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Apr 29, 2009

Meet American Actress: Femi Emiola

Femi Emiola
Femi Emiola is an American actress. She is best known for her roles in the TV series Wicked Wicked Games and in the web series "If Looks Could Kill".

Early lifeFemi Emiola was born in Iowa City, Iowa to a Filipina mother and a Nigerian father, then both PhD candidates at Iowa State University. Femi lived her early life in the Philippines and in Nigeria before returning to the United States as a teenager. "Femi" is prononuced "F-eh-mi" and means "love me" or "marry me" in Yoruba. Both her parents are chemists.She trained in Theatre Arts at Iowa State University, and studied in New York City with esteemed director and acting teacher, Wynn Handman, a former colleague of Sanford Meisner and artistic director/co-founder of The American Place Theatre in New York City.

Emiola made her film debut in an award-winning short film "The Living Silence". Her performance in the film helped garner the filmmaker, Tanya Steele, a Directors Guild East Coast Student Filmmaker Award.Between 2006 and 2007, Emiola played "Lani Walker", the assistant to vindictive and psychotic Blythe Hunter famously portrayed by Tatum O'Neal in the My Network TV telenovelaWicked Wicked Games, which premiered on December 6, 2006 and aired to completion (65 episodes) in March 2007.

Emiola has also appeared on the television shows ER, Ghost Whisperer, Scrubs, Las Vegas, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and The Practice.In 2000, Emiola posed for the artist Meredith Bergmann and her profile became the foundation for Bergmann's Phillis Wheatley, which was part of the Boston Women's Memorial, unveiled in 2003 on Commonwealth Avenue Mall in Boston, MA. The sculpture also included Lucy Stone and Abigail Adams and is grafted from bronze and granite and is Bergmann's largest public commission.In June 2008, Emiola became the face of an innovative marketing campaign by Toyota for the Toyota Camry.

The campaign for the Toyota Camry launched on June 9, 2008 targeting affluent African-American women ages 25-40. There are no television commercials, but instead there is an interactive website, Iflookscouldkill.com, which includes a video series and an online game. The $5 million campaign centers on the website and a six-episode video series, promoted as "where espionage and high fashion collide." The target audience for the campaign is African-American women with an annual income of $70,000 and up.

The video series stars Emiola as "Bianca Turner" a fashion designer and Toyota Camry owner who becomes unwittingly involved in an espionage plot. Visitors can navigate within scenes and play along, picking up clues to assist Bianca as she tries to solve the mystery. Print and online ads on BET.com and Essence.com also support the campaign which runs June 9 through July 27, 2008. 42 Entertainment in Pasadena, California, developed the game and the site. Burrell Communications, Chicago, is Camry's agency.

Personal Life
Femi married Canadian musician and Internet professional, Kevin Edwards in 2006. They live in Los Angeles.

Miss World 2001: Agbani Darego

Ibiagbanidokibubo 'Agbani' Asenite Darego (born 1983), is a Nigerian model, best known for being the first black African to be crowned Miss World in 2001.Darego hails from Abonnema, Rivers, and was born into a family of eight children. At ten, Darego was sent to boarding school in a bid to shield her from her mother who had breast cancer. Darego's mother died two years later, and her daughter has spoken of how the loss prepared her for the future.

As a teenager, Darego longed to be a model. Although her conservative father was against the idea, she entered the M-Net Face of Africamodelling competition, but failed to make it past the first round. She achieved greater success when she was crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 2001. Contrary to popular belief, Darego did not replace Valerie Peterside after the latter was dethroned - Peterside had won Miss Nigeria. Darego managed to divide her time between her official duties with her education at the University of Port Harcourt where she was studying Computer Science, and she represented Nigeria in the 2001 Miss Universe competition, held in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She placed among the top 10 semi-finalists, finishing seventh. She was the only black semi-finalist that year - and the only finalist to wear a maillot swimsuit

Miss World
In November 2001, Darego traveled to South Africa to compete in the Miss World competition, beating Miss Scotland and Miss Aruba in the final round. Her victory in the pageant, hosted by American talk show host Jerry Springer, was widely welcomed in her home country, and her reign as MBGN was continued by Ann Suinner.Her one year tenure included goodwill trips and scheduled appearances on behalf of the pageant.

In addition, the organizers of the competition began preparations to host Miss World 2002 in Nigeria.One week before the 2002 pageant, erupted in Kaduna and other cities in northern Nigeria after small protests against the competition inflamed simmering religious tension between Muslims and Christians. Several hundred died in the violence that ensued. The 2002 Miss World competition was moved from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, where it was staged in London that December.

Post-pageant career
Darego left the University of Port Harcourt after her reign as Miss World ended in 2002. She is signed to Next Model Management, and is currently pursuing a modelling career in Europe.She has modelled for L'Oreal cosmetics.In 2006, it was reported that Darego had posed topless at a fashion show; her actions caused an outrage in Nigeria

Meet Nigerian singer-songwriter: Bukola Elemide "Aṣa"

Aṣa (pronounced "Asha") (born in 1982) is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and recording artist. Her stage name "Aṣa" means "Hawk" in Yoruba

Early life
Born Bukola Elemide, Aṣa was born in Paris, France to Nigerian parents. She was two years old when her family returned to live in Nigeria. Aṣa grew up in Lagos, in the south-western part of Nigeria. She states that the city is "buzzing with energy but also home to a deep-rooted spirituality. Islam thrives shoulder to shoulder with Christianity in an atmosphere of tolerance, and the turbulent city moves endlessly in an infernal and yet harmonious ballet of love and hate, laughter and violence, poverty and wealth."

