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From Feeling Unpretty to Faking Orgasms! We Had a Blast at Atoke’s “Friday Night Banter”




So, we’d talked about it for months and worked out the kinks, and it was finally here…My first live event!

I was excited, nervous, happy & nervous again. What if people didn’t have fun or enjoy themselves? What if I started stammering? What if…What if?

I was asking these questions when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I got out of the car, and when I saw the girl staring back at me, I knew I had nothing to fear.  I looked like a bag of money. I was gonna own the night!

So I strode confidently into Stranger and smiled at the guests who had taken time out of their busy schedules to come see me.  October 14 was such a great day and the beautiful people who attended Friday Night Banter came ready to have fun, to banter and to make new connections. I loved it!

Here’s what I had planned: everyone was going to have name tags so that people could make quick introductions and be more comfortable talking to the person beside them. Remember when I wrote about how I found it awkward going to events by myself?

FNB - IMG_5490Well, I didn’t want my guests to feel uncomfortable, so I reckoned an icebreaker to start the event will help people get familiar with other people in the room. We played a game called two truths and a lie. Everyone was required to state three facts, with two truths and one lie. Then the room would guess which was the lie.

IMG_539620161014_194838We kicked off the evening with a lot of laughter, because people came up with the most absurd things. Someone said she found the smell of fresh blood soothing and everyone was convinced that was the lie; turns out the lady is a surgeon and DOES find the smell of blood soothing.

With Dr. 'Finds the Smell of Blood Soothing'

With Dr. ‘Finds the Smell of Blood Soothing’

IMG_5497 IMG_5546 IMG_5549After the first round of games, we kicked off Friday Night Banter talking about office romance – from the Banter post, Love in this Cubicle. This was the most requested topic by the guests and, it was a nice way to kick off the gist. You know how people like love talk. There were no right or wrong answers so everyone got a chance to air their opinions. We then moved on to other requested topics like: Call Me Mummy Moyo, and doing 69 with 419. We had a diverse mix of people who shared interesting perspectives on these issues.

IMG_5392 IMG_5389FNBBy this point, everyone in the room had settled into some form of rhythm with the people sitting next to them so you could hear chatter from different corners. Drinks were served. A couple of my friends said there was no way we’d have that event without Happy Juice, and so Ayodeji Rotinwa was stationed at the bar as the resident mixologist. Kindred folk, who like their spirits, naturally gravitated towards the bar. They didn’t even bother looking back. All you needed to do was just stretch your hands towards the bar and ‘Deji handed you a red cup.

Peep the 'bartender' doing his thing

Peep the ‘bartender’ doing his thing

FNB IMG_5498

Is Wana giving the 'bartender' her order?

Is Wana giving the ‘bartender’ her order?

FNB IMG_5496IMG_5478IMG_5518IMG_5535FNB -IMG_5477 IMG_5505

The amazing team from Chef Fregz catering started passing canapés around, so the gist started flowing easier.


We had cupcakes from Cupcakes Couture and they were so yummy! FitFam took a break that day, guys!

When things started getting rowdy, Nkechi ‘Ink’ Eze became our resident ‘Keep the house in check’ Lady! She was such a delight… nobody dared disobey her call to order.

With Ink

With Ink

IMG_5597We had so much fun talking about coming out of the closet, and the shouting across the room was very intense. The passion was simply palpable and at some point I had to step in. Okay guys, let’s calm down and talk about something fun! Yes? Yes… everyone agreed. We were not going to let anyone come to blows because of any topic.

Isio and Atoke



Isio, Anu, B1, Sharon-Ann, Fola [From L – R]

My sister-friend, and a BellaNaija star Isio Wanogho was also in the room. We talked about Faking Orgasms and other juicy topics; but if I go into detail, this recap may turn into a book.

And if you weren’t there, well…



Busola couldn’t hide her shock…

The BellaNaiajrians who came for Friday Night Banter were a nice mix of quiet and crazy! And as they chatted and formed friendships, something bubbled in my heart… JOY!


Amina, Pemi & Uche [R -L]

Toyosi and Uche

Uche & Toyosi


Dami, Anu, B1 & Sharon-Ann [L – R]

IMG_5467 IMG_5466 Toyosi Isio and Uche Group photo Isio, Toyosi, Wana, Glory & I IMG_5502

FNB IMG_5368

Fola & Busola

FNB IMG_5369

The night was not yet over. We served the guests parfait from SoFresh and we had a signature wall art drawn by artist Segun Akeredolu.
IMG_5581As we talked, Segun did a live drawing of what Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter was about, and Stranger came to life with the burst of colours against a black background.

