Men Who Upload Intimate Videos Of Their Ex Are Nonentities – Queen Ebigieson


Queen Blessing Ebigieson.

Queen Blessing Ebigieson is the President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP). She is not the type that pretends over issues, but says it as it is. She bares her mind on several things concerning the industry in this interview with Orji Onyekwere.


You started as a dancer and model more than 20 years ago. What is the difference between actors who started in your time and those of today, especially the young ladies; in terms of character, discipline and approach to work?

No. I started as an actress, and a model, later added dancing along the line. I started dancing in musical videos and I danced for the likes of Tony Tetuila, Eedris Abudulkareem, Pasuma Wonder, Adex and Asker among others. I also started modeling when jobs were not coming, for me; it was necessity that drove me into all these ones, otherwise the passion was acting.
I had so many bills to pay and I was raised in a manner that as a woman, you shouldn’t depend on a man, so the man factor providing for me was not really my thing. In fact, I came into Nollywood as an 18-year-old virgin till l was 21 years; my mom did not raise me to depend on any man. So, if there is no acting job, dancing job will be available and when there’s no dancing job, modeling job will come. Jobs to put food on the table and when they come, l am very professional and disciplined about them.
I did the TV series, “Super Story”, and “This Life” multiple times for Chief Wale Adenuga, “One Bad Apple”, “Only God Forgives”, and “Officers Wife” etc. One thing people l have worked with, either in acting or other businesses, know about me is that when you give me your call time; your call time is your full time. If I don’t have time, I won’t take your job and one thing l never do is take a job when I’m still on another job. I must finish the production, go to my house, sleep at least two days, eat the food l cooked because l am a very good cook; before l will take up another job.
I consider my health in everything l do, that is why l am careful with what l eat outside because l don’t know what they used to cook their food, so it’s always important to come back home, detox, make your food, sleep and rest before you take up another job. Most of the actors today are not disciplined. As a producer, l am a much disciplined person and harsh when l need to be. Almost everybody l have worked with has not come to set late because of the kind of person l am. I will make sure l put you in a hotel a day before the production starts.
On the other hand, if you don’t come a day before the production and you want to come same day, you must come at call time or you will have to talk to my lawyer. I don’t want to know what happened because it’s my money that is wasting. So, when it comes to me, I’m very strict and people who work with me know that.
Yes, a lot of actors are not disciplined like in our days and the ones before us. When you tell them call time is 8:00am, you will see some of them coming by 4:00pm and some of them, especially ladies, take three hours to make up. I don’t think most of these ladies depend on money they make from acting to survive, they either have other businesses or they have men who are bankrolling them. So, if you don’t have a man who is bankrolling you, neither do you have other businesses that generate money for you, then you would appreciate and respect time.
Yes, after I had my son; I stopped dancing and also stopped runway modeling, l only do photo modeling now. Of course, I added producing 14 years ago into my portfolio. I’m a serial entrepreneur: I sell charcoal, I sell clothes and I do aso ebi for parties, I do a lot of things just to make sure that I don’t lack; to keep up with my bills because it’s a lot to stay in this industry.

I know you have put the experience of your first marriage behind you. However, a situation where celebrities’ nude videos are leaked by their ex-boyfriends out of revenge is putting the industry in bad light. What advice do you have for some of your colleagues who have been in this situation?
For starters, talking about failed relationship with the father of my son, Chief Johnny Okosun, he is not that kind of person. Because we are no longer together does not mean l should bring him down, though he’s not taking care of our son, but it is what it is. He’s not even a social media person, and will never have those kinds of pictures or videos. I am a very shy lady, I’m not even the kind of person who will go about snapping nude pictures or doing nude videos for my man or with my man, ‘my craze no reach that level’.
Even if I do it at all, I won’t put my face on it, so that if it leaks nobody is going to know who is on the video or in the picture. The men who put out women’s nude pictures and videos on social media are nonentities.
I date only quality men, my advice to my colleagues in the industry is that when you are popular, you must make sure you date somebody who is even more popular than you or who has more to lose than you, don’t go about as a public figure dating somebody who has nothing to lose; who is even trying to use you to cash out. Then you go and do nude pictures or videos and put your face on them while he who has nothing to lose, he will hide his face and you think that tomorrow when you are no longer interested, the man will not use it to blackmail you for money and eventually post it on the social media when you are tired of paying.
For me, I blame them, my colleagues, no matter how madly in love you are, you should never put your face in a nude picture or a video for your husband, your boyfriend or whatever relationship you think you’re having with that person because the most constant thing in life is change. Despite how deep you love that person, things can still change.
I don’t even have issues with the men because with men people forget easily, but with women it will always haunt you, your children, friends and family members. So, if you’re not thinking of yourself when you go on this adventure, think about your children even if you don’t have now, you’re going to eventually have children. Their friends will taunt them, people will point fingers at them, the internet never forgets, we must always remember that, I mean at 20 you can make mistakes, but in your 30’s you should know better. If you go to a hotel or visit your man make sure you scan through the room to ensure that there are no hidden cameras, we live in a desperate world today and it’s sad.