However twenty years later Aṣa returned to Paris, which is where her life as an artist took wing. Aṣa was twelve when her mother sent her to one of the best schools in Nigeria. But educational excellence had a bitter taste : five years of studies and hardship. When she came home, she discovered Erykah Badu,D'Angelo, Raphael Saadiq, Lauryn Hill, Femi Kuti and Angelique Kidjo, in whose footprints she dreamt of following.

At 18, Asa was very familiar with frustration. The university was on strike, the choirs were snubbing her. During these frustrating times, Asa used to lock herself in her room and sing; this she said was very comforting. Nevertheless, she managed to get her voice heard on a few radio talent shows and her first applause brought her boundless pleasure. She then signed up, in secret, for the Peter King’s School of Music and learnt to play the guitar in 6 months

Aṣa was the only girl in the family and had to share her parents with her three brothers. At a tender age she began to look after the house during her father and mother’s frequent absences. That is when Aṣa started to sing. The desire to sing came to her and didn’t go away, carving out a permanent place in her soul. She preferred singing to talking, improvising endlessly until her mother made her stop.

Over the years her father had built up a fine collection of records featuring soul classics and Nigerian music, including Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley,Aretha Franklin, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Lagbaja and went on to draw inspiration from them. Aṣa said "I was a tomboy and when I was a teenager I became very shy because people made fun of me in my own way, I was already attracting attention ! I got in the habit of never doing anything like everyone else. People didn’t understand my low-pitched deep voice, the choirs didn’t want anything to do with me. I had to get to church first if I was to have any chance of getting near the mike"

In 2004 Aṣa met her manager, Janet, who introduced her to Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo, who in turn became her musical partner. He enabled Aṣa, the free spirit, to find her bearings : songs in English and Yoruba, music falling somewhere between pop and soul, inspired by her musical heritage — with particular care paid to the melodies — and reflecting the feeling she puts into it. Her texts talk about her country, the things in life, the things in her life, all delivered with feigned naivete and real irony. She states "I like writing or thinking about my texts on the bus, or the molue, as we call it. 49 seats, 99 passengers standing up, as Fela described it. Everyone’s squashed up together and mini-dramas break out all the time. And, at the end of the day, we still manage to laugh, that’s where our strength lies..."

It was at this stage of her life that Aṣa finally returned to Paris. This was her chance to test out her talent on the French musical scene, playing with artists such as the Nubians, Manu Dibango, Doctor L and Tony Allen. In the meantime, back in Nigeria, her first single, Eye Adaba, then Jailer, were beginning to get airtime. MTV chose her as the ambassador for South Africa. Her popularity became big, that when she came back to Nigeria she opened for Akon, John Legend, Beyonce and Snoop Dogg amongst others.

Aṣa soon signed to the 'Naive label'. Partnered by Cobhams, and with the new involvement of Christophe Dupouy, she produced a magnificent debut album, ASA. R&b rubs up against pop, with reggae also making an appearance on 'Fire On The Mountain', the first track released from the album, an impertinent and barely-disguised metaphor for an ignorant and indifferent world. "Jailer", another highlight of the album, reinterprets the old adage “you reap what you sow”. This emblematic song with its irresistible refrain opens the album by denouncing modern slavery in all its forms.Aṣa's song Eye Adaba featured in the 3rd episode of series 3 of the E4's teen tv show, Skins, in which congolese youngster Thomas is forced to return to Congo from Bristol, where he was living in a flat owned by Johnny White, and made new friends in Pandora, Effy and the rest of the cast. The song is used for the scene in which Thomas is told be pack his bags by his mother and he is upset at having to leave.

Track listing
"Fire on the Mountain"
"Eye Adaba""No One Knows"
"So Beautiful"

Apr 28, 2009

Meet The Sexy Nigerian Model: Oluchi Onweagba

Oluchi Onweagba (born 1982) is a Nigerian model. She had come into modeling after a family friend had persuaded her to enter M-Net'sFace of Africa competition. She ended up winning the competition.

Onweagba's first name in her native Igbo language means "God's Work". Her father was a civil servant, and her mother was a nurse. She and her siblings (two brothers and a sister) lived on Ayilara Street, Ojuelegba, in Surulere, a low-income area of the sprawling Lagos (theNigerian commercial capital) metropolis. She spent her high school years as a good student, and enjoyed playing tennis and ping pong. Supposedly, she was discovered while she was selling bread on the streets of Lagos in order to make ends meet.

In August 2005, she married her longtime companion, Italian fashion designer Luca Orlandi. On April 25 2007 their son Ugochukwu was born.

Discovery and Breakthrough
Oluchi Onweagba was urged by a family friend to enter into the M-Net Face of Africa preliminary screening at the M-Net office in Victoria Island, Lagos which she scaled through. The agency immediately groomed her to be one of Nigeria's entrants for a model competition, the M-Net Face of Africa (now called the Nokia Face of Africa). This despite the fact that, growing up, she had maintained a relative ignorance towards fashion andmodeling. With the support of her family and friends, she decided to compete in the inaugural edition of the Face of Africa in 1998.

