The writer of the screenplay for “Sons of the Caliphate” – Sifa Asani Gowon – is unarguably one of the most powerful Black women in television. Creating a new narrative that gently but effectively and irrevocably unravels a stereotype, while helping people see others in a different light, is a feat that very few can achieve.
Yet, Sifa makes it look easy, because like she says – she didn’t come to play …
Name: Sifa Asani Gowon
Best Known For: Being a writer
Describe yourself in three words: Passionate. Faithful. Dramatic
Previous occupation: Teacher
12-month goal: To write two more scripts and live!
Describe your outlook & what makes your work/brand, unique: I am a stickler for detail and I work within deadlines. I like to work with people, not particularly for them.
Your greatest career highlights to date: Writing the screenplay for “Sons of the Caliphate” as well as opening a cake mix company (KoKo’s Kitchen) with my friend, Tosin Olaseinde.
Is international appeal important to you? As a scriptwriter, it certainly is. I want to be able to work on stories that span the globe.
Most important piece of equipment you use in your career: My laptop.
A typical day for you is: It depends. If I have a deadline, I’ll be on my laptop till my eyes begin to water. If not … well, I restrain myself from trolling on social media! (laughing)
The last reality check you received: My kids give me reality checks. Every. Single. Day
What legacy would you like to leave? I’d like to be known as someone who lived according to her beliefs and was able to hold fast to her God even in the middle of the entertainment industry.
What is the hardest professional decision you’ve ever had to make? Closing my cake shop to write full-time. Boy, was that a hard choice!
Your biggest career mistake: Wrong investment
Most common & avoidable mistake you see in younger people in your career: Being a good writer doesn’t mean you can do it all. Some people jump into career paths just because ‘everyone is doing it’ or it seems glamorous. I think everyone should understand their skills and work to better them rather than try and fit where they should not.
Single piece of advice you give your mentees: Pay attention to little things like structure, grammar, and spelling. It makes all the difference in the world.
You live in: Bauchi and Jos. I shuttle.
Favourite food: (sighs) I’m trying to do this keto diet thing so all my faves are off limit but … well, grilled chicken is up there.
Biggest life lesson you’ve learned: Sometimes it’s not enough to be sentimental. You’ve got to be pragmatic. And that can hurt.
What do you do for leisure? I watch television series. I read. I bake.
One app or piece of technology you cannot do without: My phone
Your most over-used word/phrase: “I did not come to play with y’all.”