WhatsApp ventures into entertainment, stars Nigerian NBA player

WhatsApp ventures into entertainment, stars Nigerian NBA player

Meta-owned messaging app, WhatsApp takes its first step into the entertainment industry after it announced on Twitter that it would feature National Basketball Association (NBA) player, Giannis Antetokounmpo on its social media platforms. The 12-minute video titled “Naija Odyssey” is set to be premiered on Prime Video on September 21.

This is identified as an unusual venture for a social messaging app even as it signs an ambassadorship deal with the NBA player earlier this year.

According to, WhatsApp’s global head of marketing, Vivian Odior, “‘Naija Odyssey’ is a story that reinforces how WhatsApp helps us embrace our multifaceted lives. In navigating relationships, identity, and even adversity, WhatsApp is there — enabling you to embrace all sides of you by connecting you to those who matter most,” she remarked to Variety.

More about Naija Odyssey

Naija, an argot meaning ‘Nigerian’ is a metaphor presenting Antetokounmpo as a-born Greek (by birth) to his Nigerian family who had migrated to Greece. In the trailer released on Youtube by WhatsApp, the NBA player speaks about home (or identity) which even begs further question about his nationality and family migration history.

By extension, the film serves as a way of connecting people with shared experiences of migration or dilemma of ‘home and identity’ – what WhatsApp calls “an origin story of many origins.”

The story narrated by Antetokounmpo and his mother, Veronica, connects to the ancient Greek epic poem “The Odyssey,” which tells the story of Greek hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca and his journey home after the Trojan wars.

In further analysis by Variety, another reason the film was commissioned was in order to “capitalize Antetokounmpo’s worldwide fame.”

 

Adebola Makinde

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