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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Monday, December 24, 2007

Hiyaaaaaaaa!

Okay I am on my knees begging for going AWOL on you. I assure you it is for good reasons.I spent the past two weeks graduating from my African Leadership Initiative program, travelling to DC to interview the utterly delightful Madeleine Albright, America’s first ever female secretary of state and going to London to sort out pending work and personal issues.

I am do have a ton of stuff to tell you but it is holiday season and all l really want to do now is spend time with the shrimp, yanribo, orisa, omowe, oracle, the child and all the rest of my nearest and dearest. I therefore seek you permission to hold the thoughts and gist until the New Year. 2007 has brought me much wisdom and enlightenment with which l boldly go into 2008. I thank you for the great times this year and l wish you and all a merry Xmas and Happy new year. My Xmas gift to you? Asa’s new CD, a truly incredible body of work, buy it now and we can talk about it in the new year as well as about Madeleine Albright’s idea of a woman’s most important piece of underwear and, how much land a man really needs as well the Zuma challenge in Africa and…..oh shut up Funmi!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL!

I will return on the 3rd of January 2008.
Friday, December 14, 2007

Our Lagos

Found these pictures (The ugly side of Lagos) from PM News last week and I wonder what our Lagos has become.

Anyway, Lagos state government is thinking about Lagos (pics below) being a mega city in 2020. Hun! I hope it happens so soon

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A hunger for books

Hello people! This is one of the on going conversations Funmi is having. What is your take on this?

Super Squad

The Nigerian Super Eagles Handler, Berti Vogts released the names of the players for the preparation to the Nations Cup in Ghana 2008. In my own opinion, Nigeria can perform credibly if they can put their acts together and beat other teams in our group.

Another school of thought believes Nigeria will win the Nations cup in Ghana because Nigeria has won it twice in 1980 and 1994. Between 1980 and 1994 was 14 years difference and 2008 will be another 14th year we've won it last. Hun!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Whilst FI is away

FI is away; she has been traveling since last week and will for one more week. In the meantime, she has asked that I post these illuminating articles (The Historical Origins of Africa’s Underdevelopment and All brains are the same color) which form part of an ongoing conversation she has been having.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Concert Fever (Not sure what this is about but I like it)

I really like Kanye West's music and I am pained that I will be out of town during his upcoming concert in Lagos. It is the sort of concert I would attend as it is doesn't sound like it will be an over priced, elitist, preening hole of over aged teenagers who haven't got the foggiest idea about who it is they have come to see. Okay so maybe I have been one of those clueless, (not over dressed sha) concert goers at least once before. Here is what happened.

Some summer morning two years ago in London whilst on holiday with the omowe (the academic, my BBF) the relentless suitor called "hey fumy (na oyibo) I've got two VIP tickets for you girls to the sold out Johnny Legend concert in Brixton tonight, do you want to go?" Now a little background, the relentless suitor has been in pursuit for the past four years and I would marry him just to get him off my back if he were not such a handful. There can be no other louder, crazier, completely, guilelessly thick-skinned human alive.

Miserly, Jewish and wealthy, I believe his attraction to me is the fact that "fumy is not an invoicer". I just think he is an aging geezer with jungle fever but he can be good party company, besides he wont take no for an answer so he is a recurring decimal in my life known with degrees of irritation and affection to my family, friends and frogs.

One of his things is to act more black and Nigerian around me and since I can be completely clueless about certain aspects of pop culture, I took the Johnny Legend ticket offer as one of his wannabe black and cool aspirations. Yes to my utter shame, I had no idea who Johnny Legend was; neither did the omowe who had once called Jay Zeee, Jay Zed and thought Ciara was Clara misspelled.
I told the suitor to call me back in an hour and called the oracle in Lagos. After the initial amusement at our ignorance, he orders us to haul our backsides over to Brixton and see the biggest new talent in town. We remained unconvinced and told the suitor to arrange to leave the tickets at the box office.

