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“You Need to Show Yourself Worthy before Anyone Else can Invest in you” – Kemi “LaLa” Akindoju

My name is Kemi “Lala” Akindoju. I am an actor, producer and a casting director. I have also produced stage plays like Vagina monologue, London Life and Lagos Living.

Being a christian in the entertainment industry has never posed any challenge for me. First of all, I don’t separate areas of my life, being a christian is who I am. I go through the same struggle all other professionals go through but I do my best to do things I have peace about. Is it pure, lovely and of good report? Those things give me peace.

It is stereotypical to think that people in the entertainment industry are loose. There are loose people everywhere but you have to set your self aside and stick with your principles. When my ethics are tested, I do not budge. As a christian, some people think you have to do only Gospel films, I don’t believe in that because there are no gospel banks or gospel hospitals. We live in a secular world and what God requires of us is to shine our light, to show excellence and shine the light of Jesus every where that we find ourselves.

ALSO READ: “T01011233he rehearsals in the backstage will one day lead to a spot on the stage” – Debola Williams, CEO Of Red Media

My faith is tested more in areas of God coming through for me, getting jobs, sponsorship…trusting God for certain results. My faith has never been tested in the main entertainment work. I know who I am: I am grounded, strict, very disciplined, I take my job pretty seriously and I’m all about hard work. When people see that you work hard, you eventually get rewarded. You need to show yourself worthy before anyone else can invest in you. Faith is good but without work, it means nothing.

If you’re a Christian and feel you can’t break through into entertainment, believe me, it is all in your mind. If you are the salt of the earth, why would you stay back and hide your talent? Step out and go where everyone else is going. When you go for auditions, no one will ask you if you’re a christian, all they want to see are your skills and talents. The whole idea is that when people work with you, they’ll see who you are and treat you accordingly. Carrying your bible ahead of you, shouting “I’ AM A CHRISTIAN” does not make you special. Let your belief show in your character.

When I bear good fruit, people get attracted to the fruit, which makes them attracted to me. Then I can tell them who my saviour is, then they go, “ha ha that is why she is different.”

Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey’s Fierce Bond: How Their 40-Year Friendship Has Outlasted Every Rumour, Spat and Scandal

Lisa: Well, let’s get right to it! Every time I tell somebody, “I’m interviewing Oprah and Gayle,” the response is always the same: “Oh.  Are they, you know, together?” 

Oprah: You’re kidding. Are people still saying that?

Lisa: Every single person. And I say, “No, I don’t think so.” And invariably, they respond with something like “You know, you’re very naive.”

Oprah: I understand why people think we’re gay. There isn’t a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it—how can you be this close without it being sexual? How else can you explain a level of intimacy where someone always loves you, always respects you, admires you?

Gayle: Wants the best for you.

Oprah: Wants the best for you in every single situation of your life. Lifts you up. Supports you. Always! That’s an incredibly rare thing between even the closest of friends.

Gayle: The truth is, if we were gay, we would so tell you because there’s nothing wrong with being gay.

Oprah: Yeah. But for people to still be asking the question, when I’ve said it and said it and said it, that means they think I’m a liar. And that bothers me.

Gayle: Well, particularly given how open you’ve been about everything else in your life.

Oprah: I’ve told nearly everything there is to tell. All my stuff is out there. People think I’d be so ashamed of being gay that I wouldn’t admit it? Oh, please.

Lisa: Do the rumours bother you, Gayle?

Gayle: Not anymore, but I used to say, “Oprah, you have to do something. It’s hard enough for me to get a date on a Saturday night. You’ve got to go on the air and stop it!” And then you realize you really can’t stop it. And, you know, somebody made a good point: “Well, every time we see you, you’re together,” which is true.

Oprah: We were just down in the Bahamas—I was giving a wedding for my niece there. And we’re having this big party in my suite. And who comes walking in—

Gayle: With my suitcase.

Oprah: With her suitcase! And I knew what all the waiters, what everybody was thinking: “They’re gay. This proves it. Has to be, because Stedman isn’t around.”

Gayle: And sure enough, the tabloid headline was OPRAH’S HIDEAWAY WITH GAL PAL. Ridiculous. But that said, I have to admit, if Oprah were a man, I would marry her.

Lisa: Sorry, Gayle, I just don’t buy it. Everyone knows Oprah’s not tall enough for you.

Oprah: She has a point.

Gayle: I do like them big.

Oprah: The truth is, no matter where I am, whether Stedman is there or not, Gayle’s in the other room. I mean, she’s always coming in and asking, “Whatcha doin’?”

Gayle: I really do marvel at this because if Stedman didn’t accept me, it would be very difficult for us to be friends.

Oprah: See, that would never be a question for me. If you don’t like my best friend, then you don’t like me. That’s not negotiable. Smoking is nonnegotiable. It’s just a deal breaker. Not liking my best friend—forget it! Or my dogs—you got to go!

Lisa: Oprah, how did you feel when Gayle got married?

Oprah: Actually, I was a little sad. Did I ever tell you that? Mostly because I just didn’t think it was going to work out.

Gayle: You didn’t? You never told me that.

Oprah: No—it didn’t feel joyful. You know how you go to weddings and they’re full of joy?

Gayle: Wait a minute! You didn’t think it was going to work out at the wedding?

