Google has honoured late Nigerian musician and actress, Christy Uduak Essien Igbokwe, as they celebrate her 58th Birthday Anniversary With Google Doodles. (See Her Life History & Achievements)
Christy Uduak Essien Igbokwe (Nigerian Musician and actress) is Legend, even though she is late; she lived between 11 November 1960 and 30 June 2011.
It is worthy that TRENDSOFLEGENDS TEAM joins Google Team and the rest of the world in celebrating the late female Nigerian legend’s 58th Birthday on this day (11th November, 2018).
I am sure that you will love to know a bit about Christy Uduak Essien Igbokwe (Nigerian Musician and actress); sure I will definitely drop brief information about her, her life, and achievements.
According to a documentary on Wikipedia, Christy Uduak Essien-Igbokwe MFR was a Nigerian musician and actress. In her life time, she was sometimes called Nigeria’s Lady of Songs and was known for her song “Seun Rere”. She was also a songwriter.
Her full name is Christiana Uduak Essien-Igbokwe. She was the first female president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria. Christy Uduak Essien-Igbokwe was born 11 November 1960, in Akwa Ibom State, and died on 30 June 2011, in Lagos; buried on 10 September 2011. She died in an undisclosed hospital in Lagos.
Christy Essien-Igbokwe was also the chairwoman and managing director of Soul Train entertainment limited. Her genre of music was R&B; she sang her songs in Igbo, Ibibio, Efik, Hausa, Yoruba as well as in English. Essien’s fluency in Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, English and her native Ibibio earned her an appeal which cut across tribal lines.
Her mother died when she was 12 years and her father in 2005. Growing up she lived in Aba, Abia State with her late mother’s friend who eventually encouraged Essien-Igbokwe’s singing career and bought her a fairly used cassette player to record her songs.
The musical career of Christy Essien-Igbokwe began in Secondary School when she was singing at various clubs such as Uka Onu’s Club and Unikoko in Aba, Abia State.
She featured on a programme called “Now Sound” on the Nigerian Television Authority Channel 6, Aba . During that time, a show called “The New Masquerade” was also airing on the same station.
During a taping of one of the show’s episodes, she corrected a cast member who rehearsed his lines incorrectly, thereafter she was offered a role in the series. In 1976 she joined the cast of “The New Masquerade” and played the role of Akpenor, the wife of the cantankerous character, Jegede Sokoya (played by Claude Eke).
Her role on that popular show put her in the limelight and in 1977 she launched a professional music career by releasing her debut album called “Freedom”. Many of her albums became hit records, but none came close to the success of her 1981 hit album “Ever Liked My Person” produced by Lemmy Jackson.
Always at the forefront of issues affecting women and children, she played roles in some of the early Nollywood flicks such as “Flesh and Blood” and “Scars of Womanhood”, both of which addressed issues of child abuse and female circumcision.
With a desire to make life better for Nigerian artistes, she is credited as having initiated the first meeting that brought about the formation of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria in 1981.
A year later, the association was founded and King Sunny Adé became the president with the late Sonny Okosun serving as his vice, while she was the national treasurer.
Between 1996 and 1999, she became the first female president of the association. The Akwa Ibom born performer featured in many national and international shows.
She also had the honour of composing and performing what would later be known as her state’s informal anthem, “Akwa Ibom Mmi (My Akwa Ibom)” in 1987, its year of creation. She operated a shop in Etinan, her native town in Akwa Ibom State where she sold printing machines.
