Monthly Archives: February 2017

When Tragedy Strikes: Words to Say and Not to Say to The Bereaved

When tragedy strikes a loved one, often out of fear of saying the wrong things, we stay away from saying or doing anything. When my mum died, I knew there was nothing anyone could tell me that would console me. Words were mere words.Some people made it worse by coming to the house and screaming from the gate. When they got into the living room, they’d roll on the floor and make a scene. For someone who just suffered a loss, my siblings and I were pretty irritated

Some of my closest friends and family also had a hard time finding words of comfort, or even knowing what to say. I knew then, no matter how you love someone or how close you are to them, heartfelt, genuine condolence messages aren’t simple to express. Some of their response to my mum’s death were awkward or even non-existent. However, I saw that they had so much love and compassion in their hearts than they were able to express

The following were the things I needed to hear/not hear, see or feel at that time

* Don’t ask a bereaved, “how did she die’?: When I was asked this question, In my mind I say “Eeez like something is wrong with you” but outwardly I just smile. Really what does it matter to you how she died? She is gone!!!! I saw this as insensitive but looking back I see that this is also because some people didn’t know what to say

* “What do you need me to do?”: My siblings and I had so much to do but at the early stages, were too numb to take any step. The truth is it is very hard to ask for support when one is grieving but If someone had asked me what I needed done, I would have delegated some impersonal chores or errands. My siblings and I didn’t want to impose on anyone so we did most things ourselves since most people really didn’t know what to say

* Take heart: A friend called a day after mum died and said “ I am here in spirit with you. I don’t know what to say but remember to grieve without holding yourself back. I feel for you but I cannot imagine what you’re going through”. I remember what she said because she went straight to the point and was sincere. However, she didn’t say “Take heart”. Those words, for someone who has just been bereaved just doesn’t seem right

* What most people don’t realize unless they have lost someone is how incredibly isolating the grieving process is. I liked the fact that some of my friends would come, sit with me and hold my hands. It was comforting. Some times everyone sat in silence but as the days passed by, they also told jokes about my mum that cracked me up

* When people arrive at the house without drama, offered their condolence and talked about how my mum had a positive impact in their lives, this made us really happy

* I also appreciated people who listened with compassion when I talked about my mum. Those who didnt try to cut me off with “don’t worry she is in a better place now”. I know she is in a better place, can I rant in peace?

Most importantly, know that people will most likely not remember what you said when they were bereaved. They will remember what you did and that you showed up. As awkward as it may seem, lets try to show genuine compassion, offer sincere help and not be incentive with our words.

If you have some tips to share from your experience please put them directly in the comments below.


“God’s Grace Never Expires or Needs Contract Renewal”: Kenny Blaq, The Comedian and Grace Ambassador

I am Otolorin Kehinde Peter. Popularly known as Kenny Blaq. I am 24 Years Old. People call me Grace ambassador these days. I started comedy in 2008

Comedy was never the plan, it just happened. I wanted to be a performing artiste. I was with a band. In fact, I had over ten different Juju music bands that I did back-up for. We would trek from Ejigbo to Isolo, Ijegun, and Mushin, begging to perform at shows for free. Sometimes we got the chance, and sometimes we didn’t. I always returned home teary eyed

One day, a friend visited and challenged me to start comedy since I was always making people laugh at home. So, I began at a rally called ‘Miss Ejigbo’ and I was to be the hype-man. I had no idea what that was. All I was told was to grab the MIC and say things about Miss Ejigbo. Instead, I sang about it and people laughed. A week later, they had another show and I was asked to pick a stage name. For some reason I still don’t understand, a lot of ridiculous names were suggested for me, like blacksmith, and then some. I had to go back home and think about it. I decided on Kenny Black, and on getting back to them, I found they’d already made a poster with Kenny blaq as my name

Breaking into the comedy industry was a Iot of painful hard work, especially with my small stature which made people see me as a small boy. However, I came with something different, which I think made it even more difficult to break through. Because it is hard for people to accept new things, I was made to perform at the beginning of shows when the hall is still very scanty with just a little over four people. This did not discourage me, I would still perform as if there were thousands of people in the room

My parents didn’t really like the idea though, especially because I was just 15 Years Old and most of the shows were late night shows. They insisted I finished school first, but I was passionate about my dream. It wasn’t only my parents, a lot of my friends weren’t supportive as well. In their opinion, I was making a fool of myself because I also performed at children’s parties as a clown and would return home with N150. I was paid N300 and transportation usually cost me N150. Sometimes, I get paid an advance of N100, and get the balance later. Sometimes, if I eat at the party, they may refuse to pay me, since I’ve been fed. I kept hustling. I had no plans, since I didn’t know where God was taking me. I just allowed him take the lead. I kept working tirelessly

I was never about the money. I just wanted to make a difference. A lot of people in my area in Ejigbo had talents too, but didn’t know how to go about it. So, I wanted them to see me as an example and believe they could do too it if I could. platforms won’t look for you, you have to look for them, and let grace do the rest. I just wanted to make my family, street and environment proud, so I kept working

God bless Yaw, he’s such an angel. I saw him backstage at an event in 2010 and said “Bros, I’m going on stage soon, please watch and tell me what you think”, and when I was through Yaw came on stage and endorsed me. He told everyone that in the next two years this guy will take over the industry. I finally came into real limelight at the 2016 edition of the Alibaba’s January 1st Concert

It’s been God’s grace since then and back to back successful shows. These days, I even get sprayed money. I’m like the Ayefele or Kwam1 of comedy, and I make sure to always pack my money myself

My parents who saw me as a clown then now see the business oriented man I’ve grown to become. My brothers were all in school then, but they will call and threaten to deal with me on their return if I didn’t desist from what I was doing. Now one of my brothers is my content developer, and the other is my studio producer.

