Nollywood actress, Peju Ajiboye has narrated how she almost lost hope in movies following frustration she was made to face at location some years back. But for the intervention of ace Nollywood star, Yinka Quadri who saved her, Peju would have forgotten all about her passion which led her to acting.
The mass communications graduate who hails from Ilorin, Kwara State made appearance at the last Valentine show at the Raddison hotel in Ikeja GRA where she spoke passionately about Nigerian youths. “My personal experience when I started out in movies was not too encouraging but I did not allow the frustration to deter me from forging ahead.”
The situation that led to her frustration years ago started when she was to act a scene at a location.” I spent over five days without being given a role. I ended up so frustrated because I discovered that the producer was not willing to encourage me at all. I thank God for the intervention of Uncle Yinka Quadri who gave me money that I should go back home and said to me, don’t worry, one day, your own time will sure come. That was how I left the location with all my costumes after having waited without a job”.
But today, I thank God that I am doing pretty well. All I am saying is that the younger ones need to be focussed and patient. Whatever disappointment you encounter is not meant to discourage you, rather it will build you stronger.
“This is the same spirit I want the younger ones to imbibe, once you have a vision, all you need to do is to pursue it vigorously and never allow distractions to discourage you”.
In her words, Peju fondly known as “Omo Old Soldier” told First Weekly, how she made her way into Nollywood. “I had always liked acting from my childhood days. I started out with stage performances and gradually I took the bold steps to forge ahead but I will forever be grateful to my boss, Kamorudeen Saba (Radical) who tutored me all the rudiments of acting and productions.”
Recalling how challenging it was to produce her first work, titled “Kini Mo Se”, Peju who until now hasover 10 films to her credit is desirous of working with her mentor, Bukky Wright who she says inspired her a lot during her early days in acting.
Asked what her projection is, Peju told First Weekly, “My desire is to embark on an adventure abroad toeducate Nigerian children abroad about culture and tradition through film productions. It is obvious that parents have succumbed to infiltration of Western culture. Our children no longer know what culture and tradition means to us as Africans.
Highly passionate about the project, Peju who is currently on a location for the production of a new movie, “Oko Ore Mi” says she is already discussing with a number of notable movie stars in Europe who are willing to partner with her to stage performances and produce films that are culture-oriented. “This is the only way we can preserve our tradition”, she asserted.
Part of her past cultural productions, “Igbo Dudu” according to Peju will also be staged for her numerous fans to appreciate with a view to projecting our values so our children can uphold African culture and tradition.
Some of her personal productions in the past include “Kini Mose”, “Eje Omidan”, “Igbo Dudu”, “Iku Obirin”, and a fast-selling “Arogidigba” which is currently in the market.
Davido’s Chioma Among 5 New COVID-19 Cases
The number of positive coronavirus infections in the country reached climbed towards 70 on Friday with Chioma, the fiancé of the musician David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido being confirmed as one of the positive cases.
The National Centre for Disease Control in a tweet said there were five new cases confirmed on Friday.
Three of the new cases were in Abuja which now has 14 cases and two were in Oyo State. Lagos State which has 44 cases did not receive any positive confirmation on Friday.
I am Still Very Much Around In Movie Industry –Monalisa Chinda
Beautiful and talented actress, Monalisa Chinda has been dominating the movie scene ever since her debut in Pregnant Virgin.
Having experienced a bad marriage to a label owner, she bounced back and now enjoying her second marriage to Victor Tonye Coker.
In this interview, the mother of one shares her marital regrets and joy of her new position as the PRO of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and she speaks on other matters of interest.
You have just been appointed the PRO of Actors Guild of Nigeria; can you tell us more about this?
Basically, I am the director of communication (national), which means I have to foresee everything that has to do with publicity, packaging the guild, making sure that nobody is stepping out of order. Our guild has rules and regulations, so I am to make sure that members do not break these rules. It is a very sensitive position, which means I am going to be stepping on lots of toes. I won’t use my position to intimidate anyone. I just have to follow protocols. I didn’t set the rules; I met them there. I need to harmonize the rules, get everyone speaking in one language, so we can move the guild forward.
Some people believe the guild is more like an inner caucus gathering? What do you think should be done to make sure more people take part in the affairs of the guild?
Under the leadership of Emeka Rollas, you see that things are being harmonized properly. We are trying to carry everyone along. The major problem is ‘are you interested in this guild? Are you interested to see that there is a proper structure to which everyone would abide?’ So, it’s personal interest. And I don’t blame them because in the past, people have been hurt, burnt and taken for granted. Sometimes people see Actors Guild of Nigeria as a scam. It is imperative that we clear all these doubts. It is important that we live up to our reputation. It is not rocket science.
