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Ojinika Obiekwe: Behind the Stories – 12 Years & Counting | When Michael Douglas Chanted ‘Oji!’

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Ojinika-223Ojinika Obiekwe‘s vivacious spirit is evident when she gets in front of the camera. This hardworking and professional journalist, has worked for the past 12 years wearing multiple hats just to get the job needs to be done.  At BellaNaija, while we seek to entertain and educate, we also hope to inspire our readers and show them that there are people who keep striving  to make a difference in their chosen careers. In this vein, we spoke with Oji and shared her story with you.{Click here if you missed it}.

As she looks back on her journey so far, she has chosen to share 12 memorable stories from her career. As she recalls her growth path and the lessons she has learned, she hopes to reach as many people as she forges ahead to an even brighter future.

Read part VI of her chronicles below:

***

It was a weekday.
Can’t remember what day exactly, but the new freelance sports anchor stopped by my desk.
He works mostly on the weekends so I don’t see him everyday.
He said, “Hey Oji, I saw your piece this weekend…great job, impressive”
I joked and said “that’s right, you know how I roll”
And he said but you never told me you’re a reporter too…I said Oh, I am, I report and produce.
He goes, yeah I know, that’s what “they” told me, but you never told me that.
I said well, you know, no reason…I told him it feels weird having to talk about all that.
He told me that I better start learning to “talk up” myself.

And then he said his grandmother used to tell him “If a dog can’t wag its own tail, it’s a sad dog”
So am I the dog? I asked, he said ‘you don’t want to be’.
I jokingly promised him I’d start giving myself more props and kinda meant it.

So what’s that got to do with this piece I’m sharing this week?
I’ll tell you…
It because I had to go through the “talking myself up” lesson again when I had to put this “Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton Interview” together.

It’s just something I’m not that good at…yet.
I remember my mom telling us as kids not to be too proud.
She would say you have to put yourself down in order to be exalted. She also said if you brag about what you have, it will be taken away from you
Being the crackhead that I am, I took it literally.

It stuck in my head and I just never felt that comfortable tooting my own horn.
Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself pretty confident. If confidence was a drug, I would say I overdosed on it. Which is why it’s no surprise when I get described as overly confident at times; someone once told me there’s an arrogance about my walk.
I have no idea what that means, but I guess they sense arrogance from it.
Naomi Campbell struts on the catwalk and she gets paid supermodel bucks, I strut on the sidewalk and I’m arrogant.

Okay o.

I told the Senior Producer here about this “arrogance in my walk”conversation and she said you’re not arrogant, Oji…you’re just extremely self assured.

I can’t argue with that…and I think being that way has made not find the need to talk about how good I am at what I do, or praise myself.
But I’m learning everyday that in this business, you just have to.
Not just in this business but in any business, even in the business of life.
You have to know your worth and be comfortable stating it…in a nice way ofcourse and in the right doses.

Back to the piece…
After I wrote the script and it was ready for edit, I was looking through the interview clips…cracking up at what Diane Keaton was saying about me.
I called the anchor woman for the 5 and 10pm news over to my desk.
Her name is Tamsen Fadal and she’s also my sister from another mister.
I said check this out…I showed it to her and she said are you kidding? This is awesome, Is this in your piece?
I said no, it’s not, I think it’s kinda odd to put that in there
She said I will kill you if you don’t put that in that package (that’s what we call the pieces and stories, packages or PKG)

I told her I already wrote it…she said then re-write it
I said don’t you think it’s too self-serving to put that in there; like I’m bragging, she said she thinks it’s amazing.
She said you have two Hollywood legends, Oscar winners for that matter, fawning over you and you’re not going to put that in your piece?
She said be modest all you want, but that better be at the beginning of your piece or I’ll kill you.
I think she meant it too.
Clearly, I’m still alive, because I wouldn’t be able to tell the story, so that means her threats worked and I re-wrote it.
I didn’t put it right at the beginning like she said but close enough.
I truly wasn’t comfortable adding it but Tamsen has never given me bad advice so I always trust her judgement.

At the end of the day, I’m really glad I put that in there. I didn’t put all of it, but I felt it had just enough. I’ve had a lot of moments where I thought wow, I can’t believe that just happened. This interview goes on that list of moments.

It also taught me about humility, because the fact that these two heavyweights, even with all the accolades they’ve gotten through several decades in Hollywood – they were still real people, down to earth and confident enough to take the spotlight away from themselves and acknowledge me, a crazy African child they never even met, but we were just in there yapping away like we’d known each other forever.

Enough of my long sermon here… I don’t know when I became a pastor…I’m not one so I’ll shut it down and let you get to watching.
One more thing…I almost forgot the reason I picked this Douglas/Keaton interview to share with you this week
It’s all because I came across this Iyanla Vanzant quote, and it reminded me of the “sad dog” conversation and why I had to rewrite this piece.

It kinda spoke to me because I honestly don’t acknowledge my brilliance; for the record I’m ridiculously brilliant.
And a lot of times, it’s others that bring it up; and this quote was a reminder that I need to do it more.
And I will, because it’s okay.
Okay, that’s it, I’m done talking, enjoy the piece and here’s the quote, enjoy it too: “Accept and acknowledge your own brilliance. Stop waiting for others to tell you how great you are! Believe it for yourself.”

With a career in television that has spanned more than a decade, Ojinika Obiekwe is a Nigerian-born Emmy award-winning journalist who has interviewed people from all walks of life - from A-list celebrities to politicians to the newsmakers of our time. A chance encounter brought her to New York’s WPIX-TV/Channel 11 as an intern. Now as a producer/correspondent for PIX11 Morning News, Ojinika not only writes and produces for the news program but also steps in front of the camera to interview some of Hollywood's biggest names which include the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Aniston and many more.

2 Comments

  1. ada

    October 23, 2014 at 10:47 am

    OJ,OJ, OJ!!!!!!!!!!Ojini, i am so so proud of u.!…..Many kisses from Athens.!!!!!

  2. MK

    January 15, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Good job Oji!!! you rock!!!

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