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Friday, September 11, 2009

Pictorial Glance at Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah of Nollywood

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pictorial Glance at Muma Gee of Nollywood


Delectable vocalist, song writer, producer and actress, Chief Gift Owame popularly known as Muma Gee, is one of the famous female musicians in the Nigerian entertainment industry. She released her debut 'Kade' in 2006 but before then, Muma Gee has been nurturing her dream of becoming an international artiste.

This controversial fashionista who dresses to express her feelings, recently delved into the clothing line known as MGee Confidence because of her flair for fashion. Her line of clothing is not the usual. Hers is strictly under wears for men. In this interview, Muma Gee talks about her eclectic dress sense, her N.G.O. and what she would have been if she were not a singer.


Most of us know you as Muma Gee. What is your real name and where are you from?

My name is Chief Gift Owame. I’m a native of Odiabidi, an Epkeye tribe in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State. I am from a family of six and I’m the fourth child. My father wanted me to be a medical doctor but I chose music because of my passion for music. Music is what I know would make me happy in life and I have always known that I have talent in music that God created me with so, delving into it is to live my dream. Also, I realize that the society has given me a lot hence, I decided through my NGO (Muma Gee Kare Foundation) to do some humanitarian service, with the little I have, to give back to the society.

How long have you been in music?

I have been in music for more than ten years now but I have not really practiced it professionally. My first album was released in 2006. That is not because I didn’t want to release but because my kind of music is a different genre of music; a new one and I’m pioneering it. We have been doing a lot of research since 1998; doing recording, shooting of videos and sending to people to critic and back to the studio to work on it or to do another track. I have been doing a lot of this for so many years. In between these years, I took four years out to study Theatre Arts at the University of Port Harcourt; a course which involves music, drama and literature - not so much of music but, it goes with music. I chose music as a profession since 2004; not like other professions that you wake up in the morning, go to work and back and front. Music is your life - you eat it, bathe it, sleep in it and all that. It’s so indulging.

Who influenced your choice?

My mum. My mum influenced me tremendously. She sings a lot and she sings in the church choir till date. Music is something that runs in my family but I’m the only one doing it professionally. Though, initially they disapproved of it now, I have their full support of my family.

Which of your songs brought you to the limelight?

I have done a couple of songs so, I wouldn’t really know which of them now but, there was this particular video I did that was directed by Sam Dede. That was a niche for me and it really gave me that exposure. Also, 'Kade' was really nice. I have a new one now titled ‘Amebo’. Though, the video is not out yet; we are still working on it. There’s another one that is meant to be out later this year. Presently, I’m working on an event that I tagged “An evening with Muma Gee”. (It's a) Kind of peace conference, where the youth will have the opportunity to talk to me on some of the issues like what we are having in the Niger Delta now. Coming from the Niger Delta myself, it's a thing of much concern to me. I want to use my music during the meeting as a vehicle to drive my message across.

What are the challenges you face as a female artiste, in the music industry?

Well, I would say we are not given equal opportunity; the societal influence as well considering our culture. You know, culture relegates women to the background so, we grew up with that and still have that notion. But, civilization is taking over gradually though, the instinct is already in us; it’s inborn so, it’s difficult to change.

Even most of us, women, still relegate ourselves to do certain duties because we believe women are not meant to do a lot of things - all in the name of being women. So, that alone is a kind of pulling force, dragging us behind in the society; especially in the entertainment world. Most people see women in showbiz as wayward; useless in the society. And, that is why most of us took it as a challenge to go to school. That notion (initially) slowed me down but thank God, I had a starting point. I might look small but I’m rated as A-list in the entertainment industry and I’m working had to stay there.

How do you handle male fans?

My male fans are there. I love them and they have no negative influence. Though sometimes, you get funny calls, funny text messages and I just delete them. No problem. I just move on because it’s a field that I have chosen.

If you had not been a singer, what would you have been?

If I weren’t a musician, probably I would have been a full time housewife (laughs heartily). Maybe, I would have been a doctor because, initially, I wanted to be a doctor but that wouldn’t have worked out because I can’t stand the sight of a hospital. Probably, I would have delved into fashion which, of course, I’m into now because I love colours and the inspiration keeps coming and getting higher and higher as the day goes by.

So, categorically I would have been anything God wants me to be. We all, here on earth, are for a purpose and that purpose can only be achieved if we add our own effort to ensure that that purpose works. As for me, I still don’t know God’s purpose for me; I’m still working on it.