This was the first-ever continent-wide model competition, as opposed to a mere beauty pageant, and was organized by the South African subscription television channel M-Net in collaboration with Elite Model Management. With her slim, tall figure, and her natural beauty, she captivated the judges, and she handily won the competition. She was just seventeen years old. Elite Model Management awarded Onweagba a three-year modeling contract, and a whirlwind life as a highly-sought-after fashion model began.

Career Trajectory
Moving to New York City, where she is currently still living, she began to make an impact. Onweagba graced the covers of Italian Vogue, i-D, ELLE, Untold, and Surface, and she also was featured in Nylon, Marie Claire, Allure, and other national editions of Vogue around the world. She also became the face of the campaigns for Gianfranco Ferre, Victoria's Secret, Gap, Express, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor. Onweagba's runway experience has been with John Galliano, Christian Dior, Costume National, Chanel, and Giorgio Armani, amongst others, in London, Milan, Tokyo and Paris.

Oluchi Onweagba has worked with such high-caliber photographers as Steven Meisel, Nick Knight, and Patrick Demarchelier.As her career took off, she did not forget her roots and attempted to give back to society. As one of the most high profile international models of Nigerian origin, she tries to serve as a role model for other aspiring talents in the west African country, especially young girls. She volunteers her time and her image for such NGOs as LEAP Africa (an entrepreneurship incubator) and NIPRO. She also is continuing her higher education, having studied for an associate's degree in the New York City educational system.After her three-year contract with Elite expired, she signed with DNA Model Management. A highlight of her career so far was when she was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue four times, from 2005 to 2008.

In 2008, Oluchi Onweagba launched a modelling agency in South Africa, OModel Africa, with offices in Johanesburg and recently in Cape Town. The 2008 winner of M-Net Face of Africa, Kate Tachie-Menson, was awarded a US $50,000 modelling contract by OModel Africa.In 2009, Onweagba is expected to host the inaugural West Africa's Next Top Model.

Apr 25, 2009

Muma Gee Denies Romancing Timaya‘s Manager

Daring and pretty singer, Muma Gee, has made news many times. 
Her music may not have been as hot as Beyonce‘s, but Muma is one babe who hardly gets annoyed.

She is, however, not happy over a gist that is going on in the entertainment circle. It is being alleged that Muma has found a new beau in the person of Timaya‘s manager.

Busybodies claimed that Muma had made Timaya‘s Alausa, Lagos abode her second home, as she was always there to frolick with the crooner‘s manager.

But speaking to Life and Beat, Muma denied dating the guy in question. ”I heard and read that story and it got me so angry. What kind of nonsense is this? Timaya is from Bayelsa and I am from Rivers. Is it a bad thing if I go and visit him?

“Why can’t people say something positive for once instead of looking for bad things to talk about or write?” she queried.

Concerning the alegation that they kissed in public, Muma fumed, ”You know me so well; do I look like somebody who would be kissing in public?

“I don’t always react when I read or hear negative stories about me, but this particular story really got me angry.

“The guy in question is just a young boy. If I were to date, why wouldn’t I go for Timaya instead of his manager?

Star Quest Winner: The Pulse

The legendary Robert Nesta Marley, popularly called Bob Marley would have been smiling in his grave last Saturday night as a group of six music starters which goes by the name The Pulse turned one of his popular classics – Redemption Song into a party hit.

The Pulse, one the three finalists of this year’s edition of Star Quest, the music talent hunt sponsored by Star Lager was no doubt the most popular group given the reaction of the audience anytime they were called upon to perform but, their rendition of the song, literally set the live audience and indeed many viewers across the nation on fire as the Planet One Entertainment Centre erupted in excitement.

The group kept the audience made of the “who is who” in Nigeria’s entertainment industry including returnee Ras kimono on their feet dancing and clapping to the beats and the superlative performance of the group’s lead singers- Dubem Ochokwu and Obianuju Udeh. The group garnered over 99,000 votes from an appreciative nation to win this years competition, beating the second paced band-Xpression with over 84,000 votes.

It was arguably the performance of this duo and may be their original composition titled- “So Tay” that gave them the crown. The Pulse takes over from The Diamonds which won the competition last year and have are become proud winners of N3.6m cash, N7.5m recording contract, a mini van, one year guaranteed accommodation in Lagos as well as appearances as performing artistes at all star lager sponsored events in 2009.

Having eliminated three of the original six bands on Wednesday night-J-Nutia,100 Degrees and C.N.R.G.Y, the 21 day contest came to an unprecedented climax last Saturday with the three remaining bands-Nu Soundz, Xpression and The Pulse battling for the trophy.

The winning group’s outstanding performance has no doubt taken the music talent hunt programme to the next level given the overwhelming response of the viewing public.

For the first time since the competition was launched in 2002, no one particular band has been so popularly accepted like the 2009 winning band.

