Nigeria’s foremost spoken words promoter and organizer of War of Words event (A Spoken words talent discovery event), has spoken about the untapped benefits in the poetry value chain in Nigeria. In this interview with DAILYFAMILY Newspaper, Holloway, a graduate of Lagos state University (LASU) explain why he seem to have been so loud about poetry even while Accounting was his Major in School.
Can we meet you please?
My name is Olumide Holloway. I am a writer, author of two E-books (The Poetprenuer and How many Nos make a Yes?), spoken word artist, Poetprenuer and Promoter of Poetry and literary events
Tell us about your educational background?
I graduated from LASU in 2002/ 2003 with a 2:2 in Accounting and I am also a Chartered Accountant i.e. an Associate member of ICAN (ACA) since 2005.
You seem to have made more noise about Poetry, why is it so?
Passion, passion, passion…And a dream that has kept me awake since I dreamt it.
Will you tell us your first experience with spoken words?
It was via a movie titled, “why do fools fall in love?” in 2008 (I think) and then later on at an event called “Celebrity Read” which started around June/ July in 2010. My first performance was at Taruwa that held in August 2010 at a Bar in the Palms, Oniru Lekki area. It was a disaster.
What led you into it?
The immediate attention, the art form demands from you, especially when excellently done. It is a way to express my thoughts, dreams, pain, excitement and all other things I had written down (instead of waiting for people to come and read it).
Spoken words seem to be what every ‘Dick and Harry’ today are doing. Why have you chosen to do the same thing?
I don’t know that many Dick and Harry. But like we learnt in school, all primates are mammals, but not all mammals are. So because someone calls his/ herself a name, does not automatically mean that is what he or she is.
What makes you standout?
Finding my niche and dominating it. Besides, I was born to standout, and I say this will all humility.
What is your major motives for organizing spoken words event. What have You been trying to achieve?
The vision is to develop a vibrant spoken word poetry industry in Nigeria and Africa. This will lead to creation of jobs/ businesses, increase in the level of literacy among youths, provide quality entertainment, provide a platform for expression and empower/ enlighten minds.
Which work of life will you refer to yourself as a professional?
A Poetprenuer: that is someone involved in the Business of poetry.
On which umbrella organization are you driving your Spoken words event?
i2X Media is an organization that sponsors, supports and promotes Performance Poetry, Spoken Word and soul music events. We are an entertainment company that employs the use of the written and spoken word as a literacy development tool, branding tool, marketing and publicity tool, business development and sales growth tool. We also do creative writing, editing, mentoring, grooming, promotion and management of writers, poets and soul singers.
Tell us about War Of Words?
War Of Words is Nigeria’s foremost Slam Poetry Competition which (on an annual basis since June 2013), discovers, grooms, and promote young, new, exciting and talented Spoken Word Poets based in Nigeria and Africa. It is an event that attracts and promote the performances of new poets, which in turn helps to grow an industry that will enable Spoken Word Poets to earn a living from their performances. In addition, it is a medium that allows us to use Spoken Word Poetry as a literacy development tool which can be used for education, communication, information and entertainment.
After War of Words Season 6, what next?
In 2017 War Of Words Season 6 featured 30 poets in 2 semifinals and one final over 3 weekends. In 2018, we plan to organize War Of Words Season 7 and feature 60 poets who will compete in 4 quarter finals, one semifinal and then a Grand final. This event will last between 6 to 12 weeks.
What has been your major challenge in the Spoken words industry?
Lack of enough awareness of the art form and lack of funding. But we realize that awareness brings funding, and funding brings awareness. So we have focused on creating enough awareness that will eventually attract funding.
Can you mention or describe the value chain in the poetry industry?
Our research has shown that there are areas of relevance of Spoken Word Poetry to individuals, companies and Countries. These are basically the benefits derivable from poetry and categorized into what I call the 8 Es.
They are as follows:
Are you married?
Please tell us about your family?
I am married to a blessed and lovely lady and we have two amazing and wonderful children. And there is no minority claim in the gender distribution.