How was growing up like?

Growing up was strict, very strict. I will stop there because there are some children that are still experiencing such things in the society right now. In my family, there was nothing like party and all that; no going out and no keeping of friends. It really affected me because up till this moment, I still can’t keep friends. I try to keep regular kind of relationships because I know there are a lot of people that want to be close to me and I would have loved to be close to as well but, I can’t because of my kind of upbringing.

My upbringing did not give room for that. After school, it's home work on home work so, there was really no time for me to keep friends that I would have loved to keep. I remember when I was growing up, I was in charge of all the domestic work because my older sister was so much older than me that I even called her 'aunty'. She was so busy with other things so, basically I was the only girl in the midst of the boys, handling the domestic affairs of the home.

Ironically, that has really helped me in managing my home. I run my home as if I were a married woman. If you look around, you will see how well organized my office is and that is true of the biblical saying: “honour your father and mother so that your days will be long”; not being long on earth and be foolish but to be wise. So, growing up for me was tough but to my own advantage. For instance, my mother was a very industrious woman and that has influenced me too in delving into fashion as business because of the entrepreneurship skills I had acquired over the years

Talking about fashion brings me to the next question. You wore a very controversial outfit to the Nigerian Music Award (NMA)? What was the concept behind that dress?

Oh my God, that dress! The truth about that dress is that, first and foremost, I was crowned the African Queen of the NMA. As a queen, I needed to appear in a royal regalia to befit my personality and that was the expression in that dress. There were loads of material put together into that dress and it was really heavy so, for me to pull my self and move with the dress freely, I had to slit it from the mid-section to bottom on one side; showing my leg. People thought that I was just trying to expose myself sexually but, that wasn’t the case. I slit my dress sometimes, (depending) on how heavy the dress is and sometimes the character that I want to portray. Basically, I would say the NMA dress was very dramatic, so heavy, energy-consuming and very expensive too.

As a fashion-conscious person and now a fashion designer, how would you define the word: fashion?

Fashion is brings happiness; a means of building self confidence; a means of livelihood for a lot of people. Fashion means a lot and the list is endless. Fashion means a lot of things to me because even to the under wears that I put on my body is made to suit my body so, fashion is me and I’m fashion. I am a musician but a very fashionable one, highly fashionable one because fashion is the interpretation of who you are on the inside. Fashion is basically who you are on the outside and on the inside. I love colours a lot, I play around with colours all the time. Playing around with colours is my joy and my passion. Fashion to me goes beyond just being fashionable. You must have a passion for it.

How would you describe your kind of style?

My style is abstract word. Give it any interpretation you wish to (and) you are welcome. Depending on the perspective you are seeing it from, what interpretation you give to it, it’s acceptable by me because, sometimes I can’t really define what I wear fashion-wise. Sometime ago, some people had a critic on me and they said “fashion police said that you combine colours and all that”.

Africans are beautiful and their colours clash. So, if you say you are fashionable but can not update yourself with the colour clash at the moment, then you need to rethink. I could choose to wear a black skirt with a red top and the accessory to match, it's my own expression. You could give it any interpretation you want, it’s okay by me. As long as it gives me joy and comfort no problem; that is me. I don’t use my fashion inclination to criticize or assess people negatively but, if you assess me negatively, that is your business.

What are your fashion accessories?

I love my shoes though, shoes are borrowed culture from the white man and that is what I have accepted but for the clothing, sorry I have my African fabrics. I love beads and that is basically what I wear most of the time. Some beads you see me wear are plastic while some are made from elephant tusk. Some are from wood and bone which are the ivory beads, if well polished. I travel round the word to get my beads. Sometimes I go to Egypt to get my beads or when I go to Italy or Paris to buy shoes. I could buy between 50-100 pairs of shoes because I love shoes a lot.

Which of those items would you say is your most priced?

My coral beads. I don’t joke with coral beads and I have one worth some money. So, my most priced fashion item, I would say is my coral beads.

What would you say constituted a high moment in your life?

Music-wise was when I performed live with Mariam Makeba at Korean Royal Festival Hall in London a long time ago but it’s still the most cherished moment of my life. I was really happy because, Mariam Makeba happens to be one of me role models. Playing on the same stage with her was the greatest moment of my life.

