Posts Tagged ‘Funmi Iyanda’

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 met Bisi at the funeral wake for Remi Lagos somewhere in London, and apart from immediately getting drawn in by his warmth and cheer, it was nice to just cheer each other up. He’s been my friend ever since, and I am proud of him, the work he does, and I admire the way he effortlessly lights up any room he enters.

Did I mention Bisi introduced me to someone I hope to be doing a lot of work with next year? Thank you Bisi!!

For for the 10th day of my #31days31writers project, I give you Bisi Alimi!

My name is Bisi Alimi; I am a citizen of Nigeria and resident of UK. I  am a very busy person, I run The Bisi Alimi Consultancy; a consulting and advocacy outfit providing training on LGBT and HIV support in  educational institutions and workplaces. I also run the Rainbow Intersection; A platform aimed at discussing, debating and dissecting the various intersections across Race, Culture and Sexuality in Modern Britain with a very good friend of mine.

2013 has been the most amazing and yet challenging year in my life. I have learnt that dreams can actually come true if only we follow it with a pure heart.

I have learnt that as much as planning for the future matters, the spontaneity of life is what makes us think we have a miracle. I love to plan but I have learnt that life’s surprises are equally as beautiful and worth looking forward to as well as a planned life.

I have learnt to take time to relax, listen to me and take care of me. I started yoga this year, which has helped my breathing. It has also helped me to name my thoughts, and that in turn has helped me to be able to deal with them. I am normally a hyperactive person but yoga has slowed me down greatly and has helped my concentration.

I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. These people have helped me to appreciate the silence of friendship and the loudness of care. They showed me love when I needed it, picked me when I was down and scolded me when I needed to be told off.

I have two wonderful god-daughters that I have started to get to know; they are special and I will be putting my 2014 into knowing these two wonderful ladies.

I am grateful for all my fans; they showed me what being loved is all about. I am thankful for every little and big thing in life. For love, for peace, for challenges, for failures and for success, for tears and for laughter, for sleep and for sleepless nights too.

One thing I would do differently is to learn from past but never allow it to run my present and my future. I learnt that a very hard way in 2013 and as I look forward to 2014, I hope to start the year on a new slate, take chances, fall in love, travel, climb mountains, learn how to swim, take to gardening, push boundaries and finally finish that book everyone is waiting for.


Bisi Alimi

It’s Friday, and I”m writing this from the basement, the Tapestry Room of The Gore Hotel, venue of the funeral reception for Ms Remi Osholake. It’s on Queensgate Road and I have quite a few fond memories from this area, but not today.

It’s a decent crowd, and I can point to at least 12 people who would have come in from Lagos for the rites. More importantly, it’s the overflowing of love in the room; the near palpable emotions as her friends talk about her, regale us with stories of how Remi was there for them, celebrate her. I find myself holding back tears severally.

Of course everyone is dressed in black, well almost everyone. I sight someone in a wine red flowing skirt, another in a check suit, and it wouldn’t be a Nigerian event if our native fabrics didn’t make an appearance; there was someone in adire!

I listened, I listened some more, and then I started thinking; what legacy am I leaving behind? Whose life would I have so affected they’ll move heaven and earth to celebrate me when I’m gone? What will I be remembered for?

Sounds a little premature now (honestly it did to me) but sometimes death is the wake up call we need to get our lives going in the right direction, or if we’re already there, keep us on the right path. Truth is, regardless of how much we acquire, the name we make for ourselves, it is the little things we will be remembered for; the smiles we put on the faces of others, the encouragement and joy we bring, the peace, the love, the hope.

After all the speeches, it was time to dance, to celebrate Remi, and it started with one of her favorite songs (and ring tone) ‘fi mi le baby’ by Kas. Her friends danced, some of them wiping tears from their eyes as they did. Was my turn to cry when ‘Bumper to Bumper’ came on, it was the song we rocked to the first and only time I met her.

