancy of Ethiopia. A story about returning to one’s roots and having the courage to rise above the challenges that come with seeking reconciliation and belonging, it’s one we can all relate to whether literally or figuratively.”
Following its wildly successful kickstarter which covered the remaining costs of production, Hawi has become a beloved work of art not just for Ethiopians but Africans across the continent and the diaspora.
Speaking about the recent nomination, Debebe says, “This is incredible.” He adds that, “I loved fantasy stories but I’d never considered myself as a writer. All I wanted was to see a story with places I recognize and characters that think like me. To see this journey balloon from a simple “what if” into a community of passionate fans is exciting and motivating. Last year, Nnedi Okorafor took this award for writing Shuri (Marvel’s Black Panther). She is a Hugo-Award winner. To be recognized as a finalist in the same category as her means so much.”
Writers who have been nominated for the NOMMO Awards in the past include Akwaeke Emezi, Biram Mboob and T.L. Huchu among several others.
– Rufaro Samanga/Okay Africa
Gov’t Announces An Estimated US$ 1M Relief Fund For Creatives
NAIROBI – Wednesday, May 13, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Following an executive order issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 6 April and as part of its three-month “Together at Home” campaign, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage – Kenya has, on Monday, May 11, 2020, launched a 100 million Kenyan shilling ($940 000) stimulus package provided by the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to support an estimated 20, 000 creatives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the cabinet secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, Amina Mohamed, artists, actors and musicians would be imbursed for the production of projects that is centred on creating awareness, sensitisation and providing educational content relating to the global pandemic, adding that, the produced content would be disbursed via various online platforms such as Kulture TV and other media outlets, including a mobile phone application to reach a widespread of less and well endowed. She made this revelation during a media encounter at at the Kenya Cultural Centre.
The cabinet secretary revealed that, the 100 million Kenyan shillings provision to the creatives is to aid the arts and culture practitioners, educate, innovate, sustain and improve their projects, as the “Together at Home” campaign will use entertainment to centralise three crucial aspects of our society, thus, the importance of new avenues for work, creative community education and sustained mental well-being for all Kenyans during this period.
Though the campaign will be spearheaded by several government agencies and departments, which are expected to release the criteria for engaging the creatives later this week, the Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC) will implement the campaign in the music sector by engaging musicians and dancers.
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