LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Little Black Book (LBB) is a series created by The Naked Convos, an entertainment platform concerned with telling “Original African Stories.” It is interesting to note that LBB is an adaptation based on an original web series published on the Naked Convos site. You can check it out at thenakedconvos.com.
The series centers around the lives of two main
ters and is woven around the relationships and issues bordering these relationships and how these issues affect the persons involved. The series tells the story of Leo Afamdi Igwe (Ikechukwu Onunaku), a defiant millionaire and “hotelpreneur”, who is trying to salvage his business and Tade Hannah Folorunsho (Teniola Aladese), a brilliant business developer who is determined to get her life back on track after a series of failed attempts both home and abroad.
This web-inspired series, replete with carefully selected characters and beautiful scenes explores the adulting life and in 12 episodes, pulls you through a myriad of societal issues and plethora of themes such as unspoken love, revenge, friendship, betrayal, blackmail, self-centeredness, feminism, patriarchy, adulthood, self-deception, etc.
The series starts off with Tade forgetting totally about her interview at Leon Dev. Co, a hospitality enterprise owned by Leo Igwe, who is also the CEO of the company. After a reminder from her friend, she eventually gets to the company and is interviewed personally by the CEO, who instead of granting her a job as a Business Developer, gives her a job as his Personal Assistant. This is the total opposite of what Tade bargained for. Eventually, we get to learn that Leo is unable to afford a Business Developer hence, he uses one stone to kill two birds – hire a business developer as his PA then pick her brains as a business developer.
The series depict a Nigerian society and the intricacies of being a member of the society. In the words of Leo, “…this country happened. This country always happens.” The progression of the storyline is one that cannot not be loved. The unraveling of the mystery surrounding the confident Leo Igwe and the unspoken love between himself and Tade is one you want to look out for.
Friendship and Relationship is a major part of what the series is all about. As stated earlier, the series is woven around several relationships – Leo and Tade; Dami and Chris; Leo and Madeline; Tade and Dami; Leo and Gladys; Tade and Chris, etc. Each one of these relationships have issues that are peculiar and is succinctly played out in the series. The relationship between Leo and Tade, albeit formal at first, eventually develops into something informal and has them journeying to Jerusalem.
Chris (Floyd Igbo) and Dami’s (Anne Icha) relationship can be best described as rocky. One minute, they are up, the next, they are down. This is a microcosm of the relationship scene in the country. Both partners want totally different things and this causes a rift between them. They are unable to communicate effectively and eventually part ways.
The theme of adulthood is central to the series as well. Leo has a defunct relationship with his Dad and in order to show his Dad what he’s capable of, he rejects Madeline’s advice to reach out to his father for help.
Chris decides to quit his banking job and pursue his dream of being a Gamer. Dami, not having any of it, goes on to tell him “…What we do, it’s called Adulting.”
Critical, life-changing decisions have to be made at this point and one has to move on with life. Such is life, I guess.
Closely related to the theme of adulthood are the themes of Feminism, Patriarchy and Self-centeredness as displayed by the characters.
Chris, not minding what effect his actions (quitting his banking job) will have on his relationship, goes ahead to chase his dreams yet accuses Dami of being a murderer who only wants to chase her dreams at the detriment of their unborn child and their relationship. As an excuse, he tells Dami, “…that’s what mothers do.” This portrays exactly the patriarchal stance of the society we are in and the standards set for both men and women as regards their dreams.
Why can the man easily chase his dreams without looking back while the woman has to forego her dreams just because she’s pregnant? (A baby she doesn’t even want.)
In addition to Chris’ selfish acts, Tade also depicts her own selfishness when after being fired by Leo, she goes on to rant to Dami, not minding whether or not her friend is fine. Tade is unable to read her friend’s feelings. All she is concerned about is herself.
It is pertinent to note that the production crew did excellently well with the casting. Ikechukwu Onunaku’s (Leo) transition from rapper to actor is quite questionable. However, he delivers with such exceptionality and top-notch quality like a pro. He embodies his role with such compelling mastery of act and words. He is confident and portrays the Alpha-male quality that CEO ought to have. However, one can infer that his “hard guy” status and his philandering activities are as a result of his defunct relationship with his father and his underlying fear of failure.
Tade (Teniola Aladese) is such a beauty to behold. She graces the screen with such elegance, poise and grace that cannot not be seen. As a protagonist, she does beautifully well and aces her role. However, there are instances that I think she fell short. For instance, how did she not know that Haruna, Gladys’s aide has been playing a game all along? I mean, for someone that brilliant, it was too naive of her to not have noticed that.
I must doff my hat for Dami (Anne Icha). Her delivery is seamless. Such brilliant actor! She gets into her role, becomes the character and delivers with ease. She goes all out when she’s happy and does same when she’s sad or angry. Brilliant!
I had my doubts about Chris’ (Floyd Igbo) acting at first. However, after several compelling scenes, I must say that he’s good at what he does. His facial expressions come in handy. He portrays the emotions with such brilliance.
Whoever decided to cast Oreka Godis (Gladys) for that role deserves an award. What?!
Gladys delivers with the professionalism, brilliance and jaw-dropping brilliance of Sola Sobowale. The scene between her and Madeline, also the one between her and Leo are noteworthy. She aced her role!
In addition to the casts, I think that one aspect that got me has to be the soundtrack. Eeii God! The fluidity with which the background music eases into the scenes is too beautiful to be ignored. The crew paid attention to this and infused songs that blended really well with the scenes.
At this point, I cannot fail to make mention of some scenes that just did not work for me.
For instance, Tade snooping around Leo’s office when she’s only but a job applicant is questionable. That’s not realistic at all. Imagine a random job applicant walking into Mike Adenuga’s office and begins to go through his stuff. Lmao! No job!
Another scene that didn’t cut it for me is the sex scene between Leo and Madeline. El Oh El. I laughed all through the scene. What was all that grunting for? Abeg!
Also, Dami was always on makeup. Whether the event called for it or not. During the time she fell out with Chris, she still had makeup on. I mean, a bland face would have made it more appropriate that she’s broken.
Furthermore, in Episode 11, Tade had makeup on at night, almost bedtime. Who goes to bed with a makeup on?!
Finally, Leo’s tie in the last scene of the last episode just was not it. It did not have the Alpha-male, CEO status that we had all become accustomed to. At best, he should not have had it on at all.
There are several highlights that stood out for me:
In Epsisode 4, Tade walking through the door when Leo was on a call and he said “when the right woman walks in through the door, I’ll…” Reeks of cliche but it was good.
The one that really got me was when Tade kissed Leo after their proposal had been accepted and Kotrell’s song – Now and Always – played in the background. That scene was beautiful!
The confrontation between Dami and Chris in Episode 10. Brilliant acting. Both of them got into their characters, displayed the emotions and delivered excellently.
I believe a major highlight for anyone that has watched the series has to be in Episode 11 – Tade and Leo eventually having coitus. It was long overdue!
In conclusion, Little Black Book is such a beautiful series. The engagement with the audience; the seamless chemistry between the actors; the fluidity with which each scene developed is a sight to behold and of course, am enthralling storyline that keeps you wanting more. We are still at a loss as regards the essence of the Little Black Book but we believe that Season 2 will be nothing short of brilliance. It’s a solid 9/10 for me.
LITTLE BLACK BOOK
LITTLE BLACK BOOK