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To the men who loved us first…

June 19, 2015 We tend to take a lot of things our fathers do for us for granted, and it’s easy to forget the things they have done like teaching you how to ride a bike, being present at certain milestones, teaching you important life lessons( like teaching their sons how to shave), being their daughter’s hero etc. Once a year the world puts the spotlight on fathers all around the world as we commemorate Father’s Day! This year, it’s being celebrated on Sunday 21st June.

Just like it stated in an anonymous post I came across whilst checking my emails one day, a father is someone who wants to catch you before you fall but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again. A father is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes but instead lets you find your own way, even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt. A father is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed, and has faith even when you fail.

Have you shown appreciation to your father (whoever that may be)? Whether you have or not, you have a chance to go the extra mile on June 21st

According to research, fathers have made more effort in spending time with their children having almost tripled the amount of time they spend with their children from 2.5 hours in 1965 to 7.3 hours per week in this day and age. Despite the increase, 46% admitted that they don’t spend enough time with their children, compare this with the 23% of women who had the same sentiment.

A few facts about Father’s Day that you may appreciate include the following:

  • Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June every year.
  • Father’s Day originated in America. The first Father’s Day celebration was held on 19th June 1910 in Spokane, Washington.
  • Rose is the official flower for Father’s Day, wearing a red rose signifies a living father whilst wearing a white one represents having a deceased father.
  • A young lady by the name of Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd is recognised for inventing the concept of Father’s Day, an American whose father had raised his six children single-handedly.
  • A day in the month of June was chosen as this was the month in which Sonora Smart Dodd’s father was born.

Lost for ideas on what to do for your father on Father’s Day? EbonyLife TV has got you covered…Make him a dish that he’s never tasted before. To get fresh ideas from fresh, talented and dedicated chefs, tune in to Chefrican at 20:00 WAT every Sunday on EbonyLifeTV DStv, channel 165.

Arit Okpo is a producer, presenter, writer and lover of food.

She loves to eat; she may not look like it, but she states “I will eat anything, and I’m a traditional food kinda girl too. Pounded yam and afang soup, peppered snails”.

She’s also a bookworm – give her a book and she’ll get lost in its pages for hours on end, “I love to read”.

Arit Okpo can be very shy and she’s very much an introvert, going on to say, “It’s why I like social media, because I can interact with people without having to interact

She works to live a life of gratitude, being deliberately and actively grateful for all that she is, all that she has and all that she has been given.


The EbonyLife and Times of Mo Abudu…

Ever wondered what it’s like to run a multi-million dollar network? The sacrifices one has to make? The hours and energy that gets sucked up in order to succeed?

Think no further, here to tell us what it’s essentially like is the woman herself, Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV who is also the talk show host for “Moments with Mo”, a TV producer, media personality as well as an entrepreneur (just to name a few). Mo Abudu received an honorary award of Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) by the Babcock University Administration of Nigeria earlier in the year and also recently turned 50.

Q. We’d like to congratulate you on the award you received recently which is assumedly a major accolade in your life, what does this award mean to you?

A. Thank you very much. I was and still am very touched by the gesture; it truly is an honour for me to have received the award. It means that I am doing something right, not just as an African but as an African woman inclusive. It makes me proud of who I am and where I come from. So many men and women are deserving of this award and I am grateful to Babcock University for finding me worthy.

Q. On receiving your award you made a very touching speech that shared your feelings on education, women’s rights, and dreaming big. What do you think it will take to make a “better Africa?”

A. It will take individuals who have the same goals and visions for Africa who are not scared to go where no one has been before. Africa has so much potential and if people only put things into action instead of just dreaming, we’d be half way there. I have always said, and will continue to say that Africa is the brand of opportunity, but right now we are far behind from where we should currently be. We need bold, aggressive go-getters who aren’t afraid of set-backs. We also need a society and government who care for human life, at the end of the day it all starts with us.

Q. You are very passionate about empowering women and bettering the image of Africa, what else drives you?

A. I am driven to be a better person as a whole. God has instilled so much potential inside of all of us, and it is up to us as to how much we are willing to discover and unleash. I refuse to leave this Earth not having discovered everything or not having given everything I was meant to give.

Q. You’re a mother of two, a talk show host, a TV producer, media personality, HR management consultant, as well as an entrepreneur. How has this affected your family life? Can the hand that rocks the cradle, rock the boardroom?

A. (Laughs) I’ve been asked this question numerous times. I am first and foremost a mother. My kids have and will always come first and this is something they have always known. I thank God everyday for having children who are tolerant of a workaholic mother.

