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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ikechukwu Speaks! Confirms Mo’hits Exit & Releases Celebratory Birthday Mixtape

Ikechukwu has consistently been in the public eye since his debut in 2006 with Son of the Soil. He was one of the very first ensigns of Storm Records along with Naeto C. Recently, he’s been fraught with controversy enshrouding his exit from Storm and affiliation with Mo’hits and another exit again, from Mo’hits.

Hitherto, he had declined to comment. However, on the 12th of October 2010, during his radio interview with Toolz on The Beat 99.9 FM, he confirmed his move away from Mo’hits declining to make further comments on the issue. He also confirmed that he was on good terms with former label mate, Naeto C going further to state that as far as he knew, Naeto was still a member of the World Famous Academy – WFA.

Today being the rapper’s birthday he has decided to release his mixtape, which he said, would premiere on today. The mixtape titled Ok Hello, features 2face, eLDee, Muna amongst others. His soon-to-be-released album, The Alliance is scheduled to drop soonest.

He was spotted at the Ay Live show in London last week, where he performed alongside his girlfriend, model/shoe designer – Sarah Ofili to the glee of cheering fans. Find below pictures of the sizzling hot performance of Critical.


Felabration 2010! Viva Africa!

Felabration 2010 is upon us once again. Felabration is an annual festival dedicated to the promotion of Afrobeat and African culture and to the preservation of the legend and artistry of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

FELABRATION 2010 aims to highlight this important aspect of his career by introducing the first symposium discussion led by eminent Nigerians from various disciplines to discuss on the topic of “The Social and Political Influence of Fela on our society”


If you’re in Lagos or around Lagos, you should definitely pick a date and find your way to the festival. If your love is overwhelming like some, you can definitely attend all the scheduled events. Enjoy.

Check out the flyer details:

For more details visit


Chile official: 1st miner to surface Tuesday

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile -- The first of 33 trapped miners is expected to be lifted to the surface late Tuesday after miraculously surviving more than two months about half a mile below ground, Chile's Mining Minister Laurence Golborne announced.

The minister told a news conference that officials "hope to have at least one of our miners on the surface" before the end of the day - apparently the longest period anyone has ever been trapped underground.

President Sebastian Pinera was expected to arrive shortly before the first miner is pulled out in a carefully choreographed operation meant to minimize any risk.

After a series of successful tests with the escape capsule, his remarks suggested there was no reason to wait any longer. Rescue workers on Monday had suggested the men might not be pulled out until after dawn Wednesday.

Asked about the biggest technical problem that could hit the rescue operation, coordinator Andre Sougarett said: "A rock could fall."

"There is no need to try to start guessing what could go wrong. We have done that job," a confident Golborne said. "We have hundreds of different contingencies."

Rescuers were keeping the miners busy on final preparations they were to climb into a custom-made capsule for what tests indicated should be a smooth ride to the outside world.

"The miners are very busy - that's also to keep their spirits up," Health Minister Jaime Manalich said. "It remains a paradox - they're actually much more relaxed than we are."

As the miners emerge, they will be sheltered from the glare of TV cameras. They will get an immediate medical check and gather with a few family members in an area closed to the news media. Officials say a siren will sound as each miner emerges.

Then, they will ride in helicopters - two at a time if they are in beds, or four at a time if they can sit up - to the regional hospital in Copiapo for a battery of physical and psychological exams.

"Our job is to provide benefit and not harm," Manalich said, urging the media - more than 1,000 journalists are working on the story - to respect their privacy. "We have to protect them until the last minute, until they can return to normal lives with their families."

Nearby, the miners' families have been holding vigil at a place called "Camp Hope."

"Here the tension is higher than down below. Down there they are calm," said Veronica Ticona, sister of 29-year-old Ariel Ticona, a trapped rubble-removal machine operator.

After 68 days of shared fears and jitters - all of it under the close scrutiny of dozens of reporters that have now grown to a battalion - the early fellowship has frayed. Some relationships, once at least cordial, are as hostile as the desolate sands of the surrounding Acatama desert.

Relatives privately shared stories of the divisiveness with an Associated Press reporter who spent the past month at the camp, frequently bedding down in a tent beside theirs, sharing coffee and gossip.

The feuds and jealousies within families centered on such matters as who got to take part in weekend videoconferences with the miners, who received letters and why - or even who should speak to the media and how much they should be revealing about a family's interior life.