Oprah: There are some weddings you go to and you’re just filled with all this hope for the couple. And you feel that there’s something special going on. I didn’t feel that at yours.

Gayle: But you were my maid of honour!

Oprah: Yes, but it just felt kind of pitiful. I never told you because it wasn’t my place to say that.

Gayle: I wouldn’t have believed you anyway.

Oprah: No. And also because I felt like, well, maybe it’s just me being jealous. Maybe I couldn’t feel the joy because I was feeling like our friendship was going to change. But it didn’t.

Lisa: What about when you had a baby, Gayle?

Gayle: Nothing really changed between us. Oprah was there. She came shortly after Kirby was born. She came shortly after Will was born. She was there.

Oprah: I thought it would change just in terms of time. But my gift to her was a full-time nanny.

Gayle: Right. The kids are 11 months apart, and Oprah goes, “I got you the perfect gift.” And I’m thinking, “Oh, good. She’s giving me a double stroller.” Back then double strollers were very expensive. But the gift turned out to be a nanny! She said, “I want to pay the nanny’s salary for as long as you feel you need her.”

Oprah: She kept that nanny for like seven or eight years. But what I love is that even as a working-outside-the-home mom, she was always there to put her kids to bed. She said, “I want my face to be the first face my kids see when they wake up and the last thing they see at night.” So it wasn’t like the nanny came and—

Gayle: Replaced me.

Oprah: I admire a lot of things about Gayle. But when I think about the way she raised her kids, that makes me weepy.

Gayle: Why weepy? That’s so surprising to me.

Oprah: Maybe I haven’t said it to you very often, but I say it to other people all the time. Gayle is the best mother I have ever seen, heard, or read about. She was always 100 per cent there for those kids—to this day. We’d be on the phone, in the middle of a conversation, and the kids would enter the room. This just happened last week, and her son’s 19. She goes, “Hi, Willser. You got your Willser face on. Mommy loves you. Good morning, Bear. Hi, Kirby-Cakes.” She stopped the conversation to greet them and let them know that they were seen and heard. And then she came back to the phone and carried on the conversation.

These kids have grown up with such love and support from Gayle, and also from Gayle’s ex-husband. I love the way she understood that though the marriage was not going to work, her husband still needed to have a space to maintain a strong relationship with these kids. That takes a real woman. It’s always, always, always been about what’s best for her children.

Gayle: Years ago when Oprah was thinking of leaving the show, she said, “You should move to Chicago, and we’ll incorporate you into the show. And then at the end of the year, I’ll pass the baton on to you—but you’d have to move to Chicago.” And I said, “I can’t do that because Billy wouldn’t be able to see the kids on a regular basis.”

Oprah: I said, “Do you realize what I’m offering?”

Gayle: And I go, “Yeah, I do.” But the kids were young, and I just said, “No, I can’t do that.”

Oprah: That’s why she’s the best, and her kids are the best. Her kids are my godchildren. There are shots of me riding around on all fours with Kirby—you know, playing horsey and stuff. I remember when William first came to the farm: He was running around saying, “Auntie O, you have a pool and a wacuzzi? Can you afford all this?”

When he was little, little, little, I had all these antique Shaker boxes. He was stacking them like

Gayle: Blocks.

Oprah: And knocking them over. I went, “William! Put those boxes down!” These kids weren’t used to anybody raising their voice—they were never spanked or yelled at. So he was like, wacuzzi or no wacuzzi, I’m outta here. And he told his mommy, “I want to go home.”

These kids made a lot of noise, and there were all kinds of bright yellow plastic things that made noise. And the TV was on and the same video was playing over and over and over. But Gayle helped me adjust.

Gayle: I’m always kind of taken aback, Lisa, when Oprah talks about me and the kids because I see a lot of mothers who feel about their children the way I feel about mine.

Oprah: But they don’t always have kids who turn out the way yours have. Everybody wants to raise good people, not just smart people at Ivy League schools and all that but good people. You have to be a good person to raise good people.

Lisa: Do you two talk every single day?

Gayle: We usually talk three or four times a day.

Oprah: Then there’s my night call. When she was on vacation with her sisters, and we hadn’t had a conversation, I realized I felt far more stressed. I’ve never had a day’s therapy, but I always had my night conversations with Gayle.

Gayle: We talk about everything and anything.

Oprah: What was on the show, what the person was wearing. What I really thought, what she really thought.

Lisa: Let me shift gears. It feels as if people are always trying to enlist my help in getting some kind of a letter to you, Oprah—and it’s usually for a worthy cause. But I was thinking, Gayle, you must get that every hour of every day. 

Gayle: Well, I know what Oprah would be interested in hearing and what she wouldn’t, and, you know, I’ve figured out a way to politely decline. But I love that people love her so much and are so interested in communicating with her, so I never look at it as a hassle or burden.

Oprah: She handles it. It’s one of the things that’s so amazing about this friendship. Gayle is more excited about my success than I am. It makes her genuinely happy. We’ve been friends since I was making $22,000 and she was making $12,000. We’ve made this journey together.

Gayle: Not much has changed, except now she’s making a stratospheric salary.

Oprah: The first time Gayle spent the night at my house was because there was a snowstorm and she couldn’t get home. She was a production assistant and I was the 6 o’clock anchor in Baltimore.

Gayle: Anchors and PA’s do not socialize—the newsroom hierarchy.