In honor of this special lady who loved black, and loved movie nights (one of her friends just said “Remi would always say a movie changed her life; every movie changed her life”), we’re observing a ‘black movie night’ tomorrow the 19th of November. Go see any movie of your choice, anywhere in the world that you are, just wear black, and get popcorn! Tweet your pictures @Pdbraide, @Funmilola, or @IjeomaOgud with a short message (if you will). Those pictures will be archived on the now live and is our little way of celebrating this lady with a beautiful spirit, and keeping her memory alive.

You’re also welcome to attend the reception that’ll be held in Lagos sometime in December; details are in the poster below.


Rest in Peace Remi.




P:S – While I wish it had been under different circumstances, it was lovely to meet @Funmilola and @Bisialimi. It really was.

Ok, I must say it’s taken me this long to write this, and for a number of reasons. To start with, I still cannot believe that she’s dead; is death that ‘simple’? And that’s for lack of a better qualifier. Secondly, I read the outpouring of love and the fondest, most vivid memories from her sisters (@pdbraide, @IjeomaOgud, @Funmilola, etc) on Twitter, larger than life tributes on Facebook and I wondered if I was even ‘qualified’ to say goodbye to this fabulous lady I had the privilege of meeting only once. Yes, once, and there was the promise of many more meetings in the future. Death, shame on you.

Matter of fact, the day I heard she was dead, I promise I was going to ask our mutual friend to ‘bully’ her into sending me the designs to choose from for my new dress. Perhaps it was also for that selfish reason I refused to associate Remi Lagos with the #Remitothelight hashtag that @IjeomaOgud started.

How did we meet?

On the 8th of September this year I’d gone to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to pick Ace. It was threatening to rain so I called and said to please hurry out so I could speed and put both the rain and traffic behind us only  to hear, ‘I’ll be a few minutes please, we have to drop a friend at the Hilton and she’s waiting on her luggage’. I said ok, swallowed, and waited.

They came, my friend and this lady with her hair neatly unpacked, resplendent in a black kaftan. I introduced myself and she said, ‘my name is Remi’! We got in the car, and we were not even out of the airport when it started to rain. More like it started to pour, thunder, and the lightning was just out of this world.

Now my friend had offered to drive but as ‘Louisa Hamilton’, I refused. Anyone who knows me knows I have a mortal fear of sudden/sharp sounds (among a good number of things I am afraid of). It is the reason I cannot be around balloons, and I never enjoyed hide and seek (still don’t). I remember taking my hands off the wheel to cover my face (or ears) severally on that drive, the scolding from Ace that earned me, but most importantly, the way Remi didn’t even behave like it was raining, we were not even halfway home, and we’d been stuck in traffic for about an hour already!

When somehow it slipped that she was ‘the’ Remi Lagos, I couldn’t stop squealing! Yes, I took my hands off the wheel again. Fortunately the traffic was ‘bumper to bumper’ (literally) so no big issue there (even though Ace didn’t think so). I mean, I’d been hearing of Remi Lagos since I was a child! I didn’t believe she’d look that young and pretty (sans makeup), especially when I found out how old she was later.

I had on Wande Coal’s ‘Mushin to Mohits’ CD, and apart from being a very funny, lively, and boisterous lady (we had this hilarious conversation about metrosexuals – how to spot them, and a particular friend of hers who would arrive at a party separate from his girlfriend just so his chic wouldn’t steal his ‘shine’), she loves(d) Wande Coal! I repeated the Bumper to Bumper track severally, and it was fun singing the second verse together, especially the ‘fight like Chinese – kpishan’ bit! Lol!

By the time we finally got into town we’d become friends! We’d also exchanged numbers because she wanted me to work a social media strategy for her brand, building from London. And of course, Ace said she should make me a dress!

We exchanged these later that night….

We spoke the next day, after her devotion meeting, and even though I came back to London a few days after, we spoke again, and things were on course. And then out of the blues I hear she’s no more, less than 60 days after we met.

Death, shame on you.

I remember her laughter in my head, I see the twinkle in her eyes as she laughed; Remi if you made such an impression in less than 3 hours, then I will never grasp the depths of grief of the people who were really close to you, the ones you left behind.

Rest in peace Remi Lagos

Rest in peace Remi Osholake.