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He’s probably done it all – sweating it out as a upcoming act, bagging international deals, setting up his very own record label, releasing a catalogue of albums, marrying and settling down to family life.
Lanre ‘eLDee’ Dabiri’s life, not just his music persona, resonates that of a Don. NET had an extensive interview with the Trybe Records boss where he opened up on just about everything…

In your 15 years in the industry, how would you best describe yourself ?
I usually don’t spend a lot of time stepping outside to look at myself, what I think of eLDee is the brand and what it has been able to achieve, and the fact that the eLDee brand is a pioneering one and is still relevant 15 years after. I think the brand has done decently well. I wouldn’t think of myself as super successful since most of ‘our people’ like to think of success as the money driving thing.
I’m from a pretty comfortable background, so it’s never really been about the money for me, it’s been about passion, building platforms for people, innovation, creating new things, contributing to the entertainment industry as a whole. When I started music, I did it because I felt like I could do better than what I heard. The perception of Nigerian artistes was really bad in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and I felt like that wasn’t accurate. Artistically, we have some of the most creative people, and it was just an opportunity to step up to the play and show that there’s a contemporary side, there’s a new Nigerian, there’s a Nigerian who has an identity, there’s a Nigerian even though he’s influenced by Hip-hop and Reggae and R&B, he still has his own culture and something to say, and can still be relevant in Nigeria.
That was the motivation in the early stages, so in terms of how I feel about my success; I think I’m pretty successful because every single target that I’ve had, we met. One of our first challenges was how do we break the music, we broke the music. How do we get radio to play, radio started playing it. How do we sell the music, we figured out a way to distribute it. How do we take it to the world; we had the first set of interactive CDs, the website, and blog. So, in terms of setting the pace and creating structure and showing people that stuff can be done, even sometimes at the expense of being able to make a business out of it, I’ve done that in my whole career, and I think I’m satisfied. Just to see that we have created a possible billion dollar industry out of passion is actually the motivation for me, so I’m good.
What actually influenced you to go to the studio to record, to put your pen to paper and start writing lyrics?
I think a lot of it was peer pressure. Peer pressure in the sense that I had a lot of mates who were equally interested in music, and we started to do a few performances here and there in school, talent shows and what not. There was a particular guy called AT I used to roll with, he used to rap then, and rapping was a big deal in the early 90’s. And then it was in Kaduna, which was just the norm. At least at some point, every young kid had a dream of being a rapper, and for me it was really about ‘ok this boy is doing this thing and he’s been able to attract attention from all these chicks so let me too try it’ (Laughs). In the early stage I was just fooling around and then I moved to Lagos.
What brought you to Lagos?
I came to school in the University of Lagos. I actually didn’t want to go to UNILAG, I wanted to go abroad, I already got my admission and everything, but my dad thought it was a good idea to stay. I used to blame him but at some point I kind of accepted it and said to myself ‘hey you know if I hadn’t stayed I probably wouldn’t be who I am now’ I came to Lagos for school and I noticed that the level and the quality of music was very low, and I felt like ‘hang on a second, I can compete with this guy and I can do better than this guy, we can create something new.
Everybody was doing Reggae at that time, and it was really bad Reggae, which is why I felt people weren’t interested anymore. So I felt ‘hey let’s try and get to radio, let’s put out some stuff’. At that time I was writing but most of my writing was just for fun,  it was just something to do to get away from the madness. I had just come to UNILAG and it was a crazy place then, when cultism was at an all time high, so it was just a culture shock for me, coming from Kaduna to this very rough environment with everybody trying to take advantage of you, where everybody is trying to cheat you.  I was coming from being in the house with the maid and a driver and a nanny and a help and somebody to run errands, to a UNILAG where the bathroom with like one and half inch thick filth of spirogyra on the wall, do you understand what I’m saying? It was a real shock for me, and so really I think music was the one thing I found to take me away from all the madness. I used music as my escape route just to get away from all of that.
What was the thing that made you finally say ‘I want to perform, I want to sell my music as an artiste’?
First of all my name has always been eLDee. I’ve been called eLDee since I was four; my mum’s friend just started calling me LD and it just stuck, even through secondary school people call me eLDee. I think the point when I decided I was going do it was in 1996. I was doing a little school promotion with a guy called ‘Ropo’ there in UNILAG, basically doing events for campus. I used to plug in my music at these shows, people started liking it and we’re like ‘hey let’s take this to radio and see, since we are promoting the shows on radio let’s see if the radio will play our music’.