Segun Akeredolu creating beauty

Segun Akeredolu creating beauty

FNB IMG_5592
Before the night was over, everyone got a chance to leave their mark on the ‘Wall of Fame’

Wall - Friday Night BanterIMG-20161015-WA0025 IMG-20161017-WA0021

I revealed a little bit about myself when I talked about Unpretty and it felt a little awkward. I was going to swiftly round it up when Wana Udobang told me to push through. I was in a room with strangers who had now become friends and it felt like being in a warm embrace of acceptance.

IMG_5438IMG_5398IMG_5359IMG_5381 IMG_5559



It was quite emotionally draining for me, but luckily I had Glory Edozien, the ‘self-love ambassador, in the room. I then invited Glory to come talk to us about self-love and confidence.

Glory Edozien and Adenrele Sonariwo

With Glory and ‘Denrele

I rounded up the evening with an update to the Elastic Heart series and because I’m in a much better place now, it wasn’t so difficult to talk about it. One of the guests shared with us how that series helped her get out of her own situationship.


Bants and laughter from this side of the room was something else!

IMG_5481IMG_5526 IMG_5523 IMG_5512 IMG_5515 IMG_5525

Essentially, Friday Night Banter was very memorable for me and I really hope everyone who came had as much fun as I did. K.B (also known as The Mo) was in the room being the nuisance I know and love. His energy was something else. Thanks, K.B; I never tell you thank you enough because your wahala is always so much, I can’t get a word in edgewise.

With Mr. & Mrs 'The Mo'

With Mr. & Mrs ‘The Mo’


Moremi, Atoke, Uche


With Chef Fregz


Gbenga and I


Bimbs, Segun & I


I am truly grateful to everyone who came and to everyone who said we should do it again.

It felt rewarding to know that my writing had inspired someone to do something positive and at the end of the night, I encouraged everyone to live their life to the fullest and to impact positive change in every aspect of their lives.

Life is too short to do otherwise.

Finally, it will be remiss of me to end this recap without thanking the super team who made Friday Night Banter possible.

Osen Pogoson – Who sat on my bed and listened to me bounce ideas back and forth and helped me answer the Why, Where, When, How of the concept I had in my head.

Bobo Omotayo – Who restructured the concept and told me to narrow down the scale of my grandiose ideas and keep it focused on readers on BellaNaija.

Mnena Achineku – Who came up with the design for the invites and everything we needed to do for visuals. She made sure everything we put out represented the Atoke she knows and loves.

Moremi Amuta of Euphorique PR– Who was basically my ears, eyes and legs in Lagos.

Amina & Shola Aromokun of Konverge Media– Amina suggested Stranger (and it was the PERFECT space!) ShastiQ, thank you for providing your services.

Gbubemi Fregene of Chef Fregz – Who in the midst of his packed calendar said to me “we’ll do it!” No questions asked. Chef Fregz committed to ensuring our guests didn’t starve, and the food was so yummy!

Bimbo & Goke Balogun of SoFresh – Whose unflinching and immediate support for me was awesome. The timely and professional delivery of the fruit arrangement and the parfait was great!

Finally, and definitely not the least… Uche Pedro (and my awesome colleagues at BellaNaija – Desola, Ink, Eki, Rose, Jade and IK,) My ride or die team… You rock!

Photo Credit: Konverge media/ Gbenga Awomodu/ Toyosi Phillips

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Daybreak

    October 24, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    So Isio you are around heh? And you are doing us like this? kontinuuuuuu

    • Anon

      October 24, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Mind reader. Isio, come back. All is forgiven…

    • "changing moniker"

      October 25, 2016 at 6:08 am

      What did we do to Isio? Why did she leave us?

  2. naana

    October 24, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    good job, but i miss Isio.

  3. Rosie

    October 24, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Super fun day… had so much fun

  4. DoroAnon

    October 24, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Atokeeee 🙁 how do we get the invites fo the next banter. It’s not easy living I need th kind of gathering to unwind 😀

  5. Chinma Eke

    October 24, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Yes we had fun!!!!

  6. Californiabawlar

    October 24, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Okay so I was being all supportive and shii…grinning from ear to ear…scrolling down and getting ready to congratulate Atoke.
    Next thing…THIS ??

