08 Dec 2013

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I’m A Bad Girl in A Good Way

Although she is faced with a barrage of furious criticisms, Judith Opara Mazagwu, better known as Afrocandy, is unapologetic and unrelenting. Nseobong Okon-Ekong
discovers this in an online encounter with her…

o matter what critics say, Judith Opara Mazagwu, better known by her stage name Afrocandy, is not about to slow down. Instead, she is getting bolder by the day, poking her fingers into the eyes of Nigeria’s conservative society by taking on the hot subject of sex in her artistic projections in a most daring manner. Afrocandy loves to ride on the tiger. Whether she will end up in the belly of the tiger, time will tell. For now, she feeds on the controversy generated by her resolute resolve to break with the norm even it means sticking her bounteous booty in your face!
Two recent episodes clearly demonstrate her propensity for controversy. She put up a notice calling on men to send pictures of their manhood in a campaign for would be actors ready to participate in an adult movie. Thanking loyal fans in her closing remarks, she did not mince words in telling them that she would appreciate it if they ‘trim their bushes’.

Invitation to Cossy Orjiakor, Anita Joseph & Beverly Osu
Again, she has continued to knock on the doors of popular Nigerian celebrities like Uche Ogbodo, Cossy Orjiakor and Anita Joseph with a history of brazen sexual activities in the public space, with an open invitation to them to take part in her movies. Her latest summons was to Beverly Osu, one of the two Nigerians in this year’s Big Brother Africa The Chase contest. Beverly must have come under Afrocandy’s radar for her perceived sex romp in the BBA House. So far, none of these known faces in Nollywood has accepted her offer, but she is not dissuaded.
As the year closes, it may be said that this is one of the most rewarding years for Afrocandy. Although she has been making films, the buzz that attended the release of ‘Destructive Instinct’ far surpassed anything that she had done in the past. Perhaps on the account that she fought a long drawn battle with several institutions, she posted a cheeky celebration when the film finally saw the light of the day.

Destructive Instinct Finally Out
“At last, I have won the Battle! Destructive Instinct (is) finally out. After all they did to stop me, God has shown them He is the only one that holds my destiny-My All and All, the King of the Universe, the I am that I am, The Unchangeable Changer, Ancient of days, King of Kings and The Lord or Lords! Yes Sir! Thank you Three Persons in One God! They proposed for me but My Creator disposed. So how do you all like me now? Thanks to all my fans that made their orders and had the patience to wait, you are all wonderful. You can now receive your DVDs and shame on all them people that wagged their dirty stinky (sic) mouths to say my movie will never see the light of the day, ‘ha, ha, ha’ I bet ya’all gonna go drink rat poison now and die…“FYI, you ain’t seen nothing!”
Engaging Afrocandy in a conversation may mean skirting around the bounds of decency.
Afrocandy boastfully claims to be a multiple "Threat" Mrs. Do it All, jack of all trade and master of all. The Owerri, Imo State-born Nigerian actress, artiste, singer, script writer and model who now lives in the United States of America. Afrocandy released her first hit single “Somebody Help Me” in 2009. In 2010, she released her first album of eight tracks featuring the controversial single ‘Ikebe Na Moni’. The following year, she released another single "Voodoo-Juju Woman". One half of a set of twin in July 1971, her interest in acting first surfaced during her teen hood. While on a commercial photo shoot with her daughters, the modeling agent, King George Models, discovered her and suggested that she goes into acting. She started out with commercials like Coca Cola, Nixoderm, Liberia GSM, among others and playing extra roles in the movies.

Role in Movie- Dangerous Sisters
Shortly there after, she landed a role in the movie “Dangerous Sisters” as Susan where she worked along Dakore Egbuson, Genevieve Nnaji, Tony Umez, Alex Usifo, Tina Amuziam and a host of other actors. Judith Mazagwu has since become controversial, her mark as a respected actress who has not gotten into any controversy. Her marriage crashed two years after she joined her husband in the United States. In “Dwelling in Darkness & Sorrows,” Judith was a charming “Jezebel” where she played along Michel Ezuruonye and other big Nollywood names. A year later she raised eyebrows as “Nneoma” (Village Girl) in “End of the Game,” which also starred Sandra Achums and Tony One Week.

