JJC Skillz: I’m healing, moving on after separation from my wife
Since his fall out with his estranged wife, Funke Akindele, Abdulrasheed Bello better known as JJC Skillz, has since moved on and with the recent unveiling of one of his initiatives ‘Afristar’; the musician cum producer is ready to give back to the society. In this chat with MUTIAT LAWORE; JJC Skillz spoke extensively about Afristar and other issues. Excerpts:
Nice initiative… why are you combining the different entertainment sectors together knowing that you are a music person?
I’m sure if you listen to one of my old songs ‘My Life’, the first line I said there was ‘I never really have a plan B, music and video is the future that I can see’, and that has proven to be the case. My life has always been about music and videos and if I’m not performing as an artiste on stage, I’m behind the scene as a director shooting music videos or movies. That’s my passion and I have decided to combine all of it together and create a platform that showcases all of that……….Continue Reading
Does it also come as a label?
Like I clarified in the video, I am not a record label company and not at anytime; Afristar is not designed to sign anybody because we want to make it a platform that many people can use as a stepping stone to go higher. So, in the past I’ve realised that when I focus all my energy on music talent, a lot of people are missing out of the whole process and unfortunately many artistes don’t actually appreciate it when you carry them on your head. Hence, I’ve learnt to just do what I can for God and leave the rest.
So, what value will Afristar be adding to the Nigerian music industry because there have been several similar ideas like this?
I believe that for the first time we are going to have a platform that will create our own database and that’s actually very important because we don’t know where we are and we are always waiting for Instagram or Facebook or somebody outside the nation to put us together. So, I’m taking this initiative to bring us together as the saying goes “together, we stand and divided, we fall”. If we start our own, let’s come together in this platform to help ourselves.
So how does the Afristar App work?
The app, you can say is a crossover dating App because you can check the artiste you like and the artiste you don’t. It also has the LinkedIn type of feel. It’s business. Anyone can log into it. You could create a profile, upload unlimited amount of videos and pictures and ultimately, you can ap-ply for jobs.
You mean like social media?
It’s a social media slash job platform. Literally, the most important thing you need Afristar for, is to get paid. If you want to get paid as an actor or you’re looking for connections as a musician or anything at all, all you just have to do is get the Afristar App because without the App, you’ll be missing out on all the activations that other people will be doing. For instance, right now I have up to 15,000 subscribers on Afristar already, which means I have roughly about 7,000 actors at my beck and call. If I continue doing this, you as a content creator, you have the same access as I do. I’m not doing this for myself; I’m doing it for the whole industry which means forever and ever you can always look for your talents from the comfort of your home. No need to book for auditions. Just post it up, people apply, pick the ones you want and book them for the day. When you book them for the job, while you are at work, you can look for free on the App and “where is this person?” And the App tells you how many miles away he or she is without the talent lying to you about where he or she is.
Will it also be of help to those who are looking for these talents?
That is what I said. It’s a two-way thing when you log into the app it will ask you, are you a job giver or a job seeker? If you’re a job seeker, you go in there create a profile putting your information. “I’m an actor, I’m a singer I’m this height, I speak this language,” et.c. It is the information you put in at the beginning of your profile that will help anybody who’s looking for that specific talent to find you quickly or identify you.
Is it free?
It’s a free app for everybody.
How long have you had this idea?
I’ve had this idea for ages. I launched the first one called ‘Nollywood Search’. I don’t know if you saw it while I was under SOP (Scene One Production), I did the ‘Nollywood search’ and that’s where I got the database from and a lot of people connected to it but unfortunately I didn’t have the app at that time, I only had a website. Through the website I was able to give a lot of people jobs but now I want to make it bigger and better so it’s a lot more interactive. Like I said, every week, we will be making new movies, new TV shows so a lot more people can showcase.
Have you put any measure in place to tackle the sex-for-role menace?
This is different. Number one, it doesn’t tackle that that. I have heard it but I have not experienced or seen it myself but I believe that this App will eliminate that. It doesn’t mean that the person costing the job would not still take advantage if he or she wants to but I would leave that to person- to-person thing. And I will advise actors, do not fall prey to that, do not give in and do not compromise because there are people like us out there who do not need anything from you to give you the limelight. lf anything at all, create your own. I want to inspire a whole generation. Pick up your mobile phone, shoot yourself, act, send it to me and I will put you on a TV show because that is what Afristar is for. You don’t have to sell yourself short at all.
How do you guide against people who get to render this service failing to; for instance if I book a comedian and he fails to deliver on the job?
There’s a rating system in the App. Just like the Uber App, if I book you and you don’t give me a good performance, I’ll give you no star. If you really enjoy the person, you’d give the person a 5star so the next person who wants to book that person would know what they are going for. And also, leave a review so the next person would do so. And you the job giver, if you are bad to people, they would write a review about you.
One unique thing also is that if you break any of the rules and regulations, you’d be taken out of the platform so you don’t take advantage of other people. Are you currently managing any talent? I’m currently managing myself (laughs). Under Afristar, we don’t sign anybody.
I’ve found him, given him a platform. You’ve heard him right? He’s amazing. So, I’ve taken him, we’ve recording an album. I’ve put the album out so that management companies, and record labels can listen to him and know there’s a talent here. Let them call him, book him and sign him.
So, how do you make money from him?
Don’t worry, God is with me. (Laughs)
With this new plan, won’t it affect relationship?
Well, I don’t want to dabble into relationship talk at the moment, I am healing and moving forward and don’t forget I have children am bonding with. Safe to say despite the challenge ahead as a result of the new idea unveiled, I will always create time for family most especially my kids.
Are you open for movie directorial work?
Definitely, I am not limited to music production alone; when big movie projects come my way, I will gladly embrace it.