Outspoken, witty, hardworking, a woman like a man. Apt words for one of the most successful and talented actresses in the Nigerian movie industry till date – Funkẹ Akindele. She is also as intelligent as she is creative.
Funkẹ Akindele is now a big-time movie producer and director in addition to her acting skills. She has also ventured into politics, though she is yet to have a foothold there.
The witty actress became a sensation as the main character in the famous TV Series ‘I Need to Know’ (1998-2002). And since then, she has inspired many youths, and lifted other upcoming acts both on TV and social media. Here in this article, we will briefly chronicle the high points of Funkẹ Akindele’s journey to success in Nollywood.
Funkẹ Akindele: Her Story Begins
Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele was born in Ikorodu-Lagos, southwest Nigeria, in August 1977. She is the second child of three children. Her parents are learned folks: her mother being a medical doctor (now late), while her father is a retired school principal.
She graduated from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic with an OND in Mass Communicating. Not stopping there, she proceeded to obtain a Law degree from the University of Lagos.
Funkẹ Akindele: The Beginning of Her Acting Career
Funkẹ Akindele debuted as an actress in the movie ‘Naked Fire’ produced by Opa Williams. And while still working on that project, there was a casting call for the TV series ‘I Need to Know’ sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Funkẹ told her boss about her desire to attend the auditions, and he encouraged her to do so.
Funkẹ eventually pulled off the trick of acting a teenager so well in the TV show, even though she was much older. For that feat, she won the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in the 2009 African Movie Academy Awards.
Funkẹ Akindele and Film Production Moves
Funkẹ went ahead to produce the movie ‘Jenifa’ which turned out to be a resounding success. The character of Jenifa was that of a local gal with hilariously poor spoken English. ‘Jenifa’ came to the city and struggled against all odds to succeed.
With the immense acceptance the movie garnered, Funke was encouraged to turn it into a TV series named ‘Jenifa’s Diary’. The well-coordinated sitcom with several episodes was so interesting that it gained huge followership on TV and social media. This further spiraled the actress to greater fame.
‘Jenifa’s Diary‘ won the actress five consecutive awards of Best Actress in a Comedy at the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (from 2016 to 2022). She received yet another award from the same event, making it six awards, the highest any actress ever got from AMVCA.
For whatever the reason, Funkẹ Akindele found it hard to flourish as well as expected in a couple of English Nollywood movies. Then she decided to go for Yoruba Nollywood movies. After appearing in several Yoruba movies, she finally got a lead role on the movie set of ‘Ojo Ketala’. She was also the producer of the said film, her first experience ever as a movie producer.
Funke also played a leading role and director in the famous movie trilogy ‘Omo Ghetto: The Saga’ and recorded another massive success. Funkẹ produced other highly successful movies which includes ‘Your Excellency’ and ‘Battle on Bukka Street‘. ‘Omo Ghetto’ and ‘Battle on Bukka Street‘ are currently the highest grossing Nollywood movies of all time.
Funkẹ Akindele: Achievements, Awards and Endorsements
It is hardly surprising to know that talented Funkẹ Akindele is one of the richest actresses in the Nigeria movie industry. Her estimated net worth is about 11 million US Dollars as at 2023. The actress is also the CEO of Scene One Film Production.
Till date, Funkẹ Akindele has acted in over a hundred Nollywood movies. And she was privileged to be a producer for many of them.
In all, Funkẹ Akindele has won at least 21 movie awards from 2009 till date. They include the following.
- Five Nigeria Entertainment Awards (2009, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2020)
- Best Actress in a leading Role, 2009 African Movie Academy Awards
- Best Actress, 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards
- Two Nollywood Movies Awards (2012, 2013)
- Three Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (2014, 2016, 2022)
- NET Honours (2021, 2022)
The actress is also fortunate to have landed several juicy endorsement deals with top Nigerian brands. They include Keystone Bank, IrokoTV, WAW Nigeria, Dettol, Kelloggs Nigeria, Molfix diapers, Amen Estate, Maggi, Vitafoam, and Globacom.
Funkẹ Akindele: Her Personal Life
Funkẹ was married twice. First to Adeola Oloyede between 2012 and 2013, after which they divorced. Then she married the rapper Abdulrasheed Bello (aka JJC Skillz) between 2016 and 2022. The latter union produced a set of twin boys before they separated. She has several step-children as well.
Funke has had her own fair share of controversies as well. During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, Funke Akindele and her then husband, JJC Skillz hosted a house party to celebrate JJC Skillz’s birthday, and invited guests. She further made the unwise decision to post the videos on social media, and it sparked widespread rage. Thus she ran foul of the COVID-19 regulations to maintain safe distance from other people.
The Lagos State government promptly took up the issue, and had Funke Akindele and her ex-husband arrested and interrogated. Eventually the actress was fined 260 US Dollars for the offence. The couple were also mandated to do 14 days of community service. They were asked to visit 10 important public places in Lagos state to speak to members of the general public. The instruction was to educate others on the importance of complying with the COVID-19 regulations. The couple humbly complied, relieved to be let off the hook and having averted criminal prosecution
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