Last year, Nollywood Actress, and creator of the Jenifa Diary, Funke Akindele, married her hearthrob, Abdul Rasheed Bello popularly known as JJC Skillz in a private ceremony that held in the United Kingdom.
In this new interview with Goldenpearlmedia, JJC opened up on how he met and toasted Funke, how his children accepted their step mom.. He also talked about the “silent beef” between his wife Funke and Toyo Baby, amongst other things. Read the Full interview below:
What’s new about JJC Skillz?
Well, i’m now officially a music video and film director. For the past few years, I have been telling people that I was about to move into Nollywood, but they didn’t believe me. I have made that come through; i’m now of the directors of Jenifa’s Dairy.
I shot all London scenes and now we are back to Nigeria, still doing it. I’m one of the brains behind an upcoming TV series; Industreet. It was produced by my wife, Funke Akindele Bello.
We came up with the concept of creating a story around the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
I’m also part owner of the SOP music label that has four new acts. We are planning lot of movies this year, so you can see my hands are full.
You have always been a music artiste, now you have soared to a movie director, label owner, producer, etc, has this always been your dream?
To be honest I studied TV and Video Production in school. When I wanted to go to school, I couldn’t because I was a JJC. Later I went on to take on MVQ course; which is like a work training course. I studied TV and Video Productions. I left that course with 9 As. So, every department of that course, from script writing, directing, all, I did it so passionately, I came out with distinctions.
After I was done with the course and because of my grade, I was able to get a job with an amazing advertisement company. I was their assistant editor and worked there for 2 years. So, I have background in entertainment, directing, editing, it’s what I studied and it’s now my profession. But I left all that for music.
What’s the concept behind Industreet?
I have 20 years of experience in the music entertainment industry, and I believe nobody has been able to tell the story of African music scene. I was there in the beginning. So, I want the world to know what’s really going on behind the scene in Nigerian entertainment industry.
Is it like your true life story?
Not really. It’s the story of the betrayals, the rise and fall, the success, failures and lots more. It’s a story of a group of young people who gathered together to form a label, the SOP records. When you watch you’ll understand how the street took over the industry, that’s why we called it Industreet.
How much of your personal story is in Industreet?
I’ll about 70 percent of some of my life story was infused into the story line, because it was a passion project. I actually came up with this idea in 2009, and I shot about half and hour pilot of it. It was like a tester of the proposed TV show.
When will Industreet premiere?
It’s will premiere on May 19, 2017. That’s the day of the launch. Then a week after, they can watch it on our website. Even Jenifa’s Diary can be watched on the scene one App.
Since you got married, it seems you took a break from making your own music?
My own music is on hold, because I needed to focus on this great opportunity that came to my doorsteps. Jenifa’s Diary is a big project, you can see we have been winning awards here and there. We as a family, have our hands full already in different productions.
What challenges do you often face, doing all these; production, directing, music, etc?
It’s not just productions, we have our own website; www.sceneone.tv. And it’s also an App. Our focus is to create the content and dish it out to people out there. It hasn’t been easy, but God has been there for us.
The scripture said ‘When you find a wife, you find a good thing’, can you relate to that?
Of course, he who findeth a wife, findeth a good thing and obtained favour from the Lord. Most times, as a single man, you carry almost all your burdens alone. You’d have to worry about what you eat, and my cooking Skillz it’s not really that fantastic. But when I found my wife, I knew I had found my better-half. Now, when I think about things, I share it all with my wife. We wake up from same bed in morning and head to our field, because we are both into entertainment. She’s the actress, script writer, i’m the director, editor. She’s very hard working, in fact I don’t know anyone like us in this industry; she works day and night. We wake up every single day, with the mind set of making ourselves happy.
Funke, like you we all know is a very busy woman, does she still have time to cook for you?
Why not? It is said that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Definitely, she cooks amazingly, but I told her to stop, so she can get enough rest. Most times, she would insist, because she wants to take care of her man. But I always insist, as we now have chefs.
Was it her cooking Skillz that attracted you to her?
My wife is a fantastic cook, she’s an amazing woman, everything about her attracted me to her. It’s not only one thing that attracts a man to a woman, but definitely, the cooking Skillz is a plus and my wife has it all. I would want to eat her meals for the rest of my life.
What’s her favourite dish for you?
Oh! Thats Ewedu and pounded yam; that’s number one. That food always sweep me off my feet, and i’d ask her, if she added ‘something’ extra to it. She’s loving, caring, hard working, she’s all a man could ever ask for.
So, how does it feel being married to a popular actress?
To be honest, I lived the better part of my life in the UK, so I didn’t really know who Funke Akindele was. When I met her, I just met someone that wanted a director for her TV show; Jenifa’s Diary. That was in 2013. We have been going on for a long time, people just found out in 2016.
We were very low key, because we are two popular people in the entertainment industry, so we have to protect our privacy.
How did you manage to hide it from the public eyes for so long?
Just like our wedding and our privates lives, we just have to keep it away from the public eyes. We already have so much out there on social media and people end up, blowing it out of proportion.
