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BN Saturday Celebrity Interview: “The Man Behind the Camera” Ace Filmmaker, Clarence Peters – The Music, The Videos, The Family & More!

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Clarence Peters is a renowned music video director as many would know him, but prefers to be called a film maker. Aged 29, his name is synonymous with top quality musical videos and he has been responsible for stamping the works of lots of musical artistes deep inside our minds with those great musical videos that we just love to watch. As significant as his success is however, he is one individual who, though having two entertainment icons as parents, has achieved most of what he has without necessarily climbing on their backs. His father, popular Afro Juju musician, Shina Peters and mother, veteran Nollywood actress, Clarion Chukwura are well respected for their contributions to the entertainment industry.

He has worked with artistes across a variety of genres and generations, making successes out of their music videos and eventually their brands. From Darey’s “Fuji”, to Durella’s “Shayo”, to Wizkid’s “Pakurumo”, Clarence has put his stamp of quality on a host of musical videos shot within and outside the country. He has also shot a good number of documentaries, TV commercials, short films and TV features.

Meeting Clarence at his studio in Omole, Lagos, was like walking on to the set of a musical video. The place was a buzz of young, beautiful ladies, ready to take their places in front of the camera and young guys, showing their support to their friend, the artiste. However, it was not Clarence’s shoot, he later explained at a music recording room upstairs. He had a studio which he often rented to other music video directors to shoot their videos. But I was interested in knowing why we were having a chat in standard music recording studio, complete with all the microphones, sound proof and mixing equipment.

The “CAPITAL” picture
What is the connection between you and the record label?
I own the record label, Capital Hill Music. We have three artistes signed on – Chidinma, illBliss and Tha Suspect. But there is the Goretti Company owned by illBliss which manages all artistes under the record label and Capital Dreams Pictures which takes care of the video production. As an outfit, even though there are three different companies under the outfit, we all operate as one entity. We build brands, as opposed to other record labels who sign on artistes, I would like to say that our primary job description when it comes to music is brand creation and brand development because beyond the music, we are very specific about how the brand should look; from photo shoots to the videos, what you get to hear about the brand, how you perceive the brand. I handle the creative aspect of the company in general.

Clarence the “Film Maker”
What was your journey like from the start of your career to this present moment?
I started working unofficially when I was 8 and officially when I was 13. I’ve done everything from Production to PA to Runner. Because my mother is an actress and my father is a musician didn’t mean I had a free pass. I actually did a whole lot more than most people did. I worked in almost every single department. When I finished secondary school, I went to work for Alpha Visions, owned by Tajudeen Adepetu, the owner of Sound City for about three years. Then I went to film school in City Varsity, Cape Town, South Africa. I’m not a music video director, I’m a film maker. People just tend to know me more for music videos.

What did you study at the University?
I studied film making. I majored in Cinematography. I wanted to specialize in something that I wasn’t really strong in yet at the time so I specialized in Cinematography instead of Directing for the next two years.

What did you do when you returned back to Nigeria?
I teamed up with a friend of mine called Oliver who had put together a team of film makers, DJ Tee, Olu Folarin who is a producer, Uche who is a set designer, we all formed a company called the Alliance Film Company now known as the Allied Film Company. I worked with the company for about a year before I decided to start my own production company.

Did your parents’ career as entertainers have any influence on your chosen career path?
I grew up with my mother, so if there is any huge influence, it would be from my mother. But apart from her influence, I don’t think there is anything else I would have been able to do. I wouldn’t say that film is stronger for me than music, I would just say that my approach to music is channeled through film.

How did you come about shooting music videos?
As a film maker, you get to shoot different things. The first music video I was involved in was in 1998. It was a music video for a documentary on AIDS which I did for Mobil. The first music video I shot was in Film School in South Africa for one of the members of a group called Godessa. But in Nigeria, the first video I shot for an artiste was “Fuji” for Darey.

You seem to be the preferred choice especially among young artistes who want to shoot videos. Why do they keep coming to you?
I don’t know, you have to tell me that. I have no idea. I don’t know how I’m perceived outside because I hardly ever go out. I don’t have much of a social life, in fact I don’t think I have a social life at all. But I have no idea why.

From your own perspective, what would be the best video you’ve ever shot?
The thing is that I’ve never shot anything I like.

Never?
No, not once.

So why do people keep paying you to shoot music videos for them?
I don’t know. Yes, I’ve got a commercial success, but I’m not necessarily happy about the artistic nature of all my work. If there is anything I would say, it is that God does ojoro (unusual favour) for me.

So when are you going to shoot a video that you would like?
I don’t know.