Have you had any dull moment?

My dull moments come when I’m doing a show and the equipment are not working. You have a maximum capacity audience watching and you are on stage performing, suddenly the equipment just stop working. Oh my God, that is the worst moment for an artiste.

What is your beauty routine?

I have a gym here as you can see so, I wake up in the morning and go to the gym. I use the gym basically to stay healthy and okay. I don’t have a particular beauty routine for my skin. What you see today is natural. The only cream I use on my skin is idachin (palm kernel oil)

When and why did you decide to delve into making of under wears for men?


MGee Confidence started in December 2007. We are just seven months in the business and you can’t believe how far we have gone. We make under wear for men as well as shorts and boxers.

Why men only?

We decided to narrow it down to men because, we don’t really have many companies manufacturing under wears for men so I decided to do just that and we have not been disappointed at all. The acceptance has been great and the patronage is wonderful. I also see opportunity to provide jobs. So MGee Confidence clothing line is not only to provide under wears for men but to provide jobs for youths too.

Q: But when are you going to think about getting married?

A: I think about marriage all the time.

But marriage starts with getting into a relationship.

Not in all cases because I have had men coming to ask for my hand in marriage. They send their rings, they come and I say to them: no premarital sex. And they say they don’t mind. And I put forward my finger, they fix the ring and I say to them listen, I am an artiste I only wear costume rings; I can’t wear this ring on my finger. They agree, they understand. And at the end of the day, I say let’s see what goes on. And he goes no, no, no until I find one fault. And I conclude that this person is not qualified to be my husband. And I’d say: I don’t think I am the right candidate for you. And then I go into another one, you know; just like that. I have a lot of rings and sometimes I don’t return them. Very soon I am going to open a ring shop.

Q: So, how do you cope with these pressures from men?

A: They don’t see me all the time unless on appointment. We can censor some of those troubles. But sometimes, I don’t know how they get my numbers. And they call and al that. The best thing to do is to change the line. So I change my phone. I try to be serious at all times. And God knows I am not preaching about it; I am a serious-minded person. When you see a serious-minded person you may not be able to just come and mess around. Unless you have something very important to discuss with me.

Q: Why are you so much in love with the white colour?

A: White signifies purity. It is pure. Sometimes, your colleagues say they are fashion police. And there was a time I read in the papers that I was arrested by fashion police. When we had a preview of Amebo, we had about 20 journalists in the house. One of them asked because the fashion police had been disturbing me lately because of my colour riot and all that. And I said to them Africa is beautiful, Africa is colourful. I wear the reflection of my mind. Why I am wearing green now is because I feel green is fertility, reproduction, productivity and all that.

But people do not recognize that fact of life.

I like to wear what makes me feel good. I don’t wear those things to impress people; I wear them to give me the confidence that I require to be me at a particular occasion. So when I combine colours, they actually depict my mood,

I mean being sensitive to criticism, pain and displeasure.

I am sensitive in the sense that I love life. And I love to enjoy myself. Don’t get me wrong. By enjoying I don’t mean drinking alcohol and smoking. I go clubbing.

And when I am in a club I sit down and watch people. I eat food. And when my food is well garnished and well designed, that is my enjoyment. So I like to be happy all the time. And if you are going to make me sad, I will avoid you. When I am on stage I am a crazy person-wild and tough. I become superhuman when I am on stage.


Monday, July 6, 2009

St. Genevieve Nnaji of Nollywood at a Photo Glance

Genevieve Genevieve Nnaji was born on May 3, 1979 in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria, but grew up in Lagos the commercial capital of Nigeria. She was brought up in a relatively middle class environment, the fourth of eight children. Her father worked as an engineer and her mother a teacher. She attended the Methodist Girls College Yaba, before heading onto the University of Lagos where she was admitted to a degree in Creative Arts. While at university Genevieve began auditioning for acting jobs amongst the myriad of Nollywood projects one finds going on simultaneously in Lagos. As fortune would have it in 1998, she landed a role as an extra in Ralph Nwadike’s “Most Wanted”. This role signalled the beginning of her rise to stardom.

