Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hoha! (Pointblank): The Talkingheads on the April Elections

"Our best and sincere contribution toward achieving successful and better Nigeria with the coming elections is by community awareness on the need to ensure peace, security and progress. I have read in newspapers people talking about constitutional roles for traditional rulers in the new Constitution. I’m telling you frankly that traditional rulers should be confined to their respective communities for peace and security and to take care of their communities. If it is enshrined in the Constitution that traditional rulers should be responsible for peace, security and progress in their communities, it will be a very good development."

-------Igwe Ezeoba Alex Nwokedi, Immediate past Chairman, Anambra State Council of Traditional rulers

"The Commonwealth is worried about violence. It will mar the elections to the extent that it takes place. I am, however, positive that violence will be contained before the elections. I grant that in those affected areas, it may affect the quality of elections but it may not affect the overall result of the election. I am concerned. I am apprehensive but I choose to believe that the level of violence will not affect the overall result of the elections...Unless Nigeria gets it right, everybody will be dismissive of black Africans."

-------Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana speaking to the press on the forthcoming elections.

“There was a time policy makers told us there will be education for all by the year 2000, housing for in the year 2000, health for all in the year 2000 and all that. This is 2011 how much of that in terms of percentage can we give to the promises...We have been taken one step forward, two steps backward and that is precisely what we are talking about. And if must stop this then we must tackle corruption, upgrade our education and health services."

-------Cletus Emein, Retired Brigadier-General and former Niger State Gorvenor, urging One time military Governor of Niger State, Cletus Emein, has urged Nigerians to keep a check list of all the promises made by political office seekers in the run up to next month’s elections to hold them (politicians) accountable when they get into office.

"I have a better pedigree than any candidate in my constituency. And the people know that because they are wise, they know the person that is a grassroots person, we are not talking of someone, who does not know anything about the constituency. I know that given what is on ground today, I am sure that victory is certain for the Labour Party. I am only appealing to our people to ensure that they vote and protect their votes. They should stand at the polling centre and ensure that no one tampers with their votes."

-------Dapo Durosinmi-Etti, Senatoril Candidate of Labor Party in Lagos Central Senatorial District, when asked about contesting in same zone with Mrs' Oluremi Tinubu, wife of former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu

Naija Newspaper Cartoons




Monday, March 28, 2011

Q & A Interview with the House Chairman

This syndicated publication would like to know who you are. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am the Ekwueme 1, Iyi 1, Oshimiri 1, Ego Obara 1 of Ezidinma Village in the city of Mgborogwu. I am also the Osuohia 1 and Nwakaraka of the Ahia Mgbede Group of Companies. And also, to let you know, I know men of high places.

Gosh! What the hell are you talking about? I asked about your 'humble' beginnings; things like, say, where were you born, your family background, etc. Can you tell me about it, please?

I attended cosmocollagial Akirika university. I have First School Leaving Certificate; West African School Certificate; High School Certificate; BSc Hons, Otimpku Market; A London Diploma in Fishology; MA Imanjakiri Square; PhD Talkology and another PhD in Clearing and Forwarding. I also run paralegal errands. And I teach Mbamara at Zik Ekwuo Aru University. Do you have more questions to ask me? I don't know what is wrong with you people who don't respect we the chiefs, the omemgbeojis of alaigbo.

Answer my question. What's your origin?

Do you know who I am? Where did you go to school? Have you built a house? Look if you know who I am you will not ask me all these rubbish questions. Ask Chief Nkolo who I am. Ask Lolo Urembaukwu who I am. Ask Barrister Nshi Umuagbarandi who I am. When they tell you who I am you will fear me. As Osuohia, I will clear your village. I am Onukwu Eze Obodo 1 of Nkwo Ndi Na Elo Gari Village of Obodo Ocha. I conquered onye ocha, and my grandfather, the Mbuzo of Obodo Ocha, took all the land where he built mbari, now a historical monument. I have spoken to presidents and royals of all nations.

Ok, now I see, you are from Obodo Ocha. At least, you are now making some sense. So, what are you doing with all these titles in an era the whole world is changing? Is it still relevant?

