INTERVIEW: Why I Left America To Set Up An Entertainment Empire In Nigeria — Keshia Mbata


Keshia Mbata. Image via Tribune

Keshia Mbata, an African American, is a 50-year-old mother of two who moved to Lagos to be with her 31-year-old Nigerian husband. She told ROTIMI IGE about her sojourn to Nigeria, her marriage, her aspirations, among other topics.

Why did you move to Nigeria?

I decided, while performing my recruiting duties as the HR recruiting manager for a well known national fashion women’s apparel company in California. Weeks earlier, I had submitted my DNA to an accredited laboratory to trace my roots. So, on this day, the results came in. I opened the letter that gave me my login information after which I left the buying departments market to return to my office. I slid my 20 foot glass office door shut and rushed to my desktop to log in and discovered that I was 65 per cent Nigerian.

I quickly searched for Nigeria on Google maps and noticed the Forbes magazine on my desk with the cover “the next billionaires will be created over the next ten years in Africa”.

I was sold. Within 48 hours, God led me to my destiny with facts and numbers and an even stronger spiritual calling that Nigeria was my destination. I researched everything about Nigeria pre and post colonisation. I loved the music, fashion and the creatives. I was also equally drawn to Nigeria’s strength and opportunities such as the opportunity to help eradicate malaria from Nigeria or to take its strong tomato production into billions of dollars and millions of great paying jobs for Nigerian families. The possibilities are endless and that’s the first reason I chose Nigeria.

Also, while on my path, I found my darling husband, who is my best friend and rock. Our diverse relationship just lets me know this was a special path chosen by the one on high.

How did you meet your husband?

We met on social media. He was stalking my page. My cousin noticed his attention to my page and brought it to my attention. I laughed when I saw him because he was so young. I was like, “this boy is trying to play with me. Let me just help him out”.

He joined my live videos while I was at the gym. He enjoyed my Arial workouts and we video chatted every day after that.

Your birthday is tomorrow and you would be turning 50. How do you maintain your amazing looks?

Well, I studied dance since I was a child, as well as track and field when I was in high school. I enjoy dancing and working out. I take care of my skin with natural products only and I try to eat well although I rather enjoy chocolate and cake. You must love yourself so that beauty will radiate from within.

Why haven’t you and your husband returned to the USA?

That question is best answered on our YouTube pages. Just go through there and you will see it’s a long answer. But we do address it in detail with documents, date written correspondents, videos and pictures. The short answer however is unexpected family challenges, unpreparedness and there were lessons we had to learn and go through together, which has made us even stronger. It was truly God’s plan and I am glad it went this way but our plan this year is to at least see if he will like it.

My husband and I believe in Nigeria. We plan to live in Nigeria for the rest of our lives and raise our children here. We will go abroad of course as we like to, my family is there so we now have two homes and two countries.

Where are your children and how old are they?

My children are in the USA with my family. My son is 28 and my daughter is 16.

Do you plan to have more children?

Yes absolutely. We are already speaking to a specialist to ensure we are successful this year. As I said however, life just falls in place. The time will be perfect and I can’t wait to have his beautiful children.

How do you respond to negative feedback based on your 18 years age gap?

I feel that even a lie has a granular of truth. So, I listen to the feedback and take what the spirit moves me to absorb. I really try to overcome that particular thing. However, I will analyse and discount anything I feel is from a wicked place.

What have you done since your arrival in Nigeria?

Since my arrival in Nigeria in 2019, I got married, established an NGO which main mission is for a better Nigeria by establishing lasting relationships with the American community. I have established our first and test subject which is my husband. The HMIF helped him establish a registered production company in Lagos, called MDE Empire as well as raise over $100,000 to help establish the company over the last three years. In addition, I have recruited talent for all of my projects from our mobile healthcare units to our Chicago House Music Festival in Lagos which was the first ever. I have yet to delve into agriculture but it is on the list. I was also casted in my first Nollywood film, ‘Shattered’.

What are you currently working on?

Well, in the short term, housing. We have a few really big projects that are on hold because we do not have steady housing at the moment. We are staying in serviced apartments. It’s pricy and difficult to save for yearly.

We expect to have it sorted out soon. So, the projects are the first TMT Gym in Nigeria, a hot new Nollywood/ Hollywood series based on the book ‘The wonderful Wizard of Oz’, ‘I am Dorthy’, our new pizza and ice cream addition to MDE Empire kitchen. Stay tuned. We have so much and we are sharing the journey on our social media platforms spelt correctly as Keshia Mbata. We always respond.

How do you keep your marriage fresh?

Hard work because we have decided to do it all together and that we wanted something special. We focus on our ultimate goal to be good and do good. We are so proud of one another. Even when we make mistakes, we both forgive quickly and genuinely express ourselves.

We have challenges but I love that we can always reconnect spiritually. We know that what we have is extraordinary. We are both big kids, so we just kiss, make up and laugh. I make him laugh when he’s angry and he does it to me too. Then we have great sex and all is forgiven. Sometimes I think he argues just to have make up sex.

Any other plans?

I am entertaining a radio programme and a few additional movie roles. I am also continuing to write my series cast and also the shooting of the pilot. I’m looking forward to this project because it’s going to be bringing together music and production crew in both the USA and Nigeria. Post production and music on dual continents is my next big step. My biggest reward from it all is being able to make so many people happy with the work they are doing.

-------------------NIGERIAN TRIBUNE