    Haaa! Toksy…I left Banky for you…kinda…but I’m so sure Fregz is my soulmate! This hurts Atoke…it really hurts. It appears I stand no shance…Imma just proceed to drown my sorrooz in work.
    Let get out of my feelings. Congrats on your parry girlie…may your career continue to grow in leaps and bounds ?

    • Atoke

      October 26, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Lol Pele. I’m so sorry. I told him you were looking forward to seeing him but you didn’t come. How for do na? We’ll organise something else soon for you.


  7. BijouxthisBijouxthat

    October 24, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Looked like fun…
    Uche is always 10/10… Her weave game is soo on point!!
    Atoke mi…. The way I see your hairline,?I sincerely believe this is the wrong hairstyle for you..
    It’s looks stretched and snatched… It’s rather worsening the situation…
    Please consider alternative hairstyles that would protect your edges.. Thank you

    • Atoke

      October 26, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Girl! Those edges and I.. we have come to the understanding that our fates will never be aligned. Jamaican Black Castor oil o, Manetabolism oh, non-stressful styles o, afro oh.. nothing.

      I’ve accepted my fate. I will do the one I can and use brush and edge control to gum it down. Lol Those edges are my own cross. Thanks for the kind suggestions.

  8. CHEEK

    October 24, 2016 at 10:59 pm


    • Ibiza

      October 25, 2016 at 12:19 am

      Lmao don’t you dare talk about my Isio like that dammit! People have skin discolourations, let her breath.
      Las last, Eez not ya feet, step shouting ??

    • jhennique

      October 25, 2016 at 8:32 am

      Isio is not even “yellow”

  9. X-Factor

    October 24, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Congratulations girlfriend, the banter was a road well travelled, it’s time to step on the stage,its your moment, the applause Is all yours,…SOAR HIGHER than you ever dreamt of…..

  10. Duchess Maria

    October 25, 2016 at 12:07 am

    Awww this looked like so much fun! Atoke you were really looking snatched girl! Love it. I didn’t realize you were so tiny, its so cute how almost everyone towered above you.

    Glory Edozien is bae! Looking good girl. Please come back and give us more gist on your Tinder chronicles.

  11. Tincan

    October 25, 2016 at 12:15 am

    I love how Anu is laughing in Pic 27 or so. It’s just beautiful – like a moment that needs to be bottled. Glad you had an enjoyed the event Atoke. It looks so organic. Wish I was there…

  12. The real D

    October 25, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Sure looks like the entire group had some fun….But this is a “coming out event” especially if you are like me and don talk your entire family tori finish on BN. Sure seems mad fun was had by all…now for banter to reach my own “koro” of the world that one go bi something or what do you think Ms. Atoke???

  13. NaijaPikin

    October 25, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Atoke so you will come to Yankee and not do this one, but you will carry yourself to Lagos and be rocking with your fan club. Don’t worry, land Yankee next time and it’s from airport we shall be waiting to whisk you away

  14. Katiana

    October 25, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Weldone Atoke, you did quite well. I’ll love to attend your next friday night banter….but with better lighting.

    Isio, where are you? why are you hurting me so? I miss you Isio. We maybe strangers but I do love you.

    Just wondering if all your posts (+ hilarious comments) could be compiled into a collection.

    I love you Isio, please come back.

  15. glow

    October 25, 2016 at 8:53 am

    So these these BN readers, pls people keep telling people on BN “you need to lose weight” ?….isn’t it funny how we are all perfect behind our keyboards!

  16. Foluwasho

    October 25, 2016 at 9:39 am

    It bites that I didn’t stand a chance to attend; me that I’m always looking for clean fun in this Lagos; will there be an encore? Plix consider us o :):)

  17. Flexe

    October 25, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Aww! This looks like so much fun. I miss AMMB/Isio and the revealing things we shared about ourselves based on the topic of discussion. I love my BN peeps. Atoke, God bless you!

  18. lollly

    October 25, 2016 at 10:48 am

    this looks quite interesting and i’m sure attendees had fun but i dont think the setting and ambience is good enough. the chairs / stools do not look comfortable. sofas or cushioned chairs would have been ideal. in addition, its also not ideal to put drinks and other edibles on the floor….tables should have been part of the arrangement

  19. Chu

    October 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Love, love, love this. Atoke, when is the next banter and how can I be part of it? I do not have enough friends, I need to change that and have a social life, not every time work, home, hubby and daughter.

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