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From horror to honour

A REAL HORROR SHOW: Fredi ‘Kruger’ Nwaka and Jasmine

THE BRITS are one of the first big shindigs in the industry on this side of the globe and there is always a nice turn out. I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t much controversy this year.

Controversy is what awards need to spread the buzz. Remember Michael Jackson versus Jarvis cocker at the Brits? I also love that the night always re-establishes the need for the MOBOS as hardly any of the UK urban music scene are ever rewarded and acknowledged by the Brits. A decade ago it was Craig David, this year it was Rita Ora. Nothing changes. On the flipside, maybe the Brits folks think “those urban acts have the MOBOs so we need to ensure that the rest get recognition?”

THE very next morning I had a meeting bright and early with a music act, turned movie actor, turned moviemaker. Back in the day he was known around London as the emcee Freddie Kruger, he now he goes by his real name Fredi Nwaka. I’ve known Fredi for years from being around the scene. More recently he’s been on BBC news bulletins for having his recent film If Only screened at the BAFTAs and inspiring young people. I was keen to catch up with him to find out about his journey so far.

Fredi Grew up in Brixton with his dad and with his mum. He went to school in Wandworth and was a part of the untouchables gang. At the same time Fredi was deejaying on sound systems. I remember him supporting R&B group H-Town many years ago in Stratford at the infamous Rex. At that show he jumped out of a coffin! Freddie Nwaka became Freddie Kruga after someone told him that he reminded him of Fredi Kruger.

Fredi has had a long, hard journey with his music. He was once even part of the extended Wu Tang family, he explained: “I was signed to Wu International. I had been on Choice FM back then doing an interview with Wayne Rollins and a Wu rep was there. He was setting up a European subsidiary of Wu. He contacted me afterwards and asked me to come onboard so I joined them. But alas the rep - Mark Corden fell out with RZA so that deal folded.”

Another chapter in his music book came when he was managed by one of the legendary group members of Kool and the gang. “When the urban music group POV came to London to do shows I bumped into one of them (Hakeem) in Oxford Street who asked me where he could find a black barbers. I told him not in the West End and took him to my ends in Brixton.

He ended up coming to my house and having tea with my mum and me. We stayed in touch. We formed a duo in America called Tanaka. Hakeem is Robert Bell’s (Kool and the gang) son and so for a minute his dad managed me. But that came to an end too and eventually I came back to London at age 28 after 10 years of trying to do this music thing.”

Thereafter Fredi did bits of independent stuff everywhere. He made a DVD called Married To The Streets which was nominated for a screen nation award. He also starred in the 50 Cent, Danny Dyer movie Dead Man Running.

Simultaneously Fredi has a day job that he’s held down for 16 years! That in itself is very impressive to me! More recently he set up a company called C.R.I.ME, which stands for Creating Role Models In Media Enterprise. He then applied for funding and won lottery money to run a filmmaking workshops in Balham. After that he cast actors from his workshops in his latest film If Only which is a short anti gang violence film.

Making more films is the future for Fredi, he writes, produces and directs his own work and has just finished writing more feature scripts – a comedy, a gangster movie and a thriller. One will be shot in London, the others in the Caribbean and America.

He’s connected to other British filmmakers like Noel Clarke and they may have some work coming up together too.

Fredi’s final BAFTA screening for If Only is this Sunday March 3, at BAFTA , 195 PICCADILLY. It’s open to anyone in the public so come and see the screening at 7pm. Many VIPS and movers and shakers will be attending.

You can follow Fredi’s journey by following him on twitter here, @fredikruga.

This is the story of tenacity and graft. A typical example of someone having that go-getter streak that won’t let closed doors stop him from achieving what he knows in his DNA he was born to do. If one path doesn't come through you go down another. I salute you Fredi!

Jasmine Dotiwala is a TV producer, director and broadcast journalist. Email her at jasmine@hiphop.com Follow her on Twitter: @jasminedotiwala

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