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Young actor Ezekiel Ajeigbe talks his role on CW’s Dynasty, love, Nollywood and more

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22-year-old Ezekiel Ajeigbe is a fast growing young Nigerian actor born in Fort Worth, Texas. Although he grew up Arlington, Texas, he never lost his Yoruba roots, which enables him to play so well, his first major role on The CW’s Dynasty—a show based on Aaron Spelling’s 1980s classic soap opera that eventually rose to be America’s number one show.

CW’s reboot has been tweaked from its original storyline and has a new era of super rich battling for supremacy and intrigue in Atlanta. The iconic maneuvering between the Carringtons and the Colbys has produced some of television’s most memorable and dramatic moments, but who would have thought that the Colbys would be of Nigerian heritage. In a sharp twist from the original, Sam Adegoke plays the role of the role of techpreneur, Jeff Colby with veteran actor, Hakeem Kae-Kazim playing the role of his father, Cesil. Ezekiel Ajeigbe played the role of young Jeff Colby.

Cast of CW's Dynasty

Cast of CW’s Dynasty

As a child, Ezekiel was always drawn to the arts, mimicking those he watched on his favorite TV channels. By the time Ezekiel was 14 years of age, he knew he was destined to be on TV. With his parents by his side, Ezekiel went to a large amount of auditions, but all in the wrong places often falling victim to scams. Years past and Ezekiel finally hit the age of 18 where he could go out and find work on his own. While pursuing his acting aspirations, Ezekiel attended the University of North Texas as an Electrical Engineering & Technologies student.  Eventually he finally riled up the courage to talk to his parents about how he longed to pursue the arts, but they were not on favour of it.

Heartbroken, Ezekiel was determined to prove to his parents that he can and will make it as an actor.  The first season of CW’s reboot of Dynasty wasn’t exactly a huge ratings hit yet in the US, but thanks to its Netflix deal internationally, it was re-commissioned for a second season which as seen a major boost for the show and actors on it, including Ezekiel. I spoke to Ezekiel in the following interview to find out more about his journey and what the future holds for the young actor.

When did you start acting?

I’ve been acting unofficially since I was a kid. I remember watching the late 90’s/early 2000’s show “All That” when I was 7 and seeing Keenan Thompson on the screen doing his thing. I sat there and thought to myself “man, why is he on TV and I’m not. I can do the same thing he can, as a matter of fact, I can do it better!”

Then I immediately started mimicking him throughout his particular scene. Ever since then, I was the kid who was excited about the first day of school because I knew I would stand up in front of the class and introduce myself and say 1 interesting fact. I found myself loving to do presentations, public speaking, and just being on any stage doing something for an audience. It wasn’t till I turned 14 or 15 that I got a little more serious about getting into acting and started going out to auditions.

By law however, if you’re a minor (under 18) you have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. I remember around the age of 16,  I was going out to an audition one Saturday morning and I asked my dad if he was still taking me and he replied by saying “I don’t see anything good coming from all this auditioning you’re doing. I’m not taking you to no audition.” So because of that statement, I assumed he would never take me again. After that, I waited till I turned 18 so I could do it on my own. So I officially got into it when I turned 18.  Who or what inspired your acting?

I grew up watching people like Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Leonardo Decaprio, Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington and others. I generally loved watching Will because he along with some others I named, were diverse in their craft. He could basically do any genre of film, which is what I believe I can do for myself as well.

How did it feel when you got your first acting role?

My very first acting role was for a movie called ‘Psychotic.’ It never went anywhere and to my understanding it was basically thrown in the trash as a whole. It happened when I went to an open audition call at an art school and auditioned for the director Fred T. Originally I went in to audition to be in something else he was doing, but he told me that there was something special about me and that he had a handful of projects he has that he believes I could do; Psychotic being one of them. I was super excited but also shocked that he was willing to take a chance on me since I had no prior training. As far as feedback, I remember telling my brothers about it and them saying, “alright we’ll see what happens.”