The Pulse band made up of Dubem Ochokwu, Babatunde Omommeji, Obianuju Udeh, Moses Philips, Charles Nkamiang and Asuquo Okon seem to have had their destiny made right from their first performance at Star Fame Land . Performance after performance, they gradually established their authority as the band to beat and the result as given by the voting public was more or less unexpected.  36 youngsters were selected from thousands of budding talents who turned up for the audition across the six regions of the nation.

Having settled down to the real competition, viewers were presented with the formation of six bands and their performances which ranged from traditional hi-life to acapella, a remix of some popular indigenous and foreign classics.Launched in 2002 with the objective of producing the biggest music band in Nigeria,
Star Quest is designed to compliment and support Star’s musical platform and enable the brand to reach and connect to its consumers all across Nigeria.

It is a music talent hunt where contestants from all over the country are given the opportunity to become the next stars in the Nigerian music scene and win a coveted recording contract, a mini van and cash prizes, amongst others.

Apr 24, 2009

Halle Berry Auction to Benefit Victims of Domestic Violence

Halle Berry has always been candid about her past experiences with domestic violence. And it was that experience that led her to become a supporter of the Jenesse Center, a Los Angeles based non profit organization that provides support to domestic violence victims for the past several years. Via press release:

“Academy Award-winning actress and beauty icon Halle Berry will auction off a unique, hand-carved rose gold cuff bracelet this week to show her support for families dealing with the devastating effects of domestic violence. As of April 15th, consumers can place bids through CharityBuzz for the chance to own this signature piece. The cuff bracelet was designed exclusively for Halle Berry to wear in the advertising campaign for her debut fragrance, Halle by Halle Berry. Net proceeds generated by the auction will be donated to the Jenesse Center, a domestic violence intervention program that Ms. Berry has supported for many years.

“The Jenesse Center is an organization that is very close to my heart," said Halle Berry. "Their work makes a tremendous difference in the lives of women and children and I am proud to support such a worthy cause by auctioning off this beautiful bracelet.”

Designed by Gara Danielle, this stunning cuff bracelet was inspired by Halle Berry's natural beauty and was designed specifically for Halle to wear on set at the making of her fragrance campaign in Ohahu, Hawaii. Now anyone can have the opportunity to own a replica of the bracelet and support this great cause by bidding on charitybuzz.com. Made from 14K rose gold plate over sterling silver, this adjustable cuff is valued at $4,000.

The Jenesse Center is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1980 and provides help to victims of domestic violence with a comprehensive centralized base of support through facilities, education and health programs, case management, and legal services. The overall goal of the Jenesse Center is to change the pattern of abuse in the lives of women and children.”

On April 19th, the Jenesse Center held its annual Silver Rose Gala and auction in Beverly Hills:

Elva Lima, Guest, David A. Paschal, Halle Berry, Karen Earl and Kathy Koelle attend the 2009 Jenesse Silver Rose Gala & Auction at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills California.

R&B Star Chilli to Host Event Honouring African American Women for Mother's Day

Activities Include Donation to Women’s Organizations and Spa Event with Chilli from TLC

Via BLACK PR WIRE, ATLANTA, April 22, 2009 – Dasani is bringing feel-good refreshment to African American women through a Mother’s Day program that celebrates good work in the community and refreshes women with style and beauty experiences. Chilli from the Grammy award-winning R&B group TLC is spokesperson for the campaign.

On April 24, Dasani will be giving hundreds of women complementary spa services at the fabulous Townhouse Spa in New York City. Hosted by Chilli, the Dasani “Ultimate Style and Beauty Lounge” will offer these women the opportunity to recharge in a relaxing atmosphere designed to provide a quick escape from the daily challenges of life. To round out the spa experience, L’Oreal Paris will provide beauty makeovers and SoftSheen-Carson will provide hairstyles and trims for the women.

Dasani also will be mixing some good deeds into this uplifting day when it recognizes Girls Inc.and Dress for Success for their support of women through a variety of positive, image-building programs. Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Holdings, Inc., and Bethann Hardison, a legend in the fashion industry and founder of Black Girls Coalition, also will be honored for their work in fostering programs for young women.

“This Mother’s Day program reminds women that the simple moments are often the most refreshing and offers them the rewards and much-needed attention they deserve, said Yolanda White, assistant vice president, African American Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. “With a great tasting water like Dasani, women can maintain their active lifestyles while also balancing their rigorous schedules.”

The program continues the dialogue with spokesperson Chilli delivering a message of health and hydration through print, radio, and in-store advertising, and inviting moms to visithttp://www.dasanistyle.com/ for a chance to win a VIP spa experience with the star.

The new website also features the latest fashion trends for spring from Chilli, including the coolest accessories, hot new make-up, hair trends, hair care tips and coupons for products. “This exciting program brings to life the refreshing benefits of drinking Dasani with style and vitality. This is yet another of the many initiatives on tap for 2009 that will connect consumers to our brands through real, relevant experiences,” said White.

****While we're on the subject of beauty and giving, Karyn at The Fabulous Giver blog has been selected by Johnson & Johnson to host a body care cause party in Chicago. The nationwide initiative, which launched in NY with R&B singer Ashanti, is using beauty bloggers to celebrate girlfriends and make a difference. Read more here.