Oprah: But I said, “You can stay at my house.” The next day, we went to the mall.

Gayle: Remember Casual Corner? They had those two for $19.99 sales.

Oprah: I ended up buying two sweaters.

Gayle: I had to call my mother and say, “You know my friend Oprah? Guess what? She bought two sweaters!” I was into layaway back then, for one sweater. [Laughter]

Oprah: Years later, for my 42nd birthday, we were in Miami, and I decided I was going to buy myself a birthday present. So we were on our way to the mall, and we pass a car dealership where I spot a black Bentley in the lot. I’m like, “Oh my God, that is the most beautiful car.” So we pull over and I go in and buy that Bentley right on the spot. And I say to Gayle, “This is a Casual Corner moment.”

They get it all cleaned up, and it’s a convertible. The top is down, and guess what? It starts to rain. It’s pouring.

Gayle: And I say, “Shouldn’t we put the top up?”

Oprah: “No. Because I want to ride in a convertible on my birthday!” Anyway, Gayle was like, “You’re going to buy that right now? Shouldn’t you think about this or try to negotiate a better deal?” I said, “Gayle, that’s the same thing you said when I bought the two sweaters.”

Lisa: What’s that Paul Simon lyric? “After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.”

Oprah: The scale got larger. I mean, you need a moment of silence every time I write a check for my income taxes.

Gayle: I can’t even wrap my head around all this. I knew she was talented, certainly, but who would’ve thought that it would get this big?

Oprah: One of my favourite moments was about ten, 12 years ago when we were in Racine, Wisconsin. We’re caught in a traffic jam because everyone was headed to the concert hall where I was speaking, and Gayle says, “Where are all these people going?” We pull up to the venue, and Gayle goes, “What’s going on here?”

Gayle: The cops were lined up, double rows.

Oprah: Gayle’s going, “Who’s here? Who’s here?” I go, “I am, you nitwit!”

Gayle: “You mean all these people are coming to see you?” I could not believe it. That was the first time it hit me.

Lisa: Gayle, when you started at the magazine, did either of you worry that working for Oprah might change the dynamic between you?

Gayle: I wasn’t worried. I don’t think Oprah was, either. But people did say, “Oh God, you should never work with your friend.”

Oprah: But that’s how I know people don’t understand this relationship because other people’s definition of “friend” isn’t what ours is. Just the other day, I was doing a show about when your best friend is sleeping with your husband. The ultimate betrayal. Well, that is not possible in this relationship.

Gayle: What I know for sure: I will never sleep with Stedman.

Oprah: What did you use to say, “If you ever find me in the bed with Stedman—”

Gayle: “Don’t even be mad. Just scoop me up and get me to a hospital, because you will know I’m very ill.”

Oprah: “Carry me tenderly out the door.”

Gayle: So people ask, “But how can you work for a friend?” I say it’s because I know that the magazine is called O. The bottom line is somebody has to have the final word. Oprah’s not right all the time, but her record is pretty damn good. That’s not to say you can’t disagree.

Oprah: That’s why Gayle’s so great for me at the magazine—she’s going to have almost exactly the same opinion that I do. But when she doesn’t agree, she’ll fight for her opinion as though there were a G on that magazine. We have “disagree,” and we have “strongly disagree.” If Gayle strongly, strongly feels something about somebody—

Gayle: It makes her pause.

Oprah: It makes me pause because she’s been my—she’s apple pie and Chevrolet. She loves everybody. So if there’s somebody she doesn’t like, that will get my attention because she’s truly everybody’s friend—far friendlier than I am. I would not call myself a friendly person.

Gayle: I’m very social.

Oprah: I’m not social. Nor am I all that friendly.

Gayle: All Oprah needs is a good book. My only request when she’s building any house is, “Could I please have a TV in my bedroom?” She goes, “You’re the only one who complains about not having a TV in the bedroom.” I go, “Well, everybody thinks it, they just don’t want to say it to you.”

Oprah: I don’t have TVs in any bedroom except Gayle’s. In my house, there’s a Gayle wing.

Gayle: I don’t want to offend her, but I’m never afraid to be truthful with her.

Lisa: So I’m hearing about differences. What are the similarities? 

Gayle: We became friends that first night because, for the first time, I met somebody who I felt was like me. I’d never met anybody like that. Certainly not another black girl. I grew up in an all-white community. I remember getting embarrassed in fourth grade when a boy in my class named Wayne said, “If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln, you’d be my slave.” I can remember that very clearly. Oprah and I had the same sensibilities. We liked the same kind of music. We thought smart—

Oprah: Smart and articulate—

Gayle: Was not a bad thing.

Oprah: We were the only black girls in our schools, and I was the only black girl in my class who loved Neil Diamond. So when you’re around black folks, and they say, “Who’s your favourite singer—”

Gayle: I liked Barry Manilow.

Lisa: Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow? You guys were made for each other.

Oprah: It’s that whole being-the-odd-girl-out thing—we didn’t fit into everybody else’s perception of what it’s like to be a black girl.

Gayle: But we still had a very strong sense of being black and were very proud of being black. So to meet another black girl like that was, wow! And we were the same age, we were both single, and we just immediately bonded.

Oprah: But she was clearly upper middle class, and I was clearly from a very poor background. Gayle had a pool growing up!