Which in their language means, “it’s cool, but I doubt this is going to be big.” Only a select few of my friends knew due to the fact that I didn’t have a car at the time and I would ask them to take me to my shoots when I was needed on set. They thought it was really cool though and were excited to see it when it came out (which it never did.) And lastly, the public was excited on Facebook about it, but all that eventually died out when they realized they will never get to see it. To get into why it was thrown in the trash and never saw the light of day, the premier was very tragic. At the premiere for the film we had a full crowd and everyone was excited to see it.

I spoke with the director and he said that the editor said it was ready to be shown which got me excited as well. A few of my friends along with my brothers were there as well, so I was pretty hyped that they all got to see me act for the first time! As the movie started, it was evident that it was never finished being edited because everything was raw and still separated in clips as if we were just watching something that someone put together for a YouTube video. There was no title card, no music, no nothing, and lasted 45 seconds when it was supposed to be a hour and a half movie. It was extremely embarrassing, and although it wasn’t the director’s fault, he apologized to everyone and took the blame anyways.

How did you get your role on CW’s Dynasty?

When I moved to Atlanta I was working as an electronic technician at an electronics shop. An actor by the name of Sam Adegoke walks in and I fix his device for him and we have a little chat afterwards.We both found out that we act and we’re both Nigerian so we exchanged contacts immediately. About 3 months later there was a casting call for the show Dynasty & they were looking for someone to play Young Jeff, which was the younger version of Sam’s character. I screen shot the casting and sent it to him in order to congratulate him on having his name in a casting breakdown because I thought it was pretty cool.

But he then replied to me saying “you’d be good for this role, send me your info & I’ll send it to the show runners.” I was shocked because it wasn’t my intention for him to do that, but I sent it and waited. A few days later the casting director contacts me and asks me to come in and read for the role. I went in, did my thing, and took the direction they gave me, did it again, and left. I honestly thought it wasn’t that good, but they apparently loved what I did and booked me on the show.

What did you love the most about being on CW’s Dysnasty?

I love the fact that it is my first mainstream show and got to experience what I dreamed of doing as a kid. It was exciting to be in the studio and see how things were done on a bigger scale. I also liked that I got to be used as a flashback character for my first TV role, which made me know I’d be back on the series soon. (There are typically a lot of flashbacks on a lot of shows that use them.)

How did the public respond to you and you role generally?

From responses I’ve heard from people, it seems like they all enjoyed just seeing me on the screen. As far as fans of the show in general, they enjoyed seeing Jeff’s past play into his story as to why he is the way he is.

What does it mean for you to be able to represent a Nigerian family on the modern remake of such an iconic TV show?

It is a big honor in my opinion. Being on a remake of an iconic show is huge. What made it even better was that I got to represent and somewhat display Nigerian culture while doing the thing I love to do.

You are projected as a Nigerian actor born is Texas. Is this deliberate? Does this limit you or pose any challenges for you as an actor in the America?

This was deliberate, but I also may have typed my online profile in a way where it could be misinterpreted. I wrote it to show that I am American by birth, but to also display that I’m Nigerian by blood. Casting people here in the states love ethnic individuals to my understanding, especially if they’re great actors. In the case they came across my profile, I just simply wanted them to know that I’m Nigerian.

How often do you visit Nigeria?

I’ve never been to Nigeria at all! My parents have said, “we will go as a family” for years, but we have still yet to go! They’ve been back several times, but as for my siblings and me, we haven’t been yet. We have planned a trip towards the end of this year though.

What is your take on Nollywood, the present and future?

To be completely honest, I absolutely do not like Nigerian movies. Maybe it’s because I’m used to the quality of films I see in America, but for some reason I think Nollywood films are so cliché, predictable, and not well put together and shot. It could just be the old films I catch my parents watching from time to time that play a part in my opinion, but so far everything I’ve seen isn’t the type of film I would go tell my friends to see. The only Nigerian film I truly enjoyed was a film on Netflix called ‘The Wedding Party’. That was a very well put together Nollywood film. If Nigeria can continue to make films of quality like that, then you guys could possibly grab the attention of American filmmakers as well. There was another really good Nigerian film called ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ with John Boyega and Chiwetel Ejiofor in it that I thought was great, but I’m not sure if that came from Nollywood.

