Ace actress, Happy Julian-Uchendu, popularly known as Happy Julian, has received an award of international ambassador for African culture at the 2023 Nollywood New Yam Festival in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT).
Noni Okocha, chief executive officer of “I am the Future of Nigeria Youth Initiative”, also received the recognition of international ambassador for African Culture.
They were honoured alongside other industry stakeholders and promoters of African culture and values at the closing ceremony of the 11th edition of the festival on Saturday in Abuja.
Others who received cultural titles at the event include Rekiya Ibrahim-Atta, who was honoured as “Akpugo” of African culture and Hon. Bamidele Salam as national ambassador of African culture, among others.
Agility Onwurah, national coordinator of the festival and chief executive officer of Agile247.Com, organiser of the event, congratulated the awardees, adding that the honour was to celebrate their contribution to the industry.
“Nollywood promotes our culture and anyone who has contributed to its growth and development, in whatever capacity, should be celebrated.
The festival is simply a platform where celebrities identify with the culture and promote it to their fans and followers that no matter the influence of westernisation, we must uphold what defines us.
“Artistes are supposed to be mirrors of society, and that is why we are proudly showcasing our culture to fans, especially young Nigerians who are the future generation,” he said.
Mr Onwurah told journalists on the sidelines that the initiative was to present a platform where artistes, as models and opinion leaders, can promote Nigerian culture.
He noted that since the movie industry was a veritable instrument in communicating ideas and lifestyle, including cultural heritage, every artiste ought to be a cultural ambassador.
He, however, explained that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the New Yam Festival was not a fetish practice, as it was just a medium of “celebrating what we have”.
“As you can see, no fetish practice was observed here, as we simply pray on the yam as a meal and we share to everyone.”
It was a night of glitz and glamour that Nollywood watchers will not forget in a hurry as they enjoyed the company of favourite celebrities and cultural troupes took their turn to entertain guests.
Nollywood New Yam Festival, now in its 11th edition, brings together celebrities, cultural enthusiasts and traditional chiefs together in the FCT.