What would make you like your own video?
When all the forces of nature actually combine accurately for once.

Maybe I should put it this way, why don’t you like your videos?
Because it never comes out the way I originally envisage it in my head. As much as I try to stick to the script, it never works.

Who comes up with the concept for a music video? Is it you or the artiste?
Most of the time, I do. And it’s not because I don’t want the artiste to come up with their own ideas but most of the time, they can’t afford their own ideas. So I have to do something that would fit into their budget.

What happens if the artiste doesn’t like the concept?
By the time I tell them the cost of the one they like, they would succumb and we would reach an agreement.

Do you have any favourite music video by other directors in Nigeria?
There are so many of them, I can’t put my hand on one. If I’m going to start picking videos, I’m going to start picking videos from the 80s. I had an uncle who was probably the biggest musical video director in the 80s, his name is Dudu. He did videos for Mike Okri. There are elements in several music video directors that I respect as opposed to just their material. I respect every major person that has an effect on the art and the business and where it is. From DJ Tee to Akin Alabi, Wudi Awa, Kemi Adetiba, Sesan, Aje and AK 1.

What do you really set out to achieve when you take on a job to shoot a music video?  
I’m not in the business of shooting the music videos that would win all the awards. As an artistic person that would want success, yes I would love to shoot videos that would win awards. But as a business objectively, I wouldn’t care about winning awards. However, I do care about shooting videos that would promote the artiste, sell the brand, so that you’d go out there and buy the record and brand managers and promoters would call the artiste for shows. So if I win an award and the artiste doesn’t find any level of success then it’s partly my fault because it means I sold myself and not the artiste and that’s not what I’m being paid for.

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I want you to shoot a music video for me, how much do I need to have?
Sorry, I can’t disclose that. But it would also depend on your song.

Who has been the most interesting musician you’ve worked with?
I’ve worked with a lot of artists who have brought different things to the table. From the older generation like Charly Boy to the younger generation like Davido. You can’t pick out one artiste, not when you’ve worked on the body of work that I’ve worked on both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.

What are the chances of promoting a song that is not so great with a good video?
If your brand is successful, not necessarily your music, people would buy into the brand. You can’t count so many hit records, but you can count a lot of artistes that you know.

Family and Personal Life
Your dad is having a come back into the music scene and has been remixing some of his songs and performing at a number of shows recently. Are you two going to work together anytime soon?
Time will tell.

Have you worked with him in the past?
No, we haven’t.

What is your relationship like with your mother?
I live with my mum. It will be safe to say that I’m my mother’s husband. The way the house is structured, I have my complete privacy and she does hers. She is going to leave the country soon because she is working on a bigger project that has to do with Africa and she has done her quota for the industry. I want her to go and rest and do something that she loves somewhere else so she should be moving out of the country by the end of this year.

Clarion Chukwura & Clarence Peters

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is it like having the celebrated “Clarion Chukwura” as a mother?
When most people think about her because of the iron lady roles she plays in movies, they see her in a certain way, but she is completely not that way. My mum is the funniest woman. She can mimick anybody’s voice. There is no funnier mother than my mother, literally. She does the voice imitation of Micheal Jackson’s thriller extremely well, it freaks even me out.

How do you relax?
My idea of relaxing is amazing. It’s either here in the office with the guys or in my room watching TV.

Your hair style is quite unique. Why do you keep natural dreadlocks?
My hair is not dreadlocks.

What would you call it?
Maybe Dada. But my personal favourite would be ‘not combing your hair’. I didn’t plan on this, I just found comfort in not combing my hair and it was a lot easier. I haven’t combed if for almost six years.  Most of the time I was working for days back to back and did not have time for my hair and that went on for like six months. Then it became very hard to comb and I didn’t want to cut it, so I left it and it started becoming this.

The “Nigerian” Factor & Controversial videos
How many musical videos have you shot outside the country for Nigerian artistes?
I shot Omawumi’s ‘If you ask me’ in South Africa, Waje’s ‘So Inspired’ in South Africa, Naeto C’s ‘Five & Six’ in Miami and Retta’s ‘Kolo For You’ and ‘Tomorrow’ in New York and Maryland, U.S.A.

Why did you have to shoot those videos outside the country?
All the times I’ve had to go out were because of circumstances. For instance Naeto C was on tour and he didn’t have time, he needed to shoot something quick. Omawumi was doing something in South Africa at the time and she couldn’t wait because she didn’t want her tummy to look big in the video.