Yes it is. Mrs.-m, get me some nkwobi and make sure you add plenty, plenty ugbakala and okporoko' and some tombo liquor, too (calls 'lolo' for a bowl of nkwobi dish and palmwine and laughter all over...). You know (as he eats his nkwobi), you little men of no title don't respect me who have built mansions in ozara, ikpa, and elu-ugwu in alaigbo. I have fleet of cars -- danfo, nnabe krota, nze benz, and for your information, nd'ahia alanshi just gave me another title, the Uzo Ukwu of Nd'Aru.

So, why are you telling me all these stuff that has nothing to do with building bridges?

You see what I have been saying? Are you one of those that parade around to say the government is not doing well? Are you one of those that keep talking bad things about ahia mgbede? Are you one of those that sit down and say we chop, chop, chop and chop? Look, my friend, the governor is my best friend, the president is my buddy, we go to the whore houses together with bags of money full to the brim. Now shut up!

I will not. I have the right to free speech. Let me ask you, who is the local government chairman of your remote village?

His name is Dr. Nwagbaraochandigele Gburugburu and he is my friend. I helped elect him so he gives me a lot of dash and we also go to point and kill in Abuja where women bokwu. Too many women and I always carry my tube. These are wild women and it is dangerous out there, you know...Don't ask me any question about Biafra.

What is point and kill?

Ahaa...you see, I told you I am the alpha and omega and I do go places, dine and wine with royals and presidents. Point and kill is a fish place where only the rich go to pick up a fish and it will be fried on the spot along with nkwu elu.

That's a fish market. Why is it a big deal?

It is ndi ji ego that goes there. Poor people like you cannot go there.

What is ndi ji ego?

Ndi ji ego is rich people who have built mansions and have patronized the whore houses.

That is cheating on your wife. Don't you know that?

How about you? Don't you cheat?

I don't have to cheat. But anyway, what do you think about the forthcoming elections?

None of my business. All I want is more contracts and the things I do on the road for my PI office runs.

Thank you, sir, it's a pleasure having you!

Moral to this story: A clueless and disorganized bunch

Friday, March 18, 2011

Memorable Images and Time: 80s Big Fights

Challenger Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini (L) of Youngstown, Ohio and WBC Lightweight Champion Alexis Arguello exchange blows during the 11th round of their 15-round title bout here 10/3. Arguello retained his title with a TKO in the 14th. Date: October 3, 1982. Location: Atlantic City, New Jersey. A Bettmann Colection.

4/15/1985-Las Vegas, NV- Referee Richard Steele counts over middleweight Thomas "Hitman" Hearns, who lies flat on his back in the ring after being knocked down by Marvelous Marvin Hagler in the third round. Hearns regained his feet, but Steele stopped the middleweight title fight.

4/6/1987-Las Vegas, NV: Sugar Ray Leonard taunts Marvin Hagler during the middleweight title bout.

Deuk-Koo Kim, 134 1/4, drops to the canvas as he is knocked out in the 14th round by World Boxing Association lightweight champion Ray Mancini. Mancini retained his title and Kim was hopitalized without regaining consciousness. Date: November 13, 1982. Location:Las Vegas, Nevada

9/21/1985-Las Vegas, Nevada. New world heavyweight champion Michael Spinks connects with a left to the head of Larry Holmes in the early rounds of their title fight 9/21. Spinks won a unanimous decision.

8/21/1981-Las Vegas, NV- Puffy-eyed Wilfredo Gomez (L) looks dazed after being hit by defending champion Salvador Sanchez for the last time during eighth round action of their title bout. Referee Carlos Padilla stepped to stop the fight after this blow to the head of Gomez. Sanchez won in the eighth round TKO to retain his title.

September 9, 1983-Las Vegas, Nevada: Aaron Pryor lands a left on Alexis Arguello (Right) in the fourth round of their WBA Junior Welterweight title fight at Caesars Pavilion. Bettmann.

Hoha! (Pointblank): The Soundbites

"Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe Gadhafi (will) commit atrocities against his own people... and destabilize North Africa and the broader Middle East...The democratic values that we stand for would be overrun, and the words of the international community would be rendered hollow...The United States will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone..."

-------President Barack Obama Warning Libya's Moammar Gadhafi on Friday to immediately stop the "brutal repression" of Libyan civilians or face military consequences from a unified international community.

“With no less than 17 elections coming up this year [in the region], human rights are going to be key to those elections being peaceful...We need to insist on the centrality of human rights in the electoral process...These bad examples could serve as a lesson to be proactive in mainstreaming a culture of human rights..."