So we took it to radio; the late Steve ‘The Sleek’ Kadiri was the first person to ever play my song on radio. He liked it and kept it on rotation for a while, Ray Power was the only independent station [at that time], and all the government stations weren’t interested at that point, so we only got support from them. Kadiri advised us, ‘you guys should probably record some more, do an album’ and I started looking around for record labels; this was even before Kunle ‘Kaboom’ Bello and Freestyle came into the picture, so there was a bit of background already which is what made me start recording a lot of tracks. KB joined later. We both kicked stuff back in Secondary school so we decided to get more serious with it.
Why didn’t you consider yourself as a solo artiste and try to develop yourself that way?
The truth is that from the beginning, I’ve been a song writer and producer, so in a weird way I didn’t really consider myself in the early years as an artiste at all. Rather, I considered myself as somebody who could make music, I felt like I could create music and I needed vessels to put that music out there, hence my union, my collaboration and my signing of all those people; I was trying to build that a platform to be able to express that side of my creativity.
Do you have that sense of fulfilment watching these artistes you helped build their careers?
Yes, I’m happy when I see the success of Dr SID, Sasha, 2Shotz, Dare Art Alade, Sound Sultan. These are all people who I knew from before they even started doing this music thing professionally, and I was a part of their early process, so I’m very happy when I see how successful they are. However, there is more to this industry, especially now that we are dealing with structural issues and stuff like that. There is so much to do and that’s kind of where my focus is right now, so it’s not about myself or one person, it’s not just about my artistes, it’s not just about my business, but that we are able to solve problems.
One morning just you woke up and left the country…
I didn’t just wake up and leave; that’s what people think.
A lot of your fans believe that the crew’s breaking up was attributed to your leaving for the US.
I don’t regret leaving for one second, let me tell you why; the reason I left was to develop myself and to build my confidence level to the point where I could say ‘music business, I know it, and music business, I can do it’. I wanted to be able to get to that level, and unfortunately there was no access to all that at that time for me, so I had to step away from this environment, go to a more professional environment and sit down with people who have done this for 50 to hundreds of years, look at and study their process, understand what makes the business.  Don’t forget that I owned a record label and I had 11 artistes; I needed to understand how to make the business work.
So I put myself in that environment, I worked with artistes, record label people, song writers and producers in the studio on the visual side, on the audio side, on the interactive side, media, everything. I even started an interactive company and went into partnership with a couple of guys and we won loads of awards, and when I felt like I had gotten enough of that knowledge and I felt like I was confident enough to come back, that is when I came back. I always tell people that I didn’t go to America to hustle; I didn’t work for my first two years, thank God for the fact that I had parents that were comfortable enough to be able to sustain it, especially when I was trying to intern and learn things there. It was just self-development, like going for another Master’s Degree. As soon as I felt I was ready to come back, I came back.
How was the experience; merging music and the business-branding side?
I had been in an environment where people do these things professionally, the things that you never really consider like ‘okay the reason why this person is like this is because there is a concept for every album, there is a branding manual that they go buy, there is a PR plan that they create, everybody stick to this PR plan.’ When you have that experience, then you start to put it in perspective for what you are trying to do.
I understand that I have a brand that people remembered from the Trybesmen days, so when I was trying to come back to Nigeria I figured I needed to re-invent that brand. Re-inventing that brand was to show people a different side of what they hadn’t seen before in terms of the music, the marketing, the image, everything. Already I felt like I had a bit of a role model figure because of all of the people I had behind me when I started, and coming back, I needed something that fit in to that ‘Godfather, ELDee, Innovator, Pioneer, Creator, Big Boy’ image. Something to resonate to people easily…Those were some of the things I had been able to learn from my time in the US. It is what has helped me to put myself where I am right now.
You produce almost all your songs…
Until this album; the ‘Undeniable’ album.
What is the major difference in making music here as compared to making music overseas?
The major difference is that there is structure in the US. Sometimes that structure makes it more challenging for you as a talent, because there you have to go through a process to get where you need to be.
However, it works better over there, because there are song writers, producers, record labels, there are majors, vanity labels, media; everything is integrated, PR people, photo people, video people, people who shoot the videos, people who do the street level marketing. It’s so organized that all you need there is funding. You can promote literally anything, you just have to have money and ‘small talent’.
