It is often stated “that one should be given his/her flower while they’re still alive. In that light, Lib Life recognized the “man of substance” award that was awarded to Mr.Fubbi Henries on the Early Morning Show on ELBC for his tireless efforts in humanity and the promotion of entertainments.
Fubbi has contributed immensely to the human resource development of several youth within Liberia especially within the entertainment sector (Music, Movie, and Pageantry). He has provided scholarships for young people and mini loans to market women for the promotion of reliability and self-sufficiency. Fubbi has supported and participated in many sanitation projects undertaken in the Sinkor belt. These projects ranged from drainage cleaning to roadside brushing. Fubbi has also sponsored series of sporting competitions and football clubs.
Besides providing scholarships and others, without any charges, but rather spending his own money, all in the name of promoting Liberian artists; Fubbi has managed artists like Yokee Bleak, our Liberian R&B artist, Bendu Gotolo, Liberian Movie star and Foxy Black a Liberian Hip Co singer. All of which have been featured in Lib Life. He continues to support and contribute the Liberian entertainment industry by creating Mini awareness Videos on Ebola, as well as being a founding member of the Lib Kitchen (an entertainment show aired on Real TV, show casing Liberian artists and promoting Liberian Culture). If Liberia had a lot of Fubbis around there was no way Liberian industry wouldn’t go far.
Here, in a Q and A Interview, Fubbi speaks to Lib Life about his experiences working with artist, the challenges faced, what encourages him to still put his time in the entertainment industry as well as where he sees Liberia Entertainment Industry within the Next Five years. Enjoy your reading.
Lib Life: I know you have a really busy schedule so I’m not going to take up so much of your time, but you’ve been working in the Entertainment Industry for a while now, working with these artists and so forth, Tell me, what do you think about entertainment in Liberia?
Fubbi: Well, for me, I think the Liberian entertainment industry is kind of slow but it’s also picking up, especially looking in the direction of the movie industry. That is also picking up recently since this Ebola Crisis. You see that more people are turning towards viewing more Liberian movies now than even the Nigerian movies. On the Musical side, I think we’ve been struggling for a while but we’re also making progress gradually as more and more radio stations are now playing Liberian music and people are geared also to listening and that’s also positive. So I think there’s a better sign of hope out there.
Lib Life: And how far do you think Liberians can take the entertainment industry? Like where exactly do you think its going?
Fubbi: Yeah, looking at it, I would say between the next five to ten years, I think we can at least be able to rub shoulders with countries like Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries.
Lib Life: Wow you sound really optimistic about this! You really think within the next five to ten years we’re cable of competing with big entertainment industries like Ghana and Nigeria?
Fubbi: Sure. I’m positive.
Lib Life: And what makes you so positive about all this? Is there something in the making for our entertainment industry that Lib Life is not aware of?
Fubbi: (laughing) No, no, its not there’s nothing up our sleeves. But its just that because right now, we as Liberians are also sending a message out to people that we should all turn towards promoting our own local stuff. You know, promote our Music, movies, fashion shows, and pageants, arts fair, cause you know all of these form part of our entertainment industry. And I see people are gradually turning towards that on a day-to-day basis. So, within a period of five years, I’m sure we can be on that level.
Lib Life: Now looking back, where can you say the entertainment industry has come from?
Fubbi: Umm! To say where it came from, that will be a little bit tough because looking back to the 80’s; I’ve not seen much Liberian artist out there except a few that made some marks like Maitta Fahnbulleh, her music is also international and one or two other guys but besides that some few Liberians where out there like Christian Chea, who played with the group called “Take 6”, a black gospel aylcapella group and he was the only Liberian amongst them, and he was a lot known to be the world’s best bass singer. So you see, these are just the few we can pin point out there. But I think we’ve come a far way and the sad part is most of our artist have not been original when it comes to music, especially with our own traditional music and promoting it to international level, there’s where I think we’ve fallen. We’re more focused on copying foreign music and imitating other countries style.
Lib Life: Now, you’ve managed quit a few artist in the country, what has been your experience working with them?
Fubbi: Yeah that’s one of the most difficult thing to do. Especially working with people where the both of you guys don’t share the same vision or mind set, that’s really hard. Like I’ve managed a few of them and for me, I’m a busy person cause I work as a full time accountant at the Coco-cola factory but managing them was like also sharing portion of my time toward putting their music out there cause my focus was mainly getting their songs online, that is on the online stores so atleast other people if they want it, they’ll have easy access to buying it because everybody will not come to Liberia to buy your CD but once its online, anybody anywhere around the world can go and purchase it with a credit card and that’s one thing I was geared towards doing and I managed to have four of my artists tracks all online. But the issue here is most of the time, these guys don’t have the time to also go online to push their own product, they basically relly on me to do all of that for them and that’s where we had the problem cause I told them that that would not work for me cause I cant work full time at my job at coco-cola and be expected to work full time with them especially when all they had to do was get online and push their music. And also the issue of trust, like one of the artist I wouldn’t call his name but after I had used my own money to put his songs online, promote his link and all that when he saw how many persons the link had reached, he thought he had made so much money and decided to miss behave. So lack of gratitude I have experienced as well.
