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26 Sep 2012

Marriage Is Not A Necessity ...Star Actress, Monalisa Chinda

Monalisa Chinda has carved a niche for herself in Nollywood in less than 15 years she delved into acting. In this chat with Isaac Oguntoye, she spoke on her career, her challenges as a single parent and other issues.  

For sometime now, you have not been featuring in movie or producing one, what are you actually working on?
We just launched the Arise Monalisa Foundation and my production company, Monalisacode Limited. I’ve also been working on a couple of projects which are still in production stage; you’ll get to see them at the right time.
As a graduate of Theatre Arts from University of Port Harcourt, was acting part of your childhood ambition?
I knew acting was my talent and passion from childhood and people around me could attest to it, so I gladly embraced it when the opportunity came. I had always admired some of the reigning acts then although it wasn’t as developed as it is today and deep down within me, I just felt this thing could be done in a better way.
Despite your fair skin, you don’t seem to expose your body in movies. Is this due to moral?
Well, we are from different backgrounds with different values, beliefs and styles. Acting is about interpreting your roles excellently and not anything else.
How difficult has it been as a single parent?
There’s absolutely nothing difficult about being a single parent. Besides, marriage is neither a requirement to fulfil your purpose in life nor the reason for life itself.
If a man proposed marriage to you, would you accept the proposal now?
That’s up to me.
Are you in any relationship at the moment?
My dear, there’s something called private life.
How do you manage advances from  male admirers especially now that you are single?
I manage them the way they are supposed to be managed. No matter how big you are, you must treat people with courtesy and remain nice to people who appreciate what you do, regardless of who they are.
Some people believe the industry is now filled with non-professionals, what’s your view and what do you think is the solution?
People will always be entitled to their opinions. Whoever thinks so should ask himself these questions; is the Nollywood you see today the same Nollywood that was there several years back? Are the quality of our movies and technology better than what we had 10 years back?
How do you feel being a Glo Ambassador?
I feel good because it means you’re being appreciated for what you do.
What is your definition of a successful actor?
A successful actor is someone who is widely renowned for exceptional works, someone who effortlessly interprets any role very well at all times.
How do you feel being a star where most actors have failed?
It’s very hard to succeed in a field that isn’t meant for you and it’s also difficult to succeed without originality. I think most actors fail either by going into acting for the wrong reasons or by trying to imitate someone else’s style.
If not acting, what would you have been doing?
If not acting, I would have been a notable lawyer or activist.
Why do people give up in life after  some effort?
People give up either because they are in the wrong field or because they lack enough knowledge about their field. There’s actually no easy path to greatness. If it were easy, everybody would have been successful. You just have to determine where you want to be and give it all it takes. It is knowledge about your field that eventually brings you success. Unfortunately, we don’t value knowledge in this part of the world, but I believe we are getting better.
What has been the major secret that keeps you on the limelight despite competitions here and there?
I don’t think there was any magical wand that helped me in my career. It was the grace of God. If there was any reason I have been consistently engaged and appreciated for what I do, I think it’s because of my gift, and the giver of that gift is God. I simply discovered my love and natural talents for acting, I followed it strictly by developing my talents into skills and God’s grace has been responsible for the rest.
What will you say has been your greatest mistake in life?
I don’t dwell on mistakes and I can’t think of any.
What has been the greatest lesson you learnt in the last 10 years?
One of my key lessons in the last 10 years is that you can’t get anything if your hands are still full with yesterday’s junk.
How do you feel about the success recorded in the last few years?
I feel thankful and grateful to God and my wonderful fans around the world.
Why is it that most people attain success but find it difficult to sustain it?
I think one of the major reasons people find it difficult to sustain their success is because of pride, especially around here. Wisdom always eludes the proud people and it takes humility to be truly great.
What do you like most being an actress?
I love being an actress for so many reasons. It gives you the opportunity to pass crucial and life-changing messages to the society. It also gives you that leverage for influence; how you use that influence is now left to you.
What is the best way to stand out in your career?
I think the best way to stand out at what you do is through personal development. Commit yourself to constant practice and knowledge in whatever you do, and you’ll see yourself at the top before long.
How do you maintain your fair complexion and beauty, despite the climatic conditions in this part of the world?
Well, I think it’s just the way God created me. I don’t have any special routine aside the normal everyday thing.
What is your take on this trend in Nollywood where one person is the producer, director and actor at the same time?
What really matters is the quality of movie being produced. What I know is that people will always insist on the very best, regardless of whether same person is the producer, director and actor. So if the person is good in doing the three, why not?

