Ummi Ibrahim, popularly known in the entertainment industry as Ummi Zee Zee, is seen as one of the few controversial Kannywood stars.
Recently, the actress, in an Instagram post, said she had contemplated suicide because of a failed business deal.
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In this interview, however, she talks about her suicide post and plans to return to film making. Excerpts:
Weekend Magazine: How long have you been in the entertainment industry?
Ummi Zee Zee: If I am not mistaken, I ventured into the entertainment sector – Kannywood to be precise, in 2006. I did some films and later moved to Lagos in pursuit of my musical career.
WM: Is Zee Zee no longer part of the entertainment industry?
Zee Zee: I have never been detached from the entertainment industry whether Kannywood or Nollywood. That I have ventured into other bigger businesses that require a great deal of my time doesn’t mean I have quite the entertainment industry. I am still in contact with my friends in Kannywood and Nollywood and we have maintained good relationship as colleagues.
Moreover, even though I haven’t featured in films for some time now, I have concluded plans to stage a huge come back into the industry as a producer. I will like to announce to my fans that I will soon be back to film making and my musical career.
WM: Why do you want to come back fully?
Zee Zee: It is obvious my fans are missing me; I have been following their comments on various platforms across social media. However, I haven’t fixed a date yet, but it won’t be long. I have planned to return to the entertainment industry, spend at least two to three years and then get married. I don’t want to remain unmarried in the next five years, I am currently in my early 30s.
WM: Can you tell us how you ventured into music?
Zee Zee: I have a flare for music and as an actress it wasn’t difficult for me to get a chance to explore my God given talent in music. I am proud to say that I was among the first to bridge the gap between Kannywood and Nollywood through having a collaborative song with Timaya. I have a number of songs to my credit that still enjoy the airwaves of Nigerian radio stations.
WM: Is it true that you attempted suicide recently?
Zee Zee: It is unfortunate that my social media post was wrongly interpreted. The post I made was in English and it was just a grammatical expression showing my bitterness on what had happened to me as a businesswoman.
The reason for my post was because I was duped by a business partner, and I lost a huge sum of money in the process. It was a breach of trust and it was so devastating that I took to my page and made the post showing my dismay at what had happened to me. The story went viral that I am contemplating suicide. I never said I was going to do that. Why should I even do that?
WM: You were also reported dead. Can you tell us what really happened?
Zee Zee: I was seriously sick and hospitalized for days and I was with a friend. When I fainted, my friend became confused and after calling the doctors, she thought I had died. Unfortunately, she went online and posted her fears that I may be dead. People who know us to be friends took up the post. But here I am, I have fully recovered meaning I am not dead.
You see, the issue is that I have become so relevant as a celebrity from Kannywood and whatever goes on my social media handle usually gets multiple interpretations. That’s probably why some people brand me a controversial artist.
WM: There were reports on social media that you were in a relationship with former Head of State Ibrahim Babangida?
Zee Zee: Yes, that news was from me. Former Head of State General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was my boyfriend then but not anymore. However, we are presently friends and we respect each other. Currently, I have a boyfriend who is not in the entertainment industry and we are planning to get married, God willing.
WM: Do you have any regret being in the entertainment industry?
Zee Zee: I thank God for being a key factor in the entertainment industry and I doubt if I would have been this popular without being in the entertainment arena. Therefore, I can’t say I regret being a part of it. I have achieved a lot as an actress and have attained a great height in the society.
However, there are several challenges that usually make one feel like having back his or her life as just an ordinary personality and not a celebrity. I was forced to reckon with the fact that as a celebrity I have lost my freedom to freely socialize as well as mix with everyone.
I can’t freely go shopping; appear in public gatherings and other places. Sometimes, I feel like I have been deprived of my fundamental human right. It has gotten so serious that I can’t move freely even outside the country, but I’ve come to realize that that’s the price to pay for being a celebrity.
WM: You talked of producing a film soon. Can you tell us what your proposed film entails?
Zee Zee: Everyone that knows me will definitely tell you that I love starring in love stories. So, even though I have not started writing the script, I am sure when I start it is going to be a well written love story as usual.
WM: What would you tell your fans?
Zee Zee: I would like to tell them that they should be patient with whatever they hear about me. A lot of negative things have been said about me and will continue to be said about me. They should understand that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and therefore they shouldn’t be bothered. They should also understand that I love them all and without them there will be no Zee Zee.