From her early days at Channels TV, to co-creating The Spot on EbonyLife TV,
multiple freelancing jobs across the continent for CNN and many others, LAMIDE AKINTOBI is a force in the
media space and highly versed in her craft. The daughter of Laolu Akins, the legendary music producer of the 8o’s;
Lamide sheds insight on her career and the stereotypes attached with women in the media. -VIVIENNE BELONWU
Your passion for journalism is quite
evident in the manner in which you work. Going down memory lane, was media always your career choice?
I started off as a pre-law major at
University. After one semester I knew I wasn’t going to like it, but I took a few different electives, one of which was a Radio & TV module. I actually was convinced I’d end up in radio, and when I moved back, I applied to a radio station, but it didn’t pan out. Then Channels TV
So that wasn’t planned, how did you
realise your passion for it?
Journalism in the strict sense, especially as practiced in Nigeria, is not a “sexy” job. It doesn’t always pay well, and you have to be dedicated and a hard worker. I truly enjoyed working as a news anchor
and producer, and I had fantastic
colleagues at Channels, like Betty Dibiah, Joke Rogers, Ijeoma Kola Oshalusi Onyeator and so many others, who were my newsroom family. John Momoh was the best boss, and I say it all the time that my time at Channels really molded me, and even when I was tired or frustrated with the people, or the schedule, I really did enjoy the work. A lot of it was also self-driven. I believe if you choose to do something, you should do your best, and when you can’t, or when you lose your passion for it and the work starts to suffer, you should leave it until/unless you regain your passion.
What are some of the negative
stereotypes that you have had to deal
with in the course of your career?
When I started working on TV, I didn’t know there was a stereotype that female news-anchors/presenters are supposedly ‘easy’. Luckily, I have quite a no nonsense personality, and it’s usually quite apparent very quickly that I don’t have time for nonsense. Other than that, I think the things I deal with are the things other Nigerian women living and working in Nigeria deal with; a culture and system that, more often than not, disrespects or disregards women, no matter the age, class, tribe, religion, etc.
You have been involved in a number
of projects both nationally and internationally. What influences your
decision to go after a project?
Different factors: what types of stories are being told, what value the stories can bring, whether I think I can do a good job as part of the team bringing it to life, and of course, money. As much as a project may have lofty goals and all that, at the end of the day, I’m also a creative entrepreneur with bills to pay, so any work I do needs to be worth the effort
I bring to it.
As a member of the media, what would
you say is the responsibility of the
information providers in ensuring that a more diverse spectrum of beauty is shared to the public?
I think there needs to be a more robust
and inclusive way to share information,
and it must be intentional. Any media
house (in the traditional or modern sense
of the word) needs to make the effort to
reflect the world as it is. The same goes
for creative media folks – film-makers,
writers… The world is evolving, and there are more avenues for people to get
a glimpse into different cultures and
experiences via the Internet, so it’s every
storyteller’s responsibility to reflect not
only their own reality, but to dig deeper
and show all the types of beauty that exist in our world, and outside our own lens of privilege. Changing this impression must be intentional too, by assessing and improving hiring practices and taking more chances on fresh faces.
What project are you presently working on?
I’m always working on something. I
have a growing media services company
called ‘Something Special Media’. Apart
from that, I’m taking another stab at
producing a documentary on Nigerian
music – I started working on it years ago,
but stepped away from it, and I’ve taken
a couple of documentary courses to help
redirect and revisit. Most recently, I’ve
started a free newsletter geared towards
people who are interested in the media
industry, sharing info, tips and giving
back a bit.
Follow Lamide on Instagram and Twitter: @lamide_a and visit her website, lamidelive.com