An exclusive interview with Nikki Spooner AKA “Yoruba Oyinbo “, the America lady with a heart of gold, hear what Nikki’s got to say about King Sunny Ade’s music and her love for Nigerians with Esther Egbe recently in Lagos.
So who is Nikki Spooner?
I am a 35 year old single mother of two beautiful children. I have a degree in international business and in Music theory. I am a promoter of African cultural values and beliefs but I am also a humanitarian. I love human interaction and enjoy meeting new people. I’ve made loads of friends on my Facebook and lot more waiting to be accepted and I can honestly say I have to attend to every message myself. I was born in Winchester Ma, and raised in Florida where my mother and sister still reside. I moved back to Boston when I was just a teenager and have been living here ever since. I work well with others and believe I would be an asset to any project. I always try to honor all invitations given to me but pray people understand I am a very busy woman. It is my pleasure to sing and preform at any church or gospel event cause God is my rock. I am very interested in the Yoruba culture and heritage so please feel free to share.I am involved in a relationship and waiting to see where it will go. I sing in Yoruba and I act in Nollywood. I have acted in 9 films most currently I finished “Osun” soon to be released.I work as an MCNA (medical certified nursing assistant) I love people.
What’s so fascinating about the Nigerian culture and why so much interest?
I just smiled when I saw this question because I believe that everything America lacks Nigeria has. Talking about community values, respect for elders, family values, cultural values, when I went to 9ja for the first time I was so impressed by the out pouring of love and affection shown to me, the willingness of people to teach me how to cook Nigerian foods, teach me words in Yoruba and bring me to meet many people.
When was your most memorable time in Nigeria?
My most memorable time was to be on stage performing live on stage with King Sunny Ade.It’s also my dream come true.
How long have you been doing this?
I have been promoting Yoruba culture for the last five years and I have been singing in Yoruba for the last 5 years. I have been acting in Nigerian movies for the last 5 years . I have done 9 movies now the new one to premier is “Osun”.
What’s your growing up like?
I was born and raised in Winchester MA, I grew up in Florida but moved back to Boston in my teenage years. I grew up with my mother and 2 of my siblings and a step father. My mother and father divorced at a very very early age. My step father was in the military and we moved around a lot. I was in school and always singing. I went to all state competitions often and won.I always loved people and I was very very helpful. If someone told me then that I would be the way I am now I would not have believed it. But I thank God for my life! I am Blessed
How did your folks react when you told them of your interest about Nigeria?
Unfortunately my Father passed away a long time ago and I never got the chance to tell him. I hate to say it but My mother was a prejudice and didn’t like black people, I ran away when I was young and began creating a life for myself. I do Talk to my mother now and she has become less prejudice but hasn’t touched on the issue of my beliefs. But my brothers and sisters from my father’s side know and support me.
How have you been received anytime you are in Nigeria?
When I come to Nigeria I feel so free! In fact when I have to board the airplane to come back to USA I feel so sad. I always feel like I m on top of the world when I am there. I am always being hosted from Oba’s to government officials to friends and fans! I am always excited and interested in seeing Nigeria from Benin to Owerri and Kwara and Sango Ota as well as Ibadan and Ikeja, I enjoy Maryland and Victoria island as well as Lagos island. I have been down along the people and even riding in the yellow busses! I always enjoy exploring Nigeria. Yoruba people are very hospitable and accommodating. With open arms. I have been blessed to have meet with many many people who love and support what I am doing with Yoruba and Yoruba culture
What’s your best Nigerian meal?
I love Efo riro soup, stew with plantain and rice
What’s your thought about life?
I believe that people should all take the time to know other peoples origin and culture so that racism can truly end! I am glad that I don’t look at people as a color but rather a person! Overall.
Are you happy with your choice?
My choice to celebrate African culture makes me so happy and proud. Often times I feel like I was mistakenly born in America with a heart for 9ja. Then I realize God doesn’t make mistakes, He needed me to promote cultural exchange from America to Nigeria and that is what I am proudly doing.
What’s your end goal with all this, what do you want people to take away from any of your project as regards Nigeria?
My intentions and hope is to re-awaken the grassroots movement in Nigerians I was originally attracted to it when I first learned about the culture. So I act on the Promotion of Yoruba culture and values because I have seen the pride that Yoruba men and women have and I believe that in a lot of ways Nigerians come to western worlds and forget or neglect the traditions, cultures and languages that they themselves were raised on. I believe that Nigerian parents in western worlds don’t choose not to teach but don’t have the time to teach or the permission to do so in the African way due to laws that prohibit discipline.
Any new project in the coming days, months or Year?
Yes I am coming back to do a music video for my Album and to act in a new film with Ayo Badhmas .I am planning to rock the OYA Awards on July 2nd and I am also launching my Album in Ibadan as well. Looks like a busy few months coming! I will be preforming live at the Yoruba culture festival in Dallas Texas on August 4&5. Kay Music is also doing an event in Chicago coming soon.So much going on just ask that you follow me on Instagram @nlsponne or Facebook at Nikki spooner.
So what’s your perception of Nigeria before and after your first visit?
Before I went to Nigeria I never knew it existed. I only heard what people were saying about Nigeria that I should watch out for scammers and kidnappers that people are desperate and needy! If you ask me I was deceived, in fact I can’t understand why people who live in mansions in Nigeria leave them to come to America and live in someone’s basement. After I left Nigeria I felt so empowered to come back and learn more and now there isn’t anyone who can stop me from coming over and over and over again!.
Who did you enjoy working with the most in Nigeria?
My favorite person to work with in Nigeria was famed producer Mr. JULIEKING he was so patient and amazing thru the whole process remains humble and proved useful. KSA is my Yoruba ICON and it was a dream come true to preform live on stage with him.There are so many amazing people I have met and had the pleasure to have worked with that it is just so hard to choose who I enjoyed working with the most.
If you hadn’t been born in this century, when and where would you like to have lived?
I think I would have loved to live in Nigeria. The Yoruba people are very accommodating in Nigeria and I love going to Nigeria because everyone is eager to teach me anything I am willing to learn, From Cooking Nigerian foods to learning about introductions and traditional marriages all I have met are eager to teach me further. So I believe that I would love to have lived here.
Final word for your fans and prospects here?
I am a member of redeemed Christian church of God. Always find time to check me out and all the new things I will be doing all over the world and you can follow me on my website at www.nikkispooner.com . Or at my NGO www.support4humanity.org
Remember to embrace your culture and teach your children what you were taught even as society is evolving.Education is not wasted!
My final word for my friends, fans and loved ones in Nigeria and abroad is don’t close your mind to the possibilities of cultural exchange more and more Europeans and Americans are learning and studying your culture and heritage cause it’s just so fascinating.