By evening, we decided, what the heck, we'll go see the concert, if we don't like it, we'll go to our favourite Ritzy cinema in Brixton to chill out.
The concert was packed but we remained impressed and oh the shame, went across the road to Kentucky Fried Chicken eating giant fried drumsticks. An hour or so after concert kick off, we casually strolled in and took our vantage position seats.
I am even more ashamed to tell you that as we watched Johnny do his thing and saw the frenzy and excitement he was generating, I firmly remained unmoved whilst the academic, always the cooler and more reasonable one warmed and opened up to the power and seduction of a new generation teddy Pendergrass.

Perhaps it was a carry over of the resistance to the bullying suitor but I refused to engage with Johnny Legend's music until as recent as three months ago after the omowe who by now had his two albums and a beautifully shot concert DVD persuaded me to just listen to his debut album. So one Sunday morning speeding down the 3rd mainland bridge, I popped in the CD and was hooked. What an amazing collection of songs and true original talent, totally refreshing. What an idiot I have been. The story is that he was so disappointed with the way the Nigerian concert went, he might not come back this way again but the good news is that (at least as at early this year), his girlfriend is Nigerian and he is such a gentleman that he insisted on sneaking off to see her folks in Ibadan regardless of his tight schedule, sebi, he will come here o pay dowry.


Strangely it was the omowe who gave me first notice about Kanye West, she had gone through a "fiddy" phase, even getting "caught playing it in her office by one of her students. That phase ended when she properly listened to what he was saying and for me when I saw the credit card swipe through a video vixen's cheeks in his video. The art began to grate. I read Time magazine's Kanye cover and thought, well Kanye does love Kanye doesn't he but I wanted to find out what he was about so I bought the college dropout and caught the bug. Last week, the oracle ripped the latest Kanye CD at jazz hole on Awolowo road and we continue to be fans. Being pro female, the omowe and I do have some sort of issue with the apparent disrespect of women but we are also lovers of art and the creative freedom to distort, magnify or contort mores, images, ideas and words with intellect, wit and imagination. I am aware that this is usually work done by very smart people and the context is perhaps better understood by older or/and more enlightened minds. The converse is the effect it may have on less tutored, younger and/ or impressionable minds. It is a thin and precarious line to walk because even though I get the joke with a line like "l aint sayin she a gold digger, she aint messing with no broke nigger", or the flagrant yabis of the workout song or even the personal conflicts laid bare in Jesus walks, I don't think my daughter as yet gets it and I am concerned she might celebrate those mores and think it is the cool way to be. On the other hand, I firmly believe in free expression and I fully accept my responsibility as a parent to educate my daughter about what is real and what is not and how to get the finer points of subversion without the necessity to immerse one's self in it. I of course have no idea if I will succeed but I know it would be a bleeding shame for the world never to have experienced the art of Kanye West or even Eminem. The same is true for Dbanj's tongolo, Femi Kuti's Bang bang bang, and Olu maintain's Yahooze. It is not a great work of art but it is a good 9ja pop song and can be read either as celebrating the 419 culture or just something that resonates with the aspirational Nigerian spirit. I have heard talk of not dancing to it because it encourages 419ning but I dare you not to move to the beat when you hear it (remember ijo shina in the early 90s?), if after listening to it, you do start 419ning, you were always a butt lazy, criminal minded so and so.

I agreed that there should be some control in airplay of certain music. Some others which are just done for the sake of shock, sensation and commerce, should be rightfully binned but all those irreverent but talented souls who walk the thin line between art and offence should be let alone unless and of course they cross that line. So who's got Borat's news book?
Monday, December 03, 2007

Snap

Aunty Funmi Iyanda, career role model Thisday pg 27, ha! If only they knew that you are stubborn, overworked so and so who……., that was part of a text from a friend of mine. Came in a I laid prone on my bed every damn bone and joint aching in righteous protest to the sort of physical and mental rigour I have put my body through in the last two weeks. A few hours earlier I had calmly got out of my car and punched the driver of the car who had just scratched mine and then had the audacity to come out and start banging my window in the throat. After which I proceeded to grab his shirt and shake him thoroughly. Of course he deserved it and it was great to see the shock on everyone’s face at the sight of a rather slight woman pulling proper punches aimed for damage, thank you Tony for all those kicking and punching sessions in the gym. Not having allowed myself to be pushed that far since age 9, l knew I was cracking so I have spent Saturday locked up indoors, sleeping, eating and watching mindless TV. What a difference it made and why do we always wait till we are near breaking point to stop pushing ourselves? Now, why the heck am I wasting time saying all of this even when I know that with the challenges of trying to build something that is beyond survival in this big bad wonderful city, it is bound to happen again and again. This is true for most of the adult population here. That we are not an even more violent city is a miracle or is it just that the violence is underreported?

