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BN Travel: Ink Eze met Gabrielle Union & Chike Okonkwo + Interviewed Nate Parker for ‘The Birth of a Nation’ European Premiere at BFI London Film Festival #LFF



Last week, a select group of Nigerian media was whisked away by Fox Searchlight studios and Filmone Distribution (parent company of FilmHouse Cinemas) to London for the European premiere of The Birth of a Nation.

Ink Eze and Gabrielle Union at LFF Premiere of the Birth of a Nation

Gabrielle Union & Me!

It was a whirlwind two days of fun, meeting and chatting with the stars, and watching a great movie.

The team was made up of me (Ink Eze) from BellaNaija, Tolu Doherty from EbonyLife TV, Azuka Ogujiuba from ThisDay, Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) founder Chioma Ude, Founder & CEO of Filmone Distribution (FilmHouse Cinemas) Kene Mkparu and COO of Filmone Distribution Moses Babatope.

Here’s my BN Travel diary!

Monday Morning

On Monday morning, we met at the Lagos airport, walked to the lounge and had a yummy breakfast.

Who knew I was that hungry? ?

We headed to the plane with full stomachs and anticipation for what was to come. Here’s our group shot on Virgin Atlantic

We got the star treatment the whole time, from Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic to our hotel in central London – May Fair Hotel.

I had fun foodie adventures on the flight, it was like a restaurant + hotel in the sky.

#Jollof is always a winner! ??? #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

Dessert was #Tiramisu ? #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

Monday Evening

Home Sweet Home! We checked in to the fabulous five-star May Fair Hotel, and luckily for us, the interviews were also going to be conducted there the next day.

? Home Sweet Home ? #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

We each got a book in our rooms, telling the story of Nat Turner (the slave preacher and lead character in the movie) and the making of the movie.

Any Shonda Rhimes #TGIT fans?! ? Look who plays #NatTurner’s wife in #TheBirthOfANation ! #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

We had a laid-back dinner at the hotel where we talked about the upcoming day. Chioma, Moses and Kene told us how much Nate had enjoyed his two previous visits to Nigeria, so it helped with finalizing the interview questions.

? Dinner is served and we are discussing the questions we’ll ask #NateParker tomorrow! ?? #TheBirthOfANation #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

The restaurant, May Fair Kitchen had yummy food in small plates, they recommended getting 2-3 plates per person and sharing, so that’s what we did. We got everything from sliders to prawns, pasta, patatas bravas (fried potato), chicken skewers, lamb – is short all the ‘meat’ food groups and carbs. Lol.

Tuesday Morning

Yay! This was the d-day. I had a full traditional English breakfast – I was in England after all 🙂 and Earl Grey tea.

Good Morning ??! Getting breakfast and getting ready to meet #NateParker of #TheBirthofaNation ! ? #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

The parfait pots and green juice were also amazing.

Trying to see if I can repeat yesterday’s feat ??? #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

We all went up to the waiting suite and they had soda, juice, water, tea, cookies and more. We really got the star treatment ourselves.

Tolu and I had some fun with the book while waiting.

Ready to interview #NateParker! @ink.eze for #BellaNaija X @tallulahglossy for @EbonyLifeTV #BNforBOAN

A video posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

I was the last person to interview Nate about the movie, and they all told me how warm and open he was, so I couldn’t wait.

? it’s almost my turn to interview #NateParker! Eeeeek! So excited BN fam! #BNforBOAN ???

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

Finally it was my turn, and I asked about his trips to Africa – Nigeria and Ghana, the slave Nat Turner’s Ghanaian roots, his movie’s upcoming Nigerian premiere at Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in November and more – click here to see the transcript or watch it below!

BellaNaija Ink Eze and Nate Parker of the Birth of a NationI need Nate to direct all my selfies, he re-arranged the set perfectly for that lighting – YASSS! 

Then we all went for lunch, fresh air and photos!

Me, Kene Mkparu - CEO FilmOne, Azuka Ogujiuba of ThisDay, Tolu Doherty of EbonyLife, Moses Babatope - COO FilmOne, Chioma Ude - CEO AFRIFF

Me, Kene Mkparu – CEO FilmOne, Azuka Ogujiuba of ThisDay, Tolu Doherty of EbonyLife, Moses Babatope – COO FilmOne, Chioma Ude – CEO AFRIFF

Enjoying the London breeze!

Enjoying the London breeze!

Tuesday Night

Just me and bestie ??? off to the premiere with #GabrielleUnion and #TheBirthofaNation cast! #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

YES! Remember how I said we were treated like stars? The Birth of a Nation cast had cocktails with us – Nigerian media and select Nigerian media stakeholders based in London right before we went off to the premiere.

Gabrielle Union being my new bestie and all, told us some secrets about the upcoming season of her well-loved TV show 😉 – love interests and new actors joining the cast. You’ll have to ask me in person and bribe me with ice cream before I can tell you 🙂

I met actor Chike Okonkwo – yes, he’s Naija – his mum was there in full gele and george wrapper to support her son. It was too cute! And he had taken Gabrielle Union to a Nigerian restaurant the night before, where she had pounded yam.

Azuka’s friend just had a baby, so she brought her along to meet the stars. What a celeb already 🙂 she’s going places.

So tall, so humble ! @armiehammer said it took *only* 5 hours to get ready ? pre-movie bants #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

Then it was time for the premiere! Click here to see all the glam red carpet photos on BellaNaija Movies & TV.