What role does new generation Nigerians like you who find yourself in film and television abroad have to play in showcasing African stories and talents to the world?

I feel like doing what I do as a Nigerian breaks the mold and standard tradition of pursuing a career in engineering, nursing, being a doctor, or lawyer. Older generation Nigerians who make it to the states fail to realize that in America you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do and become successful at it, as long as you’re willing to put in the work. And it’s not only Nigerians but other foreigners who come to the states as well. I’ve noticed that they all have that same mindset, which is why you always see Asians, Indians, Arabians, and Nigerians, studying those courses like engineering or something in the medical field. Nothing is handed to you here, so why not go do something you love instead of forcing yourself to do a job you don’t really like only because it pays well. Life’s too short to not pursue something that is clearly put inside of you for a reason. For my role in the film ‘The House Invictus’ I play a kid named Jide. In some of the scenes you’ll see maybe a few direct correlations to what an actual Nigerian kid goes through growing up in America.

Would you love to work in Nollywood, and what would be your ideal role in Nollywood?

I wouldn’t mind working in Nollywood as long as the quality of the project being produced is top notch and can easily compete with those in America. I don’t really have an ideal role, but I think playing a Nigeria-American who visits Nigeria for the first time would be pretty funny if made correctly.

What else do you do apart from acting?

Aside from acting I also dance, play the saxophone, drums, percussion, and a little piano. I model as well and like to watch movies all the time. I read books and enjoy going out with friends from time to time too. Traveling is on my list of to do’s.

Your girlfriend, Sydney stewart has been chronicled as having a role in you pursuing acting as a career. Are you still together? And how is she handling the pressure now that you are famous?

That’s a very funny question. But to answer your question, yes we are still together. I went to the University of North Texas and studied electrical engineering and technologies, but because I didn’t want to waste my life/time I left school to go pursue my dreams as an actor. Sydney was there from the beginning before I moved to Atlanta to take my career to the next level.She’s been there when I was doing independent projects, background work, and also making 6-second videos on an app called Vine. She’s handling it pretty well, which is one of the things I love about her. With all the other chicks that slide in my DM’s or try to grab my attention in person, Sydney has been a really strong woman dealing with it all, which is beautiful. She’s also in the entertainment business too, but on the music side of things, which I think helps a lot. It’s hard to date someone who isn’t in the business because there will be a lot of things they don’t understand.

How is your family taking it all now?

My parents are starting to warm up to the idea of me being an actor, when at first they absolutely hated it and didn’t support me at all. Every time my mom runs into someone famous she immediately talks to them about me which I think is pretty funny. My dad hasn’t physically shown much, but I would like to think he’s proud. My siblings apparently tell their friends about me from time to time which I think is pretty cool.

What should we expect from Ezekiel this year and beyond from your acting career and beyond.

This year, I have a few projects that should be releasing towards the end of the year if not next year. I’m also currently in the running for an international show which will definitely be great. In the future, look out for my face because you may just see it in a lot of places!

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Those doing Asakaa music shouldn’t stop but right now Afrobeats is what has America paying attention

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Michael ‘Emm’ Acheampong-Boateng, President of Highbridge the Label, has explained that it makes sense for African musicians do push the Afrobeats agenda into the US market, since that is what is hot at the moment.

Afrobeats is not new, but in the US, it is. For example, Pop Smoke made drill music with UK beats, that’s how he was introduced to the market. The plan before he died was to transition to more traditional music for people to enjoy. You saw that in his first album after he passed away. If you are a good businessman, the first thing to remember is that you are a business so you position yourself well in order to be successful. If there’s a market for Afrobeats in America and you’re looking into breaking into the market, then you need to come in with what they want and slowly transition to whatever you are looking to bring and see how the market reacts to that,” he said in an interview with Ameyaw TV.

Watch Full interview below:

Asked whether the Asaaka drill music from Ghana was making similar waves in the US, Emm said it wasn’t the case yet.