Some of her international awards include:
- “Silver Prize” Winner at 6th Seoul Songs Festival, South Korea – 1983
- “Grand Prix” Winner at Neewollah Music Festival at Independence, Kansas, USA – 1983
- “International Special Achievement” Award of Musexpo, Acapulco, Mexico, 1983
- “Certificate of Merit” Award for songwriting and composing at the 10th Annual American Songs Festival, Los Angeles, USA – 1983
- “Audience Favourite” Award of International Music Festival at Baker University, USA – 1983
- “Silver Prize” Winner at Second International Music Festival of Oklahoma University, USA – 1983
- “Outstanding Performance” Award at the World Song Festival, L.A. Arts Academy, USA – 1984
- “Distant Accord” Award at the FIDOF Festival in Hollywood, L.A., USA, 1990
- Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) Award in Business Management by Cornerstone University & Theological Seminary, Jerusalem, Israel – 2010
- Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) Award in Literature-in-Africa by University of Berkeley, Chicago, Illinois, USA – 2010
She received over thirty (30) awards locally, which include:
- “Lady of Songs” by Nigerian Entertainment Writers – 1980
- “Star Performer” Award of Nigerian Television Authority – 1983
- “Best Actress Runner-Up” Award for Excellence by silver Jubilee Committee of the Nigerian Television Authority – 1984
- “African Music Mother” Award by Music Extravaganza’84 in collaboration with African Music Development, New York, USA
- “Adaha Onna” (Pillar of Onna LGA)
- Akwa Ikwo Eket (The Greatest Singer from Eket Community) by Eket LGA Authority
- Aha Nwanyi Ejiagamba 1 of Oru Ahiazu, Mbaise, Imo State
- “Golden Voice of Africa” Award by music Students Association, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
- “Gold Award” of 25 Nigerian Celebrities – 1988
- “Certificate of Honour” by the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Anambra State Council – 1990
Even after her demise, she was still given posthumous awards which are listed below:
- “Entertainment Icon” by West African Women in Leadership Conference (in Ghana) – 2011
- “Excellence in Outstanding Performance & Hard Work” by National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS) – University of Lagos Chapter – 2011
- She was honoured on her 58th posthumous birthday with a Google doodle on November 11, 2018
Charity Programmes evidenced in her works include:
Records have it that her Charity programmes dated back to 1980 when she started championing the cause of the less privileged in our society especially the Nigerian Child.
- Show a Little Bit of Kindness
- Do You Hear Me Children?
- Seun Rere
- Hear the Call
- Onwegh Ihe Ka Nnwa Na Uwa (Nothing is greater than child)
- Royalty from the sales of her past albums remains directed towards charity projects and the needy in our society.
Among Her Charity And Tourism Projects Are:
- The Lady of Songs has successfully and single-handedly pursued and executed charity projects in the following States in Nigeria
- Adamawa State (then Gongola State); where she raised funds used by the State Government to fence, equip, renovate and provide drinkable water and main pump to the State’s only rehabilitation centre (at Jada) for the handicapped.
- Rivers State; where she raised funds for the Catholic Children’s Home and Psychiatric School.
- Enugu State (then old Anambra); where she fully equipped refectory for the School of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, Ogbete, Enugu
- Plateau State; where she raised funds through Command Performances to provide scholarship endowment fund for able-bodied and handicapped children of the State origin.
- Freedom (LP, Album) Anodisc Records 1977
- Patience (LP) Anodisc Records 1978
- Time Waits For No One (LP) Blackspot (2), Decca 1978
- One Understanding (LP) Afrodisia 1979
- Give Me A Chance (LP, Gat) Afrodisia 1980
- Ever Liked My Person? (2 versions) Lagos International
- Records, Skylark Records 1981
- It’s Time (LP, Album) EMI (Nigeria) 1982
- Taking My Time (LP, yel) Soul Train Records 1986
- Hear The Call (LP) Ivory 1990
- Mysteries of Life (LP) Soul Train Records 1992
- All of a Sudden (LP) Soul Train/Apex Entertainment 2011 (TBR)
It was documented that close to the time of her death, she was involved in private business, running the non-governmental organisation “Essential Child Care Foundation” involved in child welfare, needs and rights as well.
Her recent public outings include the Inspire Africa Benefit Concert in January 2009, where she performed alongside her son Kaka and the MTN Musical Festival, a musical show of old and new-breed musicians in 2009.
Her second son, Kaka is also towing the music line. He is a hip hop artiste and producer. One of her earliest albums “Ever Liked my Person” sold above platinum till date.
So popular was one of its hit songs “Seun Rere”, that a number of African countries have sung their own version. The singer intended to spend the day with the less-privileged children as she has always done over the years.
Christiana Uduak Essien-Igbokwe died on 30 June 2011 after a brief illness.
She really made good impacts through her talents and career in music while she was alive, and that’s why Google found it worthy to celebrate her today.