In the 1980s Radio Plateau, now the AM arm of Peace FM Jos, alongside night clubs such as Nenman Night Club, Murtala Mohammed Way; Jockeys, Ndagi Farouk Close and the club section of Tati Hotel, Gada Biyu created a feel of New York and Hollywood in Jos. They did this playing the big music names of one of the most extraordinary music eras in world’s music history, the Disco era.
There were DJs who led this colorful era of music life in Jos. Some were exclusively on radio, others on TV and a last group that were in the clubs, solely. There were names like Nansel Nimyel, Daniel David Dalyop, Joshua Pwajok, Uncle Steve, Steve Amok, Sholly Brown … Joe Black was however, the most conspicuous of them and was sought all over. Hence he was on TV, radio and the clubs.
When I met Joe Black at Tudun Wada suburb of Jos, I could not believe what I saw. He was younger than I thought he should be. He used to wear an Afro hairstyle. When I met him, however, he was clean-shaven and remained as slim as he was back then, still exuding the darkness that earned them the last of his stage name, “Black.”
Joe Black was born Christian Osume by an Urhobo father who was attracted to Jos by tin mining. Joe Black went to St. Paul Primary School, Jos and then a number of secondary schools that spanned through Commonwealth College of Commerce in Jos; Gyel Commercial College (now Zang Secondary-Commercial School); Jula Daco High School and eventually St. Finbarr’s College Akoka in Lagos. St Finbarr’s had a band from which he learnt drumming. He said, however, that his major interest was Disc Jockeying. As a result he joined renowned DJs in Lagos to play in clubs. Some DJs with whom he worked in Lagos included Patrick Oke that used to present Pop around the World on radio over there in Lagos. The others included Jacob Akinwunmi Johnson (J-A-J), who still works with Rhythm FM today; Kelly Moore, Black Stone and many others.
Satisfied with his experience in Lagos, Joe Black returned to Jos to lead the definition of the extraordinary era. He presented music shows on NTA Jos, Tin City Showcase with Musa Azores on Plateau Television or PTV, for short. PTV is now the TV arm of Plateau Radio and Television Corporation (PRTV). Joe Black says Tin City Showcase was inspired by Don Cornelius’s Soul Train in the US.
Joe Black gives credit to Fred Chagu for his rise to the spotlight. Fred Chagu was an actor who starred in Behind the Cloud television series that used to be produced at NTA Jos and transmitted across the country on Sundays.
On Radio, his most spectacular show were The Big Beats on Saturday afternoon on Radio Plateau (AM arm of PRTVC) and another, later in the day. The letter show used to happen in the clubs but was relayed through radio, using PTV Outside Broadcasting (OB) Van that was driven to the club premises. When Joe Black left the radio, the evening show came to be hosted by Steve Amanga Amok, better known as Papa Steve Amok. This time, Steve hosted the show directly from the studio of the FM arm that was already operational at the time.
Pop musicians also define fashion and so it would have been incomplete to talk about the Disco Era without discussing fashion. The trousers where tight at the hips but opened up at the feet. They were known as pantaloons overhear and, at times, “keep Lagos clean.” The shoes were the high heel shoes with layers varying from three to four. Hairstyle was the huge ball of hair known as Afro. Joe black said girls use to weave his hair. They would then unravel it just hours before going to the night club. The aim was to make it as huge as possible. Often, hot-picks could be used to condition the hair to give a striking Afro look.
Joe Black now runs a recreation center at Tudun Wada, Jos where people pay to play games and watch European league matches.