Saturday, November 18, 2006

Daddy Dearest

Today is a special day, hence the Saturday post. Today, November 18th, is my daddy's birthday and this post is dedicated to him.

My relationship with my father is very much one of mutual respect. I am the first child and interestingly, daddy has always treated me as such...LOL. Interesting, huh? Well, let me explain further. See, my sister is daddy's little girl because she was the younger child for a really long time and then my brother came along, and he is the only boy so they have their own "man" relationship because of that. So, my place with daddy has always sorta been the elder/eldest child and father relationship where we both listen to each other, take in what the other says respectfully and whatever the outcome, we're cool. It also helps that we are quite similar in temperament.....quiet, soft-spoken observers who only speak when it is necessary not just because.

I wrote about my mother because she deserved a tribute but also because I want you all to be able to see how two people truly complement each other as I describe my father. My mother's bold style is complemented by my father's classic style.....he very rarely wears jeans. He always wears dress pants, shirts, suits or traditional wear in classic colors. My father is about 6ft 2 to my mother's 5ft 11 frame. My father's quiet manner complements my mother's outspokenness. My father's laidback energy is complemented by my mother's earnest energy. Having said that, they fit so well because when it comes to being social, they can both hang...LOL. That's the side of my dad that I love to see, because it reminds me that my dad is on whole other level of cool.

I have love and respect for my father on two different levels. The first is as a man who truly loves his family and will do anything for their growth, even at the sacrifice of himself. I love the way my father has supported my mother as her career has grown....never jealous, never complaining, always there. Whether it was to get us to school in the morning or pick us up, or to leave work in the middle of the day to take us to run errands, or to come to move us from London to the States for school, or to take care of things at home for almost a year when my mom had to work in another country, he has always been there because he understands that when my mother does well, he also does well. In addition, my father has never said no to anything we (his kids) needed to be happy. As long as we did well at school, which was our only job, he did his job to give us everything. My father never yelled, never hit us, never got so angry that he couldn't see our point of view.

On a whole other level, I stand in awe of my father. As I have gotten older, and I become more and more aware of who my father is and what he does, I have come to see that he is a very rare Nigerian man. My father is my daddy, or like my sister sometimes calls him...daddykins, but my father is also Laolu Akins. For those of you not familiar with the Nigerian music industry, my dad is a legend. No exagerration. In the time that the big labels like Polygram, EMI, and Sony were doing it big in Nigeria, my father was the A&R for Sony as well as a top music producer. If you can't help but shake your behind to Ace, Shinamania and Dancing time by Shina Peters, thank my dad. If you appreciated Adewale Ayuba's Bubbling and Bonsue Fuji, you have my dad to thank. If you grooved to Mike Okri's Omoge, Rhumba Dance, Time Na Money and more, that was my dad too. If you heard the call of God when you listened to Funmi Aragbaye's "Mo gbo Ipe", that was daddy. In addition, he has had significant impact on the music industry by working with people too numerous to mention but include, Christy Essien, Emma Ogosi, Onyeka Onwenu, Majek Fashek, and more. Growing up for us was a fabulous time because he included us in everything he did. We danced on stage for Shina Peters, we got visits at home by up and coming talent at the time like Lagbaja and Esse Agesse, many family parties were attended by a long list of star musicians including Shina, Ayuba, King Sunny Ade, and not to mention being able to meet legends like Ebenezer Obey, Onyeka, Sunny Ade, and Sunny Okosuns. In addition, we were surrounded by people involved in all forms of the arts, including RMD, Olu and Joke Jacobs, Taiwo Ajayi Lycett, and more. Oh, the memories I have from growing up are endless. At the time, it seemed normal, but now I realize that my father is amazing. He was working with all these people, changing the landscape of Nigerian music and coming home and being daddy and husband with no ego, no hubris.

