From “Egbon” to Best Friends — Jerrie and Kunle

November 6, 2022
My Bro is a biweekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.


A random tweet and mutual love for photography brought Jerrie and Kunle together five years ago. Even though Jerrie hired Kunle as his photography assistant, the two have become best friends who aren’t scared to make fun of each other at the slightest chance. 

This week on My Bro, they talk about the best and worst parts of working together, their crazy adventures with the Nigerian police and knowing when to stand up for one another. 

Our origin story

Kunle: We met for the first time in 2017. You tweeted something about needing an assistant for a photoshoot you were doing, and I sent you a DM that I was interested in the gig. We weren’t even following each other at the time, but you saw my DM, sent me the address, and I showed up the next day. 

Jerrie: 2017 was so long ago that I can’t even remember this. Was it the Femi Kuti shoot? 

Kunle: It was the one with the cast of “The Wedding Party”. 

Jerrie: Oh, yeah. I remember now. I used to tweet about needing an assistant a lot back then. It’s not like I couldn’t do the photoshoot on my own. I just felt it’d be great to bring someone new on board. I got a lot of DMs that day, but yours was the first, and I did a “First come, first serve” thing. 

First Impressions

Jerrie: You were so quiet and treated me like an egbon, but it’s been five years, and you’re not quiet again. You came, greeted me “good morning” and all of that. I was uncomfortable, but I understood it was your first time meeting me. We’re all guys, whether or not I’m older. 

Kunle: It’s not my fault. I thought you were like 35. LOL.

Jerrie: Wow. That’s why you were very egbon-ish? 

Kunle: I saw you as someone very serious with his work, so I wanted to keep things professional. It was a nice experience for me, though. You were very patient in explaining every step of the process. 

Jerrie: Omo, I didn’t want to make you feel left out. I also noticed you were enthusiastic about the work, so I decided to call you back for the next shoot I had. If you had said “no” to the next one, I wouldn’t have called you again. I kept calling you, and you kept coming for the shoots, so it became a thing. 

Kunle: I only came back because you looked like you knew what you were doing. LOL. 

Bonding outside photography

Jerrie: Football definitely brought us closer. 

It wasn’t hard for us to bond outside work because we always saw each other. We couldn’t talk about shoots all the time, so we started talking about FIFA, food, football matches, etc. You also started crashing at my place after long shoots. We had our work relationship, but we were slowly building another relationship on the side. 

By the way, I can’t believe you left Chelsea for Arsenal. 

Kunle: Abeg, abeg, abeg. 

Jerrie: Who goes from winning to losing, on purpose? 

I also followed you on Twitter and saw your true personality through all the rubbish you tweet. That’s when I realised you’d been forming for me. It took a while, but your real funny personality started showing as we got closer. 

Kunle: Gisting and having mutuals on Twitter made us close. I didn’t care that you were seeing my tweets. It wasn’t like I was under employment, so you couldn’t sack me. 

Photography adventures together

Jerrie: We’ve had so many crazy photography experiences together. 

There was the time I forgot one of my lights when I was supposed to shoot Femi Kuti at the Shrine. My house was far away, so I couldn’t go back for them. I had to improvise and act like I knew what I was doing, but I was so nervous. The images turned out okay. Kunle, did you know about it at the time? 

Kunle: I didn’t know o. But there was another shoot we had where we forgot to take our light trigger. 

Jerrie: Yes, the Banana Island shoot. LOL. This just reminded me of that annoying thing you did there. I was on my own, harmonising with the gospel song playing during the shoot, when someone asked if I’d been in a choir. I’ve never been in a choir before; I just know how to sing pretty well. But before I could respond, you were like, “Yes, Jerrie used to be in the choir.” 

The way you said it was so convincing I started thinking maybe I was actually in the choir. I couldn’t even defend myself. 

Kunle: LOL. I actually don’t know when I do these things. It just comes to me naturally. I choose violence, always. 

Hardest and best part of working together 

Kunle: I don’t have anything to say about the hard part of working with you, but for the good part, I enjoy how you break down your process every time. You’re always ready to answer, no matter how many times I disturb you with questions when we’re working. 

