Written by Michael Afenfia
Dear Gen-Z Geh,
I too have suffered loss.
First, it was Nichelle Nichols, the black lady from the Star Trek series and movies. She died at 89. I wonder if she would have wanted to get to 90 and what that would have meant to her. I wonder how she must have felt being one of few black people on TV at a time when there was no inclusion and at best, “misrepresentation” on television and in cinemas.
Then I heard about Olivia Newton-John. I remember her from watching my sisters watch her and John Travolta in the movie Grease. She is the reason my sisters both went into singing when my parents wanted them to go into either teaching or nursing. Somehow, I missed the news of her passing but one of my sisters sent me a message about it. She was heartbroken. I was okay until she sent me a YouTube link to one of her songs. I didn’t like the memories it evoked.
The third death was the one that really shook me. Fashion Designer, Issey Miyake. I discovered his line of fragrances for men when I was in my early 30s, I think, and ever since Issey Miyake is the only perfume I would wear. Someday, I might show you a photo of my collection. Some I bought for myself, but most are gifts from my family, colleagues and friends who all know not to gift me anything if it isn’t an Issey Miyake cologne whenever I have something to celebrate. Some people buy me books, but the ones that get me perfumes are the ones I consider my best friends.
These days, I don’t have time for television. It is all about the hustle but I sure do want to hear you tell me about these apocalyptic things you love so much.
To your mention of my family in your letter, my kids don’t live in Thailand, they are in Canada with me. Their mother lives in Nigeria though. My kids don’t like writing, but they love singing and dancing and all things entertainment. I think they want to be like their mother – lights, camera, attention! Lol.
My wife is an actress. She is very good at her job. She has scenes in some of the movies she’s in where she kisses other men. I can’t watch those scenes. I hate those movies but I can’t tell her that because she was an actress when I met her and back then when she wasn’t as successful as she is today, I’d promised to support her. I want to support her. I know I should support her, but how can I support her intimacy even if it was make-believe? Or is it?
I support her. That’s why I would be coming to Nigeria soon. It’s the premiere of a movie she directed. Her directorial debut is how she describes it. The movie was sponsored by the government of Lagos State. She met with the Lagos State Governor twice without success but on her third meeting with him in a private residence in Abuja, the state commissioner for finance gave her the cheque that paid for the movie. It is a movie about a big Nigerian wedding in London.
Will I see you when I visit? Is that something you will like? Please let me know so I can make plans.
Until I get to read from you again, please be good.