Ayo Animashaun #WithChude.

By Taiwo Okanlawon

  • Olamide didn’t vote Lil Kesh at 2015 Headies, says Ayo Animashaun

Ayo Animashaun, entertainment entrepreneur and Television executive, discusses the struggles and battles he has faced in becoming the number one curator of Nigerian sound, a leading voice in the entertainment industry and pushing the entertainment industry forward.

Starting his career writing the entertainment segment for Fame Magazine, Ayo Animashaun disclosed that the reception the segment received made him realize that there was a market he could explore in the entertainment industry. This realization led him to branch out and start a magazine of his own.

However, the numerous fan mail he received while writing for Fame Magazine did not prepare him for the setbacks ahead.

“It took a year to get the magazine out because nobody believed in it,” he said during the latest episode of #WithChude.

The media mogul, who doubles as HipTV founder, revealed that even though his magazine was in demand across the country, haughty magazine agents still frustrated him.

“I ran into problems with the agents. I was barely 25 at the time and I was printing a lot of copies and selling magazines across the country. Then, it was tedious dealing with the agents in Lagos.

“When I go to collect my money, they would be like, ‘small pikin like you, wetin you wan do with the money? Go and print another edition.’ I got frustrated dealing with these agents. They were very troublesome and in those days they could make or mar a publisher.

“I got frustrated, I wasn’t getting my money, plus I wanted to print more copies. At some point, I just felt, ‘you know what? this isn’t working for me and I stopped.”

After this event, Ayo Animashaun continued contributing to other magazines. However, the people in his inner circle didn’t let him quit.

He revealed that Dele Momodu called a meeting where he was tongue-lashed by other publishers and people in his industry for giving up. The tongue-lashing worked because after that meeting, he decided to fight.

This decision to fight led him to resuscitate his magazine and, many years later, keep hosting the Headies despite only breaking even once in the fifteen years the Awards has existed.

Animashaun, the founder of the Headies, while speaking on the blowout at the award show in 2015 says Olamide did not vote Lil Kesh for the ‘Next Rated Act’, despite faulting the organisers for not giving the gong to him.

In 2015, Reekado Banks signed to Mavin Records then, had snagged the category of the Headies aimed at celebrating outstanding achievements in the Nigerian music industry.

But the ‘Rock’ crooner had blasted the award’s organisers at the time, claiming that Like Kesh, who was signed into YBNL then, deserved to win the award.

Don Jazzy, Mavin’s CEO, had however hit back at Olamide when he was called up to receive a special recognition award for his role in the entertainment industry.

Reflecting on the incident, Animashaun said it is wrong for people to believe an artiste is simply entitled to win a category of an award without voting for them.

He also explained that months after the award event, Olamide visited him at the office where he showed the rapper how the winner was selected.

“Months (after the Olamide/Don Jazzy blowout), when Olamide came to my office, I showed him the log – I have the log on my phone – even he didn’t vote!” he said.

“So some categories, it’s okay to look at it and say ‘Na he gets am, Na he get am’ but it doesn’t work like that. So if you say ‘abeg don’t mind the headies’ of course don’t mind the headies but did you vote?!

“A lot of people use mouth to vote. For voting categories, you don’t vote for them, they don’t win. Simple!”

Speaking on the reason for his tenacity with the Headies, Ayo Animashaun shared, “In 2015, I spoke to myself a lot. I said to myself, ‘in another 15 years when my children ask me what I did with my youth and how I spent my money, would I be showing them videos of the Awards? Would I be showing them videos of the awards when my friends are showing properties and houses?’ So, I said I am not going back.

“There is nothing as good as being consistent. The excuse I gave myself was – if I stop right now and somebody steps in the room, all the hard work I have put in, it’s the new guy that will get the credit. And if there is money to be made, it’s the new guy that will make the money,” he continued.

Ayo Animashaun’s doggedness and fighting spirit have kept him going in the most adverse conditions, including the fight against Heritage Bank- a Nigerian financial institution that tried to foreclose his businesses, Hip Tv and Smooth Productions.

Despite the daunting battles he has faced in over 27 years in the entertainment industry, Ayo Animashaun continues to push forward, establishing himself as a media mogul in Nigeria.

Here is a link to watch the full #WithChude interview