I Was Deported From Prison To Nigeria-Ex-Oyo State Gov’s Daughter, Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo


Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo needs little or no introduction. The elegant woman is an enigma and has been making waves in the country and beyond. In this interview with Alonge Michael, she spoke about her life in Canada and all the issues that surround her deportation. This amiable personality also shares her intimate secrets with us. Enjoy your reading……

How do you express your patriotism?
I am patriotic because Nigeria is my country and I will never carry any other passport like many Nigerians do. I have been living in US, UK and Canada for the past 38 years! Nigerians deserve all these  "great amenities" that other countries have. I even named my upcoming TV show "419 Reasons To Love Nigeria". I express my patriotism by defending Nigeria’s interests abroad and letting bad Nigerians know that they cannot continue to represent us with financial fraud, domestic abuse, murders, drug and human trafficking. Once I expressed that, many fake Nigerians said I hate their "tribe".
What has been your best service to humanity?
Reducing gun violence in Toronto, Canada and ending drug abuse in Baltimore, Maryland schools by creating Drug-Free schools in the Clinton administration. I lived in Baltimore for 15 years and received an award from the city Mayor and Governor of Maryland in 1997 as "Maryland's Most Beautiful." I have received a law enforcement award in Canada, cited by many media outlets and also the African Entertainment award for Community Contribution this month. It's not about awards though; it's about getting the job done. Gun violence has reduced in Toronto after I left and drug use in schools by students in Maryland is almost non-existent.
No one can claim to rise above fallibility, in the course of discharging these services, what mischievous things have you done?
If you want to call it "mischievous", fine, I have directly reported alleged gun murderers and their entire families and friends to police investigating homicides in Canada. It's called "snitching" and everyone must do it. My twitter handle is @Snitchlady. Why must someone take a life and walk around freely?
How do you feel when you read nasty reports about yourself?
I don't pay them any attention. I turn away from negativity and they just empower me more. One obsessed gun loving white Canadian, Shawn D McQuaid, even built a blog about me and tweeted about me. He was arrested by Toronto Police's Detective Glen McBryde in April 10th, 2012 and was charged with criminal harassment and mischief among seven other charges. His case is before the courts. Kaanayo Wachukwu blogged that I spent time in a Jamaican jail and had four children with four fathers and was denied permanent residence in the US after 30 years, it’s all lies.  I have never been to the Caribbean, of course to live in America 30 years, I had permanent residence and would have become a citizen if I opted to. I have two children not even four. Later on, I heard Wachukwu was wanted by the U.K Metropolitan police for prostituting young girls and pimping them. I plan to sue him as I have sent my fingerprints to Jamaica to prove him wrong to teach him a lesson. If you mess with me, I will mess with you for a long time!  They spend 24 hours of their lives tweeting about me. I mark them spam and stopped seeing their feeds a long time ago.Out of all these things written; which ones are actually true and which ones are mere rumours? None is true. I don't talk to Nigerian "bloggers" except Stella Dimoko-Korkus who is a professional, as many don't know the meaning of libel and slander. I don't discuss my family. They are too private and I respect their privacy.
How long did you stay in Canada?
Five years and two months.Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage in it head-on?  I engage in all conflicts, please pardon my language, I lived in North America for 35 years. I don't entertain bullshit! Why? I practised pharmacy for 28 years and fired six people in my career. Why do I have to tolerate lazy people when I have people that want to work? Like I said, a low esteemed white man in Canada bullied me, I had him arrested. I'm not "reporting to Facebook." I take action.Toronto Police Spokesman and Social Media Officer, Constable Scott Mills told the media in various interviews about how you've been so helpful in curbing series of crimes in Canada; how do you feel about this, coming at a time of your deportation? Officer Mills' comments came before my deportation. Mills called my work "Nobel Peace Prize Worthy". One day, I will win that Nobel Peace Prize for ending gun violence across the globe.
