Toke Makinwa is a media brand, she is a radio personality, television host, media influencer and vlogger. She co-hosts The Morning Drive on Rhythm 93.7 FM, as well as host Moments with Mo on EbonyLife TV. Her online reach is very impressive, she has over 35,000 subscribers on YouTube and over a million following on Twitter and Instagram combined. It is clearly obvious that Toke is Nigeria’s Sweetheart and the media’s IT-Girl. She has won the respect of so many with her passion, drive and personality. These qualities have also been criticized by many and despite the jabs that she gets from being in the spotlight, one fact that cannot be denied is the fact that that Toke Makinwa is a hard worker and is SELF MADE.
Being in the limelight is probably the greatest burden anyone can bear, every move, every sneeze, every action or inaction would be criticized, ripped apart till the actual meaning is lost and Toke has had her fair share of this media cake. In all this, one certain event has loomed over her head and she has been defined by it.
This event has led to this day, where we have Toke as an author of On Becoming which has given her an opportunity to tell her story in the way that she wants it to be told. There are stages to events and things, change is constant for growth to be evident, the journey of a thousand miles began with a step and in all of this we are consciously or subconsciously aware of the person we are becoming.
Hi Toke, introduce yourself.
Toke Makinwa is a multimedia personality. I do radio, television, YouTube and now very recently, I have added the author feather to my hat, I am just a young lady who is very passionate about walking in her purpose and impacting lives as I grow. My goal is to leave this world so much better than I met it so I am not one to fear taking risks and exploring. I am up for growth however painful. I’m open to change, however uncomfortable at the start but discovering, living and learning as I become.
What does – On Becoming- the novel mean to you?
On Becoming is a journey. We are all travelling through life and each day, we see has lessons for us all. The book is about finding myself in the hope that people will read and do the same. It is a story that had to be told, it is important to tell your story or the world will tell it for you and On Becoming shows you that. It battles the fears of a young girl, the lady she has grown into and how she continues to navigate her path through life.
Why break the silence with a book and why now?
I don’t see the book as breaking the silence, it is a must tell. I have found my purpose in sharing and impacting lives as I grow and there are a lot of issues that we do not discuss enough in Africa. As women, there is a culture of shaming to silence about things we go through. It is like the older generation only sees strength as the ability to suffer in silence. The need to ‘keep it all together’ is crippling, I have found that real strength can sometimes be the ability to show vulnerability. Knowing that it is okay not to have the answers but as long as you wake up every morning with the will to try and keep applying yourself to it, things will get better. That is what On Becoming is about.
On Becoming introduces us to the 21st century woman torn between finding herself, her career and her man, are you skeptical about the reviews this book might get?
I hope people read On Becoming and appreciate the honesty. Everyone is trying to find something and that is not a bad thing. It is however how we conduct ourselves in the wait, how we draw strength from our negative experiences, how we thrive, how we remain hopeful even in the worst experiences. That is strength. If being a 21st century woman means bold, fearless, falling and getting back up then I am up for it.
You showed us a Toke Makinwa many people do not know, right now, who is Toke Makinwa?
Toke Makinwa is becoming and loving every step of the way to where she is destined to be. She is comfortable, fearless and not afraid to let the world see that she is a work in progress.
Asides the realizations shared in the book, were there other self-realization moments while you wrote the book?
I had to confront my worst fears and stared it down, there were moments when I didn’t know what to do or how things will eventually work out, in those times I turned to writing. I documented so much it helped me heal. I had to forgive myself for my naivety, I had to accept my new normal and tell myself that despite it all, I am still standing and all will be well.
What impact do you hope for your book to create?
I want to see many women step out of their comfort zones, I want the book to cause us to have a rethink on certain things we blame our culture for. People need to stop defining other people by their status, we need to appreciate how long we have come and women need to support other women more.
What should we expect in the future from the Toke Makinwa brand?
So much more. I cannot wait to share our 2017 plans. God willing, I am also excited about the book tour. We will tour Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States. Tour starts in December immediately after our November 28th nationwide release date.
What is the end goal for you?
To live a life full of purpose, to make my mistakes and grow and be better for it and in my own little way to create a little heaven here on earth! We have enough negative stories to last us our lifetime, we need to begin to rewrite the scripts so that the young ladies coming behind will have much better experiences emotionally, spiritually, financially and much more.
Advice to the people who would be affected by your book?
Keep Becoming more!!
Creative Direction: Chidera Muoka
Photographer: Niyi Okeowo
Makeup: Jumoke Tychus for Eyesome Beauty
Stylist: Harvella Styles
Hair Stylist: Bernard Smiles
Shoot location: A WhiteSpace