-------Patrice Vahard, Senior Human Rights Adviser, United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) on Human Rights being the key to successful elections in West Africa.

"The Nigerian government is not doing enough to bring people to justice in connection with the violence, and this is creating and fostering a culture of impunity, which is allowing an escalation of violence leading up to April's elections... So we've seen political assassination. We've seen bombs. We've seen fighting between candidate supporters. We've seen attacks on rallies," said Freeman. "We've seen what seems to be an excessive use of lethal force by security officers resulting in children being killed who were just bystanders at a political protest. So it's an extremely worrying level of violence across the country."

-------Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International on the forthcoming elections in Nigeria

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Memorable Images and Time


A smiling NFL Commissioner Peter Rozelle stands with the President of the Pittsburgh Steelers Art Rooney who holds the Superbowl trophy and one of the game balls presented to him by his team after their 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Dte: January 12, 1975

Boxer Emile Griffith Being Carried by Coaches after Victory
Original caption: A smiling Emile Griffith gets a victory lift by his handlers after gaining a 15-round decision over middleweight champion Dick Tiger at Madison Square Garden April 25th. Griffith became the third welterweight in history to win the middleweight title. At left, pointing toward camera, is ring announcer Johnny Addie. Location: Manhattan, New York, New York. Date: April 25, 1966

1958 FIFA World Cup: 17 Year Old Pele is Celebrating and Crying
Brazilian players and goalkeeper Gilmar (2nd from R) are hugging and cheering and pick up 17 year old crying Pele (top). Pele scored two goals during the 1958 FIFA World Cup final at Stockholm's Rasunda stadium in front of 53.000 spectators on June 29th. Brazil beats Sweden 5:2, and this is the first time Brazil wins a world cup title. Pele scored six goals during the whole tournament.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Classic Fashion Modelling Shots

Talitha Getty seated on steps wearing Moroccan copper crown, Berber wedding dress, and canvas boots from London. Photographer: Maurice Hogenboom. Location:Marrakech, Morocco. ca. April 1971. A Conde Nast Archive

J. Paul Getty, Jr. and wife Talitha, wearing Moroccan caftans on the terrace of their holiday home in Marrakech. Photographer: Patrick Lichfield, ca January, 1970. Location: Marrakech, Morocco. A Conde Nast Archive

Yves Saint Laurent Exbition: Vogue fashion editor Andre Leon Talley and super model Iman arriving at the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Exhibition on YSL. Photographer: Tony Palmieri. Date: December 06, 1983. Location: Manhattan, New York, New York. A Conde Nast Archive

Model Beverly Johnson sitting on a rocky beach, wearing a textured knit cardigan by Bonnie Casin's Knittery, with white cotton panta by Jones, a choker neclace and a white bangle bracelet. Photographer: Francesco Scavullo. Location: New York, New York. Date: December 1975. A Conde Nast Archive

Fashion designer Stephen Burrows with model Beth Ann Harding at the opening party for Tommy. Photographer: Sal Traina. Date: March 18, 1975. Location: New York, New York. A Conde Nast Archive

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pop Culture Revolution

By Ambrose Ehirim

The Queen’s English is no longer relevant with today’s generation as a result of cultural shift. It has been way gone, resurfacing in what has evolved over time to this present, twisted generation. The new millennia generation and a technology that’s doing stuff; stuff nobody could have imagined would be happening as everything about culture changed.

But however, the Queen’s English is still valid to the so-called old guard intellectuals, and nobody cares – the “kids” changed all that, and it seems to be good, going with the flow.

In the late sixties, when all that swinging began to wane, when people no longer wanted the kind of tune that was “flying,” flying wasn’t used back then, and they had called for something different which made soul and R & B producers go with the flow as they wanted to groove all night long, and feeling it’s right and becoming the trend, recording studios changed their “gear” and format on how to produce a music the people would like. In soul, the Black Moses, Isaac Hayes brought in the street jargon putting “Groove On” and “Right On” into perspective in an era everybody just wanted to groove on and do their own thing:

If the music makes you move
And you dig the groove
Groove on, groove on
If you feel like making love
All night and you think
It’s right
Right on, right on

So, too, was R&B, reggae, ska, jazz and a little bit of funk which had a blend of the horns, serving the purpose when everybody wanted to have a good time, party and dance all night long.