Gayle: I had a swimming pool, a maid. We grew up very, very well.

Oprah: She had a maid. My mother was a maid. You know what I’m saying? I’d never met a black person with a maid. It was like, “Lord, really? At your house?”

Gayle: So that’s how we became friends that first night, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Oprah: See, we were always together in the newsroom. I remember when they decided to fire me—

Gayle: Not fire, demote.

Oprah: They wanted to fire me, but they couldn’t because of the contract. My $22,000 contract.

Gayle: They had run a big campaign: “What is an Oprah?”

Oprah: I’d been on the air, I started in September. By April they decided it wasn’t working, because of the anchorman—

Gayle: Didn’t like you.

Oprah: But I didn’t know it. I was so naive. The day they decided that they were going to take me off the 6 o’clock news, I said to Gayle—

Gayle: I’m just typing away at my desk. She goes, “Get in the bathroom now!

Oprah: We’d always meet in the bathroom. We were, like, “Oh my God. Do you think Jerry Turner knows?” Of course, Jerry Turner was the main anchor who was kicking my ass out, but we didn’t know that. Jerry was like, “Babe, I don’t even know what happened, babe.” You know, “Sorry, babe.”

Gayle: I was stunned.

Oprah: It’s like your life is over.

Gayle: You were going to see your dad that next day.

Oprah: And that was the hardest thing because I’d never failed in front of my father.

Gayle: He was so proud of you.

Oprah: It was devastating. But God closes a door and then opens a window. If I hadn’t been removed from the news, the whole talk show thing would have never happened.

But I didn’t know that then. It was like the end of the world. You are the 6 o’clock main anchor, and there’s been this huge promotional campaign. But I learned from that. When I came into Chicago, I said, “I will not have a big ad campaign. I will earn the respect and credibility of each viewer. I will not set myself up to fail.”

Lisa: Gayle, has Oprah ever said anything about you on the air that inadvertently crossed the privacy line? For example, when I was pregnant, I had the show on, and—

Gayle: Oh, I know, I know, I know. When she said I pooped all over the table during the birth. People literally stopped me on the street after that one.

Oprah: You know, in retrospect I might have thought a little more before saying that. But I was talking about pregnancy, what actually happens—and that’s one of the things people never tell you. She goes, “Well, listen—”

Gayle: “Next time you’re talking about shitting on a table, keep my name out of it!” I was a news anchor by then: “I’m Gayle King, Eyewitness News.” And I’d get people saying, “Yes, I saw you on the news—I didn’t know you pooped all over.”

Lisa: Let’s stay on bodily functions for a second. My best friend, Brenda, and I have established the Sunny von Bülow pact: If something ever happens to one of us, whoever’s still mobile has to come by every three weeks and pluck any unseemly facial hair.

Oprah: We don’t have that pact because it would happen automatically.

Gayle: My only instructions have been to go get her journals.

Lisa: And if something happens to you? 

Gayle: I would just want her to be involved in my children’s lives—always.

Oprah: Which we would do. Her children are my children. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her, there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for me. There is a line of respect that is unspoken, on both our parts.

I remember once when Gayle came to my house: I was already making a lot of money, and she was making not a lot of money. And we discovered I had $422 in my pocket.

Gayle: $482.

Oprah: Okay, $482.

Gayle: But who’s counting?

Oprah: I had $482 just sort of stuck into a coat pocket.

Gayle: In your pants pocket. You know how sometimes you just find a five? Or a 20 is like, whoo! She pulls out $482.

Oprah: Okay, you tell the story.

Gayle: In 20s. And I’d gotten to Chicago on a Super Saver ticket; you know, back when you had to buy 30 days in advance for a decent price. She was living in Chicago, and I was married, and we had scrimped—I remember that once Billy and I didn’t have $10 to go to the movies. He was in law school and I was the only one working. So for her to pull out $482 was like, wow! She goes, “God, where’d this come from? You want it?” And I went, “Oh, no. No. I’m good. I’m fine.” But I’m thinking, “God, that would pay the light bill, the phone bill, the gas bill.” And she just puts it back. It’s probably still in that damn pocket. She was just extending a gesture, just being nice: “Oh, you want it?”

Oprah: But years later, she said, “You remember that time you pulled out the $482?”

Gayle: I said, “I wanted that money so bad!”

Oprah: “I needed that money so bad, but I wouldn’t take it.” You know what that’s like? That is incredible for somebody like me who lives in a world where everybody wants a piece of you. I mean, people feel they deserve a piece of you. Strangers think that.

Gayle: Now I happily accept all gifts. No, but I just wouldn’t have felt right.

Oprah: She’s never asked me for a dime. There is a level of mutual respect that comes from being with somebody you know doesn’t want anything from you but you. There will never be an ulterior motive. I have to say, this would have been a much different relationship had that ever happened. Not that I wouldn’t have done it, but in order to have a real friendship, you have to be equals.

Gayle: That’s not necessarily financial equals.

Oprah: No, equal in respect. I can’t put myself in a position where I need you to do things for me or expect you to do things for me with any kind of strings attached.

Gayle: Yeah, I never feel lesser than, or one down. Never.

Oprah: But let me just say this, too. The person who has the money has to have a generous spirit. Early on, when I started to make a lot of money and we’d go shopping, I’d say, “Look, the deal is this: If you see something you really want, I’ll get it. I don’t want to play this, ‘No, no, no, you don’t have to buy that for me,’ because I’m really willing to get it for you.” I do that now with all my friends.

