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[liberationtech] Tonight's (Nov. 8) Communications Forum on "New Media in West Africa" at MIT

Yosem Companys companys at
Thu Nov 8 14:35:10 PST 2012

From: Brad Seawell <seawell at>

Hi – ****

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If you plan on joining us for tonight’s forum, please note that the venue
has been changed to E25-111 <>
at 45 Carleton Street on the MIT campus and that this forum will take place
from 7 until 9 pm:****

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*New Media in West Africa*

Thursday, November 8, 2012
7-9 PM [*Note Time*]
E25-111 <>  ****

This forum launches the sixth Futures of Entertainment

Despite many infrastructural and economic hurdles, entertainment media
industries are burgeoning
in West Africa. Today, the Nigerian cinema market--"Nollywood"--is the
second largest in the world
in terms of the annual volume of films distributed behind only the Indian
film industry. And an era of
digital distribution has empowered content created in Lagos, or Accra, to
spread across geographic
and cultural boundaries. New commercial models for distribution as well as
international diasporic
networks have driven the circulation of this material. But so has rampant
piracy and the unofficial
online circulation of this content. What innovations are emerging from West
Africa? How has Nigerian
cinema in particular influenced local television and film markets in other
countries across West Africa,
and across the continent? What does the increasing visibility of West
African popular culture mean for
this region--especially as content crosses various cultural contexts,
within and outside the region?
And what challenges does West Africa face in continuing to develop its
entertainment industries? ****


*Derrick N. Ashong* <> leads the band
Soulfège, a group that produces an eclectic blend of hip-hop,
reggae, funk, world beat and West African highlife music and has been
featured in such major media
as MTV Africa and NPR. Also known as DNA, which is the name of his
Ashong hosted Oprah
Radio’s *The Derrick Ashong Experience* and Al-Jazeera English’s social
media TV show *The Stream*.****

*Colin M. Maclay* <> is the
managing director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard
Law School. Both as co-founder of Harvard's International Technologies
Group<>and at Berkman,
Maclay’s research pairs hands-on multi-stakeholder collaborations with the
generation of data that
reveal trends, challenges and opportunities for the integration of
communications technologies in
developing communities.****

*Fadzi Makanda* is a business development manager in the New York
office of iROKO
Partners <>,
a distributor of African--and particularly Nollywood--entertainment.
Makanda leads the development
and execution of U.S. advertising sales strategies for the company. ****

*Moderator: **
**Ralph Simon* <> is founder
of the Mobilium Advisory Group <>, which studies
innovation in mobile usage
in such countries as Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. He has served
as an executive at
Capitol Records, Blue Note Records, and EMI Music, and he co-founded the
Zomba Group with
Clive Calder of South Africa. Simon earned the title "Father of the Ring
Tone" when he created the
first ring tone company in 1997.****

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All forums are free and open to the public.****

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More information:****
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