For up and coming actors who want to join the guild, what’s the first step to take?
Get registered. When you do that they hand over to you the constitution, rules and regulations, and other basic things you need to know about.
I hardly see you in movies nowadays, what’s going on?
I am still very much around but not as regular as I used to be. I have done At Your Service, Bling Lagosians, and there are so much on ROK TV and Mnet. I have so many things that I’m doing. I am getting older and there has to be room for the younger generation to take over. I am more about producing movies. I have done a lot in the past. I think that’s one of the things that slowed me down. Movies can be very demanding, you end up getting lost doing films for other people. However, this year, you would be seeing more of me on your screens.
You mentioned stepping aside for up and coming actors to take over, you mean you don’t feel bad seeing some of them taking over your roles?
Are you going to remain young and sexy for the rest of your life? No! There are certain roles that I can’t play anymore. I have to tell myself the truth. For instance, I can no longer play a young university student, a year-one student. But every other role like aunty, wicked step-mum, house help, I am game.
How about deep romantic roles?
Romantic roles? Yes. Why not? I am an actor, so I can play such roles but it must be tastefully done. It must be a fantastic script and interpretation. But I’m not going to go nude for any reason. Those are Western ideas that don’t work here. We are Africans.
What do you look out for in a script?
I look at the message, mood of writing and language; I look at other characters that would play alongside me. Also, I look at the crewmembers, director, location and above all the message.
How about remuneration?
I don’t know why I didn’t mention money in the first instance. That’s to show how passionate I am. Acting is a deep passion for me. I don’t think anyone in Nigeria would be able to pay me my fare because of how low our (movie) budgets are. It can be so annoyingly low. And I don’t want to let money stand in a way of making me deliver. I know we all have to work to put food on our tables but it comes with the passion. If you say ‘this is my fee, if you don’t pay me this fee, I won’t feature in your film’, with the way Nigerians do things, they would just leave you behind.
Would you want your daughter to join the industry?
Anything she wants to do that won’t bring reproach, that won’t bring shame, that won’t hurt our saviour, Jesus Christ, I am fine with it.
Have you watched any of your old movies and wished you didn’t do it?
No, because that’s what was available at that time. I have never regretted any movie that I have done. But for now, I select because everyone needs to upgrade to better roles and character.
What’s next for Monalisa?
Seeing myself doing more profound movies, working with the best of directors, seeing myself doing so well as the PRO of AGN and seeing the guild doing more for the society.
You age backwards, what’s the secret?
I think it’s the person inside of me. I don’t do any other thing extra. I drink a lot of water; use my ori (Shea butter). I use what you use, nothing more.
Does your daughter always ask for another baby, a sibling?
Yes, she wishes. She’s alone and so sometimes she would ask, ‘is there any chance that I can get a younger brother or sister?’ and I would say ‘it’s coming’. The Lord is the author and finisher of my faith. He knows my heart desires; he knows I want more children. It’s up to him to give me. It is not a burden for my husband and I. We look beyond all of that; children are not in the hands of man but God to give. I am happy I have such an understanding partner. He knows that none of us is barren. With time, by the grace of God, we shall have more kids.
Don’t your in-laws disturb you?
No. They don’t. We have gone past that stage.
Looking back, do you have a regret or mistake you made?
Maybe five years ago, I would say yes but now, no. Everything that has happened to me in the past has been a blessing that has built me to be a better person. It’s an eye-opener, which has made me wiser. I didn’t kill anybody neither did I steal, it’s just flesh. Sometimes you think you are taking the right decision for yourself, not knowing it is a grievous mistake. Don’t stew in your juice, if you have made a mistake in life, move on, don’t try to carry out revenge or get angry over what you couldn’t control. My advice is, let your hurt go so that you can be a better person. Let love lead and find you again.
Do you see your past marriage as a mistake or regret ever taking such decision?
No, I don’t see it as a mistake. I was just young and naive. I met the wrong person at the right time. The person was wrong for me, so what I did was to dust the dirt off my body and move on.
What’s your advice for some of your colleagues suffering from heartbreak, failed marriages?
Every individual has his or her way of dealing with emotions. It is very difficult I must confess, but when you keep speaking positivity into your life, that helped me a lot. I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that I am better than before. I had a child who was 16 months old at that time. I told myself, I must move forward. I must look after my child.