Lisa: That makes sense. Otherwise, you would have all this money and nobody to enjoy it with. 

Oprah: What you don’t want is a situation where the person always expects that you’re going to be the one to pay. Otherwise, you’re just the bank, and nobody wants to be seen as an ATM machine.

Lisa: People ache for connection. 

Gayle: They do, they really do.

Lisa: They want someone who doesn’t have an agenda, doesn’t see you filtered through the prism of their own needs.

Oprah: Absolutely not. And so in a way, our friendship is better than a marriage or a sexual relationship. You know, there’s no such thing as unconditional love in a marriage as far as I’m concerned, ’cause let me tell you, there are some conditions. So don’t ask me to give you unconditional love, because there are certain things I won’t tolerate. But in this friendship, there isn’t an expectation because there isn’t a model for something like this. There isn’t a label, there isn’t a definition of what this is supposed to be. It can be all that it can be, and it’s extraordinary, in terms of the level I’ve been able to achieve and to have Gayle by my side as happy as I am for those accomplishments.

Gayle: My God. Sometimes you don’t even realize how big it is. You don’t. Maybe I’ll get some perspective years from now when we’re sitting on a porch somewhere looking back on it all.

Lisa: Do you ever think about who’s going first?

Gayle: I think about when we get old, but I can’t imagine life without Oprah. I really can’t. I’ll go first if I can be 90 and you can be 91.

Oprah: Something about this relationship feels otherworldly to me like it was designed by a power and a hand greater than my own. Whatever this friendship is, it’s been a very fun ride—and we’ve taken it together.
SOURCE: oprah.com

 

Read the Story of Kenya’s Serial Entrepreneur Who Went From Selling Yogurt to Building a Multi-million Dollar Telecoms Empire – Without a Degree

Before venturing into the ‘tech world’ I had tried various businesses before hitting this goldmine.

My first business was selling yoghurt from a friend’s car trunk to high school students. Also,
I was a part-time hairdresser, I was at the salon when I realized another business opportunity. Which was selling luxury merchandise to my high net worth clients. I would fly to London to get luxury goods for retail purposes.

In 2000, I co-founded East Africa’s first mass-market oriented Internet Service Provider (ISP), Wananchi Online (a Swahili word meaning ‘citizen’ or ‘the people’) it made Internet connectivity affordable for the average household in Kenya for the first time.

My name is synonymous with this company. The company is the reason why I am called the “Tech Entrepreneur” in some circles in Kenya. My business partner and I grew the business from a typical start-up to become the largest Internet Service Provider in East Africa, with a network of five regional offices.

As CEO, I raised the first tranche of $500,000 and the second tranche of $3M for Wananchi, eventually, the company’s worth rose to $238M.  I was responsible for raising the initial start-up capital for Wananchi Online.

In 2008 I was assigned to lead the restructuring of Telkom Kenya, a previously state-owned corporation. I oversaw and was instrumental in the retail brand launch of the Orange brand into Kenya and, in doing so, I handled a commercial budget of up to $44M. In commercializing the GSM network, I was responsible for 826 employees.

I do not have a degree however, I have done various certificate courses because I found that they were more practical in allowing me to achieve the things that I need to achieve.

I judge myself based on my performance vis-à-vis today’s challenges and opportunities. I am passionate about growth in others and myself. Success for me is defined by increased value – not simply financial rewards.  I think that there are lots of opportunities in this world and a lot of opportunities in Africa for both men and women.

I’ve demonstrated that being a woman is not a barrier to success. If you are determined, and passionate about what you do and work hard you can be successful no matter what.

First seen on BBC News

Yemisi Falaye

Girl Boss: Yemisi Falaye, The Most Celebrated Entertainment Lawyer in Nigeria

DANG: First of all, introduce yourself.

Yemisi Falaye: My name is Yemisi Falaye. I’m a lawyer. I was called to bar in 2005 and I’ve been practising law since then. I did my service year at the law firm where I work now, ACAS Law firm and got retained. I started working fully in 2007. I’ve been with them ever since. I’m a senior counsel of the firm and I head the entertainment law group of the firm. The entertainment law group used to be part of, well; it’s still part of the corporate commercial group/intellectual property unit of the firm. Until the department became a standalone.

DANG: The entertainment group, did it have something to do with you performing well…?

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. Prior to the department standing alone, we had been doing one or two things for celebrities, a couple of them are my friends. We’ve been doing stuff for them on a corporate commercial law basis and intellectual department basis. The managing partner then was, Mr Folabi Cacs Martin, who is my direct boss, he decided to make the department stand alone because of the emergence of entertainment law or entertainment as a whole in the economy of Nigeria. We thought that it was an evolving market and we should concentrate on entertainment. He went ahead to make me the head of the department because entertainment is my forte and I have a cordial relationship with celebrities.

DANG: So, how long have you been head of the department?

Yemisi Falaye: About 3 years now, we started 2015.

DANG: How has it been?

Yemisi Falaye: It’s been awesome. I have found something I will always want to do. The entertainment law group keeps me going. It wakes me up in the morning, energizes me, it makes me want to go to work, makes me want to work. I love to see an agreement that has to do with entertainment law. I discovered that’s my flair, that’s my passion, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

DANG: What has given you the push you all this while? When there are hitches, timelines? What keeps you going?

