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Veteran Actress Taiwo Ajai-Lycett Lambastes Nigerian Govt. And Warped Social Values

Renowned actress, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett recently spoke out about the struggles faced by Nigerian artists, drawing attention to the lack of recognition they receive while alive.
March 11, 2024
3:59 pm

Reflecting on her experiences working with the late Jimi Solanke in a recent interview with the TNR team, the veteran actress voiced her criticism over the lack of appreciation and recognition of Nigerian artists.


Ajai-Lycett, who co-starred with Solanke in the iconic play “The Divorce” around the time period of the FESTAC ’77, expressed her dismay at the treatment of artists like Solanke during their lifetimes. “It pains me what artists like him go through when they are alive and when they’re dead, we start making a big song and dance of them,” she lamented.


The acclaimed thespian drove her point home by describing the posthumous fanfare that often follows an artist’s passing “pointless, when people work their hearts out and don’t get the recognition needed.”


Extending her critique beyond just the artistic sphere, Ajai-Lycett took aim at Nigeria’s broader societal values that prioritize wealth over talent and contributions to culture.


She noted “The society thinks of them [artist] as peripheral because they’re not money bags,” highlighting the skewed perception that often relegates creatives to the fringes.


Ajai-Lycett also criticized the lack of acknowledgement from Nigeria’s political leadership, revealing “No president phoned the family to condole with them” after Solanke’s passing.


Ajai-Lycett’s impassioned critique serves as a wake-up call for a country struggling with its priorities and the preservation of its cultural richness. Her words not only pay tribute to the late Solanke but also underscore the urgent need to reexamine the role of artists in shaping Nigeria’s national identity and ensuring their contributions are duly recognized and supported.


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