Fill yourself with positivity. Surround yourself with people that are supportive. I had a fantastic support system, my family and very few of my colleagues. They knew how I started from day one with the person in question. So, find yourself among people who would take you to light. I prayed a lot, put my situations in the hands of God and He helped me. That’s why I said it’s not a mistake; it only shaped me and made me a better person. Then, I had wanted to marry because every other person was getting married.
Music, Curves, and Ideas for Ayo Animashaun At 50 – By Ayeni Adekunle
I can’t remember how I got introduced to Soji Dehinde. But it was he who in turn introduced me to a couple of gentlemen who would go on to become friends, brothers, and supporters as I tried to find my feet in the late 90s and early 2000s. I’ve shared before, of how he introduced me to the comedian and master of ceremonies, Tee A, when I was to debut Youths Awards for Excellence in Music (YAFEM) in 1998.
It was that same year that I had the pleasure of being acquainted with Ayo Animashaun courtesy of Soji Dehinde.
Soji passed on a few years later, but Animashaun and I have remained in touch, becoming friends, brothers, collaborators, and everything else.
When I met him in 1998, he was 28 years old, three years into his business HipHop World Magazine, and a celebrity in his own right. Everyone called him Nigeria’s youngest publisher and he had such larger than life image that it was a big surprise and disappointment when I got closer and realized he was just a struggling young man trying to make sense of the chaos called Lagos.
I should know. I was a regular guest in his Olusosun-Oregun one-bedroom BQ before he was evicted. I spent many nights with him sleeping in his Sahadatu plaza office off Allen Avenue, buying meals on credit, running from creditors, seeing assets confiscated, dragging his reluctant Volks Wagon beetle around Lagos and Kwara, and struggling to pay designers and printers to work on the magazine.
I was studying Microbiology at the University of Ibadan, but I had a passion for media and entertainment. Meeting Soji Dehinde, Ayo Animashaun, Tee A, Dayo Asaju, Ayo Oshun, Nseobong Okon-Ekong, Efe Omorogbe, Wale Oluwaleimu, and many more in those early days played a huge role in how I eventually turned out.
Take Animashaun: he gave me free unrestricted access to his home and office and resources. It was during one of the many weekends in his house I first saw and learned how to use a computer – teaching myself PageMaker, MSWord, Corel draw, etc. It was through him I met most of the early big names of the time – including the Plantashun Boiz, Dele Momodu, Kunle Bakare (who would later become my employer), and so many others.
I would come from school every weekend and stay anywhere he was staying. Of course he would be unable to fund my return trip to Ibadan. But a visit to Dele Momodu always did the job: Bob Dee would give us enough cash to take me back to school and carry Animashaun for a week or more.
I was not alone. Before he was 30, Animashaun was already a magnet for the entire pop and HipHop culture in Nigeria. His songbook, and later magazine, captured the imagination of young people around the country; and he became one of the most influential figures of a terribly misunderstood youth culture. So, it was not surprising that many of us were drawn to him: Efe Omorogbe, Anthony Anifite, Bayo Omisore, Solomon Dare, Loknan Dombin, Innocent Idibia, Augustin Ahmedu, Olusegun Babatunde, Ayo Oshun, Goke Oludare, Tosin Ogunderu, Matthias Aragbada, Olamide Adedeji, and so many more.
He was born Tajudeen Ayodele Animashaun on March 17, 1970 to a Christian mother Fatima Ajibike Animashaun, and a Muslim father Kehinde Sanni Animashaun (1938 to 1988) of Popo Aguda, Isale Eko, in Lagos. The family lived in Ilorin where he first fell in love with music and entertainment, alongside other shenanigans he got into with friends like Femi Opawoye, Dotun Adeboyejo and others. But it was while he was studying for a national diploma at Kaduna State polytechnic that he went big with his passion, running campus clubs, creating and distributing songbooks, and spreading the gospel of hip hop.
He became so successful I’m not sure he went back for his HND or his diploma certificate. He became so successful he left home to come to Lagos and pursue a bigger dream.
In Lagos, he found a home in FAME Weekly magazine, under the guidance of Sikiru Olakunle Bakare and Femi Akintunde-Johnson. But he was squatting in such remote places around Lagos island and Abule Osun, that he ended up spending most nights sleeping at the Fame office in Ikeja.
Colleagues would mock him for sleeping in the office; for being so audacious as to think he could attempt to become a magazine publisher; or for not being Lagosian enough.
He was young, ambitious, and promising. He was also getting fairly known through his weekly music column aptly titled Hip Hop World, inside FAME magazine. But he was also broke, homeless, frustrated, and tired.
