GRASS TO GRACE KUYE ADEGOKE JEFFERY OGHENEVWEDE AKA EGUNGUN OF LAGOS
GRASS TO GRACE KUYE ADEGOKE JEFFERY OGHENEVWEDE AKA EGUNGUN OF LAGOS
Q: Can we get to know you?
A: I am Kuye Adegoke Oghenevwede
Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from Ondo state. My grandfather’s wife is Deltan so she gave me the name. But my English name is Jeffrey.
Q: Tell us about your educational background
A: Well, I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Lagos, 300 level, studying Biology Education. I still manage a side hustle as a dancer and dance choreography instructor. In addition, I participate in dance plays.
Q: So tell me, what was growing up like, for you?
A: Growing up wasn’t pretty at all. My mum left my dad when I was four years old, this was probably because my dad didn’t have much financially. So, she left me and my elder brother, roughly twenty-one years ago, and now I’m twenty-five. Years passed and we kept struggling together, about that time we stayed in Molecambo in Ondo state. Growing up for I and my brother was hellish. So, basically, I could say I didn’t have a childhood, because my step mum took it from me. And if I was to see my mum presently I would doubt her identity. I wouldn’t know what she looked like.
Q: So you’re saying you’ve not seen your mum before?
A: Exactly, of course, she took care of me at infancy. But I was little, so I probably wouldn’t remember, about that period we were still in the village and I remember one time when my Dad came looking for me so as to take me with him to Lagos, by then he had gotten another wife. During our first week in Lagos with my dad’s new wife, she seemed to be nice, but in the months that followed, she flipped. She would beat and strike us repeatedly. My dad would be out for a week and she wouldn’t give us food. And when my dad was about to return home, she would put ororo in my mouth so I wouldn’t feel hungry. She basically stripped our childhood away from us. It got so bad they we feed off from the dog’s leftovers. One time, while still in primary five, we decided to run away from home, so we penned down a letter to our dad, mentioning our decision to leave as we couldn’t endure anymore. She had beaten us with a hammer, and placed otagungun in my armpits, my private part, and my eyes, while she smacked us with the hammer, and she would instruct me to lie to my dad that my class teacher beat us up, which I did, and my dad would storm my school, screaming vehemently. In fact, she asked that I lied to my dad that I stole. One time we knelt down from 4 O’clock in the evening till the next day, she would wake us up as early as 3 a.m. to go fetch water on an empty stomach, so we would eat the bread crumbs from the floor that had already started decaying. So I literally saw hell during my childhood. I have documented my experience with her, on my phone, I named it ‘me, my stepmother and I’
Q: You would probably need to publish that book, an author would do that. let’s move forward, your newness, the new you, tell us. What gave birth to this idea, the underlying concept?
A: Well as a dancer, also having friends that dance, we used a platform that could showcase our talent, namely, Instagram. Basically, we upload our videos and all we do, so it goes viral, this, in turn, brings us gigs. Early one Sunday morning, after checking my WhatsApp status, then I saw the viral video: ‘egungun be careful na express you de go’ I was irritated at first but then, as weeks passed by and it was still trending, I reasoned how I could use this trend to trend. Goofing around is what we have seen to trend here in Nigeria, so i thought deeply about it, that line, ‘egungun be careful na express you de go’ so I decided to meet a tailor of mine. As you can see, I gave out my suit trouser for my tailor to creatively introduce Ankara to it, and to my shirt, also a headwarm had to be sawn together with the suit. My first video had me carrying a crate of eggs up until a bike knocks me down, then plays the cover: ‘egungun be careful na express you de go’ so I’m currently trending on Instagram, three days after I released some videos, Zlatan called me, and invited me to his house. He told me he loved the concept and he had sung a remix of ‘egungun be careful na express you de go’
Q: Would you say it was planned or it was a coincidence?
A: Not at all, it wasn’t planned, and to think I had just 75 followers. When Zlatan invited me to his house, we danced and did some routine choreography and its trending till now.
Q: Tell us about that dance?
A: (Laughs) not necessarily, it depends on how I teach you and then your body language, if your body could set up with what I teach you, then you’re good. Otherwise, if your body fails then you wouldn’t be able to pull off the task.
Q: When you first met with Zlatan what did you say?
A: When he saw me, he was like, ‘guy you no get shame o’ then he added, ‘ma foh, we go do something’ then he said he would, ‘cast’ me. My follow on Instagram was 75, after taking a picture with him at his home, he then posted on his social page, within 30minutes I was on 5000 followers, mehn I was shell shocked, he got gingered by the attention and he asked we make a video, so he called Pokoli and since I also had my childhood friend, Afrofit Jeff, who was equally good a dancer, so he asked that we do the dance routine together, at about 1:35 a.m. in the early house of the morning that we posted it, currently the video is on 400 views as I speak to you, on Instagram. And up until now, I’m still treading, I’ve had people contact me, various artists, for a dance video for their song, all from Instagram, probably tomorrow it might be davido that I would dance with and I’ll upload it. Currently, my goal is to meet the king behind this trend, Obesere, since I’ve not met him before and he hasn’t noticed me.
Q: What’s next for you in the next six months, where do you see yourself?
A: In six months, I think I’ll still be buzzing Instagram, and the years to come I’ll have been signing endorsements, when the trend dwindles as people have said my account wouldn’t be a buzz again, so I’ll have to pull off new tricks, double my game, and make sure I’ve recieved endorsement before I switch lanes and try something new.
Q: How would you say you’ve managed your fame so far?
A: Well, I’ve been trying my best, a friend from Ethiopia says h he’ll be my manager, and I’ve been with him for quite some time, I stay at his place at Lekki, so because of this interview he brought me.
Q: What are your plans?
A: A lot, I’m willing to meet up with many artists, and I’ve sent direct messages to a lot of people on Instagram, and probably they are yet to notice me, and I’ve people I would love to work with, Sidney talker, Oluwa Dollars, Josh too funny, Basket Mouth, Buchi( he knows me in person) but probably doesn’t know I’m the one behind the mask.
Q: How are your parents and friends taking it, perhaps even your girlfriend?
A: Well, I don’t have a girlfriend currently because I want to focus on my education, and my career, that’s foremost. Basically, because I have to think, and possibly my heart starts to fall in love, it’s going to divide my attention.
Q: What about your family
A: When Zlatan posted my picture, he was like we negotiating the price for the Lamba I just bought. So my elder brother called my father that Zlatan has signed me, immediately, my dad called me and asked why I was on an egungun costume, and asked if I knew if its spiritual, you see my dad is a pastor at MFM Church and so he worried if it was demonic, and so I told him to calm down, that I need to trend and it’s my life so let me just do what I have to, and he accepted but warned that I should be prayerful.
Q: What do you have to say about those that think they have the idea now, what’s your advice?
A: Well I think they should change their ideas because everybody is thinking in terms of the masquerade, I thought about the costume, and currently about 200 people have done the same costume, wanting to be like me, but I wouldn’t be replaced, Zlatan spoke with me yesterday, after sending an amount of money to my account which I won’t disclose, he asked that I make some new ones. For the DJ shoot before the next video, he also mentioned that davido would get in touch with him soon and that I should be prepared, perhaps tomorrow I get to dance with him
Q: Do you feel that made-artist are reaching out to help those still growing?
A: Well, Zlatan helped me, because I’ve sent messages to a lot of artists as to my ideas but most will just read it and not reply.