Meet Dj Zeez "O4Kasibe"

DJ Zeez’s hit song O4kasibe threw up as much controversy as it fetched him instant fame among millions of lovers of Nigerian hip hop music. He tells ‘NONYE IWUAGWU the real meaning of 04Kasibe and why he has been dogged by scandals.

Most people don’t know your real name
My name is Kingsley Elikpo. I am from Mbano in Imo State. Actually, I would call myself a ‘mixed breed’. My mum is Yoruba and my dad is Igbo. But I was born and brought up in Lagos. That is basically why I can speak Yoruba very fluently. There was a time when I had to attend school in Owerri because my parents wanted me to understand Igbo language.

You are called DJ Zeez. Were you a disc jockey?
Yes. I started in the industry as a disc jockey when I was about 17 years.

How come you were doing that at such an age?
I liked it. I was a science student when I was in secondary school. I was attracted to the technical part of music. I wanted to know about the engineering part and the whole connection thing.That was what prompted me to become a disc jockey. It wasn’t because I didn’t have any other thing to do. My parents didn’t frown at what I was doing because I was doing well in school. 

I didn’t start it for commercial purposes, at first. I was just doing it in the house; I would get songs and mix them together. But, in time, my friends got to know that I was good at it and they kept encouraging me. That was when I decided to get bigger equipment and turned it into a business.

So your parents didn’t mind when you finally turned it into a business?
No, they didn’t mind.

At what point did you decide to leave disc jockeying for music?
Some friends of mine formed a group called Xzist. At the time, I was still a DJ. I would always DJ for them back then whenever they had small shows around. With time, I started listening to songs and I started miming songs as well. They felt I should join the group. I joined the group and that made me the fourth member of the group.

You guys eventually broke up?
Yes. You know, musical groups in Nigeria hardly last. One person may be having one problem or the other and another person would be having a different problem. As a result, in 2004 I decided to go solo. I started doing my own thing.

Was that when you released O4Kasibe?
No. That was not my first single. My first single was title Orin.

But it was not successful.
No, it wasn’t. Remember that I just started then. I didn’t know anybody in the industry. I just did it on my own. By 2005, I came out with Same Ni, which was successful. In terms of profits, it wasn’t really successful. But it brought me popularity. If you mention DJ Zeez today, people would relate me with the guy that did Same Ni. The song was nominated for Channel O Music award in 2007.
The song made me popular, but it didn’t get me the money I wanted.

Finally you came out with O4kasibe.
Yes. That was towards the end of last year. I released it as a single. But the album dropped early this year.

What is O4kasibe?
It is a slang that was common among my neighbourhood pals in Bariga in those days. They used it to show respect to the people they honoured. They use the slang when they want to hail the person. The concept is that the ‘4’ in the word represents the four cardinal points- north, east, west and south. When you say O4kasibe, it means that you are making a positive impact on people globally, not just where you are.

But some people say the song literally means, ‘You have lost your head’
That is the controversy around the song. But it is the artiste that should say what he means in his song and defend that meaning. But I don’t think it is a good idea for me to come up and decide that the song I want to do for my fans is to start cursing them.

Those who understand the actual meaning of the song like it so much and you see them go crazy when it is playing. The meaning of the song is affecting it and that is why it is felt everywhere. We get all sorts of calls from different parts of the world. You can ask my manager, Tunde. They keep inviting us for shows and events.

We learnt the song was banned by Nigeria Broadcasting Commission?
That is a big lie. I even heard the song on two different radio stations when I was coming now. I believe if you ban a song on air, no radio or TV station plays it. It is just a rumour. I believe people are saying this because they are yet to understand the real meaning of O4kasibe.

What would you call yourself, a disc jockey or a musician?
Right now, I am just a music producer. I am also a writer and a performing artiste. I have left the disc jockey aspect because it requires daily practice. You get called up for shows and events in different towns. Then again, I am being called to perform in another town as a musician and all that. I simply had to reduce stress by just sticking to production and singing alone.

So I can say I am a producer right now. I have produced several songs like Party Rider by 9ice. Recently, I am working on a couple of songs in Weird MC’s forthcoming album.

Is it true that O4kasibe fetched you a Cadillac?
That is true. It was courtesy of the record label, Edlyne Records. It is a foreign record label owned by a Nigerian. He heard my song over the internet. That was even before O4kasibe was formally released. We started communicating even before we met for the first time. It was just recently that we met each other. He had bought the car for me before we met
At first, he thought we were just Nigerian scammers that put songs on the internet. By the time he felt the impact of the song, he was tripped.

Your profile is rising and you are being linked with many scandals.
Yes. What more can I say. A lot of things are actually attached to success. The best thing is to hear from the horse’s mouth. A lot of people who write things about me are not even opportune to see me one-on-one or to ask me for my own side of the story. They don’t even bother to confirm their stories before publishing them.

Is it true that you had an accident while driving home half-drunk in the cadillac?
I wasn’t involved in any accident at all. There is nothing like that. No such thing will ever happen by His grace. 

