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Why I celebrated becoming a US citizen —Laide Bakare

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The popular actress, who returned to the entertainment scene recently after some years abroad, speaks about her latest movie, ‘Jejere’, dabbling in music and estate management, and becoming an American citizen in this interview. Excerpts:


WHAT have you been up to since your return from the United States of America?

I have been very busy because I was away for a while and I had put a lot of things on hold. I have resumed where I stopped and working on my projects have been hectic but interesting. My record label, Simline Label, was just three months before I travelled and I tried out my hands on the soundtrack for my movie, Jejere.

I did the soundtrack because I believe I have a crucial and important message to pass concerning our nation as a whole.  We tried to highlight issues, including domestic violence, social injustice, gender inequality, kidnappings, the herdsmen menace and curbing corruption.   It’s a movie from which both the people and government can learn. We talk about Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants, and herdsmen amongst others, but if we are not careful, some other groups will spring up; other social issues I refer to as jejere will emerge in the society. Jejere is unrest; if there’s economic collapse, there’s no love, there’s so much hatred and people don’t celebrate successful people, that’s all manifestations of unrest

I tried to make a soundtrack that would further enhance the message in the movie and that for me has been very fulfilling because I am beginning to love doing music. That is practically new for me. I am seeing myself as a unique figure in the entertainment industry as well. After the break, my coming back will wow a lot of my fans.

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You shot the movie around 2012 and premiered it thereafter but it has not been released. What delayed its release?

It was my trip though I wasn’t planning to travel abroad at the time. I had just finished the movie and God blessed me with a pregnancy; I got pregnant with my first son, Damilare, two months after I left the location. During the movie premiere, I was like seven months pregnant.   Thereafter, I travelled to deliver. I came back two months after but four months after delivery, I got pregnant again with my third child and I had to travel to give birth to my last baby, Mosope. I returned to Nigeria about four months later.  Adding everything together, this was like two and half years.

Then, I decided to go get my US citizenship because I didn’t like the idea of going to queue for visa and because of the new business that I was venturing into; I was grooming myself to be a builder, so I needed to travel to get more experience in Estate Management and Building. And I also resolved to get my citizenship. After getting it, I returned to Nigeria and decided to begin tackling all I had left.

Thankfully, the movie is evergreen; it will stand the test of time because we took great care during the shoot. We went as far as designing the costume for each character so it makes the fashion showcased in the movie unique. It’s one of a kind; it’s something that’s never been done before; designing the outlook in terms of costume and environment. I returned and finished producing the movie. I feel thankful that I produced it because, for one, this is about the right time to narrate that kind of story in our nation. God positioned everything to turn out the way it has and I’m thankful for everything.


When you got the US citizenship, you threw a party. This made some people criticise you that what’s the big deal in it.

It’s a big deal in everybody’s life. This was why I mentioned earlier that there’s lack of love in our country. If anyone criticises such an achievement, it’s out of ignorance or that’s the level of the intelligence of that person. To me, it’s a big deal; I’m so happy and delighted.  I don’t need to obtain a visa to visit a lot of countries because I travel a lot. It makes life easier for me as someone that travels a lot. I have my children there and I’m getting all the benefits American citizenship entitles you to. It’s made my life much more exciting; it’s a big accomplishment for me and I’m so happy about it.


You’ve been sitting on the movie all this while, were you not afraid you were tying down a serious investment?

I wasn’t thinking like that. It’s not a movie that you will just release like that; I had to be in Nigeria to ensure all goes well with it. When we shot it, it was a very big project; a multi-million-naira project and I thank God we did not economize then.  If we had, it wouldn’t have stood the test of time. If you see the trailer, you will see that we went the extra mile to ensure that it’s quality work. It wasn’t easy shooting it because its focus was not on just one issue; it was about five so it made it very demanding.


You disclosed earlier that you have become involved in estate management, how did you come by that?

I’m now a builder; I build convenience apartments and I’m enjoying the business. It’s been what I’ve always loved and wanted. My father was into it and it’s working really good. I’m still new in the business though but thank God it’s working really good. Combining it with entertainment has been a piece of cake.  Entertainment is like child’s play to me but estate management is more demanding at the moment.


Is your record label still intact?

Yes, it’s doing well. We have artistes like B2L amongst others. Their first single was Sisi Laide and it was well received.

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Sisi Laide? Were you the inspiration for the song?

I have no idea. I was not even aware of it. Their coming under the label was good, it was a nice song. They made it themselves; I had no input in it. I travelled shortly after its release but now that I’m back, we are going to dust it up again. Calabash is the new one and it will be released in about two weeks. We are still young but everything is fine and hopefully, it will remain so for a very long time.


Is the Simline Foundation active too?

The foundation is basically about the messages in my movie; domestic violence and child trafficking amongst other vices. It is doing fine.


How soon are we going to be seeing you in movies now that you are back fully in Nigeria?

Any moment from now; we are working already and the projects will be ready soon, say, in two weeks. I have been shooting movies since my return.


Is it still worth it being an entertainer in Nigeria?

It’s more than worth it.  As long as you have something to offer, as long as you have what it takes to be a successful movie maker and actor. I don’t know if other people have other motives for being in the entertainment industry but as for me, it’s been well worth it. In fact, my fans have been so wonderful and they are the reason why Jejere is out now because the pressure on me was just so much. I say a big thank you to them for waiting patiently for the movie. And they haven’t seen anything yet, this is just the beginning.

The post Why I celebrated becoming a US citizen —Laide Bakare appeared first on Tribune.

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