Such was her success that she was forced to put on hold her studies to concentrate on her budding film career.Now with over 60 films to her credit Genevieve is not just one of the hardest working actresses in Nollywood but also arguably the most successful, winning several accolades including the 2005 African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actress. Not content with dominating the silver screen, Genevieve has also made her mark as a model and in 2004 was named the face for Lux soap in a highly lucrative sponsorship deal. That year also saw her release her debut album titled "No More". Her latest project is "30 Days" directed by a relatively new but ambitious Nollywood director Mildred Okwo in which she plays the lead role of Chinora Onu who becomes inadvertently entangled in a political mystery, a role Genevieve has described as the most demanding of her career. What does the future hold for Genevieve, well the Nigerian Film Industry continues to grow from strength to strength and Genevieve is definitely pivotal to this, and although she has hinted about returning to complete her studies I think we will see her light up the screens for a few more years.

 



Friday, May 22, 2009

Photo Glance at Rita Dominic of Nollywood


Rita Uchenna Nkem Dominic Nwaturucha popularly called Rita Dominic by her adoring fans, is an irresistible beauty to behold any day. Born in 1975, in Mbaise, Imo State, Rita is one of the most celebrated Nollywood actors .

As a talented child, she was a consummate lover of music, who entered and won severally in dance competitions and expressed herself vocally through the art of traditional music.

Rita developed a strong passion for the arts and in realization of her lifetime ambition, as she grew up, the fast rising actress opted to study Theatre Arts at the University of Port-Harcourt. It was a decision that later launched her into the mainstream acting in Nigeria.

And of course, having finally begun her promising career in television programmes such as Children’s Variety and Junior Opinion, Rita is today rated as the most sought after actress in Nollywood. Her anglic face and sexy poses often command ethereal influence among notable movie directors within and outside the shores of Nigeria.

While she debuted in her first movie, A time to Kill in 1998, Rita Dominic is a rare name to behold whenever a mention of Nollywood is made anywhere around the world.

Below is an excerpt of interview she recently granted in Malawi where she is the guest of Multichoice, Malawi

Q. Why do you think Nollywood films have had such an impact in Africa?

Rita: Most Nollywood films are dramas which laymen can relate to and learn from.

Q. Earlier today [yesterday] you visited the Kamuzu Banda Mausoleum, why did you go there?

Rita: Kamuzu Banda was a great leader and I had heard so much about him. I wanted to learn from Kamuzu and hope that the future generation can learn from him as a leader as well.

Q. Give us your brief background

Rita: I started entertaining at the age of six as a singer and dancer. I graduated from the University of Port Harcourt with a BA (Honours) Degree in Theatre Arts in 1999. My parents are late and I am the last born of four children.

Q. Of the movies you have starred in, which is your favourite?

Rita: I have starred in over 60 films and to this question I always respond that every movie I star in, I always hold it dear to my heart. All my movies are very special to me.

Q. Are you amazed at the pace which the Nigerian movie industry is growing?

Rita: Yes I am surprised. But with hard work and determination it is no wonder that we are growing

Q. How do you spend you normal day?

Rita: I watch a lot of movies and I also love books. I also work out a lot - I follow the Tae Bo exercise regime which is a mixture of taekwondo and boxing. Some of you might have noticed that I have lost weight.

Q. How do you define yourself as an actress considering the many movies you have starred in, and where do you see yourself in the immediate future?

Rita: I describe myself as a versatile actress. I act in almost every part as long as I find it challenging. In the future I hope to do more quality movies.

Q. Do you know anything about the Malawian film industry?

Rita: While here I will meet with local artists and know what plans they have for the industry. Where I can help, I will help.

Q. How can you as an artist contribute to curbing the HIV/Aids pandemic?

Rita: I feel we have to create more awareness about the disease. As actors we have to tell stories related to Aids and this will help create awareness. As an actress I feel this is one way we’ll be able to contribute.

Q. Here in Malawi, we are championing the 50/50 gender campaign. As a woman how do you feel we can achieve this?

Rita: The important issue is women empowerment. If women are educated and are professionals they will go out there and help their countries.

Q. In some of your movies you have portrayed yourself as a loose woman, what impact do you think such an image will have on the Aids pandemic?

Rita: Can you please define what you mean by loose woman.

Q. I mean a woman who jumps from one bed to another

Rita: At the end of the day if you leave a careless life you’ll suffer the consequences. For example in one of my films where I played such a character, the woman died a very painful death.

Q. Are you married, how do you mix family and work?

Rita: I am not married and I don’t have children so there is no mixing family and work.

Q. What about a boyfriend?

Rita: That’s for me to know and for you to guess.