Some relatives complained about distant kin seeking the international media limelight, giving interviews about trapped miners they barely know.

Then there are those who, despite only distant blood ties to miners, lined up for donated gifts including sexy lingerie, bottles of wine and electronic toys and Halloween costumes for children.

There were even fights over who constitutes a close relative - or even a miner's preferred conjugal companion.

So Alberto Iturra, the chief of the psychology team advising the trapped men, decided that after each miner rides an escape capsule to daylight, the rescued man will meet with between one and three people whom the miner has personally designated.

Then there is the question of money.

It has already strained relations between families as some seem to be getting more than others, including from some news media, who outnumber the miners' relations several fold.

Cognizant of the emotional toll, Iturra recommended Monday that the relatives leave the mine, go home and get some rest.

"I explained to the families that the only way one can receive someone is to first be home to open the door," Iturra said.

The dramatic endgame was hastening as the rescuers finished reinforcing the escape shaft early Monday and the 13-foot (four-meter)-tall rescue chamber descended flawlessly nearly all the way to the trapped men in a series of test runs.

On Monday, the Phoenix I capsule - the biggest of three built by Chilean navy engineers, named for the mythic bird that rose from ashes - made its first test runs after the top 180 feet (55 meters) of the shaft were lined with steel pipe, the rescue leader said.

Then the empty capsule was winched down 2,000 feet (610 meters), just 40 feet (12 meters) short of the shaft system that has been the miners' refuge since an Aug. 5 collapse.

"We didn't send it (all the way) down because we could risk that someone will jump in," a grinning Golborne told reporters on Monday.

Engineers had planned to extend the piping nearly twice as far, but they decided to stop after the sleeve - the hole is angled 11 degrees off vertical at its top before plunging down, like a waterfall - became jammed during a probe.

Officials have drawn up a secret list of which miners should come out first, but the order could change after paramedics and a mining expert first descend in the capsule to evaluate the men and oversee the journey upward.

First out will be the four miners fittest of frame and mind, health minister Jaime Manalich said. Should glitches occur, these men will be best prepared to ride them out and tell their comrades what to expect.

Next will be 10 who are weakest or ill. One miner suffers from hypertension. Another is a diabetic, and others have dental and respiratory infections or skin lesions from the mine's oppressive humidity.

The last out is expected to be Luiz Urzua, who was shift chief when the men became entombed, several family members of miners told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not want to upset government officials.

The men will take a 20-minute ride to the surface in the capsule, which will rotate as it passes through gentle bends in the bore hole. It should take about an hour for the rescue capsule to make a round trip, Aguilar told the AP.

Plans called for the media to be blocked by a screen from viewing the miners when they reach the surface. A media platform has been set up more than 300 feet (90 meters) away from the mouth of the hole.

After being extracted, the miners will be ushered through inflatable tunnels, like the ones used in sports stadiums, to ambulances that will take them to a triage station.

Once cleared by doctors there, they are to be taken to another area where they'll be reunited with the chosen family members. Next stop: a heliport and the flight to Copiapo.

At the hospital, all the miners will be kept for 48 hours of observation that will begin when the last one exits the escape shaft.

Associated Press Writer Frank Bajak contributed to this report.


I Don’t Use Drugs, Only Marijuana And Drinks -Majek Fashek

Majek Fashek has come a long way in reggae music. In this interview with TOPE OLUKOLE, he shares some issues concerning his music and why he was off the scene for some time. Excerpts:

Can you look at the music industry in Nigeria and compare it with the music scene in America?
Nigerians are the hope of Africa. I’ve gone to Australia, Asia, Europe and America and Nigerian music is all over the place. I like the Americans. Americans are my brothers. Nigerian music is fashioned after American. When I came back to Nigeria, I watched TV and I saw my younger brothers in music playing American kind of music. I’m very impressed they are doing American kind of songs. It means Nigerians are civilised.

But reggae is no longer on air, clubs, shows it seems dead?
No. Reggae is back. I’ve just finished some recordings. I normally don’t record in Nigeria. Reggae is street music like hip-hop. You cannot kill reggae, it’s the Rasta movement and it’s like Christianity. It’s impossible. But the fact is that the young shall grow and that’s why everyone is playing hip-hop, it’s young boys songs.