Take us into your leadership journey; what it has been like, since you took over as AMP president; your achievements so far, welfare plans for members.
I have been a member of Association of Movie Producers, (AMP), Nigeria, for over 16 years now. I was the National Treasurer of the Association from 2018 – 2020 under the leader of the former President Emeritus, Ralph Nwadike. In 2020, I became the National Vice President of the Association under the leadership of Peace Anyiam Osigwe till 2023 when we lost her.
I was later sworn in as National President on March 17, 2023; till now, it has been an amazing journey but with a lot of work because I hardly have time for myself these days. In July, I was in London for the Nigerian Week hosted by SRTV London, where l received recognition for the Most Devoted Industry Leader, 2023. I must say I deserve it because I have worked very hard. On August 30, 2023, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), honored me for my remarkable leadership in the guild and the creative space. From September 17 to 24, 2023, I was in Toronto, Canada, for the Toronto International Film Festival, where l spoke at the event and also received the Achievement Award in Media and Creative industry.
I am happy because l have not disappointed my predecessor and other past presidents, knowing also that l can count on their advice and support and that of all the members at all times. I am not ashamed to ask for help from them, even my members when needed because nobody knows it all. As I try to complete most of the projects the past presidents began, l am also charting a new part for the Association.
With new leadership, no matter how you look at it, it comes with new perception on how things should be done and how we see and look at things. In all, it has been an amazing journey, I have the support of my members because they are happy with my leadership and I’ll continue to do my best to make sure it stays that way. It will always be AMP first, and AMP always.

What is your association doing about the huge disparity in the rate offered by U.S-based streaming platform, Netflix, for Nigerian films and those of their Asian and European counterparts; Nollywood is between $10,000, $90,000, and $500million on films and series in Europe and Asia.

We must understand that Netflix is a company and they will run their company the way they feel they can get their money back and make gains. The rate they offer Nigerian film makers might be because they believe the cost of production here is cheaper than the cost of production elsewhere, which is not completely true. However, as an association, we are looking into the issue and we have written letters to them to see what can be done to make sure we get equal pay.
We spend money, time and energy to make these films and our films are always toping the chat, so, we must be paid better for our hard work, because Netflix is also a privately owned business. We can only tell them to up their game and treat us right. We welcomed them into Nigeria whole heartedly, so one good turn deserves another, but you can’t force it on them.
We are also trading carefully to make sure that we don’t offend the people who have brought their platform to us, the conversation must continue by sitting on the table to talk with them and make sure that things are done right.

You received an award at TINFF, Canada, last month, September. Tell us about the award and the responsibility it has bestowed on you.
Like I said earlier, I have worked very hard in this industry for the past 24 years, before I became the National President, Association of Movie Producers and people are seeing my sincere hard work in the sector. I have been honored for this, I have received a lot of awards, but for me; the awards I received in London and the one they gave me in Canada have so far been my best because both are awards for my work. In London, l received the most devoted industry leadership award, while the one in Canada was an achievement award in media and creative sector.
For me, what these awards have done is to give me more impetus to continue doing what I know how to do best. In addition, to raise my game and show the world; the creative industry, its benefits and all they will gain if they invest. I also attend conferences where l talk to the youths about the creative industry.
I just came back from Mali a couple of days back where l was invited for a five-day youth conference which focused on moral, culture and the creative industry. I was the only speaker from Nigeria. Before then, I was in Benin, Edo State, where I was part of a panel at the International Student Film Festival, Okada 2023. The summary of this is that to whom much is given, much is also expected.