Q. What is your impression of Malawi?

Rita: Malawi as a country is beautiful, amazing. Coming here has proved why it’s the Warm Heart of the continent. The people are so nice and down to earth.

Q. Where do you see the African film industry in 10 years?

Rita: Hollywood watch your back in ten years

Tell us a little more about yourself.

My name is Rita Dominic Waturuocha. Why I adopted Dominic was because it’s my father’s first name and when I first came into the industry, Waturuocha wasn’t easy for producers to pronounce. I’m from Imo state. We are four children and I’m the last child with two older sisters and an older brother. They all live in England. I am a happy-go- lucky kind of person. I studied Theatre Arts in University of Port Harcourt. Moved to England after the first two years of being in Nollywood, came back after another two years and found Nollywood has grown bigger than what it was. I did a few movies again and that was how I got stuck, never live in England again. Right now I’m looking for that one movie that will give me the right satisfaction as an actor.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Atlanta Girl - Grace Amah of Nollywood


I am from Ebonyi State, but born and bred in Lagos. I speak Yoruba very well. Some people want to call me a Lagosian and I answer when they do.

Do you see any difference between those who studied Creative Arts and those who did not.

Is there really? There are lots of us in the industry who do not read anything close to Drama or Creative Arts or Theatre Arts and they are just as good as those of us who are formally trained. I will rather say that when the talent is in you, you excel better rather than just trying to be good doing it. There are some actors and actresses that you don’t even need to go the extra mile to get the best out of them. Some others have become so good in their acting because they have been doing it over a long period of time so they know where to correct the lapses, when they see the lapses, they know.
Whole families are glued to their television sets watching One Bad Apple and you as Segun’s jilted fiancĂ©e.

What other home-videos have you appeared in apart from Day of Atonement?

There are many of them. Elastic limit, Cinderella, Atlanta, Love Paradise I can quickly remember these for now.

So, what is your character in Day of Atonement.

The character I play in the movie is that of the sister to Mike, the room-mate of James.

We are from a family that lack financially. But I am always there for my brother, helping with the little I can provide for him so that he can face his studies as an undergraduate. I am eventually put under a lot of stress in providing for him and one thing leads to another. It is quite a gripping and a movie full of passion.


What should an actor do to get into character?

The first thing to do of course is to read the script. I try to imagine myself being that character. I try to see how I can make it real. There was a movie, Pastor and the Harlot, in which I played a wayward character and those who watched the movie and my friends were like saying: Hey! You are sure you had not done this type of thing before! God knows I have never been a prostitute before, nor will I ever be! But that is just what it takes. You visualize, imagine and make the character real.


How come acting? Why not something else?

In fact, I was earlier on studying to become a lawyer at Ibadan. I was reading law. Along the line I just felt it was better for me to transfer to Unilag to face something else. My parents were initially not in support but I was determined because in secondary school, I confided in a friend of mine that I wanted to be an actress in life. Fortunately for me while awaiting my JAMB results, I had done some appearances. I have so built on that experience so I can now blend . Besides, I really found commuting between Ibadan and Lagos very stressful.


Earlier...?

I went to secondary school in Lagos. Stadium High School, Surulere. I told you I am omo Eko proper (laughing).

Media “lies” and hype..
I don’t like the impressions at all, because they could be negative. Why? A parent cannot have a child, hear such impressions and encourage the child to go into the movie industry. But on the other hand, it does not bother me. Why it does not bother me is because I know myself. Yet, you cannot be content with that, because it is only those who are close to you that will know you are not the kind of person people talk negatively about.
As far as the media is concerned, I have never lost any sleep over it. Why? Because I feel it is their job, they are only doing their job. Initially, the media was not favorable to me but I am beginning to get good mention and reviews now. Nor can I really blame people for their opinions. There are some of us out there that go out of the way to mess around and when people now insinuate, can you really blame them? After all, people say there is no smoke without fire.

Are you rich?

(Laughs).... I am still working hard to earn the big money. I see it coming soon in the industry where actors and actresses will be earning good money.



So, in what way will you say, acting a Christian movie is different from acting in any other movie?

Acting is acting. It all depends on the character you are given. If you are given a script to play Jesus Christ, you read and visualize what it takes to be Christ while He was on earth.


