In this interview with 'Gbenga Adeleye, Mr. Ebhota Anthony popular known as Loudvoice bare his mind on the danger of neglecting talented gospel artists in the church and his passion for the less privileged, orphans and vulnerable children. Excerpts:
Loudvoice is a standup comedian of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My real name is Ebhota Anthony, a Nigerian from Edo State, graduated from Delta State University, Abraka studied Educational Administration and did my Masters programme in guidance and counselling from the University of Maiduguri.As a standup (gospel) comedian, what role(s) do you think comedy play within the church or among the believers? Do we really need this talent in the church?
God is the sole creator of the universe and everything therein. The devil doesn't have the power to create, he only perverse what God already created. God is the giver of gift and talent and whatever he created should be allowed in church, in as much as the comedian in question is rooted in God's word and doesn't joke with the things of God.Many talented youths have left the church as music directors, etc to become worldly entertainers, what do you think is responsible for this? What are the challenges you think young talented, gospel inclined individuals like you face in fulfilling their ministry?
One major challenge I feel gospel artistes face is getting the necessary support from the body of Christ. Most Christians feel in as much as you do gospel then it has to be done for free. They quote this verse of the bible “freely you have received, freely you should give”. They forget that you have bills to pay as well. They forget when landlord comes knocking on your door, you don't speak in tongues to him. Laughter does good as a medicine and don't forget He that seats in the heaven laughs.
Another issue is that most of the circular events gets sponsorship easily from organizations and companies unlike gospel events. Circular artistes also get brand endorsement from companies unlike gospel artistes and most of these organization are headed by Christians .
You also notice that most music directors in churches go circular because they lack the needed support. They sometimes put up gospel concerts and people count it a sin if they charge gate pass forgetting that the concert cost them a whole lot to put together . What I feel can put an end to this problem is for Christians to do away with the free mentality.
I know a few churches that support comedy and I want to encourage them to continue. Many churches believe comedians are not supposed to be seen on the altar. They forget that the same God on that altar lives in us all. If comedians do things the wrong way, it's a clear sign that there is a right way of doing it. Instead of condemning the act of comedy because some do it the wrong way, there are people who do it the right way and I feel they should be encouraged.What do you think Christian youths should do differently to attain their full potentials?
I encourage every Christian youth to stay focused and pursue that dream God has placed in them. There is nothing as fulfilling as pursuing your purpose for existence.Let's talk about your love for children, Project iCare.
Project iCare is a flagship program of a faith-based humanitarian organization involved in the education, skill acquisition training and talent discovery among the orphaned and less privileged children.
We see beyond just giving food to orphans rather we push further to help them find Purpose. As a comedian, I have always believed that when God increases one's capacity, its not enough to build a bigger fence, rather build a bigger table to accommodate more people. I believe in talent a lot because even the Bible says the gift of a man makes room for him.
Therefore, we go to orphanages to conduct audition to help discover talents among orphans and vulnerable children. We get professional instructors to help train the selected ones in their various genre of talent, we put up a concert for them to express their gifts and they perform alongside other top gospel celebrities which we believe will help them eradicate low self esteem, then we crown it up by giving them scholarship in pursuit of their education and career.
In all I've been through in life, my greatest assets are the less opportune who received hope through the Project iCare platform.Finally, your advise for Christian artistes?
My advice for Christian artistes is to stay focused on their calling. Live right and trust God to cause the change you desire.