Let’s talk about your foundation, tell us more about the lives you have touched especially that of the widows and why you are particular about the widows.
The foundation has been on for many years; in 2018, we celebrated our 10th anniversary. By next year, this Foundation will be 17 years. Every 14th of February, we celebrate 1000 (one thousand) widows and aged women, on Val’s day which is always February 14. Last year, it was held at the palace of the Emir of Zauzzau in Zaria, Kaduna State. As you know, we choose a state that we will go each year.
The only time we don’t do it is during election year because of the uncertainty in the country. Again, I don’t want anyone to compel us to politicise the Foundation, because it’s strictly a calling from God. It has nothing to do with politics or religion. We didn’t host the programme in 2015, 2019 and 2023, but for 2024, we are looking at, maybe, Rivers State or Delta State. I’m still working on that and would unveil our next destination on or before December 2023.
We go through the traditional rulers to help us select genuine widows who are truly in need. We organise parties where we provide music, food and drinks. Some of the side attractions include dancing competition; we also do balloting for sewing and grinding machines and also give them stipends to start a trade. When you help a widow, you are helping the children also because she’s not going to allow them suffer.
80% of the funding for now is from me and this depends on how buoyant I am at that time. Just organising the programme alone; the DJ, food and drinks, for the guests, including the 1,000 widows and aged women who come. You have to cook for more than this number because some will also come with their children. We also give them six yards of ankara each and the wrappers alone cost about 6,000 Naira, we are talking about the cheapest and good wrapper that will at least, last for some time. We are talking about millions of Naira.
Last year’s programme, I spent over 7million Naira and you know a Dollar was about 360 Naira, with Dollar now at over 1,000 Naira and fuel at 600 Naira; I will need over 10,000,000 Naira to host the programme next year which is just a few months away. No matter how small l try to do it, it will still cost a lot. ln 2018, when we hosted the wives and mothers of our fallen heroes, at the Army Cantonment, Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos State, three days before the programme, we brought some facilitators to teach them how to make shoes, bags etc. At the event, we did balloting for sewing machines and most of them won. We also gave some of them token for start-up. Some told us they wanted to sell food, some pure water, some fairly used clothes and akara, etc. Anything that N20,000- N50,000 can start up, we do that yearly when we host the programme.
I asked God what do l do? He specifically said l should not do it in one state so that l don’t recycle widows. I’ve done it twice in Edo State because I’m from there and also twice in Lagos State because I live and work here. I’ve also done in Niger State, Ibadan, Oyo State, Ile ife- Osun State and Kaduna State. I did not just start it; it was God who instructed me to do it.
Each time the event is getting closer, l become restless because 80% of the funding comes from me. The remaining 20 % comes from outside support. I used to fund it alone but two years ago, my cousin Prof. Azeez Butali, based in the U.S through his Foundation paid for six yards of wrappers for 100 widows and promised to make it a yearly thing. Mr. Jimi Agbaje, my mentor and godfather, who is also a Patron of the Foundation paid for six yards of wrappers for 100 widows and gave a token to five widows’ business as a start-up, a support he promised to continue on a yearly basis.
Prof Pat Utomi, also a patron, supports the Foundation and my uncle and great friend, Apostle Johnson Suleiman, also supports the Foundation whenever we reach out to him.
My online fans and well wishers support us too and that explains the 20% support I talked about. I pray that more people will come on board because I can’t continue to put in 80% of the funds yearly, so that l don’t go bankrupt. I have faith that one day, it will be only 50 per cent and it will continue to go down. I am one person who never gives up on the things that I believe in. I know that we’re always going to continue to do it because it brings a lot of joy and smile to the faces of these widows and their children and anything that brings peace of mind to humanity is what I live for.

