A month ago, I had the privilege of spending some time with the legendary Innocent Tuface Idibia aka 2Baba, one of Africa’s biggest music stars.
We met at George Bush Airport in Houston, USA enroute Dallas for an event on the invitation of my “personal person”, Efe Omorogbe, aka Boss. Unbeknownst to 2Baba, we were booked to travel on the same flight. Prior to that day, I hadn’t seen him in two or three odd years.
He was masked up like a ninja but I didn’t miss his lean frame. I tried to scare him from behind. He jumped, we hugged and without prompting, I assumed the role of his personal assistant since his right-hand man “Frankie” was unavailable.
After the rigours of check-in, we decided to have breakfast at a restaurant close to the boarding gate.
As we settled down, I started reminiscing about the first time we met. It was 22 years ago, backstage at the Fame Music Awards ‘99 held at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. Entertainment guru, Uncle Akinwale Oluwaleimu, was among those who chose Bisola Sanyaolu and I as “stage girls” at the biggest music awards show at the time.
The spotlight was on us as we sashayed across the stage in our long satin skirts. We rubbed shoulders with the likes of the late Gbenga Adeboye, Plantashun Boiz, Remedies and Pasuma to mention but a few.
Oh what a night!!!
I remember vividly what Innocent was wearing. He had a customised African outfit with an Afrocentric piece of jewellery.
It was a frenzy backstage, the whole place was bustling. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse or take a picture of this cute member of the Plantashun boys.
Since that day, our paths have crossed from time to time. He co-sponsored my “Christmas Wonderland” event in 2012, attending with his entire family.
In 2014, he spent the day at Amen Estate in Lagos as a guest on my TV Show – “Christmas With The Stars”. In 2015, he dragged Annie along. Other times, we would randomly meet at events.
We’ve never had a one-on-one like we did last month at IAH Airport in Houston. I decided to make the best use of that opportunity by sharing my “testimonies” with this amazing talent who I greatly admire, love and respect.
I told him about my life changing encounter with God and also shared some other testimonies. I told him I don’t practise “religion” which is what he detests.
I passionately talk about the love I have for God and what He has done for me. He listened attentively to my stories and exclaimed, “Wow!!! You are blessed”.
As we chatted, he noticed an old American lady dropped her scarf and without any warning 2face did a “Ben Johnson”. He picked the scarf and ran all the way after this woman. He came back panting. I was so touched by this gesture, I almost cried.
He wasn’t playing to the gallery, we were perhaps the only black people sitted in that area of the airport. This was one of Africa’s biggest entertainment names displaying humility and kindness which is second nature to him.
It was such a rare moment. We continued gisting as if nothing happened. That day 2face left an indelible mark. How many people in his shoes would display such a level of humility? Some have not experienced one percent of stardom and they won’t allow us to breathe. If only there was a course in humility, 2face would be the Dean of Faculty.
Today is not his birthday but I decided to share this piece to celebrate a man I choose to call my brother and friend. An award winning, multi- talented, global artiste. A humble, funny, kind, jolly good fellow.
An all round “good people”.
His wife, Annie, is also my sister and friend. We both modelled for some of Africa’s biggest names circa 1999.
In the light of all that is happening, I have been praying and wishing them well. I pray God will have mercy on them and grant them wisdom. I also pray that we will continuously be garbed in humility. It’s such a beautiful garment to wear.
The show at Dallas was fun. Tuface’s presence lit the stage and the audience was just as excited as they were backstage 22 years ago.
I beamed with delight, happy and proud that I shared some very private moments with this enigma earlier in the day. He was a totally different person on stage, it was as if he had a body double. He held the audience spellbound with a superlative performance garnished with lots of jokes and laughter. 2Baba is indeed a class act, blessed and highly favoured.
Till date, “African Queen” is one of the most popular, evergreen songs by an African artiste which shows the staying power of an artiste like Innocent Idibia.