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50 Cent and Ciara make history performing multiple concerts in the Niger Delta
This past weekend history was made as rap superstar 50 Cent and R&B sensation Ciara headlined an unprecedented 6 show, 3 day concert tour throughout Africa's Niger Delta region.
The purpose of the weekend concert tour was to promote peace and celebrate the recent signed amnesty treaty.
Brandon I. Brooks, Entertainment Editor with the Los Angeles Sentinel was privileged to accompany the U.S. artist for an exclusive behind the scenes view.
Invited by American promoter Barret LaRoda, Brooks was hired to assist with talent hospitality and concert production coordination.
For nearly a decade the Delta region has been at war over its resources so for the LaRoda Group to bring big name American acts to the Delta Region was unprecedented and for many unheard of.
But with the help of the Nigerian government and the support of its people every concert was a success in its own right.
The Niger Delta Peace Rocks Concerts were in fact an initiative of Mr. Nduka Obaigbena (Aka the Duke), the publisher of THISDAY Newspaper and chairman of THISDAY Music Festivals which in recent years has featured such artist as R. Kelly, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, John Legend, and Snoop Dogg to name a few.
Featuring an equal number of Nigerian acts, the Peace Rocks tour featured such artists as D'Banj, Wande Coal, P-Square, 2 Face and DeDe.
Kicking off on Friday, December 18 and ending on Sunday, December 20th, the Peace Rocks concert tour made stops in Abuja, Warri, Benin, Yenagoa, Uyo and Port Horcourt.
For many fans in these cities, it was their first time that they had ever been granted an opportunity to see their favourite musicians live in concert.
The concert was organized with the support of the Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta and Rivers State Governments.
The aim of the government was to "promote peace, reconciliation and development in the Niger Delta region, following the cessation of militant activities under the federal government's amnesty programme."
The theme of the THISDAY Music Festival in the Niger Delta is predicated on peace extends the notion that with an atmosphere of peace, the leadership in that region will be able to concentrate on developmental programmes and also build infrastructures.
With the right programmes in place, the former agitated youths will be gainfully employed and poverty will be a thing of the past; not only in the Niger Delta region but also in Nigeria.
The most notable experience of the weekend was the heartfelt support of the Nigerian locals. Not only did they come out in thousands to dance and cheer but even more importantly, the locals supported the concerts by literally working and helping set up production in every city.
With out the help and support of the local Nigerian communities, none of the concerts would have been a success.
The most memorable moment came on the final night (Sunday December, 20th) when over 30,000 fans packed into Uyo stadium. Even when things looked to get a little out of hand, it was 50 Cent who told the crowd he would not be deterred and to prove he was one of them, 50 Cent actually jumped into the audience and ran around the stadium with thousands of fans chasing him.
The festive weekend proved to be arguably the most notable and successful concert tour in Nigerian history.
The Sentinel is proud to say that they were part of history and thank the Nigerian people, government, along with the LaRoda Group and THISDAY Music Festivals for allowing us to be part of history and participate in such a historic and monumental effort.
(Lily Aninyei contributed reporting from Lagos, Nigeria)