I can’t speak for any other industry, but in media and the creative space, women are given as much opportunities as men because creativity has no gender.
Joy Isi Bewaji, Managing Director of Write Culture is an expert wordsmith with vast knowledge. No matter the subject she is writing on she delivers it in a creative, intelligent and passionate way. Bewaji is also a gender activist who believes men and women should be respected. The chief executive spoke to Sunday Sun about her childhood, love for arts and challenges as an entrepreneur.
You are one of the foremost social media influencers in Nigeria; do you think your contribution on social media has made a great impact on many young Nigerians?
From the messages I get in my mailbox, I know that some impact is being made. I hold classes and talk sessions and people pay for these activities. So yes, there’s an effect and I see it. If I knew someone like me when I was 18 years old, my life would have been grander, I tell you! So there’s that responsibility to talk to younger women and see, just maybe, they can think differently, exhale and achieve more than we could at their age.
You live in a country where people believe that everything should be done in secrecy but you share many personal things on social media. Why?
The first step to walking in liberty is to speak out. Nigerian women have always been told to be quiet: to be seen, not heard. I don’t act like sheep. Rather I behave like the lion. And that animal roars! Another step is dealing with fear and shame. We are groomed to wear shame as a cloak, and to bridle fear around our waists. It’s exhausting. I have one life. I have decided to live it without fear or shame. I walk in my truth, which means I am walking in liberty.
Don’t you get overwhelmed with the criticism and shaming on social media because your views are not always the popular, typical Nigerian views?
I have been speaking my mind for years. Someone baked me a handsome hate cake once. Surely, there’s nothing more to even consider, unless a hater is getting me a hate Lamborghini.
What was your growing up like?
Simple. Nothing terrible happened. Nothing extraordinary took place. I was safe. I was loved. I was provided for. And I spent all my days dreaming.
As a child were you a popular child or a nerd?
I was neither. I was a dreamer.
Tell us more about “Write Culture” and how it is faring?
Write Culture is a content creation company. We are storytellers. We tell stories as a method of engagement. It is, by far, the best way to attract and engage the audience.
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We are scriptwriters. We are fully involved in Nollywood. Our dream is to influence and change the conversation in Nollywood. We pay attention to dialogue, as we find it to be one of the industry’s biggest issues. We are great in building stories and we pride ourselves as brilliant writers. We have clients – actors, producers and we are fully engaged, which makes me very happy.
Tell us about your new play?
‘Satan: A Dark Comedy’ was inspired by religion, of course. But also, and more importantly, by social conduct and culture – how we respond to principles of right and wrong from a point of mental clarity, choices, temptation and inclinations. I wanted to tell a story that had very little spiritual influence, where the human impulses are judged by a person’s moral dignity or lack of it. Spirituality clouds judgement, and it is something I try to stay away from, because I believe our minds are more powerful than we give it credit, or that we are willing to explore. And it is important we understand that we are guilty of all ignoble actions we decide to dwell or act on.
What makes this play different from others?
I guess it’s the entire direction of the theme. It’s not the regular script. It is challenging a commercial industry that makes money off gullibility and spirituality. It’s not about pastors, nor about tithing – as I find those themes to be tiring and boring. It’s about desire, base instincts and how we refuse to take responsibility for the way we act.
When Writer’s Inc went down did you feel like throwing in the towel?
I did throw in the towel. I didn’t think I had to run a company. Administrative work in enterprise is not my business. I am a creative soul. I breathe art. And all I want to do is create content, tell stories, build brands, market those brands creatively, manage brand portfolios and write some of the best movie scripts, TV series and content from Africa. But I was given an opportunity to start all over again. And I hate to waste opportunities.
As an entrepreneur what are the challenges you are faced with?
I hate administrative stuff. I hate dealing with people who are not directly connected to my creative ambition. I hate paperwork. I just want to write and create. I delegate the entire process that is not directly linked to my primary ambition, and I have my partner dealing with the stuff I can’t deal with.
Do you think it is much easier for men to succeed than women in our society?
I think it is easier to succeed if you have one reasonable person beside you. Truth is, things are looking up for women. The world is paying attention to women. I can’t speak for any other industry, but in media and the creative space, women are given as much opportunities as men because really, creativity has no gender. It favours only the brilliant, the smart, the prolific, the talented and the innovative. And any gender can match those qualities.
You have said it times without number that you don’t want to be associated with Nigerian feminism but have your views on gender equality changed?
No. My views remain the same – women, like men, should be respected. Equity especially, in the work area – the part of us that builds our dignity, should allow both genders to thrive, and be judged based on the merits of hard work, smart work, efficiency, effectiveness and other potentials and virtues required.
What inspires your write-ups?
Life. Living in a crazy, eccentric, third-world country.
What are your plans for the future, will you be going back to television broadcast soon or do you have dreams of owning your own magazine in the nearest future?
Hard copy magazines are going obsolete. Every business is digital. I will go back to TV, but I wil luse all the available online machinery I can find to build what I have.