Posts Tagged ‘Ake festival’

Turn up!

Bisi’s on the blog today, and I’m so excited! Bisi has been my friend for a few years now (I remember we met at the service of songs for the late Remi Lagos in South Kensington), and I’m so proud of the man he’s become (is becoming), and grateful that he’s alive and doing very well. And that his celeb status is on the rise mahn, can’t wait to see what 2016 brings for him!

He was on the blog in 2013 (never mind he says 2014) and so when I asked again for this year and he sent in an entry less than 48 hours after I asked, I was like ‘turn up’!  Bisi is special, and I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

My name is Bisi, Bisi Alimi; yes I love that Bond appeal to the way I say my name, it carries some weight with it, and please if you have a name like mine, you don’t have to apologise for flaunting it.

I was born in Nigeria over 40 years ago, but I am now a British citizen. No, I don’t carry a Nigeria passport and I am not sorry for that. So I will say as a matter of fact, that I am a British national, born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents.

Last year when Chioma asked me to join the legion of people that have something to be grateful for, I really had to search my diary and look for things to blow my trumpet for. I will be honest, 2014 was a defining moment in my life, and it was also the year that prepared the way for amazing 2014.

So in 2015, I have a lot to be thankful for. It is not every time you look back at your life in 12 months and say; “damn, what a funky year this has been.”

I can’t list it all, but I mean, I don’t even know where to start. The year started with some amazing news, but most important events in my life in 2015 were; my campaign against Nigel Farage and UKIP (Farage is the leader of the right wing group in Britain, and UKIP is his political party). At least, my campaign against him as been listed as one of the reasons he lost his election to the British House of Commons.

Then there was the talk at the Australia Medical Association annual general conference. The hall was packed full and the audience was amazing. I won’t forget that event easily, doing the first Moth Mainstage in London at the Union Chapel to a packed audience and then getting invited to do it again in New York.

There was also the listing of my Tedx Talk as one of the most inspiring queer talk of all time.

The media coverage that followed my life in 2015 was beyond my expectation. I will say thanks to all Nigerian bloggers for thinking me a source for news, most importantly Linda Ikeji, Bella Naija and Ladun Blog. I mean, without you guys, my speaking fee won’t have gone up.


Then I have to deal with listings after listings all over the world. I was listed in the UK Independent on Sunday Rainbow List as one of the most influential LGBT person in the UK and I was listed in number 19 out of 101. That for me was the biggest honour. I jumped from 80 to 19.

Then the G-List Society listed me as one of their 100 outstanding Black LGBT person for 2015, followed by True Africa naming me as one of their 100 True African for 2015. LGBTQ Nation nominated me as one of their “news maker for 2015”

I am also thankful to Ake Festival and Lola Shoneyin for inviting me to Nigeria to be part of the festival after almost 9 years since I left Nigeria. I met some badass amazing people and I can’t list them all here but you all know yourselves.

Finally, the icing on the cake for me was my engagement to the most amazing man in the world, my fiancé. Also meeting my in-laws in Australia as well as meeting my mum and bringing her to the UK.


Honestly, there is nothing I will undo about this year. I have learnt a lot. I mean, who wants to bother about the bad press, the bad news and the negative energy? I have grown up and I really don’t pay attention to things that don’t add value to my life.

One major thing I am taking into 2016, thanks to 2015, is that, there is nothing like friends for life. Every friendship should have membership renewal. I learnt that this year. I learnt that, when it comes to friendship, it is more about you than the other person. I have seen true colours of many people I called friends this year, and OMG, they were very sad and pathetic pictures and I really don’t want to see those pictures (or the people) in 2016.

That said; my year wouldn’t be complete without saying thanks to the many people that made my 2015 whole. Funmi Iyanda; I know I talk about you every time, but people have no idea how much impact you have had on my life. To Akin Akintayo, thanks for those calming reassuring words and happy 50th birthday!

To Ayo Sogunro, thanks for being a good brother. My agency, Fresh Speakers; for being the best in the world. To all my fans (yes, me too I have fans now) for your messages of love and support, your tweets, Facebook messages and likes on Instagram. Thank you!

To every organisation I have worked for and with in 2015, thank you!


To my husband to be, Anthony thanks for putting up with my bullshit, and for the cuddles many nights I question myself. I started my foundation this year and a lot of people have devoted their time and energy to it; mostly importantly, the board. Thank you!

This is to 2016.

Thank you for coming through with this Bisi, here’s to a brilliant 2016!

I am excited!! When I sent him a message on Twitter asking if he would join this project, to be honest I didn’t quite think I was going to get a yes. But I did, and with such ease I wondered why I worried in the first place!

I met Pa Ikhide first in March at Excuse Me London, an event celebrating him, Nkem Ivara, Victor Ehikamenor, and a few others. He was so warm, so alive, so down to earth, it was an absolute pleasure!

I present, Ikhide Ikheloa! *cycles away slowly*

The Internet lives

My name is Ikhide. I am a Nigerian. I am an American. I live on the Internet. Every day, new tribes are formed. The Internet is the new nation. That is one thing that dawned on me this year; the Internet lives. Ignore it at your peril.

On the Internet, compassion knows no boundaries even as pain and hurt seep through fences to maim the brave. It is often said that there is a digital divide. That is certainly one way of looking at a world that can seem to offer only a half-empty glass most days.

A counterintuitive approach is to see a digital bridge, a web even, that connects the weak to the powerful, that offers robust voice to the yearnings and aspirations of those who have no voices. Yes, the Internet is the new nation of tribes of thinkers and doers.

On the Internet, words are powerful and they zip around on merry wings. This year was exceptionally expensive for me. Time and accidents conspired to strip my family of the vitality and life of loved ones. In addition to the physical touch and solace of loved ones, the Internet was the town crier of choice, moving buckets of comfort to and from Babylon. And the Internet was the bank of choice helping to ferry resources to those in need.

On Father’s Day, this year, my dad fell very ill.  It has been a challenging season, trying to rescue him from the clutches of a debilitating illness in Nigeria where a “specialist hospital” is usually a large hall filled with desperate patients and not much else in terms of resources. I was touched by the kindness and generosity of many, the vast majority of whom I had never met in person. This essay would be an exercise in despair if not for these wonderful people who came into my life thanks to the Internet. I salute all of them.

Finally, for me, the Internet, as a community of communities, came alive at the recently concluded Ake Arts & Book Festival in Abeokuta. As writers and artists we all came together from all over the world, and in this little place, people, most of whom had only met on the Internet, laughed and loved like long-lost siblings. The atmosphere was electric, perhaps the best celebration of arts and living I have ever been involved in.

And this brings me to my final point. None of this would be possible without the Internet. The Internet is fast shaping up to be the community of choice for writers of African extraction, the best publishing house for our stories, a place that struts our stories as the sum of our lived lives, not as a single story. The Internet lives.

And so this year, as a reader who writes, I am most grateful to the Internet for helping me connect with soul mates and for helping to put even more meaning into my restless life. What would I do differently? I don’t know really, I don’t allow regrets to live rent-free in my head. I live and live well. The Internet lives.

Why does he have two photos up? Well because he asked me to choose, and I couldn't make up my mind between these two!

Why does he have two photos up? Well because he asked me to choose, and I couldn’t make up my mind between these two!

Always excited, sometimes I just go to read the 'chronicles' that accompany his photos on Facebook to get a good laugh!

Always excited, sometimes I just go to read the ‘chronicles’ that accompany his photos on Facebook to get a good laugh!