Now that you are in Nigeria; what’s next?
I want to take my brand HipHossip to a higher level. I was featured on the cover of Canada's "Industry Magazine" in 2010 as one of the most powerful women in Toronto's entertainment industry. I now want to empower Nigerian music artistes; I’m ready to invest in their careers.
HipHossip is the leading music blog in North America. On October 17, it turns five. I just incorporated a concert booking agency for music artistes around the world as well as expand my music publicity arena and artistes development services. I am a business woman and if it is not about my money, I'm not interested. I have represented so many artistes for free in the past in US and Canada when I launched it in 2007. Now, it's straight business. I book artistes on my media partner's networks like BET shows, US, Canadian, U.K and various other MTV networks...and yes I was the one that booked WizKid on MTV Canada on July 20th to appear on MTV LIVE as tweeted by me, though he could not make it last minute. You must be known in every corner of the globe like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. We have the talent!! I discovered several global artistes by interviewing them before they were famous, working on editorial alongside their labels and getting them big. They are Ciara, Young Jeezy, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Knaan, Classified, Fefe Dobson, Drake, Ludacris, Kanye West to name a few. I would like to offer my services to artistes in Nigeria. Some talented ones who’re ready and ripe for the international market that I would love to work with are TuFace, Ikechukwu, Davido, Darey, Ice Prince and even Weird MC and Mavin boss, Don Jazzy both whom I interviewed in early summer due to come out in my anniversary special. I also created a philanthropic initiative and charity for using music to empower several things. One of those is to end gun violence and I want your readers to use my hashtag #MsKemi and #EndGunViolence in  their tweets. HipHossip LLC can be followed on twitter @HipHossip. Aside from my music passion; my dream is to become a Nollywood actress and screenwriter. I have several scripts written in my secret vault which I would love to sell to directors interested. I can act in any capacity. My life is a stage with different curtains daily.
Have you attended any social event since you stepped into the soil of Nigeria?
None! Where are the "real" parties? I've actually been brainstorming and travelling around my hometown visiting elders, talking to the masses by introducing myself (I am a talkative and they seem to like my North American accent) and videotaping my proposed TV show all over Ibadan, talking to the everyday person and kid on the streets about anything.
While in Canada, how did you escape various attacks that came your way?
If you meant physical attacks, none ever came my way. I get threats all day online about murders but I just challenge the trolls to show up at a specific venue in Toronto's hood and come with their fists, leaving the guns at home and not being cowards. White Canadians are the ones most intimidated by the bold ones like me.
What’s your strongest sense?
I know good music when I hear it especially paying attention to details. Sound tickles me. Since I've been in Nigeria, I've heard Ibadan rooster cocks crowing at 2am and Muslim priests waking up the whole neighborhood at 5am.
What are the best steps you've ever taken in an effort to improve your health and beauty?
 At 48, I have the body of a 25-year old, say my friends. I wash my face with rainwater. For some reason, this is why I have a fresher skin. It must rain and there's plenty of it here in Nigeria. I save it in a bucket. It's God's given.
What’s one pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?
Social Media, specifically, Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. I am the first known Nigerian to sign on Facebook and thus the reason I'm called the "Queen of Facebook" in your rival magazine. My statuses are real, no sugarcoating and I tear up Nigerians all day with the issues. Some like it and some don't. These days, you will find me empowering youth on my new fan page. Facebook.com/MyYoungNigeria. It's still quiet but I will be launching it big soon. I joined Facebook in 2004 in the Harvard University network and was part of the 2006 beta testing that launched it to the public. I use Facebook for my businesses, causes and clients. Facebook.com/HipHossip is my music page.

How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections do you turn to first? 
I read newspapers 15 times a day online and hard copy. My first section is CRIME and music news.