While visualizing that, you need to be spiritually motivated. The important thing is to come out with a fantastic role. If I am asked to play Mary Magdalene or Mary the mother of Jesus, I will do so and achieve their character. In fact, I will want their role to affect me. But I will not play a gangster or a prostitute and let the character affect me in real life. I guess it is better to let positive roles affect you. But a role is a role to play. I have seen people acting roles of rich men and women in a movie and wanting to carry on in that manner, even in real life. If you take it too far, it begins to affect you.


Philosophy?

I believe in everything that is good. My upbringing has been such that I see things from a different perspective. Yes, I believe in God obviously. I am into acting but I do not want any role I play to make me a bad person. I am me. I am a calm person. I want to do something that is right. I believe in hardwork too. I want to see myself where God wants me to be. He knows what is good for me because whatever I want for myself may not be what He wants for me.


Who are your mentors or the role models locally and internationally?

Joke Silva inspires me, so does RMD, Liz Benson . Liz remains the number one motivation. Internationally, I will mention Denzel Washington and Martin Lauren. It is not an exhaustive list, though.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pa Kasumu - Kayode Odumosu of Nollywood




Francis Olukayode Olugbenga Odumosu was born on the 16th of March 1953 in Agbeni area of Ibadan, Oyo State, though, he is from Ogun State by origin. His father is from Odogbolu (Ijebu) while his mother is from Ake (Abeokuta/Egba), that is why he refers to himself as “Ijegba”.(The combination of Ijebu and Egba).

Pa Kasumu started his career at age 15; taking up challenging roles on stage under the tutelage of Elder Chief Ayinla Olumegbon whom he knew through his area Uncle then (Mr.Afolabi), popularly called “Brother Simbat”. He got baptized through a stage play titled “Iyawo Orun (1968). And ever since then, he has grown from strength to strength, but no without facing some serious challenges.

When asked about how many works he has featured considering the years he has put in, he has this to say” Well, I thank God for sparing my life to witness today. I since lost count of my work, but I can assure you that they are well over 400 movies.

On Nollywood evolution, Pa Kasumu said “Maybe, if will have chicken out or abandon the Industry, many people will not meet what they are meeting today (Nollywood), for we have suffered a lot, as we tried to preserve the profession we cherished with passion, even without money and societal acceptance. Indeed, we worked with our lives, for the love and the passion we have for the profession, then, privileges and fame is not attached to the profession like now, and money was not just there. But thank God, today, it is a different ball game; we are now been appreciated and accepted globally”.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Pictorial Glance at Ashley Nwosu of Nollywood

Versatile actor and a pioneer artiste of the Nollywood phenomenon, Ashley Nwosu has another side of him, which the public is yet to know.

At the recent launch of Ogologolonga, a musical album by gospel musician, Ayo Agbaje, the actor stunned many of his fans including his wife and son, when he vacated his table to join the singer and his cultural dancers on stage. Nwosu, who was obviously carried away by the song could not restrain himself from singing.

“Yes I have a very big passion for music,” an excited Nwosu told http://nigeriafilms.com shortly after his brief performance.

He explained further, “I would say acting was a second talent because when I was 10 years old, I used to entertain people in my community through music.”

The actor, who shot into limelight in the early 1990s in Day of Reckoning, said something new is happening in his life. He reveals this and others to us:

Love for music
I have a very strong passion for music. In fact I would say acting was my second talent because when I was 10 years old, I used to sing for people in my community. I was involved in millinery where I cut and dry materials. But in the evening when people got tired, they would return and I would entertain them. I used to do exactly what Ekom Obong Okere, the Nigerian native Xylonophone prodigy does to people in Cross River. Throughout my youthful days, I was always composing songs and I often received inspiration in my dreams all of which I used to remember clearly the next day. Unfortunately, I lost my song book, an exercise book which contained over 200 songs during the Biafran war.

Favourite musicians
I grew up listening to foreign music such as Isaac Newton, Kool and the Gang, Kenny Rogers, Don Williams among others. However, my favourite was Barry White and up till now, I have about ten of his albums with me. Back home, I enjoy and draw inspirations from artistes such as Victor Uwaifo, Nduka Osadebe, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Sonny Okosuns. Till date, I still enjoy their music in spite of the growing pop culture among young musicians of today.

Going into music
I still nurse the ambition to go into music. At the moment, I am preoccupied with a new movie, which will soon be premiered in Lagos and Abia, my state of origin. Once I am done with this, I will throw myself into music. This time around, it will strictly be Christian music.