At a point, you were very relevant and rated high alongside late Lucky Dube but you did not get close to expectations, what happened?
You see in America, if you don’t play well, you can’t make money. Lucky Dube and I played together in New York for about four times, but you see, music is like competition. It is those who play it well that win. Let me tell you, we were like enemies. He was playing well and I was playing well.

You had great motivators like Aswad, Jimmy Cliff and others, but along the line, you fizzled out?
Let me tell you, you want to hear my story? I’m a gambler. If you don’t lose, you don’t gain. I have a house in Las Vegas. I’ve seen it all.

You look funny compared to the past, do you do drugs?
No, I don’t do drugs. I use spiritualism. I’m spiritually filled. I smoke Igbo and I drink.

Maybe you take too much of everything?

Many people, your fans, are not happy to see you like this?
I’m cutting it down.

Which of your songs would you say it’s your favourite?
It’s Holy spirit. Holy spirit is holy music. God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit is the one that controls the spirit of man. Holy spirit cannot be underestimated. It gives you long life and you can live for over 100 years if you walk with Holy Spirit.

You talk about Holy Spirit, is Majek Fashek a Christian, a Muslim or Buddhist?
Holy Spirit has no boundary. You can be a Christian, a Muslim, an Ogun worshipper or Olokun worshipper and you will still have Holy Spirit. So, you can be in any religion and still possess the Holy Spirit. It is the most powerful and it’s from God.

Some of your contemporaries like Orits Williki, Ras Kimono and Mandators tried to make a comeback but they were not lucky to make hits, their songs did not appeal to the younger generation, are you looking at collaborations with the younger artistes on the scene?
I’m the master. I work with some boys like Blackface, Tuface and Faze. I work with the younger generation.

What do you think is lacking in the career of these new generation of artistes?
These young artistes need good management.

What do you think you would love to change about yourself?
Me? I’m a Rastafarian, a prisoner of conscience. I have no apology to man but to God because when I die, I’m going to see God and God is going to wash me of all my sins. I only respect man. I don’t fear man.

Tell me how old are you?
I’m as old as creation
Tell me about your children and family
I have three children

Are they living in Nigeria?
No, they are in New York

How do you want to be remembered?
I’m going to disappear like Elijah, like Elisha, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Hosea.

If you look at yourself now, compared to what you looked like in the past, can you see you are looking older that your age?
No, I’m not old. I’m a Rastaman. I don’t get old, I can change my body. Pastor and prophets don’t get old, they only change their bodies.

That reminds me, do you still keep your cassocks, your bell?
My cassock is in the house; my bell is in the house too.


BN Exclusive: Up Close and Personal With CNN’s Isha Sesay!

In a world where many black role models in front of the camera seemingly choose to portray an exorbitant lifestyle and the trappings of a successful career, you will need to look closer to find the less obvious role models who project themselves with eloquence, grace and unquestionable intelligence. Isha Sesay is one of such role models. The only black female CNN International news anchor, who graced our international screens first as a sports reporter for SKY and now as a news anchor for CNN International and Inside Africa is in every way a woman of intellectual depth and deep seated African (Sierra Leonean) roots but is above all an African the continent can be proud of.

In preparation for my interview with Isha I was nervous. It’s different interviewing someone whose occupation involves asking Presidents and top government officials tough questions. I looked through my list of questions desperately trying to rephrase them using the most intelligible words my brain could muster. But as soon as Isha sat in front of me, every inch of nervousness disappeared. She was incredibly charming and her smile immediately settled my unsteady hand. My father had made me promise that I would tell Isha, how much he enjoyed her coverage of the World Cup. And I used that as my introductory line to break the ice, not that there was any ice to break. She accepted my delivery of my father’s praise graciously and delightfully. It became apparent why this tall, intelligent and extremely beautiful African woman is where she is today.

With all the interviews I’ve ever done, I have always taken away a few lessons from the interviewee. With Banky W, it was the need to rise above life’s challenges; with Dr Doyin Abiola, it was that my hunger for knowledge must be deepened if I am to succeed and with Darey Art Alade it was to remain grounded regardless of the good favour God may bless me with. With Isha the lessons were numerous, but above all she taught me that hard work, determination and prayers are the necessary requirements for success.

Interview with Isha Sesay

The Making of Sesay!