Q. In your speech you also mentioned that it requires a solid team to materialise a dream…EbonyLife TV is a huge endeavour…what was involved in realising the dream and who was instrumental along the way?

A. I would say that the dream was birthed when in 2006, after a successful career working as a HR executive at ExxonMobil for close to a decade, I decided I wanted to have my own Talk Show. I had no TV or media experience whatsoever, but it was the adventurous soul in me that kept me going. It was also a dream that had been deeply rooted, waiting to come out of confinement because media has always been my passion. Who was instrumental? Absolutely everyone, friends, family and associates who stood by me and supported me, those who I would call at 12 am because I had just had an epiphany, absolutely every one.

Q. As a business woman and media mogul, what’s the secret of your success?

A. My secret to success is the grace of God, there is no other way to put it. I have always put Him first and the bible says “seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else shall be added unto you”. Everything I have and everything I am, I owe it to God.

Q. Reflecting on your life, what has been your personal career highlight?

A. I couldn’t possibly pinpoint one in particular, each career choice brought out different qualities that God has bequeathed me, which has made me the woman I am today.

Q. What sacrifices have you made to get to where you are?

A. Sleep is definitely one. Someone like me who doesn’t stop till they reach their desired goal will definitely suffer from sleep deprivation at numerous occasions. Another is relationships, I’ve had to be willing to step on a few toes and get on the wrong side of people. People will always have their own ideas about certain things and if they are not in line with your own vision, you have to politely let them go.

Q. What have been some of your failures and what did you learn from them?

A. I don’t see anything as having failed; I like to call them lessons. Anything that I have embarked on that has not ultimately evolved into anything substantial has taught me what not to do in some way or another. Practice they say makes perfect, I’m not afraid of setbacks as it only means God is getting me ready to be catapulted into greater things.

Q. You recently turned 50, what does reaching this great milestone mean to you? How did you celebrate?

A. I am so grateful to God for how far He has brought me, I’m excited about where He is still taking me and I thank Him for life itself. Reaching 50 was not by my might but by the grace of God. I celebrated this blessed milestone by the way of a party with close friends, family and associates. I also took the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional contributions of unsung professionals by presenting them with awards. It was my way of saying, “I’m right behind you, we’re in this together”.

Q. Let’s get to know Doctor Mo Abudu, the lady. If you could talk to one person in history, who would it be and why?

A.  I’m going to be cheeky and say two. Globally, it would definitely be Maya Angelou. She has been an inspiration to many and though she is no longer with us, her legacy will undoubtedly live on. Historical African figure I would have to say Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti for the fact that she was feisty and wasn’t afraid to act. We’d have a lot to talk about [laughs]

Q. What is your favourite book?

A. (After the Bible) To Kill a Mockingbird.

Q. What is your favourite time of year?

A. I’d say summer because that’s when I go away with my children and have some quality family time.

Q. Spontaneous soul or meticulous planner?

A. Meticulous planner

Q. Ultimate vacation experience?

A. Anywhere I can get some rest, relaxation and regroup.

Q. Any guilty pleasures?

A. Every woman loves a bit of chocolate every now and then.

Q. What do you spend your “me” time doing?

A. I spend time with family, especially my children and friends; I love watching nice, romantic movies or thrillers. I love reading too

Q. Life in Nigeria is….(please complete sentence)

A. Dynamic

Q. My life would be so much better if….(please complete sentence)

A. Nothing. I am grateful for all that I am and all that I have.

Q. As time goes by I realise….(please complete sentence)

A. If you can think it, you can do it!

Q. My vision for Africa is…(please complete sentence)

A. To be at the forefront for business opportunities and to be known for positive change.

Thank you for letting us into the life and times of Doctor Mo Abudu. We have enjoyed chatting with you. We’re sure someone reading this will be inspired and put some things into action.

Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where a good time is had by all! And remember, life is short and time is swift so don’t dull, make a difference.


The EbonyLife and Times of Deyemi Okanlawon

The passion, emotion and energy that this actor puts into his performances are what keeps us glued to our screens. Even as we can’t seem to get enough of him, this actor is showing no traces of slowing down. I’m talking about none other than Deyemi Okanlawon. What don’t you know about Deyemi Okanlawon? You’re about to find out as EbonyLife TV got the chance to ask questions that have been on your mind.

Q.What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?

A.So far I would say winning the award for Best Actor in a Short Film at the In-Short Film Festival for Tolu Ajayi’s psychological thriller, Blink (Check it out on my YouTube channel)

Q. Is acting what you always wanted to do, or was it an accidental blessing?

A. I’ve loved listening to, reading and telling stories since as far back as I can remember and from about the age of five I was in every one of my primary school plays. Years later, while I held down a series of very tasking day jobs, I still found ways to express my passion as an actor in a church group, Covenant Christian Centre’s Xtreme Reaction, and had the opportunity to take the Acting for Film course at NYFA in collaboration with Delyork.