Yemisi Falaye: Meeting timelines, crazy timelines have always been a part of me. I grew up in practice meeting terrible timelines. Meeting deadlines, being under pressure hasn’t been a problem for me because of my passion for entertainment and entertainment law.

DANG: So you are saying that if you have passion, you really don’t feel the pressure?

Yemisi Falaye: Exactly. It no longer becomes pressure. It no longer becomes work. You know, like comedians, it is work for them but then again, it is a hobby. For musicians, it is work for them but then again, it is a hobby and talent. That’s how it is for me as an entertainment lawyer. Entertainment law and entertainment law related agreements are like food to me. As a matter of fact, when I receive an email from my clients it gives me lots of joy. It gets me excited.

DANG: It took you 8 years to get here.

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. I think God actually has a purpose for all of this. I believe that, because, prior to 2015, work was work. Getting up to work every day was a real chore. But at the point where I personally discovered entertainment law, work now became or has become a pleasure for me. It’s become a passion for me. I find rest. I’m laughing. I meet my deadlines. Nobody needs to put me under any form of pressure. As a matter of fact, I now begin to put people under pressure because I want to impress my clients. So, I’m thankful to God; albeit late, but I’m still thankful to God.
A lot of people say to me that “finally, Yemisi you’ve found your passion…” I’m glad that I’ve eventually found it. And I’m pursuing it.

DANG: What do you go back to when it’s crazy?

Yemisi Falaye: I turn to God. I’m a very spiritual person. It’s amazing the kind of things that I “disturb God for”. The minutest things ever like where to park when I attend a party. I talk to God about everything. Most especially, when I’m worn out because, to be honest, it does get tiring. In my down time, I find rest in God and if it is work related I sort it out with my colleagues.

DANG: Entertainment law in Nigeria is not really keyed into in Nigeria. Can you explain more to my readers about it?

Yemisi Falaye: In the past creatives and entertainers did not see the need for entertainment lawyers but the narrative is changing now. It is never just an agreement to read and sign, it is important to consult a lawyer to avoid signing a deadly deal. Some agreements are capable of wiping out an entertainer’s career this is why it is important to hire a lawyer, let the lawyer guide you how to hire a business manager, road manager, record label and some. At the end of the day, you focus on your craft while the lawyer handles the nitty-gritty of the business side of it for you

DANG: So who and what do you cover as an entertainment lawyer?

Yemisi Falaye: I do everything. I deal with musicians, I deal with actors, I deal with bloggers, I deal with creative’s generally; songwriters, authors, sportsmen and women, everybody generally.

DANG: Who are your clients right now?

Yemisi Falaye: On my roaster right now, I have Toke Makinwa; incidentally, she is my first client and then I have Chidinma, Adekunle Gold, I have Small Doctor. I have Ice Prince, Waje, Beverly Naya and more.

DANG: Do you handle cases outside of entertainment law?

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. Absolutely. Entertainment law is just part of what I do. I still do intellectual property law; I do some form of corporate and commercial related law. I do company secretarial work as well. I do immigration law. I’m all-encompassing.

DANG: What edge do you think you as a person have over everybody?

Yemisi Falaye: For me, I tell my clients that when I say it, I mean it. “You have my 24 hours”. You can reach me at any point in time. I don’t see my clients as just clients. I befriend them and I try my best to make them comfortable around me. That way, they can confide in me to tell me what they are going through and I can give them a clear and objective advice. I am a friendly person which makes it easier for me. My clients can reach me at any time of the day even if it’s 1 am and I work very hard to meet their needs. No brags. That’s the truth.

DANG: I know people will have questions about being an entertainer. So what advice do you have for them?

Yemisi Falaye: The first thing is to focus more on the work aspect. The work will make you go for those shows. You can’t afford to mix it with play. Your diligence and your hard work will attract the glamour of the work to you.

DANG: I’m a lawyer and I want to go into entertainment. What part of Law should I focus on?

Yemisi Falaye: Do corporate commercial law. Become a transaction lawyer. I hate courts. I’ve never been to court. Litigation is not my forte. Focus your attention on corporate commercial law where you will be taught all forms of agreement; tenancy law, property law, telecommunication, tax, every form of law asides criminal law.
Expose yourself to all forms of contracts and specification of law. That way you will be well grounded and you will have sufficient knowledge that will be helpful to your clients. Spread your wings and don’t limit yourself to entertainment law.
Don’t limit yourself to entertainment law. I didn’t start with entertainment law. I was doing and I am still doing all forms of law. That has made advising my clients and doing entertainment law a piece of cake for me.

DANG: Have you had conflicts about your faith and law sometimes?

Yemisi Falaye: I have never had conflicts between my faith and my work. I work in a firm where our core values are; integrity, creativity, and excellence. These three items are somewhat God related. Creativity is of God, excellence is of God, integrity is of God as well.

DANG: So, you are a single woman working hard, how old are you?

Yemisi Falaye: I’ll be 38 in September. 37, now.

DANG: Do you ever get people making assumptions of what you do? Do you feel pressured?