“…..competitiveness is in my DNA because that’s what I grew up with”

Born in the UK to esteemed Sierra Leonean parents, Isha’s mother was a lecturer at the Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone and her father a prominent lawyer who sadly passed when Isha was only 12 years old. She studied English at Trinity College, Cambridge and got her first career break as a researcher for the BBC where she also went on to become a TV presenter. After leaving the BBC ,Isha joined SKY Sports News and then went on to become a CNN international News anchor in 2005.

BN: Away from the lights and camera who is Isha?

Isha Sesay: She is talkative, my friends say ‘will you shut up’. She is a little quieter sometimes. I do like my quiet time and some space. I can be quite intense and quite serious at times. When I go to parties you wont find me in the middle of things, I will be with my friends in the corner chatting. I am not one of those that go and stand in the middle of the room. I am fairly private. I am one of those people who if people are having a crisis they can call me anytime. I am a mix of people. When I am not made up…I wander around in jeans in a baseball cap and sneakers. You will find me doing that, “shleping” as I call it. And I say to people do I have to get dressed up? And they say ‘yes’ and I go ‘I am not coming’. I am notorious for that. And that’s why the circle of friends that I have, they are called ‘the family’, we all ‘shlep’, T-Shirts, jeans, flip flops and we ‘shelp’ around quite happily. It takes a lot to put your face on and I do that 5 days a week.

BN: What memories do you have of Sierra Leone?

Isha Sesay: I was home a couple of weeks ago. The beach. The spirit of the people, people are quite optimistic and quite resilient in Freetown. That spirit of the people lingers with me. Growing up at home with family, being taught about the importance of family, the importance of responsibility and hard work. I associate those qualities with home. My mother is a very big part of my life and a big influence on my life. My memories are of that and of working hard at school, of summer holidays, getting excited because I used to spend my summer holidays in the UK, working through school to get on the plane and going to see friends that you hadn’t seen for months at a time. Lots of laughter, I grew up on an academic campus because my mother taught at the university. So quite idyllic in that sense, lots of little bungalow homes with the academics and their kids. School was competitive for everyone and there was kind of mild competitiveness because everyone’s parent was an academic. So that kind of competitiveness is in my DNA because that’s what I grew up with. Kind of idyllic and hardworking.

BN: How did the loss of your father affect you?

Isha Sesay: It made me grow up very quickly. My mother was a widow at 39, my dad died at 40 and I was 12. It’s just her, so you don’t want to be a problem child, you want to be a source of support. So with that you grow up, you tell yourself that you are going to act in a way that is less traumatic, not that I was a traumatic child, but you are just aware of that. My older sister is disabled and my younger brother is 5 years younger, so just a feeling of “I should look after him and be there for him. You just don’t want to make a big deal out of stuff”. And because of my sister, I am a defacto eldest child, so I think it really gave me that sense of growing up and trying to be responsible. I became aware of the need to be responsible at a young age because I felt it would help my mother. And I wanted to do things that would make her proud because you think that would lessen the pain. You want to do well at school, you want to make her proud and make my father proud. It made me more determined to try and be a success because he was such a success. You don’t want to let down his memory, I am very aware of that. I am reminded of that all the time because he was such a huge success. He was a lawyer and a very prominent lawyer. So you have that because you want to live up to the family name.

BN: I read somewhere that you always wanted to be an actress, what led you to that and why didn’t you pursue it?

Isha Sesay: I wanted to be an actress when I was in my late teens. I really wanted to be an actress because I stumbled upon drama when I was about nine or ten so. It was a school play and I had a role which in rehearsals I never paid much attention to and I wasn’t very good. But when it came to the night of the performance and there was the crowd, there was something of it that lit a spark and I was like ‘oh wow’. So I carried on doing that and when I went to England, I would go to summer camp and I would do some more acting and then I kind of became convinced that that was something I wanted to do. Unfortunately or fortunately for me, when I was doing my A levels my teacher said ‘look if you really focus you could go to Oxford or Cambridge’ and that’s when acting kind of fell away because I had to focus on school. And once I told my mother I could get into Cambridge that was it! By the time I got to Cambridge there were too many other issues and other things that I kind of became taken with. Cambridge has about 31 colleges and I didn’t go to one that was strong with drama, rather I went to one that was strong with social activism and I kind of became involved with those issues so the acting fell away.

BN: Is that something you regret?

Isha Sesay: That’s a good question. Sometimes I think it would be fun, do I regret it, no. When I do things like I cover the UN General Assembly or I am on the campaign trail for Obama I don’t regret it. NO, because film and TV as a culture has a part to play. But I feel like asking tough questions and covering history, I believe long term, is more satisfying for me.