There is a process you have to go through to be able to get to that point, so I’m feeling like right now, if you look at it in terms of the guerrilla style that we do here, where anybody can literally get on the radio and somehow get lucky and become big, this industry is better for that, and that there’s still an opportunity for  just anybody off the street.
When do you think the Nigerian music industry had the makeover?
I would say maybe 1997 or 1998 with Maintain, Trybesmen, Plantashun boiz, The RemediesDef ‘O’ Clan, Ruff Rugged and Raw
Since then, do you think we’ve moved at the right pace or tried enough?
Honestly, independently, without any support, without any type of enforcement from the government, [and] no infrastructure whatsoever, I think this industry has done pretty well. We should have people doing papers on what we’ve done in Nigeria because what we have done is out of passion and drive; we created something out of nothing. There are challenges; unfortunately it’s a big challenge. The fact that our copyright commission is just messing around, or maybe they don’t get enough funding like they always claim. The fact that nobody is interested in intellectual property, control and enforcement. The fact that people just take advantage of the system. No industry grows if certain things are not in place. Without those things in place, the industry will forever be stunted, and unfortunately, the power to do those things lies in the government, and we all know that our government is irresponsible. No one cares about anybody or what anybody feels. Nobody cares about the needs of the people, we don’t have light, we don’t have roads, and basic water and we don’t have security, then you now want to start talking about intellectual property? That’s like speaking rocket science to a farmer.
You say that the process of ‘guerrilla style’ music promotion has stunted growth in the entertainment industry but some people disagree. D’banj, in a recent interview, likened our style of promotion here to a situation where you have people who study mechanical engineering in University and people who have basic training on the street, but both still fix tyres and repair cars. What are your thoughts?
He would never design a tyre though, [he would]never design an engine or an airplane. He would never be able to think beyond that tyre he’s fixing; that is the difference. We need innovators, we don’t need conformists. We need people who build, not people who live. The only way to grow is to have constant builders, innovation from the technology side and the music side; every sector needs that, so formal training and education is a skill that you can never disregard, because it gives you the tools to become an innovator. It’s not enough to do things the guerrilla way; yes it’s fun if people would benefit from it, but for the greater good, we need structures. Structure allows for the industry to be monetized properly, for there to be bankability, for banks to get to a point where they can give record labels loans because they know they will make their money back, for someone to be able to get a job as a photographer or be independent and be sustained by the entertainment industry, for an actor to do 20 titles and sit down and know for the rest of his life he’s going to make money off his 20 titles, and for a musician to release 5 albums and have a car at the end of it. Until we get to that point, we haven’t started yet.
Let’s talk about your past relationship with Storm Records…
It was pretty much a distribution deal for my second album. At that time, Storm was meant to promote the album in Nigeria, which they did, so we were going to split the revenue on sales. Obi and I have been pretty close, and when I was leaving I actually wanted him to run Trybe Records, but he already had an idea of what he wanted to do. That’s how Storm Records came about in the first place. So Obi and I were pretty close, we were working together the whole time and he was very supportive.
Which of your five albums is your favourite?
Probably ‘Return of the King’, because it’s the only album I made without thinking of the consequences commercially. I just made music, it didn’t really matter to me, I was just in the studio vibing and recording. Also because I wasn’t really in Nigeria, I just wanted to put out some music so it was approached almost like a mixtape, like ‘just go in there and do something’, it was post Trybesmenthe eLDee of Trybesmen that people knew back then, and that was what began my transgression into the new eLDee.
Now you have the Da Trybe 2.0. Once again, you are gathering the new school of artistes. Why are you doing it again?
I’m doing it again for two reasons:
1: I believe with the new platform that we’ve created we can establish a decent level of structure in the Nigerian entertainment industry
2: I believe that we can be diverse in our music, so I want to preach a little bit of diversity all over again. Everybody doesn’t have to do the same thing, I think our people are yearning for new sounds and new ideas. I think that there are a lot of people who have the talent but don’t get the platform, so we are creating a platform and should be able to support talents like that. Ultimately, what we are doing here is about to become a major thing  – an end to end entertainment business solution. Our structure is strong enough to sign up to 30 artistes within the next 24 to 36 months, so why not?
You have signed two producers: Sarz and Sheyman. Why?
Back then we didn’t have many producers; there were three or four producers in the whole country, but now there are like hundreds or thousands of producers everywhere. However the move is not just as simple as people think, it’s about the business that we are building.