Why gospel
I can't explain this, but one way or the other, the impression continues to dawn on me that I have to join the choir and showcase what I can do. Occasionally on my own, I sing fantastic songs but I don't know why I have not recorded them. I sing for myself, and I enjoy doing this quite a lot and the inspiration just keeps coming. After the premiership of the movie, I hope to have pulled enough funds to go into music.

My new movie
It is a Christian movie that addresses various aspects of human life. It featured stars such as Olu Jacobs, Nonso Diobi, Alex Usifo, Emeka Enyiocha, Queen Okoye, myself and a group of 18 elders in Enugu State. So, it is a very big movie. I deal with two things in the movie one of which is the challenge youths go through. The movie is about the battle a pastor encounters with evil forces and it also exposes the extent, which men of God go to become successful in the ministry.

Something is happening in my life
Something new is happening in my life. Although, I have always been a Christian, the level, which I have gone now is higher. I have never in my life envisaged this. I attend a local parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Absence from movies
There is no big problem about that. The fact remains that throughout last year, we had a conflict between Censors board and marketers, which affected the number of movies shot last year. It is not as if I have not been shooting movies, but most of the ones I shot, I discovered, were taken outside the country before they were returned here. This time around, with this new censor's board arrangements, this ugly development would be stopped. When an artist shoots a movie, he loses contact with the marketer. They just abandon one and feel one is not entitled to know what happens afterwards. I feel it should be a mutual relationship where actors are encouraged to shoot their own movies. There is need for cooperation from both sides.

Era of movie premieres
This is a positive development for the movie industry. It will give investors such as corporate bodies and government the guarantee that through premiership alone, good profit can be recouped. For instance, I plan to have a Hausa translation for my movie and get a northern government to partner with me. With this trend, Nollywood will become an investor's delight. The standard of production will also be raised and our movies will become globally accepted when there is enough funds.

The new marketing framework
The implementation of minimum capital requirement for marketers by the censor's board is very important. As an insurance person, pooling of resources is very critical to the existence of the insurance industry. Otherwise, just one major case of accident or disaster is enough to make an insurance company crumble. Essentially, I think the new drive by the Censor's board is for security of investor's fund. I can remember when I went to England, an Irish man challenged Nollywood that we needed to be more organized.

He told me that our movies were selling in the West Indies like hot cake. So what stops our marketers coming together to go and see how we can establish direct business deals with people over there through the Nigerian envoy. If the policy is pursued aggressively and unregistered marketers are driven out of business, investors will smile. Recently, I learnt that somebody loaded 40 feet of containers with Nollywood films in VHS format and was moving it to countries like Mozambique and Angola because that is what they are still using there. Now, how do our marketers react to this? Instead, we still depend on the Idumota clique.

How l started acting
I started with NTA in 1988/1989, and I am among the people who started Soap operas and Tele movies. I also acted in the movie, Glamour Girls (Part 1) in 1992, after that I ventured into other businesses but the urge for acting was strong. So, I returned and featured in Day of Reckoning, First Lady, Old Soldier, The Rise of and Fall of a Prophet (which was very tasking for me) among others. I have now lost count of the numbers of films, which I have acted in but I think it should be over a hundred.

About my NGO
I want to premiere it here in Lagos and I have started talking to Dansa Juice as well as to Abia State government for the premiere in Abia State. All these efforts will culminate in the setting up of an NGO with the Abia State government, which I propose to call MyThird Eye. I have noticed that a lot of government functionaries do work but because of lack of monitoring units, they have a problem that is why I call it My Third Eye. I hope to meet the Governor on this project. Whose project will involve going to hospitals, motherless babies home, communities among others. I will then give them feedback because most of the people in the ministry might not have time to report the correct state of affairs. I hope to achieve this before the end of this year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pictorial Glance at Franca Brown of Nollywood


Everywhere the now rested soap opera, Behind The clouds was aired on the network service of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Nigerians will never forget Franca Obianuju Brown, who played the role of Mama Nosa. Unlike what most people thought that she began her acting career with Behind the Clouds, the ageless actress revealed to Klieglights that she had featured in another Soap prior to Behind the Clouds.