BN: How hard or easy was it for you to make the transition from sports anchor to hardcore politics?

Isha Sesay: It wasn’t easy, there’s no doubt about it. When you spend your days talking about David Beckham or Michael Owen and you transition to talking about Middle East peace or unemployment in Spain; it’s not a straight forward switch. It takes a lot of work but it’s one of those things that I felt passionate enough about to want to make that transition that I could convince any editor or any managing director of a news network to give me a shot to prove to them that it wasn’t just a passing whim. It was something I was interested in and focused on being good at. So no, it wasn’t easy. I had a meeting with a Managing Director of a network in the UK and he gave me this ‘on the spot screen test’ like a general knowledge quiz. He was like; ‘What would you do if the Pope died? What is the process of getting a new Pope? Because he is thinking ‘well how much do you know’ and I think that’s a very fair test. It’s just proof that if you want something you have to be ready, prepared and willing to fight for it. And that’s really what I set out to do to put myself in a situation where I was prepared to meet people to convince them to give me a shot. And once I got the opportunity to move to ITN and then to CNN I just worked really really had. There is no doubt about it I was in sports for three and a half years, people like Jim Clancy who I work with who have been doing this for as long as I’ve been alive or Michael Holmes who has covered endless wars and had been doing it a lot longer. But you put the work in so that you can hold your own against them.

Sesay the Reporter

“I want to carry on hopefully in my small way showing people that they can reach for the stars and get there”.

Isha is the only Black female news anchor on CNN International. She is also the host of Inside Africa. While it is easy to get carried away by Isha’s striking good looks and obvious feminine charms, it is her depth of knowledge and her poignant way of delivering the story as it unfolds that makes Isha the success she is today.

BN: How does it feel to be the only black female news anchor on CNN International and how responsible do you feel?

Isha Sesay: Isn’t that crazy? It feels crazy.

BN: Do you feel any kind of responsibility for that position?

Isha Sesay: Yeah, I mean there is no point in lying. I want to make sure that I hold myself up to the highest standards. People see me so often and they tell me how proud they are and how important what I have done is to them and what it means to them. Recently I went to Uganda to host some awards, I was at the airport and I had a hat on and this woman said “I know its you” I was like ‘oh shucks’. And she said ‘I want you to know how much it means to me and how much you inspire me as a woman’. And even though personally, I try not to let that stuff affect me because it can be quite pressurizing. But when you hear it and you realize that you have a responsibility sometimes that’s just how it is and you just have to accept. It is a responsibility – one that I take seriously. I want to carry on hopefully in my small way showing people that they can reach for the stars and get there.

BN: What would you say is the reason behind your success?

Isha Sesay: I don’t know, I mean success is…. I think it’s for other people to judge how successful I am or I am not.

BN: In the wider scheme of things I think it’s safe to say you do have a successful career?

Isha Sesay: I won’t be disingenuous to say that I’m not, but there are people more successful and that’s life, it’s a question of relativity. Hard work, absolute determination. I am very like Uchenna (BN Chief Editor), I make a plan and I am like that’s where I am going and I am going to get there. You try and push here and there till you find a soft spot. Hard work, determination and luck. There’s always luck there’s no doubt about it…it takes hard work and determination, plus as a lot of prayers. That’s always helpful… mother spends nights praying.

BN: With everything you’ve achieved so far, what would you say was the highest point of your career, so far?

Isha Sesay: I always say this and not to sound repetitive. I think for time to come we will still be analyzing the significance of the 2008 Presidential Elections. Just because of everything. That really was a huge moment for America and for the world. The most powerful nation on earth, elected a black man with Kenyan roots, who changed the landscape of politics. We had a woman running to be President of the United States and to be part of that coverage for CNN was momentous for us. To be there when he gave his acceptance speech in Denver, to see him there, to see the kids come out, all of that. I still get goose bumps now because it was huge and it’s inspirational. It’s inspirational to young people round the world yet alone to young people of colour. And it really reaffirmed my faith in the United States in terms of what can be achieved, the potential it holds and for other places as well. I think that a young person with hard work, a little bit of luck and everything else that needs to come together for a perfect storm can achieve anything. I think that’s still my moment and I don’t know what’s going to beat it, other than sitting down with Obama himself. It was truly special. I was there on the floor when Hilary Clinton passed on her delegates to him and the roll call was taken and Obama was officially the nominee and there where people crying and that stays with me now. There were people of all colours crying that he got the nomination, he hadn’t won yet, he had just got the nomination and I was there when it was happening. That was amazing and CNN gave me that opportunity.