Q. What is something you know now that you wish you knew before you started as an actor?

A. I wish I had known how much make up I’d have to use. [Laughs]

Q. Is there a role that got away? A role you really wanted but was not casted for?

A. Funny you ask that because I auditioned for a role in Ebony Life’s Desperate Housewives and I’m still waiting for my call back from Mo Abudu [Smiles]. After my first professional stage production at the British Councils’ Lagos Theatre Festival, I got a call to participate in one of the plays at the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) but the production schedule clashed with prior commitments. Truth is I firmly believe that, as long as I do the work required, roles that are meant for me never pass me by.

Q. What actor/actress Hollywood or Nollywood would you really like to work with but have not yet had the opportunity to?

A. There are so many great actors in Hollywood and Nollywood that I would love to work with. Since I’m relatively new to the scene there are way too many to name. Meryl Streep, Rita Dominic, Kate Henshaw, Omotola Jelade, Natalie Portman, Genevieve Nnaji, Gabrielle Union, Nse Ikpe Etim, Stella Damasus, Ini Edo, Mercy Johnson, Richard Mofe Damijo, Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, Leonardo Dicaprio, Liam Neeson, Anthony Hopkins, Olu Jacobs, Lupita Nyongo, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and my favourite African actors Hloma Dandala, Yvonne Nelson, Jocelyn Dumas, Majid Michel… (well I did warn you the list was long)

Q. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on/off set?

A. Dropping my power bike while doing a stunt to impress some chics. The applause at my second attempt nearly made up for it.

Q. What determines your interest in a role?

A. To me every role is an opportunity to gain expertise and experience however I would readily choose to play a character that is in contrast to my “type” – my looks, background and personality, and that has a range of emotions and/or motives in a story that strikes a chord in my heart.

Q. You play the lead male role in Dowry, how similar or different is Deyemi Okanlawon to the character you played? How easy or hard was it getting into character?

A. [Laughs] Contrary to what my naughty colleagues on the set of Dowry claim, I like to think I’m nothing like Demola – he’s quite arrogant and self absorbed. However with Victor Sanchez’s direction I was able to identify elements of the character that I could relate with and so playing the part wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined it would be.

Q. Everyone knows that directors look for certain things in actors when casting, but what do you look for in a director?

A. Leadership. I find that for me the ability to lead cast and crew should, at the least, directly correlate with the director’s passion and strength of vision for telling a story. As an actor I am literarily clay in the hands of my director so having one in whose leadership I can trust is paramount. So far I have been blessed to work with great directors and have met many more recently who have expressed interest in working with me.

Q. What sacrifices have you made to get to where you are?

A. I had built an over 8 year career in sales and marketing and my previous job was as the marketing manager in a multinational e-commerce company. I switched careers in September 2013 to act full time.

For years I had to work gruelling hours in order to hone my skills, sometimes going straight to the office from all-night rehearsals and working weekends usually for absolutely no pay. The reviews received after putting up some of my work on my YouTube Channel made it all worth it.

Q. What is your pet peeve?

A. Time wasting, I have great respect for other people’s time and like to be on time. Nowadays I’ve learnt to carry work along with me so I don’t get stuck doing nothing while waiting for a scheduled appointment.

Q. If there was more time in the day I would… (please complete sentence)

A. Read more.

Q. My motto in life is… (please complete sentence)

A. No excuses!

Q. Favourite time of the year?

A. My birthday (the day I switch off my phones and take a day off from the world).

Q. My life would not be the same without… (please complete sentence)

A. A lifelong friend of mine – Yeshua (Google him. He’s quite famous).

Q. It’s high time I… (please complete sentence)

A. Get a breakout film role and win an Oscar for it [Smiles]

Q. I would like my life to be remembered with… (please complete sentence)

A. Characters and stories as well as film and theatre-related charity projects that inspire the Nigerian youth to reach for the stars.

Q. A time I wish I could relive was when… (please complete sentence)

A. I got down on one knee and proposed to the love of my life.

Q. What’s next? Any professional or personal plans in the horizon?

A. More training in film and theatre acting

Gaining experience in producing, directing

Leverage my ecommerce experience in promoting film and theatre productions

Living happily ever after

Thank you for letting us into the life and times of Deyemi Okanlawon. We wish you the best for all future endeavours.

Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where you are always guaranteed a good time! And do remember, life is short and time is swift so make a difference!