Top 6 Nigerian Celebrities With Real ‘Grass To Grace’ Stories
Everyone has a story to tell. Every day, we meet people from different works of life; whether a lawyer or a classroom teacher; a Managing Director or a gate man; a banker or bus conductor…the list is endless.
However, regardless of our sundry careers, professions or work, what ultimately define us is the quality and strength of our attitudes of mind. Quite frankly, we have heard the almost banal and clichéd statement that – “as our faces are different, so are our challenges, desires, and aspirations”.
Well, it is true because a lot of us go to work and our business places, all adorned in fine clothing and perfumes; the smiles from our faces can literally light up an entire street…that’s how we roll. However, behind our colourful garbs and ‘keyboard’ smiles lies some of our frustrations, challenges, and sometimes warm tears that literally deluge our pillows when we go to sleep at night (at least for those who are fortunate enough to have a place to lay their heads).
Check out these inspiring stories of some top celebrities (not exhaustive) – how they literally went through the gutters of life to sitting and dinning with presidents, kings, and princes of our time.
He is arguably Nigeria’s number one reggae/dancehall artist at the moment. From being the face and ambassador of several top brands and organisations to returning as a judge in the ongoing musical competition – The Voice Nigeria, Patoranking has shown not only his versatility but also the fruit of hardwork. Now you see all the glitz and glamour that surrounds and exudes from him, and you wish your life could like his. However, before you quickly latch upon the glory you see, please let’s take a plunge into his STORY.
Before coming to lime light, he was a brick layer. If you are yet to grasp what that means…this is it: He didn’t just do brick laying, he also carried “kponkpon”. Kponkpon is the pan used to carry sand from one place to another within a building or construction site.
To further strengthen his hustle, and to raise funds to support his family (being the first born) and his musical career, he sold rat poison (maybe something like “ota piapia”) on the street. Nobody wey no fit to make am!
2. Joseph Benjamin
Obviously a darling in the movie industry and a golden child in event anchoring and public speaking, Joseph Benjamin is definitely one of the high-flyers in the entertainment stratosphere. As they say, looks can be very deceptive; his looks more often than not do not betray some of the travails and harsh realities he had to grapple with while working on his dream some years back.
In his own words, “I’ve moved from being a bus conductor, security guard, waiter, worked in a Bakery, sold shoes at Balogun; then moved into IT before acting.”
The above is a lesson to all of us, please treat everyone you meet well regardless of their present circumstance because you might just be having the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria polishing your shoes. Don’t just be a respecter of persons, be a respectful person.
3. Linda Ikeji
Arguably Nigeria’s number one “miss independence”…in Neyo’s voice, her obvious talent, persistence, and business ingenuity leaves many in utter awe. Apart from having a pretty face and a coca cola figure, the entrepreneur/blogger extraordinaire has genius working in-betwixt her ears. However, like every human being, she has a story…please check this out.
From being admitted into a course she didn’t want (English) at the University of Lagos, to struggling in newsrooms as a writer, to modeling, and finally selling beer as a waiter in hotels, Linda has shown the strength of the woman to surmount the sundry challenges that life throws on a daily. In her own words, “I’d leave lectures, go to a hotel and sell beer from 1 pm till 10 pm. I did this for a few months. It wasn’t easy but I had to survive”. Today the story is different…CHEERS TO ALL THE HUSTLERS!
4. Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde
Omotola has obviously gone beyond the threshold of taxonomies among the top actresses in Nigeria to becoming a living legend in the Entertainment Industry. From her fetal stages in the acting business to where she is now, Omotola have continued to leave indelible prints not only in Nigeria, but also in the consciousness of the global space. In 2003, she made the Times Magazine list of Most Influential People in the world; this is no small feat. Some Presidents of countries never reach such heights.
Howbeit, Omotola has her story too; she has been through the heated crucible of life, and like gold she has passed through fire to emerge fine and refined. Check out her story:
After losing the breadwinner of her family, herself, her mom, and her two siblings literally had to beg on the street just to survive another day. They would sit on pavements of some rich Nigerians hoping to get handouts to carry on the day; but were disappointed severally. She was almost tempted to go into prostitution, but her doggedness and streaks of serendipity embraced her.
5. John Okafo
Popularly referred to as Mr. Ibu for his role in the movie titled – Mr. Ibu, in 2004, John Okafor is one of Nigeria’s most talented comic characters. His humorous and jocular acting is one that is characterised by stupidity, hilarious imbecility and a sharp disconnection from reality. However, in case you did not know, he once sold firewood, was a butcher, and a hair dresser.
“When I lost my father, breeze pulled down our house and we became tenants in our own village. We were eight in number; five men and three women. We were given a room in our maternal home; there we all slept at night as if we were in a cell. One leg here, the other leg there”, he recalls.
In fact, the interesting part of his story was that his family was the poorest in his hometown in Enugu State. Life and living was truly tough for him…today as they say…the rest his HIStory!
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, better known by his stage name Wiz kid, is definitely Nigeria’s finest and hottest entertainment export. Born on 16 July 1990, Wizzy quickly embraced his musical destiny at age 11. Formerly known as Lil’ Prinz, his early career wasn’t as smooth as you might think.
Unlike some artists that were born with “golden spoons”, and had billions in their accounts even before venturing into music, wizzy was not that fortunate. He literally became a studio rat; he ate and slept in popular studios in pursuit of his dreams…these were his days in Surulere and Ojuelegba. He never relied on hand outs from patronage or parentage.
He has shared stages with a lot of Nigeria’s finest artist, and has entered global relevance with collaboration with renowned artists like Drake.
Today regardless of what you think of him, the name Wiz Kid will forever resound in the annals of Nigerian history.
Finally, are you still complaining and grouching about your current situation, please pick and dust yourself, have a dream, and work hard at it like your life depends on it…because it does.
So many people leave this teraqueous globe we call earth, and their next door neighbours do not even have the faintest idea that someone just left because their level of consciousness and contribution is very microscopic. Please decide today to change the narrative of your life and re-edit your story.