I have photographer Garry Kettleson to thank for introducing me to Maobong Oku of Kokoma Productions. He knew how much I adored meeting a wide variety of people and encouraged me to come to one of her performances. I did and I loved it. At that time Oku was teaching regular dance classes and that night was a fabulous cultural offering of music, stunning costumes created by her own hands and dance, including performances by some very talented young students. All we managed that night was a hand shake and commitment to connect in the future.
I kept meaning to book a one-on-one interivew with Oku, but it was always getting sidelined by my various other projects. When I was scheduling my first book launch in February, I did reach out as I wanted to have her come and perform, but didn’t make the connection in time. Then an answering email arrived reestablishing my link to this wonderful artist. I was excited beyond belief and am in the process of finally booking that time to hear her story in person. I truly can’t wait. In the meantime, I managed to snag this great behind the scenes 8Q interview to fill in a few of the blanks. Enjoy!
WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Image courtesy of Alan Beaton
WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Image Courtesy of Garry Kettleson
8Q Spotlight Maobong Oku
What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?
I am the founder and Artistic Director of Kokoma Productions and also a Cultural Teacher through African Musical and Dance Art
Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?
I was so sensitive for 14 years I could not be around people. I had to cancel my dance classes because I use to get very sick after my class. I also could not be around anyone because I felt what ever problem a person had in their body and mind. When I get on stage to perform I could feel everyone in the audience, it was so difficult. I had select where I performed and eventually I had to stop performing completely. I went to Doctors and no one could help me. That is when I began to really focus on God, the Bible and Prayer, I felt that that was the only way I would be healed and it worked. I’m back on stage and I hope to do many more creative things.
Second thing also is being a caregiver for my mum also has really taugh me Humility and for that Im grateful
What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?
- I am a Mother
- I am a Daughter
- I am an Artist
Highest moment so far?
I think for me my Highest moment was when I went back to Nigeria to do some Humanitarian work in a remote village. It was life changing and opened my eyes to the reality of life
What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?
I took some time off, but I’m back now working on reviving Kokoma Productions with a Cuban twist.
Who and/or what inspires you?
My inspiration comes from God and also my Mother and my Children
How do you personally define success?
My definition of success is Contentment. When a person is fully content with his or her life and are at peace with themselves and others. This means they have mastered the art of life. That for me is success.
Who do you admire?
I admire all the people who have lost their love ones from terrorist attacks and brutal killings and natural disaster around the world. I admire their strength and courage to wake up and face another day in the world and keep going.
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