It was time to give up.
Should he go back home to Ilorin where his late dad owned an estate and other businesses? Should he go back to school? Maybe forget about media and publishing and get another job?
He decided he’d keep going. It wasn’t a difficult decision to take because his bosses at the time believed in him and used their relationships to get newsprint suppliers, and printers to transact with him on credit. The rest, to apply the overused cliché, is history.
He published the debut edition of the magazine with Michael Jackson on the cover, in 1995. And he hasn’t looked back. HHW magazine was the leading music magazine in Nigeria for over 20 years, and since ceasing publication, no other journal has stepped in to take up the space it left. And then he launched Hip TV, first as a weekly 30-minute magazine show, before becoming a full channel on DSTV and GoTV. And then he set up HipHop World Awards (since rebranded as The Headies), which interestingly is also the only surviving Nigeria only music honours event.
He’s spent the past 25 years building a media and entertainment business that puts young people and pop culture at its heart. He’s himself remained young at heart, in physique, and character; and he’s not for once failed to remember that it was innovation that got him through the door in the first place. So, he’s moved from giving Nigerian entertainers their first proper red-carpet experience on home soil, to pioneering real-time simulcasts of weddings, events and festivals; and even attaching prizes to awards beyond the prestigious plaques.
There are few entertainment companies started 25 years ago that are still around and relevant today; few heavy players from the past 25 years still relevant and influential today. And I do not know a lot of Nigerians more instrumental to the development of contemporary Nigerian music than Ayo Animashaun. Along with Femi Aderibigbe, Alex Okosi, Tajuddeen Adepetu, Keke Ogungbe, Dayo Adeneye, Nelson brown, Jimmy JATT, Emmanuel Ugolee, Joke Jaiyesimi, and few others, the hitherto sceptical Nigerian audience, gatekeepers, brands, regulators, and government were forced to pay attention and align. And we owe them more than a debt of gratitude.
But I wish the business Ayo Animashaun built had become bigger than it currently is. I wish he would be able to raise some good investment, improve governance, take the company public, and if possible, go into other markets in Africa, Europe and America. I wish we would give the world our own Disneys and Viacoms and CNNs. And Animashaun is one of the few Nigerians who can make it happen.
I wish also that he would suspend being a teetotaler even if only for today, so he can experience what he’s been missing. Just like Tee A, Animashaun is famous for not having ever tasted a drop of alcohol. Imagine that. Not having ever tasted the joys of Heineken, Star and 33. Not having had the privilege of cognac and cigars, or Whiskey and pistachios. He’s never even tasted champagne. Just imagine!
What he lacks, in alcohol taste though, he more than makes up for in his impeccable taste and passion for gadgets, curves, squash, travelling, and cars.
I had a family friend once, Sunday Ologbese. May God rest his soul. Anytime he walked up to us for some chit chat in front of our gate in Okokomaiko, everyone knew what he was communicating, even without saying much.
”Omo I just saw one babe off. Omo yen fineeee gaan mehn…’
Everyone proceeds to interpret ‘Fine’ in their brains as ‘dark, full-bodied, and tall.
When I met Animashaun years later, it wasn’t long before I realized that when he tells you of a lady he’s just been smitten by, you wouldn’t be wrong to picture her as TDC – tall, dark, curvy. With an emphasis on the curves. But we shall not talk about that today, for I do not intend to embarrass a responsible father-of-four who may have his family reading this.
So how about we replace the above paragraph with his love for his kids, other people’s kids, and how he’s raising some of the most brilliant and well-behaved kids I’ve come across in a while? You only need to meet his first child, Ayotomiwa, to have an idea of the good parenting I’m talking about.
It’s easy to look at Ayo Animashaun and see a casual, playful, exuberant media and entertainment executive who’s been unable to take his business global even after 25 years.
It’s easy to look at him as that guy who starts his awards shows late, who – insert whatever controversy you have heard. But I want to suggest an alternative view: This is a man who never attended business school, never raised any investments, built his company pre-social media and media tech, and who has stayed ahead of every technological evolution. How about looking at him as a pioneer, a visionary who walked so that many of us that came after could run and fly? If you like, you can even credit him as the guy who brought hip hop to Nigeria. I doubt anyone would argue.
Whatever you decide, I truly hope you take a minute today and pay tribute to the man as he clocks 50. He’ll be drinking water or Maltina, but I can assure you that some of us will finish a bottle of Delamain on his behalf. It is possible.
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