She Admires Lady Gaga, Madonna & Pink
Expectedly, Afrocandy who has done a couple of movies in the US like “How Did I Get Here”, “Ordeal in Paradise” “The Goose That Lays The Golden Eggs” "Cultures" and “The Grass Is Not Always Greener, admires other weird performers like Lady Gaga, Madonna and Pink. Despite her boldf ace, the weight of being a mother to her two daughters sometimes gets to her, forcing her to issue a disclaimer to seek to clear the air on what she is about.
“I Afrocandy solemnly want to clear the air here and now that I do not act porn movies, never acted in any porn movie and I am not a porn star. I act in regular movies, not afraid to go naked but that doesn't make one a porn star ok. I am a boss and I know where I invest my money”.

What I do Is Not Different from What Soft Porn Hollywood Does’
Responding to questions sent via email by this reporter, she said, most of them (questions) are too personal.” As the reporter argued that she torn her garment of privacy and therefore there cannot be anything personal about her since her portrayal is about courage and about having the nerve to come out of the closet to show who she really is.
Not one to go down without a fight, Afrocandy argued that her private life is quite different from her business and that she doesn’t have to tell the public things like how much she makes, how much she pays her actors and who her children’s father is. Still she maintained a certain candour and forthrightness that was impressive. Confronted with questions about her audience and whether her artistic products are for the Nigerian or US audience, particularly if she is pandering to cultural influence from her country of residence, she boldly stated that she mixes her cast and repeated for the umpteenth time that she does not do pornography like the press and the critics portray her.
“What I do is not different from what the soft porn Hollywood does, (that is) regular movies with some nudity, but because Nigerians are so backward they term it porn. Dangerous Instinct, her most controversial work yet, is a Part 1-4 movie. She threw a question at her critics. “Who makes a porn that long”?
Even though her sweeping statements like 'Nigerians are so backward' should be discountenanced, as there are many Nigerians who are as urbane and cosmopolitan as she could claim to be, Afrocandy is nonetheless persuading.
The reporter’s online encounter with Afrocandy goes as follows:

Why the nickname Afrocandy?
AfroCandy is not a nickname; it’s my stage name.

When you talk about your hustle, what exactly is it?
My hustle is nothing but my every day-to-day running around to provide for my two daughters and myself through my entertainment career and my regular day job

Do you feel like you are a pioneer in some sense?
Yes of course I feel like a pioneer and of which I am.

Pioneer in what?
I suppose you already know since the press is even the ones carrying the news.

Describe the creative talents that you currently ply?
I am an actress, artist, song/script writer, producer, director, editor, a good cook, beautician (hair breading, weaving, nails, perming and make up) and a great mother.

What other talents of yours are lying, yet untapped?
I'll rather not disclose that.

Singing or acting which one comes first for you?
Both of them come first, I only take a break from one to do the other one at a time.

When did you start singing (amateur and professionally)?
I started singing in 2009 as an amateur.

What are the highlights of your music career so far?
I released my first single 'Somebody Help Me' in 2009, came out with the album of 8 tracks 'Ikebe Na Moni' in 2010, in 2011 and 2012, I released a new single 'Voodoo-JuJu Woman' and a second single 'No Time 4 HaterZ' from my 2nd album and I will be going back into the studio as soon as I am done with my movie release in Nigeria to complete the album

What about highlights of your acting career?
I have done a lot of movies both in Nigeria and in the USA and some of the titles I can remember are (1) Dwelling in Darkness & Sorrows (2) Dangerous Sisters (3) The Real Player (4) End of The Game (5) Between Love (6) Heaven Must Shake (7) My Experience Ghetto Crime (9) Beyond Green Pastures (10) Ticket To Europe (coming out soon) (11) Disciples of Death (12) Desperate Women (13) How Did I Get Here (14) The Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs (15) Cultures (16) The Grass is Greener (17) The will and (18) Only You and a whole lot others. Then I produced Destructive Instinct, Ikebe Squad, Ghetto Idols, The Place,

Who are your contemporaries in acting?

Honestly I do not know anymore. I have taken a long break from the Nigerian movie scene.

You said you used to drive Ini Edo to locations, which other popular name in Nollywood have you done favors for before they began to shine?

