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I urged my mother to remarry when we were broke – Iya Rainbow’s son



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Femi, a son of veteran Nollywood actress Idowu Phillips, also known as Iya Rainbow, speaks about his father’s death and relationship with his mother.

People are often of the opinion that working with family members could have some hiccups. How has it been working with your mother, Iya Rainbow, all these years?

I will say that Iya Rainbow is different. Anything that has to do with me or money, she will not touch it. There was a time we attended a party and I sprayed her money, about N50,000. She said, ‘Femi that is your money, come and pack your money’. I told her I gave it to her but she insisted that I should take my money back. When it comes to money, mama is very particular about it. When it comes to work, she tells me to share the money and give her what she deserves. Even when it comes to endorsement, she seeks my advice. I really enjoy working with her. I am fine.

Is she the reason you went into the entertainment industry?

No, it was my dad that influenced me to venture into the entertainment industry. He was a writer and director. I am a born artiste. When I was growing up, I realised that I love entertaining people and I keep doing it. I went to London to study film making. Before then, I will say it is in the blood. If an entertainer has kids, at least one would toe the path of the artiste. I would say I was the one that took after my dad.

Speaking of your father, he died over three decades ago when you were still very young. How was life without a father figure and how did his death help foster your relationship with Iya Rainbow?

My father was a lecturer and also an actor. Most times, they travel a lot because they were into ‘travelling stage play’. But as for my mother, because of the children, she was not able to travel around with them often. She only took part in the Lagos shows most times. This made us become very close to our mother.

I am so close to my mother and she is my best friend. In fact, it was my mother that told me the person I would marry. That is how close we are. When I wanted to get married, I told her about the girls in my life and asked who she felt I should marry and she chose for me. She is my friend. Whenever I am around and she feels down, she calls me to come and make her laugh.

My father was so strict to the extent that whenever he was around, you would be scared. We would say, ‘Ha! Baba is around o’.

Your mother never remarried after the death of your father over 38 years ago? Did you ever encourage her to remarry?

There was a time I told Iya Rainbow that we were broke and she should look for someone else to remarry. She said never, she will never do such. We were so broke and the journey was so rough that I had to urge her to remarry. I pointed out to her some men that were interested in her but she said no.

There was a time she went to a film set and they gave her money, I know that she loved her husband so much so I told her that I knew an herbalist in Ilorin. The herbalist’s speciality was to conjure the dead.

The truth was that I just wanted to get money from her because I knew how much she loved my father and wanted to see or speak with him again. She asked how much it would cost and I told her N300,000 but she said she only had N50,000. She pleaded with me to tell the man to accept N30,000 and that we would give him the balance later. She kept giving me money and at a point, I had to tell her the truth that my father is dead and he can never come back again. That is how much she loved my dad. Iya Rainbow said that she cannot remarry because she cannot imagine another man sleeping with her again, it is only Femi. That is how much she loved our dad.

As you have said, you are very close to your mother. How was it when she first met your wife?

I know what my mother likes so on the day they were to meet, I advised my wife to be a good girl. I told her that once she got to my mother’s house she should help with chores. Besides that, my wife is a very lovely and nice person. That day, she met my mother washing and then she joined her. My mother asked me who she was and I said my friend because I could not say she was my girlfriend. She queried my wife and the rest is history.

Is there any disadvantage to being the son of Iya Rainbow?

There is only one disadvantage to being the son of such a great legend as Iya Rainbow. The disadvantage is that there are certain places I visit and people expect me to do more. They would be of the opinion that as Iya Rainbow’s son, I am a rich guy. They believe that I ought to be a millionaire.

I am mostly based in London and when I first arrived, I had to do some dirty jobs to make ends meet. When some people see me, they ask if I am Mama Rainbow’s son and I had to deny it.

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