It’s not only Funke and JJC that would benefit from 'Jenifa'. The music industry would benefit from a partnership that started from Jenifa’s Diary.
There’s very little reason for your heart to not glow when Funke Akindele and JJC Skillz walk past, or you sight their photo on Instagram. They are the darlings of the celebrity couple enthusiasts and the thousands of fans who would love to see love happen within showbiz.
What JJC and Funke Akindele have appears to be real. It comes off as the lone light of reality and beauty shining in a world and industry that is run on simulations and the sale of a façade to make millions in cash. But Funke and JJC, are real. Their relationship is bound by the institution of marriage and sheer love and attraction.
Both lovers pride themselves in business as well as in love. JJC has been ever present in the Nigerian music industry, before his recent pivot into video production. He has created and formed groups in the UK which had won awards, gone platinum in record sales, and gotten the highest honours. At 19 he started Big Brovaz, a group who later won the MOBO, signed to Sony, went Platinum and shot the movie ‘Scooby Doo’.
He later formed JJC and the 419 Squad. That group also sold over a million records, and won the KORA Award. When everyone from the group moved back to Nigeria, he stayed behind to create another group called Mr Skillz and the Crazy Girls, which was signed to EMI. And then he did pivot to video production. It was while working with JJC and the 419 squad that he met and groomed Don Jazzy who was a piano player for Mr. Solek. And also D’banj who had boundless energy, but only played the Harmonica.
It was while chasing his newfound passion for video production that he met Funke Akindele. Funke came to limelight after featuring in popular United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) sponsored sitcom; I Need to
Know, which ran from 1998 to 2002. She played Bisi, a curious but highly intelligent secondary school student. Funke Akindele's big break came in 2009 from the movie titled Jenifa. Funke Akindele has over a 100 movies to her credit as actress, writer and producer. She runs a non-governmental organisation known as THE JENIFA FOUNDATION, whose aims and objectives involves nurturing talents and acquiring vocational skills.
It’s like fate brought them together. Funke Akindele needed to capitalise on the success of “Jenifa”, and the rest is history.
“She had an idea called Jenifa’s Diary that she wanted to do, and she was looking for a good director and cameraman, so she called me to help her shoot the TV series, and that was how we met,” JJC said.
“Absolutely, it was an instant connection. In fact, it was love at first sight. I saw her,she saw me and, we saw stars. From that point on, everything was aligned.”
Everything was truly aligned. In 2016, Jenifa’s Diary swept through the country, becoming the most influential and grossing TV show in Nigeria. Everyone on the cast became stars and household names were born. The movie, with its slapstick humor and immersive Pidgin English twist won fans cutting across every demographic, and generating national humor in a country that suffered from a biting economic recession.
Not only money and fame came out from the series. Love came out of ‘Jenifa’s Diary’, and the duo have taken it a step further to bring it into a new venture. This time, it’s the music industry that gets to benefit.
“When I met JJC…I love his talent,” Funke says. “I told him, why don’t we have a record label too?”
“Let’s help young up and coming acts too. Let’s help them nurture their God-given talents, and create a platform for them to be seen.”
The record label, S.O.P Records was born, and it will be melding the projects of music and video. Their first project is a TV show titled “Industreet”, which will star singers Moeazy, Gemstones (Ruby & Pearl), Sonorous, Martins Feelz.
JJC and Funke Akindele are not just marrying their hearts, they are marrying their finances and professional expertise to create a record label, and products for the music industry. If they can recreate the magic of Jenifa Diary, and push this through, they have another hit project on their hands.
It’s not only the couple that would benefit. The music industry would benefit from a partnership that started from Jenifa’s Diary.