But the problem, as the seventies breezed in, some of the music producers wanted to make money just pretty much so, resulting to commercializing every song being written to conform to recording companies’ standards and overheads. Folks in the hippie era really wanted to dance and there were long plays (LP), the kind of cuts not regularly seen but a tiny fraction which made some impacts on how recording companies helped bring up an era that would gradually change with time.

Early seventies songs made a whole lot of sense from its lyrics which depicted an era that started the cultural revolution through it’s defiance to the establishment and by its poetic lyrics everybody danced to. Starting with Berry Gordy Jr. who founded Motown and assembled all sorts of casts – songwriters, singers, producers, composers, and of course, arrangers – music changed as the new decade began. Every major act in Motown went through the same path with the exception of one group, the only white band that played gigs at Detroit pubs as Sun Liners, signing to Motown as Rare Earth with the rights to its own label. Back then, the lyrics were all in somewhat Standard English and made sense; unlike the evolution after that era which created funk entombed into disco, which swept across the continent, creating impacts wherever it breezed in.

And Rare Earth’s recordings as the only all white group led by drummer and vocalist Pete Hoorelbeke, was a fast-paced debut album “Get Ready,” which every recording artist at Motown had agreed to cut, indicating the beginning of a new era in the language of music. The mode of Rare Earth was something really different from the rest of the Motown class – Marvin Gaye, Jackson 5, The Miracles, The Supremes, Commodores, Edward Holland, Brenda Halloway, Martha Reeves, The Marvelettes, David Ruffin, Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, Jr. Walker & The All Stars, Mary Wells, Stevie Wonder, Syreeta White, Thelma Houston, Eddie Kendricks, The Pointer Sisters, Billy Preston, The Spinners, The Undisputed Truth, Toe Fat and several others – Rare Earth had a pattern that attracted its own audience when everybody was dancing to that Long Play, “Get Ready.”

Rare Earth vibes would change a lot during this era; even when heavy metal invented by the British group, Deep Purple, began to crossover for the American audience coupled with their European and Australian counterparts that rocked American arenas in an amazing form.

Angus Young and his brother’s-led AC/DC, Rick Springfield and Little River Band from the Aussie corner; while John Lord, Ian Pace, Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore who continually bragged of wiping the floor anywhere, anytime with his guitar of a metallic Deep Purple, Queen, Led Zeppelin; the Irish group Thin Lizzy, rocked the American shores in mixes of heavy metal “contests” with its American counterparts – Aerosmith, Boston, Bad Company and a cast of the devil followers as it was then known.

This whole thing spread across the African continent, too, a rhythm in which the local folks also wanted to dance until dawn. Many popped up –Bonga (Angola), Super Eagles (Gambia), Alhaji Bai Konte (Gambia), E.T. Mensah (Ghana), Rail Band (Mali), Dark City Sisters (South Africa), Assagai (South Africa), Orchestra Baobab (Senegal), Francis Bebey (Cameroon), Thu Zahina (Congo), Prince Nico Mbarga (Nigeria), Fela Kuti (Nigeria), Sunny Ade (Nigeria), Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Miriam Makeba (South Africa), Osibisa (Ghana), Independence Matata (Kenya) and several others – in adaptation.

What had happened here, on the African coast, was that, just like everybody wanted to dance and have fun all night long, a revolution had to be in place by adapting a pattern from a collective of the West, combining it with African traditional beats and the coinage of all kinds of music genres – afro beat, kora, ikwokirikwo, juju, afro rock, highlife, ogene and imports from the Cuban music craze which swept the continent and adapting the ideals of cultural heritage.

And so the various music genres became an adaptation to commerce, ways to make and spend money by throwing parties, marriage ceremonies, and the artists signing with record labels as its folkloric core. This same kind of core was what had begun in the studio at Detroit of a series of labels that popped up at Motown – Tamla, VIP, Gordy, Soul, Natural Resources, MoWest, Manticore, Rare Earth, etc. – and Rare Earth had its own record label when Tom Baird joined the crew in production which led to the album “One World” and “Willie Remembers.” Both albums did pretty well. But prolific producer, composer and arranger, Norman Whitfield had to reverse the Rare Earth trend switching back to the Motown record label in the production of a classic Motown album, “Ma,” which made Motown a game anyone could join; but to win, you had to prove you weren’t just anyone; and the Norman Whitfield-Barrett Strong duo proved it as Motown Records and its subsidiaries began to explode.