Lib Life: But isn’t that job of the manager to make sure everything is done properly and that your artists are selling and being known?
Fubbi: yeah but for my part I was like basically doing them a voluntary work, I wasn’t getting paid for it. There was no contract sign or anything but I was just trying to help out of passion. Cause my main focus was let me sacrifice this time and give these guys some international platform so that people out there can see them and recognize them and then later, we can go into the issue of money business instead of putting the money in front first cause firstly I knew none of them had the money to pay me. So looking at their status and comparing it to mine, I knew they were not able to pay me so I just decided to make the sacrifice, some of their tracks to even put it online, I had to use my personal money. But my main issue was getting Liberian music out there, which was my main focus. I mean cause if you go on the internet, you hear a lot of foreign songs played on the online stations unlike our Liberian music so I was also getting in touch with other DJs encouraging them to play our songs which they did a lot. Matter of fact, these guys starting liking our songs and even encouraged me to send them more Liberian music so I can tell you that was a big gap between Liberia and the outside world.
Lib Life: So where they actually buying these songs online? That is our Liberian music.
Fubbi: yeah, they were buying some but it also depends on how well you promote your site. And that’s on thing cause getting the music online is one, but the promotional aspect is another thing and that’s the promotional aspect I was relying on them to at least trying and help push themselves during their spare times but they weren’t helping in that direction; to push their own songs. So for me, I saw that as being complacent and lazy.
Lib Life: So besides managing these artists, what else are you involved with? Entertainment wise that is.
Fubbi: Well umm I’m also partnering with several other radio stations, Radio Monrovia, every Friday there’s a show called LiBeats, where we introduced Liberian artists, play their songs and encourage others to listen and at the end of the day, you get to win a prize after answering a question about an artist at the end of the show. Its been running for the past two years now. I’m into movies as well,and I’m co-partnering with Platinum Entertainment, and we’ve come up with movies like Douama 1,2,3,and 4 and a lot of other movies we’re working on as well. Recently, We came up with an Ebola track title Survivor produced at Red Eyez Entertainment, and we had about seven artists on the trck, Master Black, King Face, Magrette Ciphas, Heavy Deso, Sweetz, Milk Man, Mr.Henries lV and me adding my voice to that.
Lib Life: So, are you still into managing artist?
Fubbi: Yeah, I still have like three artists that I’m managing on a low profile for now.
Lib Life: what do you mean when you managing on a low profile?
Fubbi: Meaning that I’m not too active in managing them because of the volume of work I’m doing but once in a while I help them to push their links and whenever they come up with a new track, I also put it to share it and encourage other people to listen to them.
Lib Life: What I want to know is, these three artists that you’re managing on a low profile, is this also a voluntary job?
Fubbi: Yeah, its still voluntary. Cause you see right now, none of our artists are actually making any kind of money, so I don’t want to put them under that kind of stress of making them feel obligated of paying me.
Lib Life: I’m still confused here, I mean you complained that some of these artists had trust problems with you, that they were lazy, and so forth, what still encourages you to put your time, energy and money into it?
Fubbi: Yeah but you see, the first thing here is I have not given up on Liberia. You see I always tell people its not because of one rotten apple means that you should throw all the other good ones away. There are still a lot of things that we can push and my aim is to get our entertainment out there no matter what it takes. So I’ll always push on way or the other no matter what.
Lib Life: So who are these three artists that you’re now managing?
Fubbi: I’m now managing Mr. Henries lV, whose also my brother, David Sandie, he’s currently in the US and Fiyah, who’s in Ghana and is expected in Liberia next year.
Lib Life: The President Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made an appointment few days ago, appointing Dawn Barnes, Barku Tubman and Jackie Kepart on the Tourism Exploratory Committee. What’s your view on that? Do you think Liberia is ready for tourism?