There’s a company we started called IMAN Entertainment, which is the group head for 4 companies. Trybe Records is one of those companies; Trybe has been acquired by the IMAN. Trybe production is our event company and we also have a company called IMAN One, which is the distribution company. There is also IMAN audio and visual studio, we’re currently finishing our state of the art facilities in Lekki. My producers are all going to be there; not just Sarz, and Sheyman, but I’ll be looking to work with all of the young producers that are out there right now, bring a couple more of them on board and give them room to be creative and make music. Let’s go back to the essence of why we are doing this thing in the first place, let’s make some music, let’s have fun while we’re doing it, let’s try to change the game.
On the video side, we‘re building a professional Hollywood standard studio here in Lagos for Nollywood and for the entertainment industry in general. The studio will be the first of its kind in West Africa, possibly in Africa.
A lot of Nigerian artistes have gotten international deals and or international collaborations recently, like D’banj with Mercury-G.O.O.D Music and Psquare signing a distribution deal with Universal Music. Do you think Nigeria is ready to make that leap into the international field?
Our music is strong, but we still need some level of structure. People are beginning to realize the potential of the market, and they are beginning to acknowledge this market, which is a good thing. If I get signed in the US today, I just won’t really make noise about that because I don’t think it’s necessary. It doesn’t change the grand scheme of things for eLDee in Nigeria; if I’m unable to use that platform to sell Nigerian music to Americans, then to me, it’s a waste of time.
If I have to go to America to make American music for Americans then that’s a different artiste, that’s a different brand, a different platform. Until we get to the point where our music can command enough respect for those artistes to want to work with us, I don’t really see much of what is going on now as beneficial. Let’s export our own, let them come and buy from us, we are trying to create an African major because we want to control Africa, we don’t need Universal to come and control for us. This is our Africa, this unique market, it’s almost like on the same thing in every sectors, telecommunications and oil and gas etc. We have to realize the potential that we have and begin to capitalize on it. It’s cool that people see it as a sign of success, but I’m a business man; if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.
You tied the knot with your wife Dolapo in 2008. It’s been almost 4 years now, how has 4 years of marriage been?
No real difference, because I have been with my wife for 13 years now. We started through the Trybesmen era and we lived through it together, so to get to this point is like ‘it’s just same thing. The only difference is that we have a daughter, and we divert some of our funds to her, and some of our attention of course. Nothing much has changed.
What’s your daughter favourite eLDee song?
That’s very tough, [because] she’s always making requests for different songs. She likes ‘Today Today’, I know she likes ‘Higher’. I did a song for her on the album which she loves. She hangs out in the studio, so she got to listen first. She’s a fun kid.
When she grows up, will you allow her to follow your in your footsteps as a player in the entertainment industry?
I believe so, even though I wouldn’t try to manipulate her. I would give her the opportunity; you live in the house where there’s a studio, if you want to do music it’s right there, if you want to be a computer geek, fine, if you want to do fashion, ok. The thing I want for my children is to be able to create access for them wherever they go for whatever it is they want to do. It’s my job to create access for her. That’s the reason why I’m working so hard. If my daughter decides tomorrow that she wants to be an actress, I don’t mind. She’s just two and I can already tell she knows music.
eLDee the activist
I hate that word ‘activist’
Activist just sounds offensive ‘eLDee the concerned citizen’ how about that?
Okay, as eLDee the concerned citizen, you’ve always voiced your opinion through your music; with songs like ‘I go yarn’ and ‘One day’.  Why have you taken it upon yourself to do so?
I have done that because I have a platform to do so. A lot of people have platforms and they misuse it, [but] this platform is not just for me to make music and make money off people, this platform is a gift, it’s a blessing, to bless other people with it and if it’s the only way I can do that, then I must be able to use it to tap into people’s consciousness and say ‘this not the way things are supposed to be.
I’m pretty comfortable, even in Nigeria, but guess what? A lot of people have gotten so used to not having, that they don’t even know what having can be like. Look at what just paying a little more attention to infrastructure has turned Lagos into within 2 years; why isn’t that happening at the national level? Those are the things I’m concerned about. I know the people in Lagos cannot fix power because it’s a federal problem. The people are suffering and the money is there, they’re just chopping. One person in Nigeria fit get $1bn,, wetin he wan carry $1bn do? If you have $100m, na the same club you and person wey get N100m go dey enter, na the same motor una go buy. There is disregard for the people and I always want the people to know that it doesn’t have to be like that.


