-mark 75tth birthday and 55 years on stage
On Friday, March 18, 2016, Anchor Events Place, Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, was agog as veteran actress and matriarch of Ray family, Madam Olajumoke Ray Eyiwumi, popularly called Mama Ray celebrated 75th birthday and 55 years as a theatre practitioner.
The event put together by the entire Ray family attracted dignitaries from far and near.
The elated and joyous celebrant expressed gratitude to God for keeping her alive to celebrate the milestone ages both in her life and career, when ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with her. We spoke to some of her children who extolled her virtues and gave glory to God that the event turned out successful.
‘She is fantastic mother to celebrate’-LASUN RAY
How does it feel celebrating 75 and 55 years on stage for your mom today?
It feels great. I feel particularly happy for what we’re doing for her today because she really deserves it even more. Because her life is that of a high-calibre entertainer that the industry has ever produced. She is not just an entertainer, she also gave birth to many entertainers. I believe you also heard it when former Lagos first lady. Mrs. Abimbola Fashola extolled our mother’s virtues and the Ray family as a whole. She likened our family to that of Kennedy family of USA. There is no other family in the industry that’s doing wonderfully as the Ray family despite the fact that our father is late. Mrs. Fashola commendation about our family was wonderful.
How would you assess the event as a whole?
The event is nothing but a huge success. The whole thing went according to plan. I am also very happy about what all the artistes here today said about my mother as the entire Ray family. Even the younger artistes acknowledged the fact that Ray family is wonderful in the industry. All the veterans, including Prince Jide Kosoko, Oga Bello and others extolled the virtues of our mother and her husband. They said our father was wonderful and that everyone of them tapped one thing or the other from his talent as an entertainer. And that our mother was a very responsible woman. I appreciate everybody at the event. All our colleagues including Toyin Adegbola who anchored the event, Yinka Quadri, Ogogo, Elesho, Kamilu Kompo, Fali Werepe, Lepa Shandy, Biodun Okeowo, Foluke Daramola, Ronke Oshodi Oke, Adio Majester, Olaniyi Igwe, Femi Adeboya and others. We also appreciate Alhaji Kamoru Lamina (Sir K Oluwo), MC Oluomo and others. Then, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde Marshal. God will bless them all.
What do you wish mama at 75?
I wish her long life and all the best because she’s a very wonderful woman. She’s a devout Christian.
How would you describe her briefly?
I have just said it; she is a very wonderful woman. She is God fearing. She is always very lively, jovial and warm. She doesn’t keep malice. I thank God for her. Even at 75, she is still very much lively. There is no role she can’t play in the movie. No disability. We give glory to God about that. She’s a mother worthy of emulating. We’re many in her hands, and she handles all of us as her biological children.
What’s unique about Ray family?
There is unity in the family despite the fact that it’s polygamous. No one knows that we’re all not from the same mother. There is no discrimination of any kind. We’re one big family. And we give kudos to our mother. May God give her longer life than this we’re celebrating today.
‘Mama deserves even more than what we did for her’- MUKA RAY
How do you feel celebrating your mother’s 75th birthday and 55 years as an actress today Friday, March 18, 2016?
I feel very elated, joyous and happy. And very grateful to God for making today a reality. There is nothing I would have done for her that could be better than that. She’s a very good and caring mother. She takes care of all of us irrespective of whether she’s the biological mother of all. She doesn’t discriminate. She’s a God’s sent to us all as a family.
What d you wish her at 75?
I wish her long life and more prosperity. I also wish her every good thing of this life because she has been very good to all. What we’re doing for her today is even small. She deserves more than that. I will continue to celebrate her for life. But I give thanks to God that we were able to prove to her that we all love her.
How would you assess today’s event?
Very successful. In fact, it’s a huge success. That’s why my joy knows no bound. And I want to seize this opportunity to appreciate all those that stood behind us for their support in all manners. May God continue to bless them. I sincerely appreciate everybody, especially former Lagos first lady, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, wife of Lagos State governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, who was represented. The Deputy Governor, Dr. Ranti Adebule who also sent a representative. My fans and friends from Houston, Texas, United States of America, Mr. Stephen Ayodele and his wife, Mrs. Bolaji Ayodele, Princess Toyin Kolade, Sir K Oluwo, MC Oluomo, Akani Ololuwa and other dignitaries. I also appreciate all my colleagues both the junior and senior ones, all the veterans in the industry and my fans. God will continue to be with them all. Then my special thanks also goes to Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde (K1 De Ultimate). In fact, he’s truly the best. I will forever be grateful to him. He really tried. And of course, my lovely wife, Adeola Eyiwumi for her candid support from the beginning to the end.
How much did the event gulp?
To be honest, we can’t quantify the event.
‘Mama Ray is a wonderful mother’-MURPHY RAY
Thank you so much, my brother.
How would you describe today as a member of Ray family?
It’s a day of joy for me and the entire family of Ray Eyiwumi. We give glory to God that our plan to celebrate our mother’s 75th birthday and 55 years on stage has come to pass. As you can see, we’re all happy. We thank God for everything.
Who is mama to you? How true is it that she’s not your biological mother?
Mama Ray is a mother and a step mother. If she has been taking care of me since I was a child, she raised me up to this level, that means she is no other person to me than a mother. It’s one thing to be born by a mother, it is another thing entirely to be raised by another mother. So, she is my mother, and she doesn’t discriminate between myself and her biological children. In fact, she’s a mother to all my own father’s children. She treats us equally, no discrimination irrespective of the fact that Ray family is polygamous. We thank God for her life, and that’s why you see all of us celebrating her today. I am very much proud to be one of her children.
How would you describe her person?
Mama is just a simple woman. She doesn’t fight, she doesn’t keep malice. She easily forgives. She’s always cheerful. She’s always ready take corrections even from us her children. She won’t say because she’s not our mother. Therefore, she won’t listen to our advice. And she has demonstrated high level of endurance throughout. She’s not the one that easily gives up. So, Mama Ray is so wonderful to all of us. We’re all one in her hands. She likes equal treatment among all of us. And she easily busts into tears when something bothers her mind because she’s always ready to do her best for everyone around her, especially among her children.
She cries, maybe when she remembers her late husband?
Yes, it may be because of that because they so much loved each other before our dad passed on. It’s not easy. He married her into theatre profession and she has been in that industry for 55 years. Once in a while, she must be remembering him and crying, “How would it have been if my husband were to be alive today?” Our daddy passed on in 1989. It’s about 26 years she has missed her husband. Other wives of baba are also here facilitating with her. They all supported her.
How many wives did your father have?
He married four wives. That’s why I told you Ray family is very large, but it’s this Mama that groomed all of us. We’re many in the entertainment family. Even, we have among us, a hip-hop artiste. Many families in the industry are only coming behind our family. We give thanks to God for that.
What do you wish Mama at 75?
I wish her long life. She will live to see her great grand children and more in good health and more prosperity. We thank everybody who stood by us for the success of this occasion. May God bless them.