“Tobacco Road” became an anthem and what Rare Earth had released three years earlier showed how lifestyle was sweeping all across America:

I was born in a bunk
My mama died, my daddy got drunk
He left me here to die alone
In a lane called Tobacco Road

And the Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” another simply read lyric as lines of poetry depicting the hippies seventies’ lifestyle in urban America:

It was the third of September
That day I’ll always remember, yes I will
‘cause that was the day that my daddy died
Never had a chance to see him, no
Never heard nothing
But bad things about him
Mama, I’m depending on you
to tell me the truth,
Mama just hung her head and said:

“Papa was a rolling stone
wherever he laid his hat was his home
and when he died
all he left us was alone…”

Alcoholism and abandonment like “Tobacco Road” and “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” even as throw downs on the men abandoning their responsibilities during and after a catastrophic Vietnam, most of these folks had come back confused due to the effects of the war.

But as it happened, the confusion would pass and another era would be ushered in, even as it would bear the same resemblance of the late sixties into the early seventies when some “badass cats” popped up at Philadelphia. These were just “cool cats,” the magnificent duo of songwriters-composers-producers, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff which brought out some cool stuff from The Sound Of Philadelphia (TSOP). The Philly Sound brought a hell of music – superb producers Gene McFadden and John Whitehead; singers Thom Bell, Linda Creed, Norman Harris, Dexter Wansel, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, The Stylistics, Sharon Paige, Teddy Pendergrass – some cool stuff that changed every concept in music of that era. And on the Eastside of a post-civil war Nigeria, rock bands emerged, too: Funkees, Apostles, One World (Ani Hofner’s Otu Uwa), Strangers (Bob Miga), Aktion 13, Wrinkars Experience, Founders 15, Heads Funk, Doves, Wings (Spud Nathan), Sokie Ohale, Jerry Boyfriend, Black Children, and numerous others keeping the vibes alive and going with the flow adapting to change, and we danced all night long.

Today, emerged is all sorts of street jargons that relates to a new generation changing every aspect of language which did evolve to a whole lot of stuff, chiefly, on how we communicate. “Dope,” “tight,” “fly,” “all right,” “jamming,” “cool,” "chilling," "dawg," “bomb,” “crazy,” “feel,” and things like that are no longer street jargons but a way of effective communication in today’s world. Just like “cool” once meant something specific back in the day in jazzy tunes, appealing and profoundly generated specifically for unique standards of jazz music, is no longer the same. “Cool” now could be I’m fine, I’m doing well or it could be better as the case may be in whatever way this new generation wants it. It is now definitely their call.

The game had changed and the improvised public drunkenness in lyrics paved way for something “mellow” which in its class would lead into something acceptable as a way of being just “cool.” People wanted love and some kind of melodic tune when the class at Philly Sound and elsewhere in urban America started changing the vibes to lyrics that conforms to the day – love, hate and broken hearts. All across America, the love songs and broken hearts came strong. Pendergrass, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, O’Jays, Jimmy Bo Horne, KC & The Sunshine Band, Donna Summer, Hot Chocolate, Betty Wright, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and even the classic rock tone of Kim Carnes had America falling in love again; with touches and touches of love tunes. You can hear it and feel it from “Sexy Thing,” “When Somebody Loves You Back,” “Do Your Thing,” “Rock Your Baby,” “Without You,” and a cast of love tunes from the numerous record labels all across America. For instance, the following line was about love, love and broken heart and America was up singing, dancing and having a good time:

Don't leave me this way
I can't survive, can't stay alive
Without your love, oh baby
Don't leave me this way, no
I can't exist, I'll surely miss your tender kiss
Don't leave me this way
(A broken man with empty hands
Oh baby please, don't leave me this way)
Aaah baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
Now come on down and do what you gotta do
(Now come on girl and do what you gotta do)
You started this fire down in my soul
Now can't you see it's burning out of control
Come on (now) satisfy the need in me
Only your good lovin' can set me free...hey
Don't, don't you leave me this way, no
Don't you understand I'm at your command