We also learnt that you are involved in internet fraud...
I have never been involved in anything that is close to ‘yahoo yahoo’ in my life. This Yahoo thing is not like today’s issue. The problem is that people who are spreading this rumour are finding it difficult to believe that I could make so much impact in such a short time. Some of them wonder when I released this song that I should be this successful. Some say they hear I have so much money in my account and I wear good clothes and they fail to relate it with the success of my music only. They don’t want to believe because a lot of artistes out there have great songs and are not making money.
But my case is different because we are working and walking very closely with God. We are applying both international and the local marketing strategy to sell the songs. People are finding it difficult to believe that this guy is making such an impact from only one song.

Did you have a quarrel with Konga? 
I did not have any quarrel with him. They say Konga is claiming he is the owner of O4kasibe. He is not the owner. I spoke to him and he said he never mentioned anything like that to anybody. There has never been any misunderstanding between myself and any musician.

We learnt you claimed you were a student of Leeds City University and some people said it was not true
Leeds City University is a private university in Ibadan. To start with, I have many friends in that school. Most of them are not people that I just met. They are all childhood friends. For example, in the school where I have my strongest fan base the students there see me as one of their own.

At a point, I started thinking of going to the university to further my education. I felt that since I have a good relationship with the students, may be I should try to get an admission into the school.

I told some of my friends that I might be getting admission into the school considering the relationship I have got with most of the students there. I never said I was a bona fide student of the school. I am an artiste and I understand how far one word you say could make or mar you.

Then again, if I am not in the school and I claim I am there, I would be giving free publicity to the school. Please, I didn’t tell anybody that I was a student of Leeds City University. I have just got a very strong fan base over there. I don’t think I would even want to disclose any school I would enrol to anybody.

It is amazing that you are not a university undergraduate. Was it by choice that you have not aquired higher education?
That aspect is quite complicated. When I finished secondary school, I ventured into digital film animation with the Nigerian Institution of Information Technology. I later went to the University of Abuja for a diploma programme.

It was that time that I did Same Ni. I found out that music was not something you would do part time and get what you want. I decided to ease off on the school thing and face my musical career for a couple of years. I thank God that the result is positive. I don’t think it is a bad idea if I decide to pursue higher education now. I still have a love for science. I still have a love for whatever course I intend to study. I am not going to sing forever.

Don’t you think your musical career would suffer if you get into the university?
I think so. It is difficult to find a prominent artiste who is making so much waves and studying in the university at the same time.

There are various institutions that are designed not just to help artistes, but to help people who are in different professions and studying.

A lot of people may not consider going back to school, since they are already successful in their chosen careers
I am not thinking in that direction. The foundation I had before getting to this point will not allow me to ignore education. I started as a disc jockey. A disc jockey plays different kinds of songs in a party. He understands the crowd and tries to give them the very best of music.

From that point, I ventured into rapping. I didn’t start as a singer, I was a rapper. Then, I started producing beats that would fit into songs. Then last year, I started singing. It is just that I have been following the normal procedure way back.

I understand that most of the big problems that most artiste have is that of orientation and education. Education and wealth are two different things. In today’s world, you find a lot of literate people working so hard and under the payroll of illiterates who are very wealthy. That is the situation that I do not want to experience in my own life time. I want to study something that I have always loved and then do music as well.

What about your female fans?
Coping with them is not as hard as people think. One of the things that have helped me is that before I got into this career, I had friends who were stars. Most times I was always with them. I would say I have been learning from their mistakes. Just as I made my research very well before I ventured into music, I know the dos and don’ts. I am not a total saint but at the same time, I am not the Devil with horns.

But when you see a female fan that once to get closer, it is basically because of what she has seen around you. If not for your stardom, that person would not give a damn about you. That person would not see you and like you. The moment you start disrespecting one fan by getting closer than you should, you are disrespecting the rest as well.

What is your girlfriend saying about your relationship with your female fans?
I don’t have a girlfriend.

For real?
Anyway, it is like this: I used to have a girlfriend before the whole stardom stuff blew up like this.

She didn’t wnt you to be a star?
At first, she was okay with the fact that I was singing. She likes singing as well. But she didn’t expect it to get this big. She didn’t like the fact that everybody wants to see me and all that. She just wasn’t comfortable with that and she was looking at the future and she kept asking if I would have time for the family. It came to a point where I had to choose between my career and the relationship.

So you chose your career?
I didn’t say I was going to choose my career over her. At a point, the music thing required a lot of attention from me. I didn’t have time for food, let alone for anybody. Getting a girlfriend now who would be somewhere nagging and saying I am not giving her attention would distract me from where I am going to. O4kasibe might have got me to a good height, but it has not got me to where I would really want to be. It might be difficult to settle down later. It might be difficult to get a girl who would love you for who you are and not what you are, but there is nothing I can do now.

What do you hope to achieve in future?
When I get to the height where I want to be, I would definitely give back to the society. I am not saying I would be giving beggars money, but I would invest in NGOs and companies that would reduce unemployment.

Meet Funke Akindele Nollywood's Best Actress

Why did you pack out of Akoka side?
I just wanted a change of environment. I have one or two friends where I stay; I think the place is cool. So, you’ve left your parents.No, we all moved out together. 

Obviously, things are looking up, the last time we met, you were using cars for small boys like us, now you are riding a Honda Jeep. 
A point of correction, that car you saw is not a small car. It is worth more than one million naira. Well, it is just an improvement; I just wanted something bigger.