“I didn’t see it in the US. If I did, I saw it in the African community in the US. If there was an African party, then that’s where you would see it but if you move from the subset of that population, then it didn’t really travel. Afrobeats however, is traveling outside of the African community. So again, I don’t think rappers doing Asaaka should abandon it. But they should be aware that if they want to get a commercial appeal, they should lean towards Afrobeats. Because with rap, Americans speak English, so if they can’t understand what you’re saying, then it’s a little bit tricky.

Highbridge the Label is an American record label founded by A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Don Q, Quincy “QD” Acheampong and Sambou “Bubba” Camara in 2016, based in New York City.

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Comfort Arthur shares more details inside the making of her animated Malaria film, “The Underestimated Villain”

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British-born Ghanaian animator, graphic designer, visual artist and editor, Comfort Arthur, has shared her inspiration behind her new body of work, “The Underestimated Villain” an animated film seeking to provide information on Malaria. (more…)

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Gospel singer QueenLet share how her SOKAAT music genre is making impact on lives

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Rising gospel artist, QueenLet, is gradually making waves on both local and international music scenes with her Soaking and Atmospheric (SOKAAT) music genre. (more…)

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How American tour operator, Rashad McCorey found a creative solution to tourism during COVID-19

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The tourism industry was one of the most affected during the COVID-19 pandemic but for American tour operator, Rashad McCorey it was a blessing in disguise.
(more…)

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INTERVIEW: From Ghana to Italy and back, Shadowboy Myzic recounts his almost decade-long journey, new single ft. Kelvyn Boy and more

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The Ghanaian-Italian Afrobeat star may not be one you’ve heard enough of, but with his new single ‘Better’ out now, the floodgates are officially open. He’s keen on bridging the gap between Europe and African music; particularly through Afrobeat and his latest release featuring Kelyvn Boy is the plug.
Join us, as Shadowboy Myzic expounds on his enigmatic name and self, all down to a fiery Italian freestyle.
Enjoy.

Thanks for making time for us Shadowboy Myzic. It’s always a joy to host a new face. We can’t help but ask, why Shadowboy Myzic? What’s the story behind such an enigmatic name?
The name Shadowboy Myzic is spiritual blessing from my lovely mother. She used to call me (sunsum) when I was a child simply because my mother is very known in the city of Palermo and a market woman. She owns African shops and restaurants in Palermo. In my childhood, I was the personal assistant to my mother, whenever she goes out of the shop, I assist her until she returns. During that period, being a child growing I need time to play with my friends so as soon as I see my mother returns, I have to vanish to join my friends to play and the old woman will look for me everywhere but will not find me then she will be like you are indeed (sunsum) because you can vanish in a twinkle of an eye. From there I got ‘’sunsum’’ attached to my name.

Looking for a stage name, I felt ‘’sunsum’’ was a blessing from my mother because our shadows follow us everywhere. That’s where I got Shadowboy and Myzic simply means in our own interpretation, (my music). That’s where Shadowboy Myzic was generated.

You featured Kelyvn Boy on your new single, ‘Better’ and some fans may be wondering; “Who’s this new guy?” Mind telling us about yourself and Myzic Empire?
Daniel Kyei is my name, I was born in Ghana and raised in Palermo, Italy. I started writing music at the age of 9 but I got my first opportunity to record at the age of 18 – my first mixtape which then gave me the energy to do more and also set up a record label called Myzic Empire Records. Thanks to my first mixtape that I launched in 2012, I got some attention from my community Palermo where I got lots of compliments but no one was ready to give me a big push so I continued slowly with my friend, Kwamzizy who was the only one who supported me in when I needed to shoot videos for my mixtapes back then. In our little ways we managed to get noticed by some people in our city where we grew up but it wasn’t enough to get to the big platforms.

Despite these difficulties, I continued to push my music 24/7 through the DJ nights and shows I use to play in Palermo. Thank God in 2017 my manager, Mr. Kenneth decided to take me, my music and Myzic Empire to another level. The same year 2017 I released my first single recorded in a professional studio with a music video which revived everything. The single was titled ‘Higher’.