Why is there a preference among some Nigerian artistes for shooting videos outside the country?
Shooting outside Nigeria is a lot more comfortable and I would implore the people of the internet to please understand. It is more comfortable because of the way our country is designed and it brings tears to my eyes. In Nigeria, our biggest problem is us. No African country has the kind of concentration of smart people as we do.

What makes it less comfortable to shoot a video in Nigeria?
From the moment you touch down back into the country, everything is working against you. The escalator doesn’t work, immigrations are trying to find a way to get some money off you. You want to shoot in a building and you are paying for a generator with diesel. And you know there is a fifty percent chance that that generator won’t work more than three hours before it breaks down. So your producer needs back up numbers for about two more generators just in case. It’s not like Nigeria is not a beautiful place to shoot. I love shooting in Nigeria because everything is possible, but everything works against you. It’s almost as if there are demons fighting against you, trying to make sure that your shoot doesn’t happen.

Are you saying that you don’t blame Nigerian artistes for going abroad to shoot their music videos?
It really depends on the idea. Not all American videos are shot in America. The fact that Nigerians are going outside to shoot their videos means that we are actually expanding. It’s when you decide to go abroad for no just cause that I’d say it’s wrong. The country is responsible for you making your money. You’ve fought through the aches of making a hit record and your audience loves your music because it’s Nigerian and they can feel it. You owe them a duty to make a video that they can relate to.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A common complaint by BN readers is that Nigerian music videos including videos directed by you heavily focus on ‘club scenes’ with ‘scantily clad ladies’. From the Director’s point of view, what would you say to this?
My major point would be the music. If you do a song about how you love a woman, she is going to be your wife, you want to take her to your mother and she is a good girl, I’m not going to shoot her wearing a pant and bra. But when you are doing music that is pretty much about alcohol, money and women, and I have the women wearing a caftan, you’d confuse the music. If you are going to antagonize anything, start by antagonizing the artiste that makes the music. In fact, don’t antagonize the artiste, antagonize yourself. Someone is singing a song that says he is in a club, where do you want me to take him to? A Buka place?

If someone is singing my girl is hot, her skin is fine, she shakes it well; what else do you want me to shoot? If you say the girls looked completely tacky, I could understand. But “Dami Duro” is a commercial song. That song was meant specifically for you to dance in the club. I think my biggest problem with the video was that I didn’t exaggerate it as much as I wanted to. If I had done that, I think people would have lost their minds.

Clarence Peters – Videos

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

67 Comments

  1. bubu

    March 3, 2012 at 10:11 am

    so inspired…this is a perfect example of someone carving a niche for himself and doing so well in it reminding me that i dont have to be a doctor or engineer or lawyer or economist to be fulfilled or happy!…kudos to u clarence!and clarion is a beautiful mum!

    • Miss T

      March 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Exactly! well said

      tionniaccessories.blogspot.com

  2. Partyrider

    March 3, 2012 at 10:17 am

    He is an interesting character..that’s the only way I can describe him..hahahaha
    He’s not your regular guy,seems very unpredictable and that makes him quite interesting..oh and he seems to be really straight forward.
    I love his relationship with his mum..
    No doubt he has made a mark in the entertainment industry..
    Oh..I laughed at the fact that he hasn’t shot anything he liked..see why I say he is interesting.. 🙂
    Wish you more success and I personally look forward to the video you will shoot and like 🙂

  3. Ronnie

    March 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I love love Clarence peters. He is great at what he does and still remains very humble. Might I add that his ruggedness is so yummy.

  4. Tosin

    March 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Love this interview. Knew about the music video genius – didn’t he do Goldie’s videos? – but didn’t even know he was “omo Peteru” Shina’s young kid. Cooooooooool.
    When he says the work doesn’t come out as he imagined, I feel what he means. I think he will get there. Artists have a tormented, beautiful life.
    And on the Nigeria challenges, his quote: “It’s almost as if there are demons fighting against you” – pretty true, lol. We cast them out and burn them with FAYA!!!

  5. smiles

    March 3, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Blessed and beautiful!

  6. g

    March 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I love the way he answered his questions. Diplomatic and intelligent. He is very smart for sure!

  7. Kwase

    March 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I truly do respect Clarence Peters- for his talent, work, business acumen, and humility. He is a very smart person and his interview truly reflects that. The sky is his limit especially as his work transcends the entertainment industry into the corporate environment as well as documentaries as well. I just have a lot of respect for his respect of his clients, critics, and Nigeria as a whole. Please keep up the good work. In essence, your mother raised you well.