You have a lot on your table; movie producer, TV host, actress, president AMP, and a business woman etc. Is the home front not suffering, and how do you balance all?
My family understands that I have to work to put food on the table, especially my son. He has grown so fast and at the age of 17, he understands that mummy has to work. God gave me an amazing man who understands and supports me in everything. He has not only supported and made my wings stronger to fly high, but solidly stood beside me for the past 12 years and still counting. It does not look like he is going anywhere soon because he loves me beyond words. I love him as much added to the fact that my five adopted daughters also understand that I have to do so much to make sure I give them good life, this is a blessing.
I am not officially married to anyone, but in a solid relationship with one man for the last 12 years. Like I said, there is nothing married couple do that we don’t do, the only thing is put a tag on it, which I am not ready for. To be honest, my relationship with my son’s father left me scared of that word marriage. I spend quality time with my man and whenever he’s not in Nigeria; I am there with him in Canada. I don’t post all my trips; I show people what I want them to see. ln a year, we see each other as much as our work allows us to. I am a very busy person, he is also a very busy man too, but we talk a lot over the phone, calls, messages, video calls etc. He’s not in Nigeria, but he knows everything I do, where I go, when I come in, when I eat, likewise.
I think in a relationship, constant conversation makes it stronger, with him I also found a better father for my son, you need to see them together then you will understand what I mean by a better father. You will not even know he’s not the biologically son.
I’m just praying to survive both of them because they are both handful. My home front is fantastic, they understand my job and bother me at all times, again for the records, l am not officially married to anyone, I’m not single either which means I’m not available.

What job are you doing now; a movie or soap opera; are you the one producing?
I have been too busy to produce my personal movie for a while now, but I’m working on some productions right now. By the grace of God, I’ll be producing some movies back to back. I will start in January or after my widows support programme in February 2024. I’ve not done any personal production in about two years because I’ve been producing and acting for people. Funding has always been a challenge for producers including me, most of the time; we use our own personal funds to make these movies because we are passionate about the industry.
Any money we put in movies, sometimes we don’t get it back, sometimes we even take loans. Some of us have sold our houses and cars just to make movies, the Federal Government needs to do more for the creative sector. Lagos State government gave some grants recently and some of us benefited from that and made movies with it, some movies are still in the making, what I’m not sure of is, if they got their money back.
Edo State government has also made available lots of things like logistics to make sure people come to Edo to shoot movies at a very cheap rate like providing hotels, buses, and editing studios etc. If more states can come on board to support the producers, our lives would be a little bit easier. Whether you like it or not, the industry is putting Nigeria on the global map and every governor including the president must make a deliberate effort to make sure that the lives of the producers are easy in terms of providing more grants and accessible loans. They tell us that there are loans for us, but most of these loans, the producers are not able to meet up with the collateral needed for accessing them.

The most treasured gift you have received from any man
The most treasured gift I’ve received from any man is from my current man and soul mate. It is the gift of his heart, body and soul, he loves me beyond words. I know and feel it; he can do anything for me and for me that’s the most treasured of all gifts any man or woman can give to you.
When you truly connect to a soul, you can easily let that person blind fold you on a cliff and not be bothered because you know he or she would never let you fall. For me, God gave me the most amazing man since he walked into my life 12 years ago and he is still very much in my life and is going no where .That’s my most treasured gift I’ve ever received from a man, his heart.

Which of the movies you produced gave you the toughest time in terms of production and what happened?
Temi Nikan‘ (TKN), was a very difficult movie because after I finished that production in 2012, the movie crashed. I lost everything in the hard drive almost 60 scenes and we had only five scenes left that were saved. I tried everything possible to save what we had lost in the hard drive by reaching out to technical people but no luck. Because I was gradually becoming depressed, my man asked me to take some time off and go to U.S for a break.
While in the U.S in 2013, a thought came into my head to turn the movie into part one and two so that way I will able to get my money back. I wrote the U.S version of the story and gathered the crew together in Atlanta, Georgia, to shoot. When I came back to Nigeria, I called everybody back to location and I had to pay everybody 50% of what I paid before. But you know with logistics, hotel and other things I had to pay full amount for that and so I shot the movie again. Till today, I never made that money back and that was the biggest production challenge of my life, but I overcame it. After that I have shot over 10 more movies and I learnt a lot of lessons because that experience made me a better producer.

Would you want to model or dance as a profession again; if no, what did you miss about the two?
I won’t dance for anybody again. I’ve got offers to dance in musical videos but I turned them down because I stopped dancing over 17 years ago immediately I got pregnant. With my son and five adopted daughters, my personality, my responsibilities and my status, it’s a no. For runway modeling, I don’t even have that energy anymore, but I do only photo modeling now where I can just quietly sit down and take shots, collect my money and go.
I’ve become a big producer and big actress, there’s really no time in doing musical videos. I think musical video opportunities should be left for the upcoming ones, which was what helped me when I was coming up. I think that’s what happens to most dancers, young people are the people you find most of the time doing musical videos and dancing in concerts and all of that. Yes, it did, I appreciate my little beginnings.

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