In 2018, I launched an EP titled ‘’Genesis’’. With that EP, the whole Team Myzic Empire and myself went on tour in Ghana for some works and radio tour. In Ghana we managed to connect to some artists and people in the industry where we did some jobs and many other things. In 2019 on our return to Italy, though, we stopped releasing due to studies and some other things, I always continued to work hard for my music and on many other projects that soon the world will witness.

In 2020, I released some freestyles whiles planning on releasing my new projects, all of a sudden Coronavirus shut the world down. The pandemic got me paused, but at the same time got me work harder on many other projects at home. During the pandemic, I was at home with a Ghanaian producer called, Almighty Streetbeatz whom was in my city at that time we worked and created a lot of good music for the world.
This is a little about me and Myzic Empire.

9 years is a long time to be doing music. Any experiences or advice you’d like to share?
Absolutely, yes 9 years is a long time, but as I said in my previous answer the main reason was because, I did not have enough support at that time and I think everything has it’s time and God was still preparing me for the world. My little advice to all my fellow young artist is, do look down on yourself, give you your talent a chance to work though you, be humble and respectful.

Is there any other artist in the diaspora you’re keen on working with soon apart from Kelyvn Boy?

Yes, I would like to collaborate with all the possible artists with whom I can. I’m opened and ready to work with any artist so we can explore the Afro music in Italy, Europe and the globe.

How receptive have Italians been of your music and Afrobeat in general? Enlighten us.

Doing Afro songs in Italy was very difficult back then. The majority of the population of Italians was ignorant about our culture, the rhythm of the Afro songs sounded very wired to their hearing because of the language barrier. Now thank God things are changing, new things are being learnt and the Italians are ready to accept the Afro music in so many ways, that’s why my team and I thought of strategizing the ways of productions by mixing multiple tongues to also make it favorable for everyone to understand my communications with them through my music.

I can gladly say I’m welcomed everywhere I go in Italy especially in my city (Palermo) where this adventure of mine started. The new generation have accepted and embrace Afro music, thanks to our hard work now you can hear Afro music playing in Italian clubs, parties, restaurants, bars, shopping malls etc. I’m so grateful for this day.

We doubt learning Italian was a walk in the park, especially coming from an Anglophone and Asante background. Gist us.

Hehehe :). Oh, frankly speaking, Italian language one of the most beautiful, sexiest and jovial languages I’ve ever known on earth, though it’s difficult to learn, I love and I’m very proud of myself that I can speak, read and write this language. The importance is knowing how to eat and dress Italian will bring your back from the park into an Italian classroom, hahahahahahaa.

Now, the moment everyone’s been waiting for. Mind free styling in Italian for us?

Sputo fuoco come un drago Sono cercato come un ladro Non mi prendi fossi mato Nella moto vado vrom
Con gli amici vroom vroom

Sono il nero siciliano
Suona strano, molto strano Sono il nero siciliano (huh)

Ho visto la morte lo visto sul ponte
Mi ha reso forte c’è scritto sulla fronte

Divina commedia e stato come Dante Non parlo tanto tu sai chi hai di fronte

Haha. That’s a mouthful. Any big plans before 2021 ends? What moves are you making and how can fans keep tabs you?

Yes, I have many projects in progress. I am working on some projects which will be released soon. This one with Kelvyn Boy is one of the first but after that we will fly with lots of other works. Though I still have a long way to go, this does not disempower me because my mind is made up to do good music and my new projects are something new in Italy, Africa and it will be new in the whole universe soon so I invite all my fans and everyone to supporter and fasten their belts, we are about to start.

Listen to Shadowboy Myzic’s new single ‘Better’ featuring Kelvyn Boy here: https://afrisounds.lnk.to/ShadowBetter and watch the video below.

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INTERVIEW: Dove Nicol opens up on her adventure so far, debut single and more

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Dove Nicol, a new and probably the most exciting artist to grace the Ghanaian music scene is confident in winning fans over with her debut single ‘Calm Down’. She’s dedicated to becoming one of Ghana’s most streamed artists and with a voice as authentic as hers, the songbird is all set.