In one sentence, how would you describe yourself? 
 A multi-talented, versatile and strong Nigerian woman.

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert or an introvert?
 Extrovert! Enthusiastic, talkative, assertive and brash.

What’s something about yourself that you hope will change?
Being mean to people right in front of them, online or in person. I want them to change their foolishness so I have to be tough! It's not a form of bullying which some have called it.

What books have made a big impact on you?
"Leadership" by Rudi Guliani (Former New York Mayor). His book and my activism in North American communities have steered me to plan to contest in the 2015 election for Oyo State. My state needs money for development and infrastructure. The people here are smart, intelligent and they need a strong woman like me in the National Assembly come 2015. Many politicians in Oyo always stay one term, with me it's going to be more than that. I get the job done! I don’t want to experience political office with  do or die campaigns and there would be no contracts for friends and families. I want to be a mean and tough lawmaker. People First!

How do you typically react in a sudden, extreme and pressure-filled crisis?
Remember, I own a PR firm and though it is managed by my staff, I handle most of the crises. Keminications PR is at Facebook.com/Keminications.

How tolerant are you?
I have a thick skin. I am a firm and no nonsense lady. Some men find it very intimidating.
What fear would you like to
overcome?
Fear ‘ke’? There's nothing in fear but fear itself is what one US President said. However, I don't like snakes. There are lots of different cobras in my dad's exotic garden at Molete, Ibadan.

How do you feel about your age?
I am 48, single and I have never been married. I'm a mom of two and three Godchildren who all make me happy. I plan to get married to a Nigerian man who can tolerate my extroversion and love my brashness. There's no rush, yes you heard it right. NO DAMN RUSH!! As I arrived home after 38 years, all my classmates everywhere here are single moms and DIVORCED, many abused by their Nigerian husbands. Once I get married, it's forever...and I may just throw in another kid at 50. Why not? I'm still healthy.

How would you describe one of your happiest childhood memories? 
My childhood memories were always my birthdays. My dad got the huge cakes and everyone must stay away from the cake or we were not taking the group picture. My dad is still my biggest influence. The haters write lies about him and they know I am still his favourite child even though we have occasional major beefs. Today, he visited me and asked me to write a list of what I wanted. I live a simple life like him. I could have written a new car, an I-Phone 5 and more material crap, but I wrote a list of market foods, fast foods and things for my apartment. It's 10pm and he still sent his driver with everything, 20 cans of peak milk for my morning pap (ogi), case of Happy Hour juices, Chinese takeout and provisions like I was going to a boarding school. A 77-year-old man is taking care of his 48-year-old daughter. I love my dad!

Who has made the biggest impact on you?
No doubt, my dad, Victor Omololu-Olunloyo, the Late Mrs. Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, Toronto Police, Constable Scott Mills and Toronto Sun's Crime Reporter, Chris Doucette. These people know what's going on in the world, speak the truth about it and even when the haters criticize them, the motto is--so be it. They say it and it's heard!

What terrible experience did you have in life?
Getting deported from Canada "unofficially" for my outspoken views on the Canadian Federal Gun registry; my comments have angered white Canadians who love their guns and prefer to see the tremendous human tragedy that has consumed Toronto's black community. I learned the hard way after telling my immigration case manager to go to hell and I will show up at the airport but he did not believe me sending nine armed border agents to my door and had me locked up for seven days, then taken from a maximum security prison to the airport. I lost all my personal belongings I worked for in that five years and was not allowed to pack my entire house. Most of my property was thrown out or donated. I came to Nigeria with nothing. My children have returned to their country, USA. The Canadians are not friendly and it is not the friendliest country in the world as portrayed in their false radio adverts in Nigeria. Two of our Nigerian girls are facing deportation as we speak and they are hiding out in a church sleeping on the floor because they worked without a work permit at a Walmart store. As reported by many Canadian newspapers, immigration agents were also tweeting my deportation appointments and dates as well as medical info from my files. I advise Nigerians to stay out of Canada. Many of our people who filed successful refugee claims are not working, many are simply living on the government and paying bills suffering day in day out in the quest for light and water. 