To make it even more INSANELY COOL(my new fave expression), my dad was in a band called BLO in the 70's, at the height of the Afrofunk movement. Not only was the band successful on our shores, they were impactful abroad as well. My daddy was the drummer of the band, which included Lemmy Jackson and Berkely Jones, also legends in the Naija music industry. This was a time when Fela, the Lijadu Sisters, Orlando Julius, and the whole Afrobeat/Highlife/AfroFunk movement was in it's prime. My father is truly a part of Nigerian/World music history and when I think about that, I am truly in awe of him. Daddy has told me stories of touring, playing with people like Ginger Baker and Chuck Berry. Touring Africa, and rubbing shoulders with other African music legends like Miriam Makeba. I love to hear his stories, and if I have my way, he'll write a book. For more on BLO and their history see here. These days, daddy still produces and fights for artists rights and against piracy in Nigeria as well. He is working on setting up his own studio with state of the art equipment so that music made in Nigeria will be of the highest quality. As quiet as my daddy seems, all I have to do is remember BLO and know that my dad is COOL. No matter how old he gets, he's got that COOL stamp. LOL

So today on your birthday Daddy, I want you to know that I am so honored and proud to be your daughter. Not just because you are a legend and will be remembered always as a part of Nigerian music history but also because you are a truly good father who just lives for your children and wife to be happy. I love the relationship we have because you listen to me and everything I say and think holds value to you. I appreciate your quiet strength and consideration. Thank you for all the times you visit and tell me to keep living my life and you'll fit in wherever possible. Thank you for always cooking when you come so you can fatten me up and alleviate your worry that I don't eat. Thank you for sharing your love for music with me, and teaching me how to play the drums. Thank you for teaching me how to accept the part of myself that is shy and quiet. Thank you for teaching me how to be social as myself. Thank you for always putting us first. Thank you for being an example of not just a good Nigerian man, but a good man and a good human being. I haven't done justice to what I want the world to know about you - about how you overcame being poor, having to leave home to live with a stranger to get an education, to get to where you are today. There are not enough words to express how blessed I feel to have you as a father. I thank God for you and I love you with all my heart....your daughter May.


africanprincess said...

yep, you have very cool parents. I feel the same way about mine and I hope I too find someone thats the ying to my yang. Its great when people complement each other so well and children get to grow up in such an atmosphere of love, respect, sacrifice etc. Kudos to ur parents! happy birthday to your father.

DiAmOnD hawk said...

Wow! He's not my dad but reading this I am proud of everything that he has done...this is exactly what is required of a raise his be dad is great.... hmmm...I love my parents o...but i may come and hijack your parents too.. :-)

A very Happy Birthday to him. May God continue to order his steps and bless him mightly in unexpected ways.

BGTLIVE said...

Bless his heart!
So rich in character and culture...

Bijouxoxo said...

I just knew it, that the great Laolu Akins was ur dad. I saw the pixs, the face looked very familiar. That was a beautiful tribute to ur dad. If only most men of today are not jealous of their wives accomplishments and can shove that male ego aside, to help build up their wives careers by working together. Happy b'day to ur dad.

Funmi said...

Happy birthday to your dad. It is truly a man with character who supports his wife's career.

Soul said...

What a moving tribute.
I thought your dad looked familiar, I think i remembered his face from the Shina Peters 'Afro Juju' era. I was soo sure that I saw him being interviewed on TV as a 'super producer'.

He looks like such a laid back kinda dude. the type who knows what he has to do and does. I'm sure the studio idea will come off.
Happy Birthday to him.
It's amazing when you know that someone loves you soo completely and that person will do all it takes to protect you and help you grow up into the person he knows you can become.. the woman you are today.

If you can write such a moving tribute to your father, I think you should ask him to open up a fathering school in Naija.

Belle said...

awwww... your Dad sounds awesome. i'm glad he set high standards for what you should expect of a man ... we need more of that!

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

awwww.. thats such a fantastic tribute... your father sounds like a great person... guess you got it from him.. oh and your very cool momsi too.. lol

hehe@soul with the fathering school.. oh my Gosh the number of men i'd personally take there!!!

Happy birthday to your dad

LondonBuki said...

Your Dad sounds fab!!!

This is a beautiful tribute and I hope he gets to read this.

Happy Belated B'day to him!!!

Wale said...

i was actually thinking about your dad this weekend. interesting. anyways...i'll tell you my thoughts later.

zaiprincesa said...

Ahn Ahn, Ms. May, ur papa na bloke oh!:)..I c Good Looks run in ur family. This is deep should send him a link to read it..or print out a copy and frame it for him. Have a great week and a happy thanks giving mami!Oh, And Happy Birthday Papa Ms. May.