Oh yes I gave Ini Edo ride to the locations twice. Other popular names would be Yemi Blaq, we were all hustling together before I left Nigeria. A whole lot of them I won't wanna mention but they all know me.

When you left Nigeria after your first stint in Nollywood, where did you go and what exactly were you engaged in abroad?

When I left Nigeria I migrated to the USA. First it was not so easy to acclimatise and when I settled down, I went into commercials and playing background roles in Hollywood movies before I started actual regular jobs.

What did you study and where? Please, mention secondary schools you attended.
I attended Ugiri-ike Commercial Secondary School and I am also a graduate with two associate degrees in Office Administration and Computer Science. A Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a graduate in Medical Billing and Coding. Also I am getting ready to go back to school to study Law.

Are you a good-girl-gone-bad?
I am a bad girl in a good way.

Who are your parents?
I will like to keep that private because of the insecurity in Nigeria if you don't mind.

Is it true that you have children?
Yes I have two beautiful daughters

Who is the father of your children?
I guess that's not important here, I like to keep my privacy private if you don't mind.

Is it cheaper to make the kind of movies that you have branched into?
Depending on what kind of movie you think I branched into and from my own stand, I make regular movies just like every other producer. The only difference is that I chose to add a little bit of nudity/adult content in my own movies but I also hire workers, cast actors, rent or buy equipment and pay people for all that, so it's not cheaper.

As a mother, are you concerned about how your children may view your work and the reputation it confers on you?
No I am not. I am working hard to provide a brighter future for them, they know what I do, know what sells in the industry because they are not regular Nigerian kids, they see things different from the perspective of a regular Nigerian kid and for now they are worried about their education, universities and graduation so that's what matters most at the end of the day.

Is it true that you started making your kind of films out of frustration?
No it's not. I wanted to make a difference in the Nigerian movie Industry, not that I am the first person to do such in the world. People like Angelina Jolie, Halley Berry, Sharon Stone and Julia Roberts have all done what I did. I call it adventure not frustration.

Is it true that frequent demand for sex from directors in Nollywood pushed you into making the kind of films you now make?
I don't know where you get your news from but there's no such thing in my live story.

What societal issue is the type of films you are making trying to address?
I guess it has to deal with marriage, infidelity, betrayal, love, greed and demonic powers.

How exactly would you describe the type of films you make? Is it pornography? If not, how do you describe it?
It is not pornography. It's drama with some nudity rated for 18 years and older.

Do you still go to church? Which church do you go to?
Yes I go to church every Sunday. I am a Catholic and I worship at the Cathedral.

For portraying yourself the way you do, has it led to any sanction from your family, church?
No it hasn't lead to any of that, like I mentioned above, I am not the only celebrity that portrays myself in such way, its called 'showbiz' and it is completely different from your religion, church and we all belong to one denomination or another. I don't think anybody has been sanctioned by family or church. It's a career one has chosen to pursue and I think the world has gotten much more exposed than all that. We don't live in the stoneage no more.

What are the gains from portraying yourself the way you do?
I guess it's best known to me. But I will tell you to look around you. It's no big deal.

What is the worst setback you have suffered as a result of your current type of work?
It should be the challenges I faced when I was trying to release my movie 'Destructive Instinct', the release was first delayed when the master copy that was sent to me from Nigeria was stolen in transit, then they sent me another one, we finished the editing and the hard drive and computer crashed after the editing, we had to buy brand new computers, new editing soft wares and hard drives to re-edit, it was hell. But I thank God at last it was released.

What is the biggest gain you have made from the type of work you do?
No comments on that.

Do you think you are succeeding in changing the hypocritical attitude of Nigerians towards sex?
Well I can't say for now and I ain't trying to change anybody's attitude toward sex, I am just being me and I am rolling with the people that love what I do, so I don't really care about the rest of them.

This raises a question about your audience. Are your artistic products for the Nigerian or US audience?
My products are for everyone who loves them, it doesn't matter whether you are Nigerian, Asian, Indian, American. I have fans from all over the world

Are you pandering to cultural influence from your country of residence?
Not necessarily but with the growth of technology and the rate the whole world is being exposed, I think it's a global thing.

Tags: Entertainment, Life and Style, Featured, AFROCANDY

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