"Funke Akindele's Marriage Is A Blessing To Me" …Femi Adebayo

Olufemi Lateef Adebayo, one of the acting kids of Oga Bello, is no doubt doing well in the film industry. His versatility, like his father’s, has endeared him to many and has equally earned him international recognition. The lawyer-cum-actor, in this interview with ISAAC OGUNTOYE, speaks on his career, and his controversy. Enjoy…

Is it true you are dumping acting for politics?
You press guys with controversies… I’m still very much in the entertainment industry. I’m not going into politics. If at all I want to delve into politics, it’s not a secret thing, everybody will know because I will need their support.

After the success of your blockbuster comedy flick, ‘Jelili’, people are expecting more from you.
Well, to the glory of God, ‘Jelili’ like you rightly said, is a success and it’s not my best because the best is yet to come. I’ve worked on a couple of projects and they are yet to be out. But the next movie after ‘Jelili’ is a complete story about the life of butchers. And the movie has got to the completion stage. It’s going to be in the cinema very soon. And we’ve submitted it for several awards and to the glory of God; ‘Sonto Alapata’, as we titled it, already has three to four nominations in the most anticipated award, Best of Nollywood Awards (BON). It’s a totally different package from ‘Jelili’. It’s a comic-tragedy movie. After that, I did another movie titled “Ila” (Tribal Mark) which I tagged as one of the biggest projects I’ve ever done. We just finished shooting it.

While shooting ‘Jelili’, did you envisage the huge success it recorded?
To be honest, I never envisaged it was going to be a huge success as this but I knew it was going to be a success because I know people would actually be seeing me playing a different role which was going to shock them.

As a lawyer, at what point did it come into your plan to be an actor?
Well, I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was very young, before I got admission into the university. But, like they say, man proposes and God disposes. I did everything to become a lawyer and I became a very good lawyer. I furthered my law study with a Masters degree in Law at University of Ibadan. That’s to tell you that, I really wanted to be a lawyer. I was called to Nigerian Bar in 2003. From 2003 to 2005, I was going to court on a daily basis; representing clients, doing serious litigation. In 2005, I realized that I had more demand from the entertainment industry because of my talent and I know the professional ethic of law says, you cannot do any other profession while practicing as a lawyer. So, I said to myself, let me give more time to acting.

Do you recognize your dad’s influence in your rapid rise to fame in the movie industry?
The fact remains that, you cannot rule out my dad’s contributions to my success. You cannot rule out the fact that, as Femi Adebayo, being an Oga Bello’s son has helped me a great deal. The very first major role I played that brought me to the limelight was Tade Ogidan’s movie titled “Owo Blow” that was released in 1995. I went for the auditioning and I won the role and Tade Ogidan never knew I was Oga Bello’s son. That was the first opportunity I had playing a lead character without Oga Bello’s influence.

Virtually everyone in the family of Adebayo has one or two things to do with movie. Is it by error?
You won’t be wrong if you say so. We are more than six. I’m an actor, a writer and a producer. My brother, Tope Adebayo, is a director and is a producer as well. Sodiq Adebayo is a production manager and a producer. Daddy is a producer and actor. Rilwan Adebayo is an editor and our mummy is a marketer.

In your own view now, what does it take to be successful in the industry?
First and foremost, it takes hard work, tolerance and prayer and mutual respect.  

It seems you enjoy being a Yoruba actor than featuring in English movie?
Well, the only reason I don’t really appreciate doing English movie is that, one will automatically become artificial because English is a foreign language. Despite the fact that, I’m well educated, I love our culture so much and that’s why I appreciate doing Yoruba movies. That doesn’t mean I’ve not acted in English movies in the past; I was in ‘Ladies Men’, I’ve done ‘Ladies Gang’ alongside Mercy Johnson and it wasn’t bad.

What are some of the challenges you face as a celebrity?
The major challenge is losing your privacy; no thanks to the press. I have always criticized journalists for writing controversial stories, mostly not balanced. One other challenge someone like me is facing is being harassed by female fans. But I have my way of managing it.

