Arit Okpo is one of Africa’s fastest rising media personalities. She takes risks and sheds light on issues that are mostly ignored in Nigeria. Unafraid to express herself, Arit is definitely worth meeting. Enjoy.
– Who is Arit Okpo?
Career wise, Arit is a media entrepreneur. I provide media services ranging from production, event hosting, voice overs to writing for a wide variety of contexts and formats. Personally, Arit is a traveler, walking through life and building a life brighter and more colourful than I have ever dreamed
– How would you say your early life has shaped you?
I grew up with a mother who did everything doable. She was an extremely hard worker and from an early age, I learned that hard work wasn’t something to run away from or be afraid of. I was also a very imaginative child, and I think that this freedom to lose myself in my imagination has carried over to a life in the media and as a writer
– What’s one of your most memorable experiences from childhood?
Gosh I have so many…hmmm…ok, my nursery school featured in one of those NTA exchange programs. I got to present an episode for NTA IMO, wearing traditional gear. It’s funny that over 2 decades later, I ended up doing it as a career
– Take us on a brief journey through your professional life
Hmmm, where do I start? Ok, I started my professional career as the assistant to a school owner, in about 6 months, she promoted me to assistant administrator. I left after a couple of years and moved to Lagos where I worked as an artiste manager for a while. Back to Abuja, I did some work in PR, Production and then back to education. It was during my second stint in Education that the opportunity at Ebonylife came about
– * From working at Tender years to producing for Ebonylife TV, how did this happen and why?
Ok, I had been working at Ebonylife for a year or so when I started to feel that I wanted to explore my horizons further. I sat down and wrote a 25 year plan, starting with registering my educational consultancy and ending with me as Minister of Education (no jokes!) 2 months after that, I got a call from Mo Abudu. She had remembered me from The Debaters (a reality show that she executive produced) and wanted me to come host a news show on the Channel. I quietly folded up my life plan, threw a side eye to Heaven and took the job
– We have been major fans of EL Reports and the Crunch, please share what your aims were for both shows.
For both shows, the aim was to make news a conversation that the everyday person could relate to. We end up in a lot of bad situations as citizens because we don’t know what is going on in the country or we don’t think that we need to know or care. I wanted to make news mainstream. I wanted to raise topics and have people say “Oh wow, I didn’t know that was happening”. And I wanted to do it in easily digestible fashion, so that people didn’t get overwhelmed. I think I succeeded
– In an ever changing entertainment industry, what would you say are the challenges faced by creatives in Nigeria?
Creatives need to learn the business of their craft. So many creatives don’t understand the market value of their work, and this is fine if you don’t need your craft to feed you. But if you expect a career from your craft, you must learn the naira and kobo of it. Many creatives in Nigeria keep getting cheated and eventually disillusioned, because they get into business partnerships with people who aren’t looking out for their interests. I think we also operate in a culture that doesn’t really understand the value of a creative in an enterprise, so we are often unappreciated or under-represented
– Quality Content is King yet it is struggling to see the light of day , what are your views on this?
I think that Quality Control is an evolving process and it is happening little by little. The viewer is becoming more discerning and so the industry must evolve to meet that. We also cannot get lazy with the fact that the public doesn’t know better. Even if people don’t know that they should expect better, the industry needs to constantly raise its standards to compete with the best around the world
– What are your interests and given the opportunity, what issues would like to address within your industry?
My interests are the media as a platform, not as an end in itself. I’m not interested in being on TV for publicity or popularity sake. I want to be able to utilize the media to talk about things that matter, to highlight underreported issues and to celebrate people flying under the radar.
– We noticed you’re natural and proud, have you always been and why?
I haven’t o! I have beautiful permed hair for a long time, then hair damage and general peer pressure made me contemplate the big C. After mulling over it for a year, I finally chopped off two thirds of the permed length, transitioned for 8 months and then chopped off the rest of the perm. It hasn’t always been an easy journey, I was sure I was going to perm it at the end of the 1st year. 2 and a half years later though, we’re still here this hair and I
– If you could travel the world in a day, where would you go first?
Ah…maybe to Oron, to spend some time with my grandma. I miss her
– From producer’s perspective, what kind of content would you create to add value to the Nigerian society?
I love the Nigerian culture – its variety and fluidity. How we celebrate, where we come from, why we believe and do the things we do…these are the things I would love to share. Let’s go back to being crazy about our origins
– If you could have a soundtrack for where you are in your life right now, what would it be?
Unwritten – Natasha Beddingfield