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Patti Boulaye is a celebrated Nigerian singer, actress, painter, choreographer, producer, wife and a proud mother of two children, who is best remembered for starring in Lux commercials, and The Patti Boulaye Show.
Patti Boulaye is one of the British-Nigerians doing the country proud abroad. She started so early in life that she had ranked among leading black British entertainers in the seventies and eighties.
Patti’s journey through life that saw her becoming a world-class celebrity was documented in this abridged biography published on her website thus:
“While holidaying in Britain during her teens, she was launched into show business by a strange twist of fate. Patti saw this as providence and set about learning all she could about every aspect of the entertainment industry. Patti is unique in her study of local customs, so that she can best understand the people she entertains, even going as far as learning their national anthems and popular local music. Her tours have included Japan, far Eastern countries, USA, Africa, and Europe.
“Patti’s main focus in recent years has been organising, presenting and producing shows for her charity, Support for Africa.
Nine years ago during a visit to Africa and by another twist of fate, Patti was introduced to 60 babies who were saved from being buried alive because they were HIV positive. On her return to England, Patti was determined to do something about the effect and stigma of HIV on the lives of African villagers. She formed a charity, “Support For Africa” and asked the Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH and other prominent persons to be patrons, all of whom agreed.
“Then Patti hired the Royal Albert Hall for a charity event which she presented and organised. This was the first of her sell-out “Reaching Out For Africa” events, which she co-produced with Major Sir Michael Parker KCVO CBE at the Royal Albert Hall, starring Sir Cliff Richard, Gabrielle, Uri Geller, Patti herself and Boney M, amongst others and featured 3,000 Gospel singers whom Patti put together herself. The event was supported by The Rt. Hon Michael Portillo, Frederick Forsyth CBE, The Rt.
Hon Iain Duncan Smith, The Rt. Hon Paul Boateng, The Rt. Hon. Lord Greville Janner QC and the new Miss World.
“Patti’s second sell out Royal Albert Hall charity event was Football Reaching Out For Africa (FROFA) in September, 2007 and starred among others, Didier Drogba of Chelsea FC, Simon Callow, Boney M, Christopher Biggins, Greg Dyke, David James and The Rt. Hon. Charles Kennedy. These concerts were a great success for the charity, enabling Support For Africa to build five self-sustaining general health care clinics, three in Nigeria, two in Cameroon and a school in Lesotho.
“Patti’s events were so successful that she was invited to join the official Golden Jubilee Entertainment Committee for HM the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. As a member of the committee Patti got together and led 5,000 strong gospel choir for the 4th June Jubilee procession down the Mall in front of Her Majesty the Queen in June, 2002. She also wrote a song “Jubilee Song (Celebrate Good News)” as a tribute, which enabled the 5,000 singers to dance and sing during the procession.
“Patti and her choir put on a truly amazing display as they joined thousands of other performers in front of the crowds, world’s press and media and the millions of people who tuned in to their televisions to watch the climax to the Jubilee Weekend Celebrations.
“Support For Africa’s next project sees Patti working with Sentebale to build two new classrooms for the children of the village of Letuka in Lesotho. Sentebale is the charity founded by our own Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. SFA has funded the initial Maliphofu School building project. The plan is to build the first classroom which was officially opened by the two Princes on the 17th June 2010 and then, in 2011, a second classroom, kitchen and other facilities will be built to complete the project.
The school is run by the Government of Lesotho.
“In 2002 Patti arranged for singer Michael Jackson to give an appearance to raise funds for Support For Africa during his visit to the UK. Later as a guest of Michael Jackson, Patti attended and sang at his 45th Birthday Celebrations in LA.
“Over the years, Patti has tirelessly worked for charities being on the committee of eight British charities and a patron of five, including on the Board of Governors of British American Drama Academy (BADA), Eastside Educational Trust, Barnardo’s and Women Into Business. Patti is also a Founder Member of the Patron’s (Prince Michael of Kent) Enterprise Club for GENESIS the facilitator organisation for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the promotion of Small Business,
“Patti’s first TV production experience was her own TV series The Patti Boulaye Show on Channel 4, she went on to produce, choreograph and star in the initial production of her self-penned dance Musical ‘Patti Boulaye’s Sun Dance,’ inspired by legend, folklore, ritual and nature. A sensational cast of 30 took enraptured audiences on a stirring voyage to the heart of the African continent with a magical display of vibrant colour and ground shaking rhythm and energy. The critically acclaimed production ran for a very successful six week season in London at the Hackney Empire. Other productions include “Scotland Reaching Out for Africa” at the Clyde Auditorium, the musical Blues In the Night, and a gospel choir to sing in aid of The Not Forgotten Association’s Royal Christmas Party at St James Palace.”
Patti has starred in many top West End productions. She played the part of Yum Yum in the Black Mikado at the Cambridge Theatre. Kenny Lane of the Gilbert and Sullivan Discography wrote; “Patricia Ebigwei's version of "The Sun whose rays..." is, the performance against which all others must now be judged. It is one of those remarkable interpretations that makes all others pale and unsatisfactory by comparison. No G and S lover is unmoved by this sensational piece of music making. Her version is a slow, erotic, languid ballad of vanity and sexual self-satisfaction that makes the conventional renditions seem prissy and just plain silly.”