This is not the news

Friday Nov 29th, 5.20am, I pick Tony up at Oworonsoki bridge and swing the strawberry unto the 3rd mainland bridge, we put the radio on Unity FM 102.3. I had recently discovered an early morning show anchored by someone without an American accent real or acquired. The anchor who calls himself area father stutters a little but only because he is trying to “tush” up his speech with a weird mixture of Jamaica patois and hip hop slang. I often feel like shaking him and telling him to just focus on his elocution and speak clearly because he is good the way he is and would be great when he lets himself be himself. What I like most about him is the determination to find the hottest new Nigerian music and play them, I also find engaging his efforts at motivational speak which comes off as pop psychology. I blame the new army of motivational speakers some of whom should have their mouths wired shut with steel threads.

The area father came on sans lingo and stutter to clearly state that he was putting a certain Segun from the female hostel of a college in Ijebu Ode on air to give an eye witness report. Segun came on and started to tell how cultists had invaded the hostel at midnight and proceeded to rob and rape the girls. He told of how the electricity went off so the boys could not help the girls thus he decided to call the police… we were listening with rapt attention when the caller’s phone went dead. Tony and I looked at each other and knew that the boy must have run out of credit. Area father makes some comment about staying tuned and puts some music on, 3 minute later Segun is back on phone and on air. The presenter had called him back and sent him credit for his phone. So Segun continues narrating how he personally called the only police number he had and it happened to have been the Ikeja command’s number only to be told by the policeman at the receiving end that Ijebu Ode wasn’t their jurisdiction before hanging up on him.
We then waited to hear details of exactly what happened, what state the girls are in, what the authorities said and so on but all this did not come perhaps because the presenter must be aware of the draconian broadcast regulators’ rules (invented and interpreted to suit any government in power) about maintaining public peace.
Rather telling, was the deep gratitude in Segun’s voice as he thanked the presenter over and again for the credit sent to him.
I know the girls will not report for fear of stigma and the school authority will try to squash the story for fear of recrimination. By the time the journalists get there everyone would have clammed up, Segun’s phone will probably be switched off for a while, the story may make it into the odd paper but not into the deodorized papers the people who have the position to make a difference read. Who then will do something abut those girls and the bring the criminals to book? Who am I kidding, who did something about the girls in the secondary school reported two years ago, the girls in Niger and all the other places where this is becoming a norm.

These are the thoughts racing through my mind when I saw the wheel cover slicing through the air headed in my direction. I intuitive steeled myself and simply ran into it and continued speeding down the bridge. I know it was armed robbers, if I panicked and stopped or swerved and get run off the road or just find myself slowed down for any reason, we would be robbed at gun point or murdered right there and then. I and a friend had once had a flat at about 10pm and simply just kept driving down the bridge the torn tire flapping, the rim grating and screeching along the road accompanied by sparks even as we silently prayed they don’t come after us on okadas.

As we drove into Onikan’s dawn chaos, I marvel that my hands are not shaking, I am calm, perhaps it is numbness, perhaps it is just a conditioning that comes from living in the city of god.

JWC update

So far, we have only got one confirmed donation into the account and one western union transfer. There is a shipped consignment of toys and clothes for the kids, which is on the way here from modupe, more about that later. I know there are at least 3 bloggers who want to personally work to galvanize support from their immediate environment and donate to the centre. I have been trying to find the time to agree with them on a strategy for this. Actually, l feel they should just do what they feel is right and I can provide information and access.

I must stress that the desire to help with the JWC was a natural reaction of bloggers to the swimmers story, I have years of experience with unconventional interventions and I know that you cannot artificially create a tidal wave and still be true. With sincerity and concerted work, somewhere there will be a tipping point that will create the kind of resources and influence with which we can make much more far reaching changes in areas that directly affect our pools of intervention. All l can ask is that for now, we anchor our spirit around the truth of December, which is a month of unquestioned, intuitive giving.