Yemisi Falaye: I’ll tell you a quick story. I remember when I was going to buy my first car; I was going to buy a brand new car. I remember somebody saying to me, “Oh Yemisi, you are a young girl. You are not married yet, I don’t think you should buy a brand new car. I think you should just buy a Golf 3 that would cost you lesser than a brand new car. So don’t chase guys away from you.
I said to him, whether married or single, I would enjoy my life. I love the good life nothing is going to stop me from having a good time. I live once and I must make the best of it.

DANG: Have you ever pressured yourself?

Yemisi Falaye: There was a time in my life when I did. I would attend almost all singles program in every church. I have stopped doing that now. In fact, I rarely pray about it. Whatever happens, I’m good. That’s the point I’m in right now. If you pray for me, I’d say Amen. If I remember to pray about it, I pray about it. But I have stopped putting myself under pressure to get married. All I want to do right now is to advance in my career. And make money, good money.

DANG: In five years, where do you see yourself?

Yemisi Falaye: In five years, I will own the best and the only properly structured record label in Africa. And guess what? It’s going to be an artist-friendly record label because most record labels are not artists friendly.

Interview: ™Diaryofanaijagirl©

6 Things You Should Stop Expecting from Others

Don’t Quit Your Day Job…Yet!

Don’t Quit Your Day Job…Yet!

As attractive and exciting as the jump from employee to business owner is, it’s far from easy and absolutely not for the faint of heart. Among the biggest and most intimidating aspects of the transition is the shock to your personal finances. It’s not a matter of if it will happen (it is all but unavoidable), but how well you prepare for it. With this in mind, here are some steps you should take as soon as you even think you want to quit your day job:

Start saving to fund your business as soon as you get that entrepreneurial itch: I would go as far as to say that, as soon as you get full-time employment out of high school or college, start a savings account earmarked specifically to put money aside to launch your start-up (separate and apart from your emergency savings account and accounts you might have for other financial goals), even if you’re not sure when you’ll do it or even exactly what kind of business you want to start. And if you already have a business idea or even an active side-hustle, it’s even more important for you to put aside income to feed and nurture the launch and operation of the business, until it is generating enough revenue to get past break-even and support itself.

Keep your day job for as long as you can: First, the savings you need to fund your business (see previous point) will be drawn from your current income. Second, especially if your business is in the same industry where you’ve pursued your career, excelling in the latter can result in key networking contacts, support and maybe even your first customers. (At the same time, be careful to avoid conflicts of interest and other issues that can cause your employer to question your focus, performance and commitment to your job.) Third, and perhaps most important: Don’t quit your day job yet if you have health insurance and other benefits from your job. You want to keep them as long as you can, especially if it will be a minute before your new business generates enough profit to both replace your salary and to fund your health insurance, retirement savings and other needs currently being fulfilled (and far more cheaply) through your employer.

Dump your debt: You need to pay down your loans as quickly as possible, as well as car loans and other sources of high interest debt. Your goal is to free up money that can be used to support your business

Totally blow up and recreate your household budget: Take into account the new expenses (as well as those that might go away, such as commuting costs if your business is home-based) and possible lost income that will result from the launch of your business and your eventual transition out of your job. Approach this just as you should if you were about to bring a newborn baby into the family, because that is exactly what you’re doing when you launch a business that will need to be constantly fed and nurtured in order to survive, stay healthy and grow. Just as your entire lifestyle would change as a new parent, it will absolutely require adjustments and sacrifices to accommodate your business. Which brings me to perhaps my most important piece of advice:

Cut your living expenses: Then cut them again. Then once more for good measure. Don’t quit your day job if you cannot responsibly cut your expenses. The transition from steady paycheck to the fluctuating cash flow of entrepreneurship is all but impossible if you cannot control spending and keep your debt under control. Often, people tell me they can’t find the money to fund their business. I tell them exactly where it is: In their closets. In their garage. On the walls of their living rooms, kitchens, dens and practically every bedroom. (How many flat-screens do we really need?) The money to fund and operate your business has to come from somewhere, so you will likely have to stop adding to your collections of designer shoes, give up the gym membership and exercise at home, seriously cut back on dining out, mani-pedis and other nice-to-haves-but-not-need-to-haves.

Foregoing instant gratification in favor of long-term gains is not only a cardinal rule of successful entrepreneurship, but of all wealth-building endeavors. There’s no way around this:

Don’t quit your day job just yet. Understand that to fund your business, you must stop funding many (if not all) of your other habits, at least until you’re successful enough as an entrepreneur to finance both your company’s needs as well as the lifestyle you desire.

ibukun awosika

“Success For Me Means Winning In Business And Also Winning as A Wife Too”- Ibukun Awosika

“Success For Me Means Winning In Business And As A Wife Too”- Ibukun Awosika

Seeing my drive as a young entrepreneur, my father used to say, ‘I have given birth to this one’, and if anything happened, he was always present to assist me even if it meant selling his house to pay up any debts I may have incurred along the way. He never discouraged me.

When you are pursuing your dreams and trying to leave a legacy, you will find help. As a young girl in my twenties and in business, no bank was willing to lend me money. I became frustrated, working day and night, not because I didn’t know what to do but because I couldn’t meet the needs of clients due to the fact that I did not have adequate machinery…I soon got help from people who believed in my dreams and I finally got access to all the loans I needed.