"I did not start my acting career with Behind the Clouds. I started with Behind the Bukka an NTA Jos production. It was actually my stepping stone to playing the role I got in Behind the Clouds. In the earlier soap I acted as Ngozi a police officer's wife and I was the one giving my husband trouble in the house. I wanted him to do anything to get money so I could look good," she said.

The former banker, whose stay in the industry is older than many imagine speaks on her acting career and the wifely role she normally plays.

"I don't know why directors give me that role; maybe because I have a matronly look but I can play other roles too. Every thing depends on the director and the role he feels I can fit into. Whichever role I'm given I know I can carry it well because I'm an actress. I started acting in the industry as a very kind woman, good wife and good mother, but at a point, the producers decided to give me wicked roles," she said.

Continuing, she said she does not have any favourite film but recalled one outstanding role;

"I don't have a favourite but there is one film that is very touching to me and that is Women At Large. In the film I have to change my usual character and was chasing after younger men. That was not really me, because I don't go after younger men, I go out with my age mates."

Countering the notion that she no longer act and explaining about her fewer screen appearance she said: "I still act. I'm an actress for life, once I get a role I act but I have also diverted into other areas such as directing, production and scriptwriting. I have started doing my own film so definitely my appearance in other movies will be limited."

The famous actress whose filmography includes Valentino, Clash of Destiny, Discord, Cross of Agony, Human Cargo, My Goodwill, My Sweat, Never Let Go, Only Angel, Pains Of Love, Problem Child, Sawam, Sunrise, Tears and Sorrows, Leap of Faith and Endless Passion among others, spoke on the gains of her long stay in the industry.

"I have gained a lot from my long stay in the industry. We all started in this industry as apprentices, but for some of us who actually went back to school to read film production, I have gained and I have also given a lot. A lot of people have gained from me from apprentice, like when I'm directing I see a lot of people who I ask to assist me asking me questions. People have asked me how they could become an actress and I keep tutoring them so I believe that I have given a lot to the industry, she said.

In retrospect she admits having no regret for any mistakes in the past. According to her, "I don't have any regret whatsoever. Life is about you making some mistakes and improving on your mistakes so I do not regret any role I have acted. But one thing I always do is to critique myself when I watch my film. I will always tell myself, 'Franka, you need to improve on this, you need to improve on that.'"

Her advice to up and coming artistes is that "they should acquire the skill, go to school, refresh their skill and come out with a great act instead of criticising others."

She also has a word for those who criticise the Nigerian home movie industry: "They should know that a lot of us gather our resources together to do this thing, it is not magic, we get fund from mostly brothers and sisters so when they compare us to the outside world they should know that the outside world have functional film funds unlike here. When you talk of banks, it is just a few of us that have been able to get funds from banks. Majority of us have tried in our own way to get funding from our own little way. So, just like the proverbial lizard that fell from the iroko tree with no one to praise him, will praise himself. Nigerian home movie have come a long way and anyone who is there to criticise and not critic is doing us harm."

The screen legend also spoke on her production outfit. "Rubby Diamonds Pictures started from the 1990s and I would say that we are more than 15 years old now."

Quantifying her success for the past 15 years or so, she said:

"God has been my help, He said He will provide my needs according to His riches by Christ Jesus so I cannot really rate my success. But all I can say is you watch out and you will see me enlarging my coast and I believe my coast is being enlarged everyday."

Commenting on the journey so far she said, "I'm fulfilled because I enjoy what I'm doing. Despite the fact that I have not started seeing the reward in terms of funds but I'm so happy I'm in this industry. There is nothing like doing what you love doing, I wouldn't have fitted any where else."

Franka might not be seen at every party or event but she doesn't miss any meeting of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), the directors or scriptwriters' guilds. Last week the ace actress cum producer was bereaved but this did not deter her from attending the AMP meeting and taking part in the preparation for the association's week. Commenting on her commitment to the industry she said: "If I was not acting I don't think there is any other thing I would have loved to do. That is why whatever concerns the industry concerns Franka Brown personally. You can see how involved I'm for the AMP week, we have deliberated on a lot of issues and I'm so excited, I believe this AMP week will be a boom for producers."

For many who are confused about Franka's marital status, the middle-aged actress is definitely single, but is she searching? Her reply is; "I believe that question should be directed to God and not me because it is God that ordains marriage."

culled from Naijarules

Dedicated to the memory of Teslim Olamilekan Suleiman (1992 - 2005) [Click Image to read about him]