Bukky Ajayi remained relevant until her death. Yes, more could have been done for the legend who impacted lives with her craft, but at least the industry didn't wait to give her a posthumous award.
In an era that has been punctuated with the passing away of celebrities, the news trailing that of Bukky Ajayi who passed away on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, is different. In a good way.
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We have lost celebrities in the past; Pete Eneh, Ashely Nwosu, Muna Obiekwe, Amaka Igwe, to mention a few. And in recent times; Nomoreloss, OJB, Stephen Keshi, Amodu Shuaibu. The reactions to the deaths of these celebrities were more often than not, followed with mixed reactions ranging from some people in their industries dishing out posthumous praises and tales of how they were inspired, to the bashings from the families of the deceased and the public claiming that the deceased, while they lived, got no love from their industry, especially when it mattered.
Following the death of Keshi, comedian Alibaba said: "he had to die to be valued." Fortunately, Bukky Ajayi didn't have to die to be valued. A group of people had the foresight to celebrate and value the thespian during her lifetime.
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Then the funerals would come, and in some cases, the industries would try to ensure the burial is befitting, reminding us of the Nollywood movie from years back, "Died Wretched", which starred Eucharia Anuobi, Tony Umez, Racheal Oniga and Tom Njemanze. A movie that discourages the folly of showing the love when it is no longer really needful.
But Bukky Ajayi, God bless her soul, got at least, almost all. Yes, more could have been done for the legend who impacted lives with her craft, but at least the industry didn't wait to give her a posthumous award as was given the late veteran Amaka Igwe, who also impacted lives and set the pace for lots of female filmmakers.
Let's throwback to the 2016 Africa Viewers Choice Awards a few months ago, when in a tear-evoking emotional atmosphere, she was honoured for her contributions to the art and Nollywood. And when she cruised onto the stage, seated in her wheelchair while the rest of the audience seated in that hall stood in honour of a queen of the screen.
Then she cried. Not of pain, of course, but of overwhelming gratitude, because the love and honour she was receiving that moment was all that mattered.
Speaking on stage, Ajayi apologised to those she has offended, and stated that she has forgiven those that offended her.
Following the AMVCAs, blogs and social media were abuzz with pictures of the late actress, with friends and colleagues showering her with deserved praises.
Weeks ago, actors including Joke Silva, Rita Dominic, Ijeoma Agu, Kate Henshaw, Seun Ajayi among others took out time to visit her. And in those pictures taken, her happiness was evident. She had the likes of Yvonne Jegede continuously show her love.
There are definitely actors with regrets, people who think they should or could have done more. Maybe they could have, but that is personal for them. Nollywood gave the actress a recognition due to her and her craft.
There are lessons to be taken away from this; search your heart for them, learn them and live them. One of them is this: when colleagues are aged, sick or facing one travail of life or the other, we can always reach out, not with money as some people would always think is available, but with love, with genuine love and care.
Bukky Ajayi has been laid to rest, seemingly leaving with noting but for the clothing with which she was wrapped and lots of love. But that love is everything.
Ajayi entertained us with classic movies like "Diamond Ring," "Iya Oko Bornvita," "Elastic Limit," "Final Whistle," "Mother of George" among others. She paved the way for younger actors - she was a true legend, and Nollywood didn't forget. The organizers of Africa Magic Viewers Choice didn't forget.
Bukky Ajayi remained relevant until her death. She didn't die a forgotten thespian. She died a recognized heroine.