  8. christy

    March 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Clarion chukwura has a grown up son,nd she stil look sassy? I get hope.bt d guy com d lick secret shai.so omawuni actualy plan d song? So she was actualy pregnant at d tym? Did she plan it dem? Hmmm

    • Cutie Toxie

      March 4, 2012 at 8:55 am

      I was gonna respond to your Omawumi comment then I saw you spelt “leak” as “lick’ and realized there was no point!
      *sigh*

    • the intricacies of life.......

      March 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      lolz

  9. kokoqueen

    March 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    He is a mummy’s boy…Love his mother and he ll Love you and when the mother approves you…den its final….lol

  10. Personal Shopper

    March 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    So happy for mother and son. Bless!

    http://personalstuvs.blogspot.com

  11. lily

    March 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I find this guy interesting. love his answers….very brilliant and clever. cant ignore the rugged look….hot!!!

  12. *gbemi*

    March 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Clarence Peters!!!got 2 love him…
    Perfect definition of ‘rugged is d new sexy’
    Love him!!!

  13. oyin

    March 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Yeah i really really love him ..he’s so unpredictable and weird in a kinda sweet way.

  14. Chi-ka

    March 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Wow. I never knew Shina and Clarion are his parents. And at 29? Omo, I can still do a lot with my life. I always thot he was some older guy with all this experience, turns out he’s not that much older than most of us. True inspiration… 🙂

  15. Gidi

    March 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    comes across as a very interesting character.
    very talented but difficult to get along with.
    moody, willing to be different, not easily impressed either with himself or others,on an edge and expressive.
    All the same, well done Clarence.

    • ini

      March 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Wow. Are you a psychologist? Did you get all this from reading the interview or do you know him personally?

    • A.k

      March 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      It’s funny because i thought the exact same thing reading the interview. He’s very smart thought, gotta give him that

    • A.k

      March 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      *though*

  16. Jimmy

    March 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I didn’t know he had a record label. This is an interesting interview and an interesting man. And he is just 29! Wow!

  17. Oropo

    March 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    i am in love *now batting eyelashes*.

  18. Oropo

    March 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    He is so articulate and i loved the way he answered the questions. Lol, i can imagine if it was Dbanj they asked why he shot his videos outside the country.He would have abused the interviewer and given some crappy ass answer

  19. ini

    March 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Nigerian videos are getting better because of inputs of people like Clarence.

  20. UsaveOne

    March 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Sensational peters! God bless your hustle Clarence.

    Check… http://usaveone.blogspot.com/

  21. NNENNE

    March 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Great job. As a mother, I have been inspired by what you and your mother’s bonding,team work the great outcome-you. Hope, you continue the hard work,humility and focus.
    Shine your eyes. Don’t let peeps who want to reap where they did not sow come close to you.

  22. NNENNE

    March 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Meant”I have been inspired by you and you mother’s bonding…”

  23. Fada Mike

    March 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Lol! You can’t compare Dbanj with Clarence Peters now. They no go the same school…..

  24. madman

    March 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    never knew that he was shina peter’s son. kool.

  25. Temiloluwa

    March 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    looks like his dad. Well done dude!!!

  26. mereal

    March 3, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Im proud of u Clarence…..Ur mum is the best… from the interview its obvious u aint so close to ur dad, but i can understand…naija men!
    Keep it up bro. Your videos are the best so far

    • Gidi

      March 4, 2012 at 12:21 am

      What can you understand? And what is wrong with naija men??
      naija women!!!

    • Cutie Toxie

      March 4, 2012 at 9:02 am

      “naija men”??? meaning?? :s :s :s

  27. Purpleicious Babe

    March 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    He does sound very interesting… he is in a league of his on…… does him and does give any HOOT.

    hmmm…

  28. Purpleicious Babe

    March 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I meant *own*.

    • Nma

      March 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Lol!!! funny how people come back to correct their typo error! it alright, cos if U no do am, another person go come help U do am and then they will make U feel as if U didn’t go to school.

  29. deee

    March 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I AM IN LOVE!

  30. pd

    March 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    on point………..

  31. faith

    March 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    completely loved the interview…bellanaija thanks….we got to know alot abt him…pls does any1 know if his mum n dad r still together?

    • Sarah

      March 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      No, they (the parents) are not together. The parents were not married when he was born. The mum was a teenager when she got pregnant for Shina Peters his dad. Hence Clarence mentioned in this interview that he grew up with his mum.

    • lecey

      March 4, 2012 at 5:08 am

      The were never married actually.

  32. sweetie

    March 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    LOVE this man…now all i want to know is, is he married?, serious GF?, kids?… BN why tempt me so?

  33. ibukun

    March 3, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    wow!!! very interesting interview, i’ve learnt a lot. all the best Clarence!!!

