Monday, June 30, 2014

Artistes Who Dumped Degrees For Fame


In those days, perhaps even till the early 90s, Nigerian parents did not readily welcome the idea of their children pursuing a career in music. They would rather like their children to pursue careers in medicine, law or engineering.

However, a few celebrities today have been able to withstand criticism and the temptation to push aside their education. They have shown that entertainers too have brains and can also live glamorous lives.  TribuneNg chronicles the lives of some of these artistes who are degree holders.

Dr Sid
FROM an early age, Dr. Sid (real name is Sidney Esiri) had his heart set on becoming a singer. One would think that coming from a family where his late father, veteran actor Justus Esiri, was an actor, being an entertainer would be pretty easy – but it was not.

In an earlier interview with Saturday Tribune, Dr Sid said, “I had to apply for Dental Surgery and focus on being a dentist until my first year when I joined a dance group called Rock Force. While still trying to be a dentist, I moved to Trybes Men.

When asked what his late dad’s reaction was, the musician said, “He was pretty upset. He even said he did not want to see me, and kicked me out of the house. Later on, I found out that his harsh judgement at that time was to test my resolve; to see if I was sure that I would work hard in the music industry the same way I would work hard as a dentist. And immediately he saw this, he gave me his support.”

Sidney, better known as Dr Sid is a graduate from the University of Ibadan, and is a certified dentist.

Ali Baba
ALI Baba was born into a family that wanted him to study Law to be able to take care of them, but deep down, the ace comedian knew that that was not what he wanted to do. He, however, had his education at Ibru College in Agbarha-Otor and then went on to the Bendel State University (now Ambrose Alli University), Ekpoma where he studied Religious Studies & Philosophy.

After acquiring a degree from the then Bendel State University in 1990, he relocated to Lagos, having discovered his comic talent in his third year in university. He had planned to return to Ekpoma to study Law but that was not to be, since he discovered he could make more money from making people laugh than defending them.

While trying to make a mark as a comedian with brains, Ali Baba told Saturday Tribune that he had to do lots of free shows and even begged to be allowed a few minutes to perform at seminars, and AGMs.

Well, now known as one of the most influential comedians in the history of Nigeria, Ali Baba’s driving force, as he told Saturday Tribune, is to prove to his father that he did not have to study Law to make it.

Naeto C
The Owerri-born rapper was born to former Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Mrs. Kema Chikwe and Chief Herbert Chikwe. Though he spent his early years in Ireland, his fondness for music grew fast and was articulated into other creative art forms, most specifically poetry, which took him to various competitions and earned him accolades as a young poet.

He, however, had to finish school before the dream of being a musician could grow big. After finishing his secondary education in Lagos, Naeto C moved to the United States for higher education both in Suny old Westbury and a year later, George Washington University. It was at this time that he met Uzikwendu and Ikechukwu, who were aspiring hip-hop artistes out of Washington Heights, New York.

Naeto C graduated in 2004 from the George Washington University with a BSc. in Biology, intending to study further and become a medical doctor. After some deep self-searching, he changed his mind and decided to pursue his dream and develop his talent as a musician.

In the summer of 2013, Naeto C disappeared from the entertainment scene and returned to school to pursue a higher degree in London at the Oxford University, taking a course in Energy Economics.

Banky W
ALTHOUGH Bankole Wellington (BankyW) was born in the United States to Nigerian parents, his family moved back to Lagos, Nigeria, when he was five years old where he began singing in his church choir at the age of eight.

After completing his secondary school education at Home Science Association Secondary School, he moved to New York to attend college on a scholarship, earning a degree in Engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It was while he was still in college that the engineer-cum-musician won the ‘Albany Idol’ competition, which catapulted him into the spotlight.

Funke Akindele
FORGET the fact that Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, may be comical with most of her television roles, she is nothing near an illiterate. The former Miss Akindele attended the University of Lagos where she earned a degree in Law.

IN 2008, it was difficult not to notice Mo Cheddah as she ruled the air waves alongside her young counterpart, Wizkid

But Mo Cheddah did not allow her rising music career deter her from completing her education. Even when she was asked in an earlier interview how she was coping with school, she said, “It’s so hard, but I have to go to school. There is no compromise on it. I know some other people would have decided to dump school and face their career; but I didn’t think of doing that. This is something I have to do. It is a total struggle. Remember I have to travel all the time. But I read my books everywhere I go. I read inside the plane. This is a life I have chosen to live. I also have to be in school because I wouldn’t want people to think I am a celebrity who is dumb upstairs. You know how people behave to you when they know they have an advantage over you? They will want to be rude to you. I will never allow that.”

Now a graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Lagos, Mo Cheddah has continued with her singing career, and even also hopes to become an actress.


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