                               Halima Abubakar explodes: Why I fought Tonto Dike

Halima Abubakar
Halima Abubakar is angry and she makes no pretence about it! The diminutive Nollywood actress is upset with a lot of things. Hear the Ebira, Kogi State-born thespian: “I have really gone through many things in my life. It has not been an easy journey, but I thank God I was not broken. Sometimes people make you lose confidence in yourself and you just want to give up. So I am really happy for my strength and God.
Tonto Dike

“People are annoying and suddenly they are saying things about me, but it is okay, it means I’m doing something great, because if you are not doing anything great, they won’t talk about you,” she adds.

Asked to comment on her once robust relationship with Nollywood pal, Tonto Dikeh, Miss Abubakar waxes philosophical. “Ok, after a while some people just grow apart in life,” she begins.

“That was the only problem we had, there was never any verbal exchange between us. Don’t forget that between us, there were too many friends. Now, I don’t even have time for friendship, which is the truth because I have grown wiser now. At a point in life, people just need to go achieve something and come back. I didn’t want to feel awkward in any relationship that is why I decided to do my own thing. Tonto is an amazing person.”

Halima Abububakar, in this touching interview opens up on her love life, business, upbringing and many other issues.

So what are the current projects taking your time?

I have been shooting movies in Owerri and Awka but I have not been to any location in Asaba this year. I have been to Enugu three times and now I am shooting in Lagos. I am doing a documentary about bullying. You can call it my pet project. It won’t be more than 40 minutes because we don’t intend to waste anyone’s time.

Of all charitable causes, why bullying?

Because I have been bullied for most part of my childhood and adolescent years. I want to focus on this because a lot of people are scared to speak-up maybe because of threats. These things are serious, parents need to talk to their kids to find out about this especially kids in boarding schools. It is not as rosy as it seems. I am inspired by things that has happened to me in my life to put them in writing and pictures. It is just a subject that I like. We don’t always have to do romance all the time. And whether we admit it or not, bullying is one of the reasons so many people do what they are not supposed to do. Some go into smoking weed just for self-worth among peers especially to prove a point to bullies.

Bullying must have been a traumatic experience for you to decide to make a movie out of it. Could you share some of the experience with us?

Oh yes! While I was in primary and secondary schools and all the way to my career in Nollywood, most of my friends have exploited my being quiet in a very disrespectful manner. Perhaps, because one is not a star or don’t have what they possess and because of this, they don’t think you belong to whatever class they have. I have been through this from fellow actors especially the female ones. When I look back, I can’t fathom what I have put up with in the name of friendships. But seriously shame on them for making another human being like them feel worthless.

I am surprised that you are bringing up something that happens among celebrities, which many don’t like to admit

I have no fear about saying this, will they come and beat me for this? I am sure some of them will think that I am mentioning names but I am not here to do that. I am sure when they see the movie I am doing now, everybody will know their characters. People will never come out and say this but when I come out to talk, they would say whatever. Bullying can come in different forms.