BN: You’ve covered many stories from the killing of Benazir Bhutto to the death of Slobadan Milosevic but is there anything that gave you goose bumps while you where reporting, apart from the 2008 Presidential Elections?

Isha Sesay: We do a lot of breaking news at CNN there’s a lot that happens. There was an earthquake in Chile recently and I ended up going in to do live coverage, breaking news 3hrs live with Jonathan Mann – we had bare bone scripts, we had guests just coming out like government ministers, state department. I think it was something like 7.8 in magnitude and Haiti was a 7, so the potential for what it could be …and we were sitting live. And we were like ‘we do not know what is happening in Chile’ ‘we do not know what exists’, ‘we do not know what’s left’. ‘We want to show you these pictures that are just coming to us, there is this bridge with huge cracks in it there are parts of the country we can’t get to’. I remember sitting there live thinking, anything we say now has implications because its real time unfolding. I do a lot of breaking news which sometimes is after the fact. I covered Bhutto when she was assassinated, the State of Emergency in India. I have done that kind of breaking news but there was something about Chile in itself because it was a disaster and we didn’t know what really was going on but CNN was the place to tune in to. As it turns out in terms of infrastructure it was bad but thankfully no where near Haiti. And there was a tsunami warning for 5 O’ Clock and we were watching the clock counting down. Thankfully it never happened. That was a wild day, plus I had a personal wedding to go to the next day but anyway!

I was there in Iraq the day there was a massive car bombing. There where 3-4 bombs simultaneously and I was live, again another situation where you don’t know what’s happening. I was like ‘oh my God I can’t believe I am in Iraq and there has been massive simultaneous bombings and I am reporting the story’.

BN: But then isn’t there an element of fear and how do you manage that?

Isha Sesay: Yes there is fear, I mean I am not immune to that, of course not. But I am a great believer in ‘when it’s your time it’s your time’. I have that kind of fatalism about life but also at the same time with CNN they don’t cut corners when it comes to personal security. They do everything that they possibly can. With the operation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, there is a huge security operation that goes on there. So yes, I got there and there were bullet proof vests and there was security training on what you should do if you get an IED (Improvised Explosive Device)- the ones they plant in roads and have killed lots of people particularly in Afghanistan. But you know you have the training, you take the precautions and you say your prayers and tell the story because the story has got to be told.

BN: What is the greatest thing about working for CNN?

Isha Sesay: What isn’t? Don’t get me wrong, there are bad days like in any other Network. The passion of the majority of the people that I work with is breathtaking. The depth of knowledge in one newsroom from writers, to copy editors to your fellow anchors. I mean that is pretty amazing; how much people know, how much people care about the world. They are just so informed. Also I’ll be honest we’ve resources that very few other Networks have and I always say to people that Haiti was proof of that. How we could pull it out of the bag and get a team on the ground. With the World Cup, CNN’s World Cup coverage was outstanding. If you have resources and you have talent and you have passion, you can create something very special. And I think that’s what’s special about CNN and I am humbled and proud everyday to be proud of the Network. And I say it and people are always like would you cut it out with the cheerleading.

The Woman in Sesay

“At the end of the day what I will say is, you have to find some level of happiness in yourself first and foremost because I don’t think you can be good to anyone. I don’t see how you can make a marriage work long term if you are fundamentally dissatisfied. You have got to find a level of equilibrium and fulfillment in yourself”

Behind the image of almost every successful single woman is the absent shadow of her husband. Many aspects of our society and culture teaches or requires that a woman’s completeness rests in the bossom of her husband. Isha’s candid thoughts on this issue not only shatter these notions but also reaffirm the need for wholeness of self regardless of marriage.

BN: How do you balance a love life around your career? Do you find men are intimidated by your success?

Isha Sesay: No guy has ever told me that so I can’t say that. But people tell me that and read that. But no guy has ever said “oh by the way, we are all intimidated by you” so I can’t speak to that. It’s not easy to balance though. You make a plan and say ‘I will meet you and we’ll do this over the weekend’ and then something happens and you are somewhere else. It takes a very understanding person. It also takes a person that’s very self assured and isn’t troubled by you being stopped or being interrupted. It takes a very special guy and I’ll let you know when I find him.

