Chips Off The Old Blocks: Nigerian Entertainers Who Took After Their Fathers


Apart from the fame that comes with being an entertainer, entertainment has become big business everywhere in the world. In Nigeria’s entertainment industry, a crop of entertainers have risen to fame by building on the legacies of their fathers. Some of them come from families that have become known in particular sectors.
In this piece, Street Journal presents some of the entertainers who are truly chips off the old blocks.
Femi and Seun Anikulapo Kuti
Femi and Seun have however proved themselves to be worthy sons of the late Afrobeat genius, Fela Anikulapo Kuti .
Even before Fela passed on, Femi and his “Positive Force” had taken the Afrobeat scene by storm. He had quite a number of hits, one of which included “Check yourself” back then. Femi’s exploits did not surprise many; he had been a member of Fela’s band since the late 70s and was already exposed musically, having played with the Egypt 80 band in concerts outside Africa. By 1988, Femi was already an internationally recognized artiste.
With more than 30 years of playing, his mastery of the alto saxophone is unrivaled. Emotions got the better of many as Femi played one of his father’s tunes on the sax as Fela’s body was being lowered into the grave.
That his voice is featured in the video game, Theft Auto IV is another testimony of Femi‘s international acceptability. Femi’s numerous hits, including Sorry Sorry, Beng Beng Beng, Water No Get Enemy(remix) and Truth Don Die have fetched him three Grammy Award nominations.
His younger brother, Seun too has already carved a niche for himself as a musician. He too is a master saxophonist, having been used to it from childhood. Before he turned 10, he had already been singing with Fela’s band and often entertained before Fela mounted the stage in concerts. Seun who turned 30 earlier in the year now leads the Egypt 80 band He released his debut album, “Many Things” in 2008.
Tumininu and Laolu, who their fans now refer to as Vavavoom and Peeshaun hit the airwaves with “Ma yin e ni banger” which became an instant hit some time ago. That hit expressed their readiness to stamp their musical authority. Their father, Laolu Oguniyi was an Art Director at the University of London and he also lectured for some time at the Theater Arts Department in University of Ibadan.
He also produced quite a number of programmes, especially drama series for television back in the 1970s and 80s.

Darey Art Alade
Dare Art Alade is simply known as “Darey” in Nigeria’s entertainment circles. He shot himself into international reckoning when he took part in the 2004 edition of a reality show, Project Fame Academy, which gave him the opportunity of showcasing his talent before millions of people worldwide. He came third in the contest and since then, his popularity has continued to soar. By 2008, he was called upon to host the host Project Fame West Africa. He has a number of albums already and his hits like Fuji , Bani Kidi and Sisi Eko are very popular.
Darey’s dad, Art Alade was a famous jazz and highlife artiste back in the 1960s and 1970s. He also anchored The Bar Beach Show, which was popular on NTA then. Art Alade is mostly remembered for his distinct big baritone voice.
Laja Ogunde
Seeing him, one doesn’t need to be told that he is a son of the late Hubert Adedeji Ogunde. Like his father, Adelaja Ogunde has made a name for himself in acting. His first movie, “Edan” gave fans of the late thespian an assurance that Ogunde’s children are indeed capable of continuing with the legacy of their patriarch. Just like father did in Aiye, Jaiyesinmi and Ayanmo, Adelaja Ogunde plays roles that expound the triumph of good over evil.

Paul Play Dairo
For decades, Isaiah Kehinde Dairo, fondly called “Baba Aladura” dished out great tunes, most of which have become evergreen. Those who knew him well would remember his dexterity on the accordion, which was one of the things that distinguished his style of highlife music. His son, Paul started from where he stopped. After his remix of “Mo s’oriire”, one of his father’s hits, Paul Play has distinguished himself as an entertainer, a musician and producer all rolled into one.

Murphy, Muka & Lasun Ray Eyiwunmi
Murphy, Muka and Lasun Ray Eyiwunmi have all confirmed that they are able to hold their own in the Yoruba genre of Nollywood. Muka is known to be one of the popular Directors in the industry while Murphy and Lasun have come up with a number of great scripts. They are all sons of Ray Eyiwunmi, one of the most popular Yoruba actors of the 70s. He was popular as “Jagun Aseni”, one of the roles he interpreted with utmost brilliance.