I also like that we’ve drawn the line when it comes to work and play. When we’re working, we’re 100% focused on doing just that. But when we want to mess around, we also know how to have fun. 

Jerrie: The most challenging part of working with you is your music selection. You only play the songs you like when you get the aux cord. It’s not your business whether myself or the client like the song. That’s how you made me know all the songs on Asake’s album. I even have to get the client to speak up just so you can change the music. 

The best part of working with you is you’re reliable. I can hit you up today for a shoot tomorrow, and you’ll do all you can to show up. I can tell you’re disappointed when you can’t make it. I like that reliability. 

Coming through for one another

Jerrie: I haven’t really spoken about it before, but you stood by my side during a challenging period for me last year [2021]. I’d been accused of assault during a photoshoot, and I wasn’t even on social media when the story went viral. Luckily for me, you and about nine other people were on that set and could explain what really happened. You were there even before I could address it (I had to seek legal advice). You could’ve easily distanced yourself despite knowing the truth, but you didn’t. 

It meant a lot to me. 

Kunle: I was with you when it first came out, and I saw how you broke down because of it. I was also present at the shoot, so it didn’t make sense to just ignore it on social media. 

You also came through for me the year before, in 2020. I was robbed, and they took a lot from me. I’d left your house late because we were playing FIFA, and even though I kept beating you, you convinced me to do a replay. That’s how I went home and got robbed. LOL. 

But I remember you rallied our mutuals to donate stuff and help me find my feet again. 

Jerrie: Guy, it was the little I could do. We couldn’t get you everything you lost, but we could help you move forward no matter how small the step was. 

We wouldn’t be friends without photography 

Jerrie: I honestly doubt we’d be this close or even friends if we didn’t have this shared love for photography. 

Kunle: Yes. It would’ve been surface-level if we’d just met through other people. We have mutuals, but it would’ve been a “Hey” or “How far?” only situation. 

Kunle and Jerrie vs the Nigerian Police 

Jerrie: Even though it wasn’t funny then, one of the funniest stories I have of our experience together was when we escaped the police. I was driving that night, but I’d forgotten my licence at home, and you’d been drinking. We ended up at a police checkpoint, but before they could see us properly, I jumped to the back seat, wore my glasses and made you sit in the driver’s seat. They saw us from afar and let us go because they thought it was an Uber ride. 

I can laugh about it now, but I was scared. You know I’m terrified of the Nigerian Police, especially after #EndSARS. 

Kunle: LOL. My story is literally about your fear of the police. 

After another night out, we’d decided to drop our friends off at home when officers from the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCID) of the Nigerian Police stopped us. You were driving again, and I was in the front seat. I was so shocked because you were hiding from them and while they were making noise and trying to take the car from us. I was thinking, “Guy, you’re the oldest here— 

Jerrie: You’re mad. 

Kunle: But you were the oldest and tallest in the car. Why were you moving like that? It was myself and the people we were giving a lift that kept saying no to their harassment. You were hiding in one corner. You were so scared. LOL. 

Jerrie: Omo, for real, I won’t even lie; I was very scared. They were saying they’d shoot us. Abeg, I don’t like that kind of wahala. Thankfully, the people we wanted to drop off had connections, so they called some people and the FCID guys let us go. I know you’ll never let me live this down. 

If I could change something about our friendship

Jerrie: I wouldn’t change anything. When I’m friends with someone, I believe I’m experiencing them, their personality and everything in totality. No need to change anything because I accept you as you are. We’ve found our balance between work and friendship, so it’s all good. 

Kunle: Change? Omo, I don’t know anything about that. Things are good the way they are right now. 

I want you to know

Jerrie: I appreciate how you show up for work and your friends. I believe people’s time should be valued, so I appreciate it when people in my life sacrifice their time to do things either with or for me. I don’t take it for granted at all. I’m also appreciative of the energy you bring to our friendship.

Kunle: I like that you don’t have wahala. I don’t have wahala, so I avoid stress and drama. I also like that you have my back no matter what. If you hear something about me, I know you’ll support me. That’s very important to me. 

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