Meet The Literati 06_Bolaji Kekere-Ekun

Introduce yourself

My name is Bolaji Kekere-Ekun and i am a filmmaker/entrepreneur living in Lagos city.

 What is Nigeria to you and what does it mean to be Nigerian?

Nigeria is where i am from. It is the largest black nation in the world. It is a place filled with potential. It is a hard place to live and as a result of this, it is a place that creates some of the most resourceful and ambitious people in the world.

 To be Nigerian means to carry the burden of a great contradiction. This contradiction is that one has been blessed with a history rich in influential culture, tradition & knowledge but is identified by a more recent history of corruption. To be Nigerian has to mean to rise above.

We have been following your work with the 37th state for some time now. What is your primary motivation for curating the 37th state blog?

Thanks! The primary motive for the blog is to showcase urban and African culture and lifestyle in a way that is empowering, enlightening, accessible but most of all, ordinary. Ordinary in the sense that it should be able to be seen side by side with other content from other parts of the world and fit into the global conversation seamlessly. We are just trying to show that Africa is indeed a part of the global conversation on culture in any of its forms and also a major influencer. There’s another blog doing fantastic work called Dynamic Africa on tumblr. There’s also the big international website Shadow and Act that focuses on African and African American film. Check them out for a bit more of ‘ordinary’.


How did you find your voice / confidence in your decision to pursue your chosen profession / how did you know you wanted to do what you do?

I heard at some point that you should look to your passions when deciding your profession. I enjoy writing, watching films and writing music and thought film making would unify these interests of mine, so i applied to the best film schools in the world and somehow got into one of them.

 My personal view is that finding your passion is only the first step. The second step is sitting down and thinking very hard about how to make money from your passion. Third, work hard, stay focused, follow your instincts.

Tell us about a significant turning point in your life.

I’ve just had one. Currently reading Ayn Rands ‘Atlas Shrugged’. A philosophical thriller. It’s changing my perspective on how to live my life. Also showing me the kinds of films i might make in the future. Today it made me remember The Matrix and how that film is deeply philosophical but is one of the best action films of all time. Hmmm…

What keeps you going?

The need to create. In work and in life.

If you could go to t he past and give your younger self advice what would it be?

Learn everything you can now! Pay more attention in class. Have more fun. When you’re older you’ll be too busy trying to make a living to learn new things.

Of all the places in the world to visit, where would you like to be/visit at this very moment and why?

A resort i stayed at in Abraka, Warri? Why? Because i can hear myself think there. It’s an idyllic place. I need to make plans for 2014!

Favorite hip-hop lyric /music lyric / song lyric / movie quote?

‘women thrive on emotions men refuse to acknowledge/so when we arguing nobody wins’- Talib Kweli, Love Language

As a film maker, if you could write the script for a new nigeria…. what would be the words on the back cover?

This is not a comedy.

 Imagine your child is reading this 15yrs from now, say something to them.

 Eeey what up? Your mom is amazing. And you’re not too bad yourself. You’re doing great, keep it up!


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