D’banj encouraged me to start ‘Jenifa’ brand – Funke Akindele

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Record-breaking Nollywood actress and producer Funke Akindele has shared the significant role ace musician D’banj played in her career.

Akindele, the highest-grossing filmmaker in the Nigerian box office, revealed that D’banj provided financial support to launch her ‘Jenifa’ film series, which catapulted her to fame.

She made these remarks at D’banj’s 20th-anniversary celebration in the music industry, held in Lagos on Saturday.

Akindele said, “After the big break with ‘Jenifa’, I was out there, and people were celebrating me. A club owner invited me to his club then. He said, ‘I want to host you. You’re very hard working. I love ‘Jenifa”. Come with your cast and crew members.’ So, we went and I saw D’banj for the first time. I was starstruck. But he said, ‘I am here to celebrate you.’ So we danced and he gave me his number.

“He took me to a quiet place and said, ‘Why did you let ‘Jenifa’ go like that? That’s a brand that you can feed on for the rest of your life.’ I was like, ‘What’s this guy saying? Me that was doing Yoruba movies.’ He said, ‘No, ‘Jenifa’ has to come back. Get in touch with me, any support you need I will give you.’ So I reached out to him and he said, ‘When you’ve a brand, you feed on the brand. You milk the brand very well, make money out of it.’

“He gave me some money and said, ‘Go and write another ‘Jenifa’, I support you with this money.’ I was like, ‘Really? No strings attached?’ He said, ‘No.’ That was how he filmed ‘The Return Of Jenifa.’ And till date, the brand is still relevant. Christmas 2024, we are coming with ‘Everybody Loves Jenifa’.”