And in between the love songs that overwhelmed the dance floors, there was another cast of musical genre which popped up and changed the way we danced. It was called funk, and the funk had varieties which rocked planet Earth. Although, there was the blending of soul, R&B and jazz which created funk in the mid seventies, evolving from tunes of the Minister of New, New Super Heavy Funk, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown; George Clinton came up with what would be known as “Pure Funk” with cats like Bootsy Collins, Phil UpChurch and the rest, which got America dancing. And America never stopped dancing. Lionel Richie in his solo act chipped in blending Caribbean, Cuban and some African juice when he asked America to keep dancing all night long:

Well my friends, the time has come
To raise the roof and have some fun
Throw away the work to be done
Let the music play on…play on…
Everybody sing, everybody dance
Lose yourself in wild romance
We’re going to party, karamu, fiesta, forever
Come and sing along
All night long (all night)…
People dancing all in the street
See the rhythm all in their feet
Life is good, wild and sweet
Let the music play on…play on
Feel it in your heart and feel it in your soul
Let the music take control…

Before this dancing, love-hate relationship was about to be going down in urban America, West Bronx, New York native, DJ Kool Herc had begun to find the break infinitely, thus the origin of rap music by cueing up two turntables, playing the other when the break ends on one, and the language definitely changed becoming an opening act that would change standard English the way we knew it. Then we saw "Rapper's Delight" and names like Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike, Master Gee and the first hip hop single to become a top 40 hit. Henceforth, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Cav, Kurtis Blow, Sequence and a cast of rappers would follow.

The language changed.

Expectedly, it had been presumed rap music would look like its opposite, an unmeaning, unintelligible rock lyrics, rap proved its worth in a generation that changed the ways and means of music. Like this Jay-Z’s “Renegade" album which includes an appearance by Eminem:

Now who is the king of these rude
Ludicrous, lucrative lyrics
Who could inherit the title
Put the youth in hysterics
Using his music to steer it
Sharing his views and his merits
But there is a huge interference
They are saying you shouldn’t hear it
Maybe it’s hatred I spew
Maybe it’s food for the spirit
Maybe it’s beautiful music I made
For you to just cherish
But I’m debated, disputed, hated
And viewed in America
As a motherfuckin’ drug addict
Like you didn’t experiment?

What’s next? With this kind of music that tends to be changing the way we spend our time with this new generation of ‘you feel me’ where are we heading to? And now that rappers are continuing to make meaningless songs, and some writing and singing about the death of rap, is it now over and will we be going back to old school?: the kind of stuff Gamble, Huff, Strong, Whitfield, Dick Griffey, Leon Silvers, Smokey Robinson, Creed Taylor all made? We’ll see and time will definitely tell.

"You feel me?"

PHOTO-OP: Grace Jones Exclusive

Grace Jones. Image: Douglas Kirkland. Date: 1980

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Q & A Interview With Filmmaker And Actor Odera Ozoka

At last year's Pan African Film and Arts Festival at the Culver Plaza Complex, filmmakers Rahman Oladigbolu, Odera Ozoka, Pascal Atuma, Hollywood publicist Ngozi Mba, myself and several other filmmakers joined us at the after party events and we've been talking ever since...Great guy!


Before we proceed in this interview, how about some history regarding yourself?

A little about me, I am a writer, director, and producer. I was born in Benin City, Nigeria, to parents from Nnewi in Anambra state. I grew up loving movies and tv of all shapes and forms, from Nigerians tales by moonlight, the horror movie "Nneka" the pretty serpent; to American and Indian films like "Snake Girl," "Abba," "Akubba," "Anthony," etc. I moved to the United States when I was sixteen, studied computer networking, then attended the New York Film Academy for acting and directing. I graduated, produced couple of shorts, a music video, and directed my feature film "Soul Diaspora." I went on to produce the movie "IJE" with Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jalade. I produced a play called 'Far From An Angeles Gaze' and TV pilot 'Maison Blanche' with my company 'Sacred Drum Company' founded by a group of smart pan African artist dedicated, telling human stories that entertain, educate and enlighten the audience. So, yeah, that's me in a nutshell. Whew, I feel I just gave my whole life story. lol!!

How is filmmaking and acting; and what inspired you into all these stuff?