Fubbi: Speaking of which, I’m planning on coming up with a TV programme called Million Reasons to believe in Liberia. It’s basically a weekly TV series that will be highlighting all the beautiful sights in Liberia you know like sight seeing. This program is to encourage Liberians to believe in their country. I think we have so many reasons to believe in this country and one of the things I always say is if only we can open all the various sectors of our economy, the issue of the wealth of Liberia can be distributed in a way that every Liberian will be able to take pay every month. Politicians made that remark at one point that the wealth of Liberia can pay everybody but they didn’t explain how, they just said it and a lot of people thought that they meant that the government was going to pay everybody a pay check at the end of every month that was the notion the politicians sold to the people was was wrong and this is some of the things that creates problems in the Country but the wealth of Liberia can be actually be disturbed that every Liberian can take pay every month and that would only happen if all these various sectors are opened. Like the Tourism sector, the agriculture sector, entertainment industry, health sector, where the private sector now turns to employ more people. So for short, yes I think it’s a good direction that we’re going to and I think that we should focus on it cause there are a lot of good sites in Liberia that we can attract tourist. There’s places like Cape mount, like yesterday I went to Lebasa, that’s another place that’s so perfect for tourism, I mean if you see the landscape, the sand, its such a pretty sight. There’s also the bat cave in Nimba, that’s something that can attract tourists, you have the chimpanzee Island in Buchanna, Bassa that’s something you can also attract people to see, there’s the Kpatawe water fall in Bong County, so I really think they’re heading in the right direction, I just hope that they will take it seriously and put the right push into it instead of just the name that I am a part of the tourism exploratory committee and just for the fun fair of it. But if they’re really focused, I think that’s something that can open a whole new dimension in this country. So I will say yes we’re definitely ready for tourism because we have the natural scene, forget about even developing anywhere though I’m not saying that we shouldn’t develop our places but all I’m saying is the natural beauty alone of our different counties alone is tourist attraction all by itself that the country can generate some income just by people walking there to see those places. Other countries are doing it, I see no reason why we cant do it.
Lib Life: Two to three weeks ago, you were nominated on the ELBC early morning show as the man of Substance. Tell me how did that come about.
Fubbi: First thing that I said was it took me by surprise, I did not expect it but sometimes, I think when you’re doing something and you think no one is watching, people are actually are. So because of that, I’m sure it was some of my services I’ve given. If you go to the entertainment industry, there’s a lot of times besides that redio monrovia that I mentioned, there are other radio stations like LBS,Sky FM, LUX FM, Fabric Radio with IRepLib, there’s a lot of times that we encourage Liberians to listen to Liberian entertainment. Sometimes we come up prizes up just to encourage people to listen in order to keep glued. So those are some of the things I’ve been doing for more than two years now and I’m sure those are some of the things the guys noted and during this time of the Ebola situation, I’ve also made some intervention within the community that I live and also to some of the radio stations. I also I a Youtube Video up that I did, encouraging people to change the message about Ebola like the common message we keep hearing all around, Ebola is real and it kills, but this time we’re saying yes, its true that Ebola is real and it Kills but what are the things that people should do. So in the message we’re encouraging people to go to the hospital as soon as they feel ill, and that there’s still hope. I’m also sponsoring the Face of Paynesville Beauty pageant. So those are some of the things that those guys saw and nominated me as man of substance.
Lib Life: And how did you feel about the nomination?
Fubbi: first as I said it took me by surprise but I think also I was happy about it, cause in this country there are not many good examples for people to look up to, so you find out that most of the young people end up copying the wrong people that’s why we have a lot of these issues in government and private sectors. So if a young man like me can be a good example for other people to look at, I think that’s worth mentioning and that’s something I should be proud of.
Lib Life: One would say, oh, this guy is only doing this because he has some intentions of running for some governmental position. Do you have any political ambition?
Fubbi: Oh but having a political ambition is anybody’s right. So its not something to say you’ve got to choose who goes into politics or not. But if you have a vision, and some of the reasons people go into politics is because for example, if I have a vision, and I’m keeping this vision or even if I share this vision with the people that are now in authority, they’re not willing to push it.so its better for me to take the stand to go in myself and better push this vision that I have because sometimes you need the right people at the right places to make the right decisions but if you have the wrong at the right places, the wrong time,you ifnd out that a lot of things don’t happen. And because of that we keep running in circles. So that ‘s some of the reason why you find people go into politics, some at a younger age others when they’re old.
Lib Life: So I gather this is a yes for you then?
Fubbi: Well…. For political ambition, I do have political ambition and that’s something I’ve had from childhood, I’ve always had that at the back of my mind but I don’t have to get into politics before I do some of the things I’m doing. I believe everything doesn’t have to come from government; private individuals can also help, some have the means but don’t do it at all. So I don’t think me doing good for my country should only be looked at as me having political ambitions. Like I said, if it’s for us, it has to be by us. So lets put the political part of it one side for now and focus on the work that is being done. When the political time comes, we’ll talk that on.
Lib Life: So how do you see yourself? A humanitarian, or what?
Fubbi: I’m a state person! I believe in this country. I’m one person that has never played DV and I do not intend on playing it. Its not because that I hate America, but because I believe in Liberia.
Lib Life: What message do you have for young potential men like your self who are cable of pushing Liberian Entertainment forward but are sitting with their hands fold?
Fubbi: well lets let only relate this to men alone because you women always speak on gender equity, so its not this the men alone. Lets stop being selfish, its not so much about the amount of money that you’re putting into it but even the little that you can afford from your heart, contribute that to the entertainment industry. If you contribute your time, contribute that to the entertainment industry, its not so much of the amount that you can put into it but it’s the little that counts. Let us support our own self. We have the talents; all we need is our own efforts to push it.
Lib Life: Well it’s been such pleasure speaking to you Mr Henries and keep up the good work
Fubbi: Like I said if it’s for us, it has to be by us. Thank you for having me.