  34. lala

    March 4, 2012 at 3:45 am

    @ faith, no. His mum and dad aint together..

    love him, he’s grounded and an achiever. i wish young guys would look up to him, rather than trying all these get rich quick scheme ideas.. He’s been working since 8 or 14? cool
    His idea of fun is soooo my type..still @ home, chilling/watching tv. hehe…. Lurve me some ruff n rugged disciplined guy… BOOM!!

  35. isee

    March 4, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Didn’t know he is Shina Perters son.Really impressive that he made his own name.

  36. isee

    March 4, 2012 at 7:42 am

    *Peters*

  37. David Majek

    March 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I admire his intelligence n gud luks.rily wish he does sumtin wit his dad.peace!

  38. *ajalahtravel*

    March 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    He seems to be very mood and distant……….its takes a lot for him to open up.

  39. *ajalahtravel*

    March 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    He seems to be very moody and distant……….its takes a lot for him to open up.

  40. Lolade

    March 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Cool brilliant dude..welldone clarence

  41. Hotbillz

    March 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    i think i like lil know abt u if truly you don;t go out buh why are you so blend asin you do kinda posh ishh

  42. Alex Inwang

    March 5, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Clarence Peters you are the best when it comes to videos.And you are my role model I will be glad if I can work with as an aspiring film maker.

  43. Austin

    March 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    wow…. All d love for dis dude? Pretty nice….. Well he’s jst one uniquely weird dude. The major thing i got outta dis sweet interview was dat @ his age, he seems to have established(in a rilly admirable and envious level) himself… Buh i kinda dig Jude Okoye berra, still Clarence is definaately an inspirition. No doubt

  44. Jemibee

    March 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I thank God his mom didn’t abort him back then, being a teenager and Shina Peters not giving a damn. Today God has put a smile on her face and he’s being known for his works and not who he’s related to. She must feel Blessed now

  45. Twix

    March 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Intelligent and focused dude

  46. sefi-ann

    March 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    LOL @ ‘If someone is singing my girl is hot, her skin is fine, she shakes it well’ he definitely summarizes the lyrics of some of these artists today. He may not be a fan of their music but as he says, its all business.

  47. chibaby

    March 6, 2012 at 9:35 am

    i love this guy and respect his humility

  48. obamasupporter

    March 7, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Hmmm, interesting. It’s that mystery that makes people asking for more clarence Peters. Cool guy.
    He sounds like cancer in horoscopes. They are usually moody, to themselves, never that impressed with their own work but will admire others, takes them a while to be impressed except it’s perfection which is not always the case and that’s why they get easily moody, attached to their mother, sometimes sound detached from a lot of things. I might be wrong but I feel like he’s my husband’s twin, and my husband is a cancer. He might also be a capricorn.
    Not to come off as crazy or horoscopes fanatic but it helped me understand my hubby and people in general more…lol

  49. Ruth Ajala

    March 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Dat Sexy Man.

  50. ifeoma n.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    clarence is d BOSS!!!he looks good here, u need to see him at a video shoot, he can like to be scruffy!! that aside he is well spoken, smart and a good business acumen and integrity. i want to be like him when i grow up!!!!!i really luv d picture when his mom will cleaning his mouth it really showed they have a good bond and they were not just doing it for the cameras. its really not a bad tin to be a mummy’s boi!

  51. reena

    March 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Three word I luv u and I want to b lyk u wen I grow up opps think dat is 12 or 13 words wateva can’t count

  52. AFILAKA

    August 2, 2013 at 5:55 am

    I LOVE UR HUMILITY .U ARE MY ROLE MODEL IN D FILM MAKING ASPECT.

  53. Kopdi Mwanse

    October 10, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I am, also a music video Director and editor. And i truly love Clerence Peter’s work. It is my earnest prayer to see me heading where he is. He’s my Legend. He is very simple and straight foward. Any video maker that is satisfied with the works he is doing will never do better. More grease to ur elbour

  54. heaven

    March 31, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Wao,I never knew Clarion Chukwurah has a son let alone a great boy like clarence peters, so much respect for this lady. Yes talking abt horoscope, clarence sounds like his element is water, therby making him either cancer, pieces, cos they are deep, mystic, strong sense of music, the fact that he is attached to his Mum,that’s a cancer attribute, strong affiliation to family. I love this guy, see class, see humilty.. I’m awed. Clarion deserves an award. Bravo to mother and child.

  55. mickeydad

    June 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    i love what peter does and peter, you inspire and push me, giving me hope that one day i will be great in video making like you, all the respect bro

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