Jeta Amata
Jeta directed the popular movie, “Amazing Grace” and that proved to be more than enough confirmation of what he is capable of doing as a Director. Jeta has followed the steps of his father, Zack Amata, only that the younger Amata took it a little further.
Zack has been around for a while; he featured in Behind The Clouds as well as a number of other TV series decades back. Incidentally, the Amatas have a history of acting, Jeta’s grandfather, John Amata was a veteran. He featured in “Freedom”, a film that was shot way back in the colonial era.

Peju Omobolanle
Peju Omobolanle (nee Ogunmola) comes from a family of actors. In his lifetime, her father, Kola Ogunmola was one of the greatest actors and his Ogunmola Theater Group was popular as a travelling theater group then. One of his popular plays, “Lanke Omu” an adaptation of which was the popular “Palm Wine Drinkard”.
She started acting at a very young age, having featured in a number of films produced on celluloid. Her late brother, Yomi was also a popular director. She is married to Sunday Omobolanle, better known in the film industry as “Aluwe”.

Tolu Obey
Tolu is the son of Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi. After the Chief Commander, as he was formerly known, announced his retirement from his well-liked Miliki brand of Juju music, Tolu took it upon himself to prevent Miliki from dying. He dishes out good tunes but the indelible marks of his father are not ones that can easily be surpassed.

Sola Kosoko
Sola is the first daughter of the former President of the Association of Nigerian Theater Practitioners (ANTP), Prince Jide Kosoko. Pretty and fair skinned Sola has featured in a number of home videos and has also produced one herself.

Musiliu Haruna Ishola
He brought Apala music back into reckoning with the release of his album “Soyoyo”. Musiliu introduced modern instruments to complement the sekere and talking drums which were the main instruments in any Apala band. Apart from the older generation that enjoyed such brad of music in the days of his late father, Alhaji Haruna Ishola, Musiliu made it attractive to younger people as well. He has been able to build himself a fan base that cuts across continents.

Sunkanmi Omobolanle
Sunkanmi, Aluwe’s son has become a popular face in Yoruba movies. He has proved his mettle and his brilliance as an actor has continued to earn him more roles.

Kunle Afolayan
After his big break in the movie Saworo Ide, Kunle Afolayan decided to leave banking for acting. Many of those who wondered why he took the decision then have already confirmed that it was indeed a step in the right direction. His “Irapada ” and “Figurine” are outstanding productions that attest to his status as an actor and director of international standard.
His late father, Ade Afolayan (Ade Love) was famous for his acting and musical abilities. His siblings, Moji and Aremu are also in the acting profession.

Femi Adebayo
Femi Adebayo is a man of many parts. He is a lawyer, an actor, a producer and director. He is the son of Adebayo Salami, fondly referred to as “Oga Bello” one of the longest standing Yoruba actors. Unknown to many, Oga Bello was the name of a character interpreted by Salami in the “Awada Kerikeri” series that was on television about four decades ago. The name stuck right from then.
Femi Adebayo too is not new in the movie industry, not many people knew that he was penciled down for a role in Tade Ogidan’s “Diamond Ring”, but the role was eventually taken by Teju “Babyface” Oyelakin because Femi had some exams to write during the production.
One of his recent efforts, Jelili goes a long way to show that he could also do well as a comedian.

Uche & Ajuzieogu Warrior
Uche and Aju are sons of Christogonous Ezebuiro Obinna better known as Sir Warrior, leader of the popular Oriental Brothers Band from the 1970s till he died in 1999. Though Sir Warrior did not allow his children to take to music as he wanted them to be educated, his children have chosen to continue from where he stopped. Their first performance was at their father’s wake keep in June 1999.
They followed up with their first album, “Tribute To Dr. Sir Warrior” in 2000. Both have taken up the Oriental Brothers Band. Their Uncle, Emperor Teddy Obinna who goes by the name “Junior Warrior” is also a hit maker. Though he is Sir Warrior’s younger brother, many describe him as his musical son.

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