I never had an agenda to be on the board of several companies…it came as a matter of life and reward as all I was trying to do was build businesses a certain way. I derive so much pleasure walking into an office that we furnished a long time ago and seeing our furniture looking nice; I get this joy and satisfaction that money cannot buy…Read: Family and Friends Must Pay; Banke Meshida’s Business Rules

I can guarantee you that you wont last long in this business if you cut corners. When I started the furniture business, I had people who started at about the same time I did. There are people in the furniture industry I call government children; once their people go out of power, their businesses cease to exist. I am content with the little I make because I made it the right way and sometimes you need to fight for survival.

You must understand that you are not indispensable to your business because you are not God. You are not the most important person, the guys who work for you are just as important as well. You must learn to respect them and the value they bring into your business. You can’t pay them peanuts and pay yourself all the money.

Success for me means winning as a wife as well; this means that I help my husband to be the best while he supports my dreams and desires…

Ibukun Awosika is popularly known as the Chairman of the board of Directors for First Bank of Nigeria, however, she is also an author, motivational speaker and runs several successful businesses.

Source:punchng

quitter

I am a Quitter, I have Records to Show For it

I know some who know me would say I am very hardworking, which I am, when I want to be, while I’m at it.. but then I quit… a lot. And since my record of being a quitter has become so long, it is now staring at me in the face like a long rap sheet; evidence I cannot deny. And being that smart girl that I am, I have chosen to face it squarely. Not an easy feat as confronting this also means I have to confront the real issue, which is my fear of failure and my fear of mediocrity

Yes I give up because I am afraid to fail. I have always believed that anything worth doing is worth doing well and that basically has been my reasoning when I give up on things. I tell myself it is best not to be involved at all, than to be in it half heartedly. I tell myself instead of failing at this, instead of being medicore, let me just leave. The only problem with that is, by quitting I set myself up for certain failure in that thing because I give myself no other option.Read: “Don’t give up” Tyler Perry

I have always chosen the path of least resistance, being an ‘I cannot come and go and die’ chick even before the savvy millenials came up with the phrase. One of my most common phrases was ‘I am tired’. My sister had to point it out when I repeated it over some simple issue, she said “you are always tired over little things!’”. Even then it didn’t hit me that I was a quitter. I just made a mental note not to say it out loud anywhere near her, but I continued to repeat it to myself in difficult situations.

I don’t want to start listing all the projects, groups, relationships and dreams I have quit on. If you are a quitter you will have your long list, and possibly some of these traits:
* You tend to be very analytical, especially in seeing possible challenges that could arise
* You are very sensitive
* You internalise a lot of things
* You tend not to share your concerns with people hence lack encouragement to keep going
* challenges overwhelm you and your first reaction is to withdraw and remove the source of the challenge from your life IMMEDIATELY
* you like to have a lot of free time doing nothing, or having very little to do

I am in the process of turning a new leaf. Still not there yet, especially considering the fact that I started drafting this write up months ago. But guess what? I came back and now finishing it while waiting for a meeting to start. Talk about seizing a moment! Makes me proud I can make use of time so wisely. However it takes more than this to get out of it. I need to:
1. Take conscious actions
2. Push myself more
3. Do more and think less
4. Turn my negative thoughts to thoughts of possibilities when confronted with a new challenge
5. Speak out more

And when I fail, I have to push myself up and continue.

I hope for someone reading this, this sparks some thoughts in you, makes you take a step back and analyse yourself. I sincerely hope you decide here and now to do something about that quitting spirit so you can truly begin to soar, achieve more and fulfil purpose.

Written by Miss Oyind for Diaryofanaijagirl.com

Oke Maduewesi, CEO of Zaron Cosmetics

“Every Woman Must work no Matter How Small” -Oke Maduewesi, CEO of Zaron Cosmetics

Oke Maduewesi, CEO of Zaron Cosmetics is a widow and mother of two.She worked as a manager in Zenith bank, said she came to Lagos to start her company after the death of her husband.

“I came to Lagos after the death of my husband. As at the time I left banking, I knew there was more but I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know what I wanted. I was living in Port Harcourt but I came to Lagos to start Zaron. I sold everything I had including my house

When I was leaving, my mother wept. She was scared and worried for me but I told her I had to go, I had to leave Port Harcourt because the memories were too much. Everything around me then reminded me of him [my late husband]. if I was not working when I lost my husband at 30, I don’t know how I would have survived.

Every woman must work no matter how small. I have two kids, where would I have started from? How would I have moved on? I always tell women, get something doing. Let your mind work.Read: I was a housewife before I opened the nail studio- Mrs Tokunbo Awogboro




There will be times when you will not have money. Don’t get discouraged. Embrace the fears and failures. Look for people who support you. Get a support system, people who can cover your weaknesses. You can’t do it alone. Find such people, mix with them.

Make it work: This is where Nigerians fail. They start something, hit a curve and give up. Make it work. Don’t give up. Put in the work. You have to keep going. When things get too comfortable, then there’s a problem. Get out of your comfort zone, keep pushing. Don’t sit still, keep pursuing a target.” -Oke Maduewesi, CEO Zaron cosmetics

Today, Zaron manufactures and distributes cosmetics and hair products which has been tailored to the specific needs of African women. Zaron currently has 26 outlets in twelve cities in Nigeria and Ghana as well as distributors in three African countries, United Kingdom and USA. As part of the brand’s community service, Zaron empowers Nigerian widows.

Source: TheCable