DANG: From your experience, what do you have to say about timing?

KENNYBLAQ: I’ll just say God’s time is the best, and that God gives you the right people to work with. God chose these people for me. Everybody I’ve met have been examples to me, either good or bad. Nothing was ever given to people like me on a platter. There was no ready platform we could hinge on. There were senior colleagues who I thought were going to push my career but none of them offered me a free pass. I hated them for that, but I didn’t know they were preparing me to write my own story. They wanted me to go through the process of hustling, mostly so I could know how to spend my money when it begins to come. You don’t spend your hard earned money lavishly. There’s a difference between a money you were given as a gift, and the one you worked hard for. One can’t cherish a gift as much as something they buy with their money. For example, I give you a bag worth of N10m, but you don’t know it. Then you buy a bag worth the same amount for yourself. You’ll cherish the one you bought more than the gift, so that if it gets lost, you lose your mind

DANG: Do you ever have stage fright?

KENNYBLAQ: Yes, I still have this stage fright, even when I’m booming on stage. I don’t know why. I think it’s mostly because I always want to do something different from my previous performance. My comedy is like music you know. People always want me to do one song or the other. There’s always demand. They want to listen to their favourite songs sang in another way. So, the fright comes with the demand. It’s confusing when I think about it like, ‘I’ve done this before, and I don’t want to repeat it, but some people are asking for it’, so it’s a question of how I can satisfy those who demand for it, and those who are probably tired of listening to it at the same time. I have realized though, that people still laugh despite the fact that they’ve heard it before, because I do it differently from the last time

You’ll be the first I’m telling this, I’m having my UK and US tour this 2017

DANG: Wow! That’s ambitious

KENNY BLAQ: It is. But it will be done

DANG: You’ve not gone to Uni?


DANG: Do you honestly wish to go?

KENNY BLAQ: I want to, but not now. I’m running a lot of programs though. I just finished my FRCN course. So, I’ve graduated as a broadcaster. I did basic presentation. That’s why I can speak well and anchor cooperate events

DANG: Who officially endorsed you as “The Grace Ambassador”

KENNY BLAQ: People keep asking if and when I’ll get an endorsement or brand ambassadorship deal but then I heard a voice that told me I am God’s grace ambassador. That is the mother of all ambassadorships, as it doesn’t expire or need renewal, and I don’t have to sign anywhere. Once you’re an ambassador of grace, other kinds of endorsements will follow. It’s just been God’s grace for me, looking back at how I started in Ejigbo and how I will get stoned and booed off the stage. Look how far I’ve come today

I am yet to be where I want to be though, but I’m certainly no longer where I used to be. This is why I am the ambassador of God’s GraceTWEET THIS QOUTE

DANG: Final words…

KENNY BLAQ: Trust God, and believe it’s possible. Focus is the key. Your focus is on the crown, and you have to be determined that come what may, you’re getting it. I’m not saying to not have plans, but spontaneity is important. Be ready to take other options if your plans doesn’t pan out. For example, you want to buy a house at Ikeja, have in mind that if you don’t get a house there, you can opt for Ilupeju. The question will be if that of Ilupeju will suit you and fit into your plans in terms of environment, and if it won’t, begin to consider grooming the area to fit into your plans. Don’t let anyone discourage you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to people. No. Listen to everybody, but always pick out the ones that will work for you. There’s always sense even in a mad man’s talk. One must have a discerning mind. Map out what you want to achieve per time. Keep working without rest. Know that nothing comes easy, and see whatever comes easy as a plus

Diary of A Naija Guy: Letter To My Unborn Daughter – Benjamin Chi

Hi butterfly,

You know, sometimes I look around the world we live in today and it frightens me that someday you’ll be exposed to all this. Humans are an odd bunch, you’ll come to realise quickly enough.

I pray I’m still around to watch you blossom and grow into the smart, confident, empathetic and kind woman I know you’re capable of becoming. Be warned though, you’ll be told so many contrasting rules on how to be a woman;

They’ll tell you to be smart but not too smart. To speak out but don’t be too loud. Be well spoken but don’t be too opinionated. Be a virgin but be good at sex but only with your husband. Get an education but don’t be too independent.

You will be judged for not being religious and you will be judged for being religious. And it’s totally okay not to know exactly where you lie. It will quickly dawn on you that the more you know, the more you realise you actually don’t know in this life. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge the status quo. Never be afraid to be the change you seek. After all, sometimes, it only takes one person to make a difference.

You will be judged for the clothes you wear. Harassed even, for which you will then be blamed, by men and women alike. But you must remember your clothes do not define you as person. Neither does your sexuality. Do not be afraid to explore it. Society has a way repressing women’s sexuality. Do not let that affect who you are. Who you choose to be with and how many people you choose to be with, does not define you as a woman.

You will learn perfection is a fallacious concept and true self development is achieved through continuous improvement. You will learn quickly that life begins outside your comfort zone. You will learn that sometimes we need to be hurt in order to grow. Sometimes lessons are best learned through experience no matter how painful they might be, so do not be afraid to take a chance.

You will learn that narcissistic tendency is not love

You will always be too much of something for someone; too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. Do not lose your edge by trying to round out your edges to fit the society

So this, I say to you; do whatever makes you happy. Apologise for mistakes. Apologise for unintentionally hurting someone, profusely. But never apologise for being yourself.

You well learn being open and vulnerable, contrary to what most people believe, actually shows true strength; As does forgiveness. You never lose by loving, only by holding back.

Until that day comes, I’ll be here; patiently waiting for you so we can begin this adventure called life together.

Love, Daddy.