The the long-anticipated arrival of Grime Star Mum Ify Aduga’s book ‘Endless Fortune’ has finally arrived.
Part historical, partly political ‘ the mother of four of the most successful creatives in Great Britain: Skepta, JME, Jason and Juile Adenuga tells the story of her life through a collection of memoirs. Partly historical, partly political in its entirety Ify has commented “The plan was for my family members to have a copy of my backstory to pass on. What do you know. I ended up as an author. I’m elated to the max and trust my readers to enjoy”
The first book of its kind; fighter, thinker, feminist and parent, Ify Adenuga begins her story at the age of 10 in her home country of Nigeria during the mid 1960’s when the Biafra war had torn the nation apart; uprooting her and her family from the countries capital Lagos where they were forced to move back to their original state in the east of Nigeria. She recalls the period as being “chaotic”. Fighting took place for over 2 years. Taking more than 100,000 military casualties. An estimated 2 million people died of starvation due to Kwashiorkor, a severe case of malnutrition that swells the stomach and kills slowly. Ify remembers there being “nothing to eat”. The land had stopped producing food and Nigeria proceeded in blocking food aid and oil from entering Biafra. The tragic loss of two of Ify’s siblings was the daunting reality of young Ify’s life. “Death became the boogieman that visited us every other week to steal one of us”.
The relevance of this book is a timely testimony and historical report which adds to the ongoing conversation about the complications of immigration and migration politics associated with people of the African diaspora both in the UK and globally.
The book moves on to the 1980’s where Ify exchanges her war-torn life in Nigeria to become a working-class immigrant student in London’s cold busy and hostile City. A year later she would meet her future husband, Yoruba man, Joseph Senior Adenuga at a bingo hall they both worked at in east London.
After marriage the couple settled in north London. With no choice but to raise their children in the tough working-class area of Tottenham where they were hard stricken with the blows of poverty; struggling financially and even losing their home. Both devote Christians the couple encouraged their four children to follow their artistic natures to keep them safe from the violent calls of the streets.
“The moment you step out of your house, you step into a different world. Your friends, the people around you, they could live next door to you, it doesn’t matter, they don’t understand what’s happening behind that door.” ~ Skepta
The encouragement paid off as all her children now have successful careers in the music industry after their talents flourished into the emerging grime scene of the 0’s. The UK sound evolved out of a type of house music named garage and Jamaican sound system culture and it wasn’t long before it became the inner City youth of Britain’s soundtrack with JME and Skepta front lining as battle MC’s on pirate radio station shows such as Heat FM and Rinse FM delivering gritty live sets of captivating freestyles over instrumentals often produced by Skepta himself. Now both fathers the brothers wish to raise their children “using the positives” from their childhood “you don’t need to buy your kids a life, you literally just build it with them said JME.
Third born and only daughter Julie Adenuga followed in her brothers foots steps becoming a radio presenter on Rinse FM, Apple’s Beats 1, Wireless, the GRM Daily Music Awards and now on her very own independent production via YouTube ‘Julies top 5 Show’ –“When I read the book,” Julie says, “I realised that Mum was a person. You haven’t changed, I know you as ‘Mum’, but you’ve been like this from early – it’s always been you.”
Youngest sibling graphic designer and artist Jason produced the cover of his brother older brother Skepta’s critically acclaimed Mercury award winning album ‘Konnichiwa’. The creative spark in the family is said to come from their father Joseph senior a formidable DJ and fixer of all things from fridges to vacuum cleaners. Father and husband, he is said to have taught the children how to make do with what they had in life. Skepta recalls thinking as a child “This life, man, you can just make what you want. You don’t need to buy anything.”
Captivating and imaginative Ify Adenuga’s book ‘Endless Fortune’ is a guide on how ‘not only to survive but thrive’ when faced with adversity. This memoir depicts the highs and lows of the life of an immigrant, wife, mother and survivor trying to fill the void between the country and cultural differences between Lagos and London.
Ify identifies the inspiration behind her book ‘Endless fortune’ as “My life journey to date has been a struggle to assert my own definitions of freedom and happiness whilst also living life through my cultural and traditional lens as a Black African Christian woman migrant in the UK.
Honorably impressive Ifeomagwu “Ify” not only worked and raised her family whilst completing a BA (Hons) in Education & Film studies but is also a founding member of her Rap sensation son’s record label ‘Boy Better Know’. Courageous, Ify also continues to work with organizations in both the UK and Nigeria in aid of providing young people with support and guidance in helping them lead “independent lives in safe communities”.
“With this book, I have two objectives: First, is to utilize an opportunity I missed with my parents by informing my children and subsequent grandchildren about my life growing up & how different it is to theirs, and second, is to recognise and appreciate all diasporas, regardless of where they call home. It is important to me that migrants understand that survival and success are attainable.”
In 2016 Skepta’s Mum received an ICON at C. Hub magazine’s prestigious Creativity and Arts Awards recognizing her excellence in leadership, creativity and entrepreneurship.
“I wrote this so people would know what we went through. It wasn’t easy to survive – like when we were evacuating my grandfather from close to the war front and packing his livestock and yams into a jeep. All you can hear is shells going ‘boom!’, and you’re praying the next one doesn’t land on you” – Ify Adenuga (NME Magazine, 2020)
Endless Fortune is co-published by Boy Better Know and Own it! and is now available from Amazon and all major book sellers online and in stores.