Icy said...

Oh my gosh I'm in tears.. I knew pupsi was hot I guess I din know the whole story.. Happy Birthday dad. Pupsi is jes too kool lol! aww Mayowa that is by far the bestes testtest post you've had up. Muuuahaah Love you for it..

Olawunmi said...

i loved this tribute. its right that we celebrate our parents while they're still young so that they know how much we appreciate them


your dad is a rocker? that's awesome. and all those hits? okay, i want to meet him. for real. he sounds so cool.

Here's a happy birthday from me. God bless him, and you for doing this.


NaijaBloke said...

Happy belated birthday to ur dad.I knew ur dad looked familiar,but could not place the face ...

Nice on ur dad.Miss my daddy o ..LOL

Am still waiting for that phone number o ..LOL

Ms. May said...

@ everyone: Thank you all for the good wishes and blessings. Daddy will hear about it.

@ africanprincess: thanks mama. They are not perfect but they fit pretty well.

@ diamondhawk: my sister.....thanks for that. no need to hijack; you're welcome anytime boo.

@ bgtlive: thanks girl! and thanks for stopping by.

@ bijouxoxo: that's my daddy!!!!! LOL. thanks mamita.

@ funmi: i love ur comment.....a man of character....describes my father very well. thank you.

@ soul: fathering school, huh? maybe after we get his studio off the ground....LOL. he is very laidback (in a good way) and doesn't let anything worry him too much....i didn't get that gene...LOL

@ belle: oh yeah, he set those standards and it's been a process but i'm definitely believing that the man i'll end up with will have my dad's best qualities.

@ onb: thanks mami....thank you!

@ londonbuki: i will make sure he reads it. thank you

@ wale: you didn't really tell me your thoughts about my father....LOL

@ zaiprincesa: yes o...daddy is mad cool and he's a cutie, ain't he? LOL. Have a fab thanksgiving too.

@ icy: yes o. daddy is hot like fire!!!! LOL. he never really gets the opportunity for the spotlight so this was a chance i couldn't miss to shine some light that he so deserves.

@ olawunmi: amen. he is a should see the pics with his hair plaited...LOL.

@ naijabloke: thanks o...i'll pass the wishes on. abeg, send a pic first before i dish on the number...LOL.

Daddy's Girl said...

What can I say? You are BLESSED to have 2 wonderful parents, and they are BLESSED to have a daughter who loves, respects and appreciates them. Loved these last 2 posts.

Wale said...

oh yeah...i mind goes 100 mph in various directions.

Olawunmi said...

plaited hair? even better. oya now, will y'all adopt me or what? i might even become cool by association. abi?

NaijaBloke said...

Send pic ke ... am I applying for Nigerian's First Bloke contest or what wahala then lemme look in my Denzel achives and see a befitting pic to send ..LOL ..oya send ya email addy ASAP ...

Hope u r having fun,u have a lovely thanksgiving and Nne send ma Turkey down here o ..

Soul said...

olawunmi ...
get lost jare. I was first in line.

Anonymous said...


God bless you all!

bhookey84 said...


Ms. May said...

@ Olawunmi: I think you know the answer to that question now. LOL

@ Naijabloke: chicafricana@gmail. No promises but I'll see what I can do...LOL

@ Soul: No fighting! There's room for everyone...LOL

@ AbaBoy: Thank you. God Bless you too!

@ Bhookey84: Thanks ma.

BabaAlaye said...

Anybody that produced Shina Peters Album is an Ace.Hmmm...memories. Happy Birthday to your Pop.

Fred said...

People born in November are the tops! wink

Crowed Out said...

Hi Ms May

Oddly enough I just finished watching the Ginger Baker in Africa DVD and went searching for "Segun Bucknor and the Sweet Young Things" In so doing I came across your blog and was intrigued to see that your Dad was in Afrocollection and jammed with Ginger. I'm presuming he's on the DVD?? I was also fascinated by Blo and hopefully one day will track down some of their music.

Anyhow small world and I'm glad I found your blog, it looks really interesting!

Seal67 said...

I know this is a couple of years late, but I must pitch my wee tent, your father is a colossus and a true hero of mine. Please extend my profound respect to a truly greatman