First, in case you have a confused expression on your face wondering what I speak of, get caught up. Amber Rose, Kanye West’s ex-girlfriend and Wiz Khalifa’s current girlfriend, was apparently invited to Nigeria to host a “Music Meets Runway” event. Some of Nigeria’s top musicians and fashion designers, this weekend, converge for a major show and good times. Somehow, somewhere, someone thought to invite Amber Rose to host the event. *Sigh*
On a personal level, when I received this news, I wondered to myself, “who in their right mind thought Amber Rose should host a Music Meets Runway show? Why? Where is the fit? I did not see the fit or value. But I also thought, “hey, it is what it is.”
I, nevertheless, could not help but observe and be slightly irritated that Nigeria’s entertainment industry is fast becoming a fall back for all categories of American artists. D, F & G, H, I, K, L all the way through Z list “celebrities” seem to now know Nigeria is the best place to hang out when promoters come calling, often at the expense of local artists. The costs of travel, hotel accommodations and actual payment for performance, is enough to set up a music studio where largely unemployed Nigerian youths can learn about the business of music and apply themselves. But, hey, it is what it is.
Anyway, with better things to do with my time, I hit the next button and kept it moving. Then what happens?! First, a “Nigerian National” boards a plane in New York headed to Los Angeles with an expired boarding pass and no passport. That immediately gets the world’s attention because years ago, a confused and lonely Nigerian kid of the Muslim faith tried to blow up a plane on Christmas day.
What is the second thing that happens? Amber Rose’s graphic x-rated nude photos hit the web, hard (no pun intended). Nicki Minaj’s boyfriend according to reports claiming Rose tweeted this fact, allegedly, leaked the photos to the worldwide web. *Sigh* Sensational news. But, who cares? I know I could care less what these individuals do with their lives. But, I was forced to care because that same Amber Rose was supposedly headed to Nigeria. “Errr . . the Nigeria I was raised in? I don’t think so,” is what I thought to myself.
Here is the deal folks. People will not remember the event promoter/company that invited Amber Rose to Nigeria. All they know is Amber Rose, with the highly embarrassing x-rated nude photos, is headed to Nigeria, the same country with the two aforementioned Nigerian nationals.
The question for me then became two fold, on the legal end.
1. For Amber Rose, What Legal Action, Since She Claimed This Was an Invasion of Privacy Was She Going to take?
2. For Nigeria’s Event Promoters, would they do the right thing? Would they count their losses on the deposit fees paid to secure Amber Rose as a talent and keep it moving?
CRIMINAL & CIVIL LIABILITY
Folks, if you live in the USA, no one is allowed to hack into your computer and reveal information on it to anyone or the world for that matter. Such act carries both criminal and civil (tort) liability. What I wanted to see Amber Rose do was to step on it and address this issue, tell the public she had consulted with an attorney regarding filing legal action against Minaj’s boyfriend, the alleged criminal perpetrator, file a report with the police and insist they press charges etc. Instead, what she does is nothing short of confusion, to me at least. She admits the photos are hers on her twitter page, she says the leak has affected her bottom line (money) and she is losing business deals. She later recants and then it gets even more confusing as she deletes tweets etc. stating her concerns. But again, who cares?
I began to care because despite all of graphic nude photos and damaging reputation and the incident etc., Nigerian promoters were considering still having Amber host the event! Like really?! I could go more into this but let me just stop. Thankfully, Amber Rose saved the day for Nigeria. She ultimately took to twitter to deny she was ever booked for a show in the country. This prompted event promoters to respond with a release saying she was in-fact booked for the show and that they would not be having her afterall, given her denial.
*Sigh* What a relief, albeit forced.
Both in drafting Performance agreements as well as counseling Promoters, I have found that many times it is just about the promoter getting the specific talent they are bent on having, by any means necessary. All other important aspects of what could go wrong or making room for a Plan B is usually not even processed. If you are a promoter reading this, don’t let that be your reality. Have a Plan B and C. Also avoid characters that clearly could be an issue or liability down the line.
In this case, it was forseeable that pictures of Amber Rose in sexually compromising positions would leak all over the internet. It is not the first time we have heard of Amber Rose nude images online. It probably won’t be the last. Further, she gained her publicity from promoting and selling her self as a sex symbol. So, if promoters booked her, they knew or should have known this could be an issue and have a plan B & C. In my opinion, Plan A would have been not to book her for such a very important event in the first place.
Again, I am personally quite thankful that Amber Rose denied being booked. The image of a COUNTRY not just an event promoter is what is at issue. Let me leave you all with this.
As an American citizen, I have always owned only a USA passport, well into adulthood. I was traveling in prior year(s) to Nigeria. My flight from California to Nigeria made a stop in Amsterdam and I still recall the terrible way Nigerian citizens were treated, searched and patted down in Amsterdam via KLM Services that I happened to travel with back in the days. It was nothing short of treating Nigerians citizens as if they were criminals. If that happened to any American citizen, I know we would be screaming blood.
That experience underscores to me the importance of country branding not just individual branding.
Anyway, enough from me on this.
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Fashionentlaw™ is the brainchild of Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak), an ex-fashion model and industry veteran turned Fashion and Entertainment lawyer. The law blog discusses hot topics in pop culture arising primarily out of the fashion industry.
As a legal practitioner, Ms. Uduak has over two decades of experience counseling individuals and businesses within and outside the creative community. She has counseled designers, apparel manufacturers, models, photographers, retailers, graphic designers, musicians, public relations specialists, and athletes, among others, on diverse legal issues including business formation, licensing, trademark and copyright matters, contracts, intellectual property and contract disputes. She is also an Adjunct Professor.
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