Funke Akindele got married recently and you were not there, some people say you are still fighting over the news that broke?
I was not there because I was out of the country. And then obviously on that very day, I spoke with Funke and I spoke with some of her friends. I congratulated her. At least that will put a stop to the rumour that Femi Adebayo is Funke Akindele’s husband or lover. In fact, her marriage is a big blessing to me.

“Dad was the light of the family” …Titi Aboyade-Cole

Renowned London on-air personality-cum-show host and publisher of Social Diary magazine, Titi Aboyade Cole, is a rare gem. The dynamic mother of three is not leaving any stone unturned in ensuring that her new TV show remains on top by embracing societal values, showcasing talents, addressing pressing issues and most importantly, to inform and educate Nigerians in diaspora on current affairs, state of the nation, socio-economic and political issues affecting Africans.  In this interview with ISAAC OGUNTOYE, she speaks on the forthcoming Podium Recognition Awards, her family and other interesting issues.
Enjoy…

You just came back from London, what’s the motive behind your journey?
Well, I went there on holiday because all work and no play make TAC a dull lady. Meanwhile, it wasn’t just on holiday but a working holiday. I have some functions to cover for the TAC Show. You know there is Notting Hill Carnival 2012; I also went for Jimi Odumosu daughter’s wedding. Bashoru Dele Momodu was the chairman of the occasion. So, we went there to cover the ceremonial.
So, what was the experience like at this year Nottinghill Carnival?
It was the same old story. I had fun because I didn’t just stay with the Nigerians. I covered different activities of different countries like Jamaica and other countries too but I ended up in the Nigerian corner where we had Wande Cole, Sir Shina Peters, Alariwo, Mercy Aigbe and other great Nigerians.
Your TAC Show is always shown on Ben TV but you have started showing it on MITV, what informed the idea?
It is shown every Saturday morning and it is because MITV is a terrestrial TV station that also has contents on DSTV. Part of the motive is to reach out to a lot of people who are not necessarily DSTV subscribers.
Tell us about your forthcoming Podium Recognition Awards.
You are actually the first person we are discussing this with because we are actually looking at three months countdown which starts this week. So, you are privileged to be the first to get the information. Yes, we are holding the third edition of Podium Recognition Awards in Lagos again on  9th of December 2012. And it will also serve as end of the year/Christmas dance.
Three years consecutively without losing touches, what is actually the driving force?
First and foremost, it is the grace of God because the bible says except God builds a house, he who builds, labours in vain. I don’t think there is anything I’m particularly able to do without the help of God. God has been there for us. All we do is to plan it, we set a date and we leave the rest for God to do wonders.
The name Aboyade-Cole is a household name in the country; how were you able to register your own name within the society as one of the most respected?   
Number one, I think it’s the society and if you have a good name, I think that also helps. Like the popular saying that good name is better than gold and silver. I think I’m one of the very lucky ones whose parents, grandparents or great-grandparents have done good things and they left good legacy for me to be proudly say my name is Titi Aboyade-Cole. Rome they say wasn’t built in a day and in every success story, there must be challenges, what were your growing up days like?
The hardest thing that happened to me while growing up was the death of my father because my father died while I was very young. I was actually four years old when I lost my dad. Some people say you don’t remember your father at that tender age but I do. I actually remember who my father was. Maybe not too well but I remember him. I remembered that something died inside of me when my father died. My father was a light in our house during his days. He was a kind of person who made everybody happy in the house. It was like someone switched off the light when my father died.  It affected everybody within the family both financially and socially. Things changed, those that promised to be like father stopped coming to our house after we buried our father. 
Is there anything you can still remember about your father?    
Vaguely, my father was an inspiration for me. My father would always sing for me and I would be dancing. The only thing I remember is that, I used to attend Aunty Ayo Preparatory Nursery and Primary School and my father always put me on his neck because I wouldn’t want the sand to enter my shoe made by Bata and he would not drop me until we entered the classroom.
While growing up, what was your childhood ambition?
I have always wanted to become a lawyer.
Why did you end up in broadcasting?
I digressed after I had my daughter.