In one recent teaching opportunity where I had to train university students for radio production, I prescribed a dress code FOR RADIO STUDIO PRODUCTION.
It was as follows:
For ladies: mono colour preferably the college’s colours, frock dress below the knees or formal suit; hair should be natural with no wigs, otherwise it should be covered.
For men: navy blue blazer over a white shirt with flying tie and khaki trousers.
There were a few protests including suggestions that my criteria for hair was based on my “spiritual/religious principles” and that how ladies wear their hair was a matter of “personal principles”.
On 22 October, 2019, I answered in a WhatsApp group as follows:
“Well, I was appointed to lead the development of the station based on my knowledge and principles, not least of which are my personal principles.”
So in building a brand image and identity, I say any production that will appear in video and in photographs must reflect the brand image and identity I am building.
And again, no one has forced anyone to change their hairstyle.
When you get to the production room, there is a make up and wardrobe manager.
In our present situation I play that role as well. And those persons have express instructions for those WHO HAVE SIGNED UP AS VOLUNTEERS to comply with.
For those without natural hair, you wear one of those beautiful hair bands or scarves pictured FOR YOUR MAXIMUM 60 MINUTES PRODUCTION PERIOD ONLY and then redress to your taste.
Same goes for the men volunteers. You are free to wear any clothes but for the production period, long sleeves and jackets.
And for both genders IN THE COLOURS I HAVE CHOSEN.
Besides, I have also given you scholarly references to support my “personal principles” so called.
Now, (dimwit, oops, I almost wrote), what is your opposition based on, except to say that the station manager CANNOT DECIDE based on his principles…..but should perhaps use yours?
As we have continued to articulate on this blog, “You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts”.
Little did I know that there followed a petition letter to the appropriate quarters.
There was also a boycott of training and absolute silence on the platform and sometimes cold silence.
But “hey hey, it is what it is,” my mentor will say to end such no-brainers.
The reality is also that the same protesting students/trainees cannot read English fluently.
In any 700-word article written using eighth grade English, every other sentence, has a word they have not seen before; we shall be charitable about comprehension and inferential meaning.
And no, they certainly cannot read or write any indigenous African language either, duh!
Besides they do not even have the basic didactic information about radio: they also know very little about the African countries they come from, but they desperately want an open mic to talk and ape the other clowns so often present in our contemporary media space.
Clearly, anyone who sees this as prescribing a dress code for university students has completely missed the mark.
In all of this, a comprehensive written editorial policy already in place to articulate and guide all such decision making was side-lined; only a few students bother to read it because it was an exam requirement.
However, everyone has prescriptions taken from and buttressed by terrible examples of contemporary media figures, personalities and “celebrities”.
Now I understand my mentor when he says: “Their ignorance is my food”. The mediocrity in multiple spheres of our national life is frightening.
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