Can you tell us what kind of bullying exists among celebrities?

For instance, some people just don’t think that you belong to their clique or class. Once a friend invited me to be a member of celebrity group on Blackberry Messenger and I accepted. Not long after, my friend told me that a certain star just queried my invitation to the group because I am a friend with people they are not friends with. I was like are they sharing money for being a member of this group? I am so ashamed of the person. Interestingly, this is a person that calls me on the phone often. So obviously, the so called stars or whatever have their own clique and they oppress one another and I don’t want to belong to anyone.

But has this kind of rivalry ever degenerated to physical assault?

Yes once or twice, it got physical with people whom I call friends. You know, I just got tired of the shouting matches and the disrespect. I realized that such friendship is not adding anything positive to my life and they are not feeding me. In fact, one of those actresses told me that I have been in this industry for long enough and that I should try to find something else because obviously acting is not working for me. You can imagine an actress say these to my face and we are on the same set. Everybody’s destiny can never be the same. I cannot be a star the same time as you. I hear people say stuff like you have been there before her, yet, you are playing a supporting role. For goodness sake, I don’t care so long as I am working, besides I don’t need to appear in every movie to become a star. In other climes, you don’t have to feature in 100 movies to become a star, just a movie is enough to set one apart for life. Let them not forget that I left the Nollywood scene for five years yet I am back and still doing what I know how to do best. I think this is no mean feat. Anybody who is unhappy with that should go question God.

Lately, it was reported in the papers that you had a quarrel with actress Tonto Dikeh. What is the true picture?

Oh no, we never quarreled. I only read it in the papers just like everyone else did. We never had any verbal quarrel.

So what is your current relationship with her?

She is just my friend and colleague that is all.

But it is believed that both of you used to be very close friend

(Cuts in) Ok, after a while in life some people just grow apart. That was the only problem we had, there was never any verbal exchange between us. Don’t forget that between us, there were too many friends. Now, I don’t even have time for friendship, which is the truth because I have grown wiser . At a point in life, people just need to go achieve something and come back. I didn’t want to feel awkward in any relationship that is why I decided to do my own thing. Tonto is an amazing person. I don’t think that I have had any verbal quarrel with anybody. I am that kind of person who would not confront you but give you space.

What does friendship mean to you or who are your friends?

Hmm! The people I have known for over 10 years or people who I grew up with. Some of them are people who helped me as a young girl. I believe those are the people who can be real to me because they are only here because we have been friends for long. I prefer it that way, they are not in Nollywood because friends in Nollywood usually become jealous after a while.

Does it mean that you don’t have friends in Nollywood?

(Laughs) I do have friends but everybody knows that I don’t attach anything to that friendship thing because it will not change anything about my life. So, what I have are colleagues not friends.

Your frankness is amazing, where did you get this boldness from?

Well there is no need to pretend now. I know that the almighty Internet bullies will still criticize me anyway. However, it doesn’t matter because I can’t be living my life for them. Whether many will like to agree with this or not, I just want them to know that these things happen. People need to hear it. I am actually very frank and that has cost me a lot because people can’t stand my frankness and bluntness; instead they take it for arrogance. If I am upset with you, I’ll tell you instead of avoiding you and you start asking questions. It is good to know what you have done to me so that you can apologize, I will wait for your apology and if I don’t get it, I’ll move on.

Is it difficult to strike a friendship with you?

It is not difficult, only when I see the things that don’t suit me, and if you cannot contribute to anything in my life. When you find out that you keep advising people and they don’t advise you, you keep watching out for people and they don’t watch out for you and they don’t care what happen to you, back out. Over the years, I have learnt to keep my mouth shut where I am not being questioned. I might look very reserved, but the truth is if you have gone through what I have gone through in life, you will not want to have anything to do with a friend.

What are these things you have gone through in life?

I have really gone through many things in my life, it has not been an easy journey, but I thank God I was not broken. Sometimes people make you lose confidence in your self and you just want to give up. So I am really happy for my strength and God. People are annoying and suddenly they are saying things about me, but it is okay, it means I’m doing something great, because if you are not doing anything great, they won’t talk about you. I am okay now; I am now overlooking things that are not important. My mother for example has not had a close friend for the last 20 years, and she tells me it is the best thing for me, but then I didn’t listen, but now I know better.