Dove Nicol’s rise from Sierra Leone to Ghana is a unique adventure worthwhile and in this exclusive interview, we take time to explore her very lively character as she updates us on the adventure so far and her debut single, among other gists.

 

Hello Dove and welcome. It’s great to have you around. Like every music fan out there, I’m quite curious. Who is Dove Nicol? Blow our mind.

Dove Nicol is a creative, a pioneer who believes in the power of the African sound, music, culture, heritage and its influence in the world stage. I believe Africa is on the rise and we are living in the era of the African creative industries global domination and worldwide takeover and as a creative blessed by God with the talent of music, I am merely just playing my own part in the fulfillment of this reality.

You’re finally out with your debut single ‘Calm Down’, mind sharing the story behind it?

‘Calm Down’ is a song about love and relationships. The idea behind it places focus on the internal struggles we go through as lovers. It places focus on two sides of a spectrum. On the one hand, you hear the willingness of both partners wanting to love each other and be loved. And on the other, the anxiety and uneasiness that comes with the feelings of mistrust and insecurities that they have both experienced from past relationships which overshadows their ability to fully love and fall in love with each other. The chorus then comes in to serve as a stress reliever telling both parties to calm down, just be at peace and fall into love with each other. The song generally gives a soothing peaceful feeling to the ear.

It seems you were destined to have a career in music growing up. How is it going and what has your greatest challenge since taking it head on been?

Yes, I do believe I was meant for music and it has been the source of my livelihood since I was a child. If I’m been honest, I have received several challenges along the way to getting here. The biggest challenge I believe is getting others to believe in your dreams as much as you do. I can see the vision of where I want to go and who I can become but because I do not have the resources or avenue to get people to see that possibility, it’s hard and sometimes almost impossible to get others to believe in that dream too.

Alot of people only want to be a part of your success, when you have achieved it but are not willing to help you get there. The journey can really be a great struggle for a lot of aspiring artists who have the talent for it but no external backing to let their voices be heard. For me, I was only able to defeat this challenge through perseverance, the Grace of God and my belief in myself to continue going-on no matter the odds.

Are there any Ghanaian artists you admire and hope to work with sometime soon?

There are a lot of Ghanaian artists out there that have really helped shape the future of Ghanaian music and their relentlessness and tireless efforts have paved the way for emerging artists like me to go after our goals. People like Efya, Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Kofi Antwi, Bibie Brew, Wiyalaa, Kwesi Arthur, King Promise and many many more talented souls I will definitely see myself working with during the course of my journey in the industry.

Beyond the world of music, where else does your passion lie?

Beyond music I have always aspired to become a philanthropist and a humanitarian. I want to create charitable organizations and help children that are less privileged to achieve a better future. Africa has the largest youth population and majority of them are multi-talented in areas they themselves are not even aware of. If only we had more institutions that can cater to the needs of less privileged children and our youths growing up, our economy will flourish immensely.

What is a day in your life is like?

A day in the life of Dove is typical – wakeup, pray, shower, eat and eat a lot, do my daily routines, some reading, attend to any business calls or meetings I may have during the course of the day and make time to speak with family before the end of the day. Oh, and go to the gym at least 4 times a week to keep fit.

There’s still a lot of ground to cover in 2021. What are your plans? Should fans expect more?

Yes, definitely. Expect a lot from Dove in 2021 but expect a lot more from Dove in 2022. I want my supporters to know that I’m ready and prepared. ‘Calm Down’ was just the ice breaker. I have a ton of creative content ready to flood the market. It’s just a matter of timing. But in due time they shall receive all that I have to offer and will get to know more and more about me as my story unfolds.

I can’t wait to meet the world and for the world to meet Dove. It’s going to be a productive year definitely.

 

Dove Nicol’s ‘Calm Down’ is available on all digital streaming platforms globally here: https://lnk.to/dovenicol-calmdown/

 

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