Gabrielle Union & Chike Okonkwo

Gabrielle Union & Chike Okonkwo

Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union & Chike Okonkwo

Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union & Chike Okonkwo

Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union & Chike Okonkwo

Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union & Chike Okonkwo

We got great seats to see the movie, and I learned a lot. The movie was sympathetic to the slaves and the plight – it showed how African men, women and children had no ownership over their bodies. They were used as machines, pets or sex objects, as their masters pleased.

The imagery was graphic – not to give it all away, but you truly saw some of the horrors they went through, you understood why the slaves revolted – one of the most successful slave revolts in U.S. history.

After the movie, Chinatown was a short walk away for some spicy Chinese food at Orient London. Nigerian actress Uru Eke had joined us for the premiere, and it also happened to be her birthday, so we sang to her 🙂

Dinner. ??? #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

Goood night! Last minutes of birthday girl @urueke’s day! #BNforBOAN

A photo posted by BellaNaija (@bellanaijaonline) on

That was it! Short and sweet and oh-so-memorable. I had a heap of fun and learned a lot.

The flight back was preceded by an amazing time in the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow, while the flight was spent reminiscing about the trip.

In fact, I’m still looking back with many fond memories.

Till next time,

xo Ink


To see all the fun moments on Instagram, click here – #BNforBOAN

Photo Credit: Getty Images/John Phillips

Ink Eze is the Founder of, a platform for sharing African traditional styles. She Modern Culture and Media at the Ivy League Brown University. She honed her skills in advertising and digital media at one of America’s leading tech companies in marketing. She became BellaNaija Weddings editor in 2013, and Assistant Editor of BellaNaija, heading the lifestyle section - Style, Beauty and Living until January 2017. Under her leadership, BN Weddings gained international prominence and became Africa’s foremost wedding media brand with millions of followers across several platforms and coverage on BuzzFeed, BBC & more. #AsoEbiBella became’s top feature, with over 1.8 million followers on Instagram. She conceived of BBN Wonderland, Nigeria’s top bridal event since 2015 with Baileys Nigeria. Now she spends her time on AsoEbiBella, and has executed marketing campaigns with local and international brands including HP Nigeria, Orijin and Sunlight Detergent. and sharing her insights with the world. For more Ink, join her on @Ink.Eze | @AsoEbiBella



    October 18, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    makeup sure has a way of making people look older.
    Ink Eze is such a pretty girl, but that star struck expression and make up made her look way old and…
    Gab union is forever bae… My Mary Jane

  2. tunmi

    October 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I am sorely disappointed BN. This is a work by two rapists, one convicted and the other got off by a technicality. Parker harassed his victim, and the victim committed suicide years later. And you give such people space on your platform. You are no advocate. There is business and there is ethics.

    • Seriously

      October 18, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Well, this is business not personal. BN is doing their professional job by marketing a movie. If you only knew the personal lives of many of your favorite artists you will boycott Hollywood as a whole and never participate in anything of their things. Birth of a Nation was an incredible movie, I’m going to separate Nate’s personal life now, he did an awesome job.
      And I encourage people to go see it
      Gosh, Gabrielle Union is simply gorgeous, when she has her hair up her pretty features shines through. I want whatever she eats and drinks. Ink Eze looked cute.

  3. bruno

    October 18, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    omg she’s so adorable. who is she? I thought she was uche pedro.
    ‘enjoying the london breeze” lol.

    that said, I’m still not happy u promoted a rapist on ur blog.

    ” one of the most successful slave
    revolts in U.S. history.”

    this is why u shouldn’t turn to hollywood to teach u about history. google and read about it. the nat turner revolt made matters worse for the slaves in america. white slave owners started killing their slaves out of fear because of the revolt. slaves were not allowed to read or write anymore etc. life became 10 times harder for slaves after the nat turner revolt. it wasn’t successful at all. more black slaves died compared to white slave owners during the battle alone.

  4. Kene Mkparu

    October 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Great piece, Nkechi.
    Glad you had fun with the movie stars, and enjoyed the amazing creativity and movie making. I can’t wait to show West Africa this great piece of African history in cinemas, The Birth of A Nation.

  5. Awnu

    October 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Nice pictures. You looked amazing & very beautiful Loved your dress. Thank you for taking us on the plane, putting us in the hotel ( by photo )”feeding” us with pictures of the yummy cuisine and sharing your experiences with us. I liked the pictures – all very beautiful and was happy to see you guys with Gabriel Union, Nate Parker & the HOT Armie Hammer. Gabrielle’s dress was lovely too.

  6. Mahka

    October 18, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    How did u do it Ink, with all that yummy meals and still show up with the flattest stomach.

    I love to work with BN one day, all these perks are my kind of jam..

  7. Anne

    October 18, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Please let’s quit bashing BN for its decision to promote BOAN on its platform. It’s innocent until proven gulity. None of us is sure of Mr. Nate’s innocence or guilt. We should give him benefit of doubt. Blacks have it hard enough. The least we can do is support those who rise above the peculiar challenges blacks in U.S. face and make something out of their lives. We can choose to promote causes we care about on our own platforms. If BN makes a considered decision to be with Nate on this one, then so be it. I’m with them.

    • EE

      October 19, 2016 at 2:37 am

      You’d think living in a country where being in the wrong place when “ole” is screamed can lead to your death, would make Nigerians more sensitive to innocent until proven guilty. Alas!

  8. O

    October 18, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Gabby D is fine for dayssssssssssss!!!

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