BN: How would you define your sense of style?

When there are events and I have to get dressed up for, I like clean lines. Old glamour Carolina Herrera, daytime Stella McCartney kind of paired down tailored clean lines. If I am not doing any of that, some sneakers and flat shoes. My mother is always like ‘you need to wear heels’. ‘You’ll never get married if you go wondering around like that with a baseball cap’. She said to me a couple of weeks ago ‘are you going out with that baseball cap, please I am begging you don’t go out looking like that’.

BN: Do you feel any pressure to get married?

Isha Sesay: No, because my brother just got married so there is no pressure at all. Now, everyone has just given up. I say that and it doesn’t trouble me but I do think that him getting married has been extremely beneficial for me. Because he just got married and he had a baby and I am so grateful. Before that family was saying ‘if you can’t find one for yourself we’ll find you one’. But now they don’t say that because I say ‘look at my nephew, play with him’. And that’s sort of calming them. Its funny how I think in society, and I don’t think it’s just an African thing, but I think in African society people are more vocal about it. Despite what I do and whatever level of success you want to attribute to it, the fact that I am not married somehow its still incomplete. They are like ‘oh you are successful but you are not married’ but I think that’s across the board I don’t think it’s just an African thing. It’s just that my relatives will say to me. ‘Aha what’s wrong with you, why are you not married’.

BN: But do you feel any sort of personal pressure?

Isha Sesay: No, other than the fact that I am hoping, in fact I know I will meet the right person, I have a certainty about meeting the right person at the right time. And I am very open about it, I would like to start a family at some point when the time is right with the right person. So only the pressure of hopefulness, of sustaining that hopefulness. No, it’s not something that I lie awake worrying about. I do have some friends who are freaking out! We are on the phone and she is like ‘I don’t think I am ever going to meet him’. ‘I just think it’s ever going to happen’. I am like ‘chill out already you will meet someone’. And that’s how I get a sense of balance. That’s how I know where I am at because when I listen to my females friends, who are feeling something that I think is very natural, I go no I am not there yet, I am not panicking.

BN: What is the right person for you?

Isha Sesay: What would he look like ..he would be FINE! He would have to be interested in what is happening in the world, he would have to be engaged on some level. He doesn’t have to be as engaged as I am because I am at an abnormal level. He would have to be interested in news and current affairs because I’d come home and say ‘can you believe what happened today?’ and I’d hate someone to just say, ‘can we talk about American Idol instead’. That would be a big problem. He’d have to appreciate the importance of family because my family is never going to go anywhere. It’s a big family in terms of an extended family. I come from a large family that’s always making their opinion known. So he’d have to be family oriented. He’ll have to be strong because sometimes I am difficult to deal with, I’ll be like ‘I am doing this and nothing is going to stop me’. So you know, fine, smart, accomplished in his own way, whatever that is but I want him to have a level of success where he is comfortable in himself so that whatever I do doesn’t trouble him. He has his own self assurance that “you can go off and do that, I ain’t that impressed!” and kind. Kindness is important, kindness is more important than money. So you want someone who is kind who cares about you and your emotions and what you’ve been through that day. Someone who is kind, that’s important to me and funny. I will take away a little bit of fineness for funny and God fearing.

BN: What would you say to women who are trying to balance the need for a career with the desire for marriage?

Isha Sesay: I’m worried to give people advice especially as I am not married. At the end of the day what I will say is, you have to find some level of happiness in yourself first and foremost because I don’t think you can be good to anyone. I don’t see how you can make a marriage work long term if you are fundamentally dissatisfied. You have got to find a level of equilibrium and fulfillment in yourself. I can only speak for that. I will say it’s important to put in as much focus in finding your own happiness as your marriage. Don’t make the marriage dominate. Because you can’t build something on a weak foundation. Your foundation is your sense of self and his sense of self and how that comes together. And if you’re unhappy it’s going to be difficult. I’m still working on myself till I find that ‘fine’ guy and then we’ll connect our senses of self.

Meeting Isha is unquestionably one of my biggest highlights this year. Not only because I got to interview her but because in such a short time of speaking with her she managed to leave such indelible imprints on my way of thinking. Her ideals of family, hard work, responsibility and self fulfillment are fundamental character traits any woman in the 21st century would want to imbibe. I really hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed doing the interview.