How did you meet Funke Akindele?
She wanted someone to direct her TV series, then I was about to embark on recording the JJC album then. Her sister introduced us, because she knew I was into music video directing.
So, when I met her, I told me she did a movie sometime ago and would like to turn it into a TV series. We started working together and preparing for the shoot, then one thing led to another. Here we are today, the rest is history. We just clicked.
Would you say, it was love at first sight?
Well, I would say so, because first time I saw her, I was wowed. She also told me that, when she first saw me, she went ‘Wow’. We tried to keep the whole work as professional as possible but along the line, emotions ran high.
How did you propose to her? On your knees, romantic date or just casual question?
I’m definitely a romantic person, so I gave her a dose of it. It wasn’t in an open place, because only very few people knew as at then.
So, that very day, she came home to meet flowers, candles everywhere; quite a romantic set up. When she saw it, she had no choice than to say ‘Yes’.
Were you afraid, she would say No?
Well, we had a very wonderful, beautiful relationship, but to be honest, I had proposed to her earlier and she laughed at me. I think that was a week after we met. I was like ‘I have never met anyone like you, marry me’. And she just laughed at me. And then, I promised that, that she would be my wife. I play around a lot, but then, I meant it.
You are both celebrities, in the media eyes, how do you succeed in maintaining your private life?
Private life, work life, we take it all one day at a time. We don’t worry about outsiders and what they would think, we just do us. Every single day, we have our prayers and talk about how the day would go. It’s quite a unique and complimentary relationship and i’m enjoying every bit of it.
Who apologies first when you both have little marital issues?
My wife would say, that she apologies first, but I refuse because I know I apologize first. Most times, we apologize at the same time. No relationship or marriage is perfect, so such things are normal. I’ll get upset, she’ll get upset, we later apologize to each other and let it slide. In fact, we hardly do find ourselves in such situations.
However, the important thing is not to carry over any arguments or misunderstanding to the next day. We are now family, so we help each other grow.
We both have had our own fair share of horrible relationship experiences, so we appreciate each other a whole lot. We value our love and hold it tight. A lots of people in the world are looking at us with envy, while some are hoping and praying that one day, we would break up. We are going to disappoint them because we try to hard to keep ourselves in check, encourage ourselves and most importantly, pray for ourselves.
When would the kids start coming?
Soon! God’s time is the best. We are working on it.
How did your kids accept their new step mum?
Well, before we got married in London, we all had a good relationship here in Nigeria. The kids were always seeing this beautiful woman around daddy, and always make him happy. They might be away and in different continent, but they are part of our daily activities. She is also very close to them, they met her digital first. They didn’t know she is an actress then, because in the UK, they hardly watch Nigerian movies, but they love so much. They all love each other. It’s a perfect blend.
I remember my daughter telling me, ‘Dad make sure you marry her. She’s a keeper”. And I did, I followed my daughter’s advice.
One of my songs, Save The Last Dance’ was written for my wife, she really saved the last dance for me.
Last year, it was reported that you had a fracas with your cousin, Mr. Moe Musa, because of Funke Akindele, that Moe had to move out of your house, what really happened?
Those who instigated such reports are very stupid! People just say and publish whatever they want without proper investigations and still get away with it.
Mr. Moe Musa as at then moved to the next block after mine. I lived in block H, while he is in block G. I spoke with the agents that got him the apartment and he moved in. He used to be in a room in my 3 bedroom apartment, so when my relationship, got serious, he moved on.
That’s not even the main reason. Moe has been in Nigeria then for almost 6 months, so he felt it was time to get his own place.
To be honest, when you first relocate to Nigeria, you’ll find it very hard to stay alone because you don’t understand the system yet. The way things work in Nigeria are different from the way it work in other countries. Moe stayed with me for a while, so he could get used to the Nigerian system. How to get food, how Generator works and other confusing stuffs.
Days ago, Jenifa Diary actor, Toyosi reportedly left the productions after a misunderstanding with Funke and all fingers were pointing at you, what really happened?
I don’t know why Toyosi left and it has nothing to do with me. Just like any character in a TV series, she can go and return. The only permanent character in the series is Jenifa. Falz has gone and came back. In the script Toyosi is married and has gone to France with her husband to live for a while. So, anything can happen. When she comes back, you’d see her on screen, if not, then that’s what the script said.
But it was also reported that Funke un-followed her on social media…..true?
Well, I don’t know about that. I’m not 100 percent sure of that. I’ll have to check Instagram to find out about that.
Funke Akindele turned into a singer, just to surprise you on your birthday, how does that make you feel?
It was awesome. My wife and the SOP team wowed me. I noticed that whenever I come into the studio they all looked funny. They even sent me on a fools errand, just to shoot a video for me, under my nose. I really didn’t see it coming.
I woke up that day, to see all of them wearing a t-shirt for me, sang for me and a whole lot. It made me really happy. I thank God, I have my best friend as a wife, then the best team ever! I’m indeed so lucky.