Chika Chukwu: Actress, singer as the ‘Latest Nollywood Bride’
She tapped the send the button just a few days back. If multitalented actress Chika Chukwu had done this say in April, a lot of people would have concluded that it was the usual ‘April fool’. But this is August and so when her close friends, fans and colleagues saw the post that the dark complexioned actress, singer and show host sent out to formally announce her one-year-old ‘marital status’, they were shocked stiff. ‘When did this happen….when did you get married that we didn’t know’, was how a few of her fans and colleagues reacted on her instagram handle.
Those who didn’t want to engage her on social media simply congratulated her but as the actress who made name playing Jumoke in the long rested sitcom on television ‘Fuji House of Commotion’ later revealed, she has not stopped receiving inbox messages and calls from people who wondered why she didn’t publicize her marriage ceremony or who felt that she should have made her marriage to Brian Ahern, who is Irish, public. ‘’But my brother, it is true oo and it is for real’’ Chika said in response to a question on whether the post she made about her new status was for real or a mere stunt. ‘’I personally don’t do loud as a policy. I like to keep things simple and low so as not to bug people. But it is for real. Make people no vex’’ she said, sounding apologetic.
So it is official. Chika Chukwu is well taken. In fact, her marriage to Brian is a year old and Chika revealed that ‘agreeing to be joined as wife to Brian’ is one of the best decisions she has taken in her entire life. ‘’My brother, I am indeed lucky to have a partner who truly gets me oooh. He is my greatest support system and encourages me to do more and to believe that I can achieve a lot more’ she enthused.
But was it love at first sight? How did they meet? And Chika snapped and in her usual humorous style she said ‘’Mba (Igbo for No) not love at first sight ooo. We were friends for a couple of years before we started dating and agreed to settle down as man and wife last year. I think the best way of saying how we met is to say Brian found me’’.
Born in Onitsha, Anambra State to a mum who is from Onitsha and a retired custom officer dad who is from Enugu, Chika revealed that it is a whole new experience for her combining her career as a performer and taking care of the home front in the UK. ‘’I guess for everyone, life is what it is and of course, I prioritize my family and we will figure out a way to schedule work so that it works. Plus being a producer too now enables me delve more into different charted waters’’.
A quality hand, whom every good producer should have on their set especially if they desire an actress that can interprete roles delightfully, Chika is best remembered for her role as jumoke—the fiery daughter of Chief Fuji who will lead the ‘rebel’ forces on an onslaught against anyone or group of persons who dare disturb the peace of her mum or deny her siblings any entitlement in the fictional world of Amaka Igwe’s long-running situation comedy Fuji House of Commotion. Just a statement that she finds offensive and Jumoke will lead the ‘rebel’ forces who are majorly her direct siblings to cause a commotion that will take the whole day to settle. As Jumoke, Chika shone like a thousand stars. The actress, singer and event manager displayed a commendable degree of energy, skill and resourcefulness. She put up a high wire act in that series and in other movie productions that has made her a notable screen figure.
Amiable and friendly, acting for Chika came naturally. Chika revealed that she showed as a tot that she was art inclined. She grew up always wanting to be the person that was being watched. She also exhibited the ability to perform popular songs by notable musicians like the legendary Michael Jackson. She did them so well that she became something of a child star artiste. No wonder then that her parents, family members and close friends say they were not surprised when they saw her performing on television.
Chika made her screen debut between 1998 and 2000. Notable movie director Moses Ebere provided the back on which she climbed to secure other roles in moviedom when he cast her to play in two movies that he directed -Liquid Love and Liberation. It was same period that she was engaged as a presenter on Silver Screen Television. Chika was host of the Friday night musical chart show titled Soul to Soul. In between too, she met with the Player Meji crooner Idris Abdulkareem while working on the sound track for Jeta Amata’s Tear of the Woman. Chika was later to work under Idris as a backup singer. She was so lavish with thanks to the pop singer for giving her the baton to move on in music.
But even while working under Idris, Chika found time to do some acting. She got her big break when she was cast after an intense audition exercise to play Jumoke, the quarrelsome daughter of Chief Fuji in Fuji House of Commotion. ‘I went for the audition and that was it. I was offered the role and we got straight to work after Amaka Igwe got back to me. On my first day on set, I was terrified because there were a whole lot of people around and I just concluded that like the title of the series, I was in for some confusion. But I must say that I had the most fabulous time ever doing Fuji House of Commotion. It will always be my all time favourite not just because it made me popular, but because it gave me an opportunity to be two different persons in one. It got to a time when people started calling me a rebel leader even off set’ she said.
From Fuji House, Chika moved on and took part in a number of movies including Pius Okugbere’s Royal Tears, and more recently ‘The Meeting’ and Omoni Oboli’s ‘Being Mrs. Elliot’. Of all her screen outing, Chika picked her performance as Jumoke in Fuji House of Commotion as her most memorable screen appearance yet. She also liked her delivery in Tempest, another Amaka Igwe production.
‘I think that I will say that my role in Fuji House kept me in the minds of viewers. But importantly, I would say that working with Amaka Igwe on Fuji House of Commotion and on Tempest, prepared me for a lot of things in my career. For instance, it taught me the importance of team. And really every movie and series I have done as an actor has its own bank of memories and without which there would be a hole in my life.’.
A singer whose single ‘Beautiful’ enjoyed some airplay when it was released, Chika revealed that she is working on a full album release soon. She explained that the reason it is ‘taking time to drop’ is because she doesn’t ‘want to drop an album just for the fun of it’. She also said ‘I am not in music for fame and money. It is actually about fulfillment, about the surge I get when I am on a stage. It is something that I have always wanted to do. I am happier when I am singing and In fact, most people around me think I come alive whenever I am singing. And gradually with each song I finish in the studio, I see myself heading towards a direction—African Neo-Soul. I actually do love singing. It will not be a one-off. I am in music for good’.
Focused and down to earth, Chika star of Liquid Love, Sad Christmas, Hell Ride, War Victims, Sister Mary, Liberation and Tears of a Woman, hopes to continue producing her own movies and she also looks forward to playing a raised game either as a singer or actress. ‘I I also look forward to continue producing my own body of works as a creative artiste with stories to tell. Like we know, every drop in the pond, creates many ripples’’ she surmised.
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