So what happens after these things?

Well, I forgive but I can’t forget their faces. So there are still people that I see. People that have framed me up severally for things that I have not done, and I didn’t get to hear, and I just noticed that certain people started behaving funny to me, and they didn’t ask me. Eventually after having in mind that Halima is this and that, they will later discover I’m not that kind of person.

There was a girl that was duping people; I didn’t even know the girl, she was on my BBM at a point, only for me to start hearing this person is your friend, she is always using your picture as her Display Picture and I am like, this girl is a fan, I have never met her before. People would just commit crime and drop their names as your friend. But now things are falling in place, which is vindicating me. Now people are now calling me, Halima I am so sorry for all those times. But when they were attacking me, it was so painful. It has made me realize that people are not what they seem. Maybe because I have a good and clean mind that is why these things are happening to me.

You talked like you have been hurt a lot because of friendship, what is the biggest price you have had to pay for friendship?

I don’t even know right now I just want to be sincere and honest. People will be surprise that Halima is opening up a lot now that is because I am beginning to get a lot comfortable with my self. The truth is that I am not going to take any insult from anyone, so it is better for me not to start something that I won’t finish. My best friend, my family and the one that I love are the only people close to me now. Friendship these days depends on what people can get from you, I have met people that have told me, please introduce me to this person, and that is just because of what they want to gain from that person and I am like are you here to meet these people or for me? People these days don’t have genuine love for one another, they just want opportunity to mess things up for you or get something they want. So I have been used severally, either by a friend or a contact. I have had enough of that.

Has this new approach to life that you just adopted influence your interactions with guys too?

Guys are amazing, they don’t have time for silly gossips, and women do that. The only men that do that are petty men; I don’t expect men to do that. I have a lot of male friends in the past that people will say, I am dating them and I will be like how many men am I even dating? Can’t I just have them as friends? Men are very encouraging, and some I didn’t give any chance because I just felt they just wanted sex, but the ones I have had as friends have been wonderful.

How lucky have you been with your relationships?

I have had very few relationships; I had a boyfriend that died in 2003, and after that I think I have been in two solid relationships, people might say that it is a lie, but if anybody knows of any other one, he or she should come out and say it. I have had only two relationships, and I realize that these days people are getting headaches over when I will marry and all that, are they going to live with me, when I get married? Are they going to put food on my table when I get married? Will they come and live with us, so I won’t get married because of what people are saying. Some of them don’t even have a relationship. They just hate us because we are actresses, is it our fault? So you don’t bring your frustrations into my own name. Most of the rumours on the Internet are all lies. Some don’t even read the interviews before they comment, when they just see someone’s name, they just scroll down to the comment, and they don’t even know what you are saying on the Internet.

Do these things get to you?

No, there are things that I do that I would appreciate a commendation, but people don’t do that. You find out that the good things you do, people don’t read about it, what they want to read about is, an actress dating this and that, an actress smoking. When you say this person is doing charity, they don’t get to highlight that. They highlight the rumours they hear, and not what they see or know. If they don’t see pictures, they complain; when they see, they say you are advertising what you are doing. So I have given up on trying to convince people, I’ll keep on doing what I want to do and forget about what people think. I see a lot of people fighting over my age, and it is silly, because at this time people don’t lie about age. How old was I, when I came in, how old am I now? People say Halima should keep quiet; she is older than she is claiming.

I am sure you have read recently that an oil baron dumped you?

Yes, I have read about it, which is what people love reading about. Somebody sent a link and that day I just wanted to laugh, I read a comment where somebody said stuffs, the person is a sad person I think. The person keeps commenting with a name Lalaland. The person is a hater, always commenting badly about me, the person is so hateful, I don’t even understand why that person is still allowed to comment.

You think there should be a regulation on online journalism?

There should be. Why must a person have so much hate, I don’t know. You see one person commenting severally with different names. On this particular, day, the person said that I was a dwarf. It was so funny, because I don’t even know that person. If you don’t like me, why click on my article, why say things you don’t know about me?

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