It seems you are the hottest actress in the Yoruba genre of the industry. What’s the magic? 
Like I’ve always said, it is all about hard work and prayer. Whatever you do just do it well because you never can tell which job might land you at the top. So, I give it to God and hard work.

I know a couple of actresses who are working hard but not getting as much attention as you are?

Like I said earlier on, prayers also matter. Put anything you do before God and if it is His will, you will surely be celebrated there. The industry is large for any good actress to be noticed. I thank God I’m being appreciated.The pay must surely be good.Thank God, I’m not complaining. 

People say you’ve been producing so many movies these days.
I’ve not been producing lot of movies. The only movie I have now is Apadi and it’s yet to be released. That is the only movie I’ve ever produced this year, though, I’ve acted in quite a lot of movies.

Tell me about the movie, Apadi.
It’s a traditional movie, it’s got some lesson in it and it is technically superb. It had a large cast and was shot in traditional setting of Abeokuta and Ilaro.

Who is financing your movie?
I financed Ojo Ketala myself, but my marketer, Olasco Film financed the others. He brings the fund and I produced. 

You must be enjoying acting.
Yes, definitely. Acting is my first love, I didn’t get into acting because I wanted money, I just wanted to exhibit my talent. Acting has always been my first love. 

But you never had the intention of becoming a full blown actress when you started acting in ‘I need to know’.
Yes, I just wanted to exhibit the talent in me. I wasn’t after making money or becoming a celebrity. 

What is still there in acting world that you want to achieve?
I still have a lot to learn and achieve. When I look at the likes of Bimbo Akintola, I shiver and tell myself that I am not there yet. That is a very deep actress, I give that to her. And there is Kate Henshaw, I saw her in Show Me Heaven. That was her best. I was thrilled. I keep telling myself that I still have a long way to go.

Is winning City People best actress not coming too early? 
No, I don’t think so because I’ve worked hard for it. Most of my friends and colleagues sent me texts saying I deserved it. Even people around me feel I deserved it. They gave it to me because they believed I deserved it. 

What is next for you after best actress award?
I don’t know, only God can tell. I’ll just keep working harder. 

Will you ever produce an English movie?
Why not? When the time comes, I will. It is just that I am sticking to the production of Yoruba movies because I understand the market. 

I learnt most movies don’t sell more than 100 000 copies. How true?
I don’t think so. Ekuro, my movie sold more than that. And Taiwo-Taiwo sold more than that. I believe if you have something good in the market it will keep selling. Maybe your first batch sells within that region but later it will pick up if it is a good movie. When my marketer released Ekuro the movie sold 200 000 copies. 

What point were you trying to prove in Risikat?
I was called upon to act and I did my best. The character was a street girl and always fighting, that was why I had gloves on.

Lagbaja Unleashes New Album

We’ve been waiting for long. We’ve been wondering un-end. We’ve worried till we’re weary – when will we lay our hands on another Lagbaja album? When will the masked musician and his band bless fans with another body of work? This year? Next year? Or the year after the next?

Well, we can all now heave a sigh of relief, because Lagbaja has confirmed that a new album – the first since his 2005 release Africano – is ready, and about to hit the streets.

According to a statement released by his publicist Ayeni Adekunle on Monday April 6, the new album, which comes in two CDs, will be officially released in Nigeria before the end of April.
‘‘I’m glad to tell you, brothers and sisters, that our new album is ready’’, Lagbaja said in Lagos this week. ‘‘The world is going through different challenges right now, but the journey continues. We’ll continue to make good music and preach the gospel of Africa to the rest of the world’’.
Lagbaja’s eponymous debut album was released to national acclaim in 1993. 
He followed with Cest Un African Thing in 1996, and in 2000 he did what was hitherto thought impossible when he dropped a three-in-one album titled ME, WE and ABAMI respectively. The simultaneous three-part release further enriched his repertoire of hits and timeless pieces, endeared him to even more critics, and won him a million-and-one converts.

His most recent album – Africano… the mother of groove- was released to critical acclaim in 2005.
Once again, Lagbaja is releasing more than once album simultaneously. ‘‘We have two CDs coming out this time. Our fans deserve it, especially having waited for this long’’, He said. A third, the long-anticipated Africano Party (now remixed) will follow later in the year.
Further details concerning the upcoming album, including dates and track listings, will be communicated within the next 72 hours.

9ice Opens New House

9ice is doing nice things to himself and he is got a Toni Payne that is not a pain by his side.The latest gist about Abolore Akande,the popular Nigerian musician known as 9ice is that he has moved into his new house in Abule-Egba area of Lagos State.The house warming ceremony,which took place on Sunday 12 April 2009 saw a lot of people coming to felicitate with the couple.
9ice deserve all the accolades as there are many artistes who has made more money but has no thought of doing something like this.

Meet Naija Music Star: Banky W

BANKOLE Wellington popularly known as Banky W. has come to make a difference with his music. His My Regret, crafted an intimate song that tugs on every last string of your heart, and pulls out every last tear from your eyes. 

With Capable, he transports you to an island off the coast of Africa. 

With You Really Don’t Know Me he paints the picture of a young man, who despite all you’ve seen, is still shrouded in mystery, hardcore, pain, darkness etc. 

