At 40, Kemi Adetiba Has No Qualms

Kemi Adetiba

By Ferdinand Ekechukwu

Popular cinematographer, Kemi Adetiba, looked forward to celebrating her 40th birthday. Yes. But who wouldn’t be, especially for most young achievers who have made remarkable impact in their chosen fields, in this era when 40th appear to be the new beginning. The award-winning television director rang in her birthday by making the announcement on social media, revealing via her Instagram page that she has absolutely no regrets at 40, “Absolutely no regrets!!” she wrote.

She shared the photo of fireworks announcing her age. Kemi Adetiba has since been receiving congratulatory messages from her fans who have taken to the micro blogging platform to celebrate her. The dark-skinned beauty, whose productions include films like ‘King of Boys’ and ‘The Wedding Party 1” has had her works featured across the globe, as she continues to shine the light in the movie-making scene in Nigeria.

Kemi’s works have appeared on Channel O, MTV Base, Soundcity TV, BET and Netflix. She started her career professionally as a radio presenter with Rhythm 93.7 FM, where she became the voice behind two nationally syndicated hit shows: Soul’d Out and Sunday at the Seaside. Some of the awards she has to her name include Best Female Video for the song “Ekundayo” by TY Bello at the Soundcity TV Music Video Awards and Best Female Video for the song “Today na Today” by Omawumi at the 2010 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

Kemi won the City People Entertainment Award for Best Music Video Director of the Year (2015), HNWOTY Award for Woman of the Year in Film and Television (2017), King of Boys won Best Nigerian Film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) 2019 including The NVIFF award where King of Boys won Best African Film. NVIFF is an international film festival showcasing feature films, documentaries, shorts, animations, television series and scripts.

After making a name for herself with her award-winning music videos, she came on to the movie scene in 2016 with her feature film debut, The Wedding Party 1. Her directorial debut with the feature film, made history, making her the first female director to have the highest opening week in Nollywood. On September 8, 2016, the Nigerian Rom-com film premiered opening night, at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as the opening film of the City-to-City Spotlight.

Kemi soon broke her own record with her second film King of Boys. The industry shook on October 26th, 2018 when the sophomore film hit the Nigerian Cinemas. According to her, King of Boys has had the biggest ever opening week for a non-comedy Nollywood film. It was also ranked the second highest opening of a Nollywood film in 2018 and the second highest opening week by a female director.

This was all despite the fact that it was not released on the first two days of its opening weekend. The gansta-themed political thriller sent people in droves to the cinema because of its balance, raw emotion and very high quality of film-making that was evident throughout the movie. The film was so good, it broke several records within the country, including being the longest running movie in cinemas and highest grossing film until it was superseded by the barrage of holiday movies during the Christmas holidays.

King of Boys, directed by the renowned Nigerian video director, received positive reviews from film critics, and on social media till date. The film takes an interesting view of Nigerian politics, the streets of Lagos and how power, in its raw form, is used as a weapon, both for suppression and elevation in Nigeria. King of Boys does not just show the extent of corruption and the failure of officers of the anti-corruption commission in fighting this menace, it mirrors that statement that runs governments, especially on the continent, “orders from above”.

Born in Lagos on 8 January 1980, Kemi started her journey into the media as a young child where she was cast in two national television commercials for an iconic detergent brand, toeing the path of her father, Dele Adetiba, a veteran in the advertising and broadcast industries.

Adetiba started anonymously posting personal remixes online on various applications such as Spotify and Soundcloud under the username and tag ‘hule’.

She soon began to make a transition from being a voice on radio to being a face on television, producing and presenting several shows on Mnet, which includes Studio 53, Temptation Nigeria alongside Ikponmwosa Osakioduwa.

Kemi was also a presenter on Soundcity TV and hosted Maltina Dance All for three consecutive seasons. After years of success being in front of the camera, Adetiba enrolled into the New York Film Academy to learn the ropes about being behind the cameras and today, her bodies of work as a director are spread across the African continent and beyond its borders.