I've always loved telling stories, growing up around family members. I remember sitting around night fires as stories were being told. I always cherished those moments, and i guess those memories never really left. So when filmmaking found me, it found me with a wealth of information to draw from and I'm lucky in that sense. All in all, I love the process of making films. I love the collaborative process, the problem solving, the managing...all of it; they drive me.

About a year ago, we were all at the opening of the festival and your movie "Soul Diaspora" played at the Culver Plaza Complex as part of the festivities commemorating the 17th Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival. How did the movie "Soul Diaspora" do?

"Soul Diaspora"-- the feature I shot in ten days on a "nothing budget" on the streets of Los Angeles did really well during its festivals run. It was nominated for three African Movie Academy Awards(AMAA) and won the 'Best Film' by a filmmaker in Diaspora at the AMAA. It also took the 'Audience Favorite Award' at the Pan African Film Festival(PAFF)--we were all thrilled those of us who worked on the film because it was all blood, sweat and tears; shooting 17, 18 long hours per day- so it was very humbling and fulfilling being rewarded- something we all cherished and can't wait to duplicate. The Gods were smiling upon us for sure and we were grateful for that.

This year, your movie did not play at the festival. Are you working on bigger projects or something?

Yeah, this year PAFF I didn't have any films there because for the whole of the year I've been working on a theatrical release of "Soul Diaspora" in specific cities here in the United States, and we are closed to finalizing those deals.We would after then head to Nigeria to premiere it there so the audience can get to enjoy it too. So yeah, busy busy busy, but tons of fun, I am excited.

What kind of stories will we be seeing in your new projects?

As of the moment, I'm currently in pre-production on my new film simply titled "Biafra"- based on the civil war that swept Nigeria during the late 60's. I shoot that at the end of the year and I'm really looking forward to it. I am also working on a story on the Niger Delta and if the earth is aligned, I'll shoot that sometime late next year. I am still working on that script and that too is coming along very well. So all in all, my next two directing gigs a very politically, charged, dramatic thrillers.

How do you come up with ideas for projects like that?

Man, have you seen the news lately? I don't have to look too far (Laughs) to find material. I mean what happened in Egypt alone was more than enough to inspire me. Then I see what's happening in ivory coast and I say man I have to keep writing; in other words, I just look around man to get inspired with ideas. I get them from TV. I get them from paper, and I get them from a simple conversation like this one we are having.

Do you think you made the right decision by becoming a filmmaker in a much challenging environment?

Definitely. You see, I believe we all are here on this planet to serve out a purpose, no matter how big or small. Filmmaking is my purpose and I love doing what I do. I love writing, I love collaborations, I love that whole process you know? so yeah. But like you rightfully said, it's also a very challenging business. You have to love this job a hundred and ten percent to thrive. Its not easy....but when you love it, what can you do?

Where do you see Nollywood 10—years from now?

Nollywood is the new Hollywood. Plain and Simple. I mean I don't care what people say about how cheap and badly made Nollywood films are; the truth of the matter is the pioneers started a business without any support, and or love from their government but instead flourished on the basis of telling their own stories, survival and just good savvy: hard core determination. Its because of people and families like the Ejiros, Amatas, that people like myself can proudly call themselves filmmakers today. Without those brave guys and many others from the late eighties through the early and mid nineties, there would be no Nollywood. Thanks to them you have new filmmakers with opportunities to tell stories their way. Some travel out to learn the craft with the intentions to make film better... and its only getting better. I believe in the next ten years(probably before) the West will be coming to us for material--we will be in demand. I mean it has already started.

In your opinion, how would you evaluate small film projects and festivals where they are shown, and the impact they have created in the industry?

Small films that are good are really important. Thank God for festivals that take a chance on films like mine or any other films out there with a particular message. They give us filmmakers a voice, a place to speak and that's a beautiful thing. I equally love the AMAA, they have tapped into something special too, where they can celebrate African films made by Africans, you know? So i think its great when festivals support smaller films, especially ones that might not get to see the light of day in a proper theater because of some kind of provocation or taboo in the core of the films made. Also, festivals is a solid place to look out for up and coming Kar wai's, Chan wook's, Kelani's, Ousmane's, Haneke's, etc

In your Generation whose work do you find interesting?

I love Wanuri Kahiu's work. I think she's talented...there are others but they don't come to mind at this time, but there are definitely some great talents out there.