Here lies a young man who is reflective of us all. Far from claiming that he is the best thing, his music tells us a much realer story. The same story that if you looked close enough, you would see in the mirror. It’s about the joys of falling in love, the insecurity of being unsure about it, and the pain of heartbreak. It’s about the risk of disappointing those closest to you, and worse, disappointing yourself. According to him my music is about “making life and love work. It’s about screwing up. It’s about repentance and redemption. Its about finding peace. It’s about “wilding out”. Sometimes doing things you know you’re not supposed to do. It’s not just about getting there; it’s about the journey” he said. 

Born in America to Nigerian parents and spending his growing years in Africa, Banky learnt to appreciate both the beauty and the sorrows of living in the motherland; where somehow, believing in God helped him survive his life’s struggles. 

According to him “I woke up to the barrel of a gun of armed robbers at the age of 15. I fought through two surgeries on cancerous tumours in the same shoulder before the age of 23, and still earned an Engineering degree from one of the most prestigious schools in the USA,” said Banky. 

For Banky, in a twist of the words spoken by his favorite artist, Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, “life is never but a beach chair”. 

Singer, songwriter, producer, entertainer, and all around renaissance man, Banky W is the consummate artist. His songs tell the story of his life, as-is, raw and uncut. Whether that means struggling to get through college via numerous jobs, scholarships and loans, or struggling to get the attention of a fickle music industry. Whether it’s about love, joy, pain, money, hustling, music… it’s all real, and it’s all Banky W. 

His music and his life story have catapulted him into the spotlight; with an ever-growing and larger-than-life presence on the internet. Banky has won numerous awards including the Urban Independent Music Award for R&B/Soul, The Nigerian Entertainment Award, and the highly coveted John Lennon Songwriting Contest grand prize in the R&B category. He’s been featured on AOL, Fox TV, and he has appeared in a wide variety of print media, radio stations and a plethora of websites. His myspace page (www.myspace.com/banky) shows him being on the pace to one million song plays. 

Through his music, blogs, and lifestyle, Banky has managed to independently connect on a personal level with fans, establishing a cult-like following of thousands of listeners across the globe.

Green October: The Mix Tape Vol I. Nigeria's Top Singles From Spring 2008-Spring 2009

Tribe X Entertainment and DJ Manixx of The Coalition of Nigerian DJ’s


Green October: The Mix tape Vol I.


Green October: The Mix tape Vol I is a compilation of Nigeria’s most popular hits from the beginning of 2008-2009. The simple goal is to share this phenomenal music with non Nigerians and Nigerians in the Diaspora who would not otherwise have the opportunity to own or readily obtain the music.

Featuring the Popular Smash Hit Singles from some of Nigeria’s most popular and creative musical artists, Dbanj, Tuface, Timaya, Femi Kuti, M.I., Naeto C, and more! All assembled together in one professionally mastered music compilation.


The Mix tape, a collaborative effort by Harry Baba of Tribe X Entertainment, (winner of 2008 Best U.S. Based Promoter at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards), and outstanding Washington D.C. based DJ, DJ Manixx, member of the world famous Coalition of Nigerian DJ’s. The mix tape is available and ABSOLUTELY FREE for online downloads for anyone in the world who wants to hear the extraordinarily beautiful and rich music coming out of the great nation known as Nigeria.


The ultimate goal of this project was to make Nigerian music more readily accessible to the folks who love the music living in the Diaspora, USA, Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world. This mix tape is a project that complements the already existing Movement that strives on getting our beloved Nigerian music out to the masses in every nation on the planet. In addition, we wish to share a taste of our Nigerian culture through music with all peoples of all backgrounds, race, religion, and traditions. We are not the first to do a mixtape of this level, or the last, but there are still thousands, even millions of folks out there that need to see, hear and taste something sweet, positive, refreshing and outstanding coming out of Nigeria.


We strongly encourage folks unaccustomed to African music to be open minded: simply download to your I tunes, hard drives, I pods, MP3 players, burn CD’s, and play. Please share the links below with friends, family and associates and support the websites listed below that have agreed to upload the mix tape.

Tu Face Idibia: New Album Released "Unstoppable"

The 2 face album Unstoppable has been released in Nigeria . Tracks produced by R.kelly, Jiggy Jegg, Sway da Safo, Chaka demus and Pliers, Ozzie, Wayne Mcneish , J Sleek and Mic Tunes have made the 19 track album. Yes the R.kelly track named Flex is on the album. the first video for the album is enter the place directed by Luke Biggins, and the second video is Go down There feat Sway. The video's will be screened on mtv europe, mtv base and BET. 

American RnB singer/songwriter, R. Kelly features on the track "Flex," while Jamaican acts, Chakademus and Pliers, best known for their hit tracks, Tease Me and Murder She Wrote are also included in the album.  Sound Sultan and other stars like Wyre, Sway and Lil Ehi Idibia are also featured in the album.
The tracks include Enter the place, Flex, Swallow your pride, Take it back, Outside, Pako, Free, So proud (remix), Oh papa, Excuse me sister, Appreciate it, Fly, See it coming, I sing, Jungle don mature, Go down there, Felling you, etc

Unstoppable is a pleasant mix of R&B, reggae, hip-hop and Afrobeat and the first album released on Tuface's music label, Hypertek Records.