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Yemi Solade: Do you truly womanise?

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Sola

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Marketers Are Killing Movie Industry

P.M. News (Lagos)
INTERVIEW
July 2, 2004
Posted to the web July 2, 2004

By Ayodele Lawal
Lagos

What kind of person is Yemi Solade?

A normal, average Nigerian who takes his job seriously. A man who is emotionally attached to what he does and enjoys being a theatre practitioner.

People see you from different perspectives. Some see you as Yemi; others as a sex symbol. How do you then see yourself?

I see myself the way people see me, but what is essential is knowing about my existence. I know people see me from different angles. As a good actor, they may become very personal sometimes, looking at my personality, the way I talk, the way I look and all that. In fact, every thing is welcome, but I just enjoy all the accolades. Mind you, those things don't trip me because I know what I look like when I stand before the mirror (laughter).

But some see you as a womaniser. Do you truly womanise?

(Laughter) I don't womanise. In fact, some ladies see me as being arrogant, because they want to get close to me and I shun them. They seem not to understand why it is like that. The fact is that I can't get along with everybody. You know I have a very beautiful and attractive wife. I love her dearly and so I dread scandals.

Is that why it took you that long to get married?

Not really. Maybe, that was the price I had to pay for being what I am. These ladies get scared when they know you as an actor. They feel you have a multitude of ladies and you can not settle down. But I have said it time without number that there is always a lady to a man. No matter how hard it may appear, you will get yours. That it took me this long to get my better-half, I thank God for it.

You have been acting for over 20 years. How has it been?

Well, its been mixed blessings, full of ups and downs. Atimes you wonder what one is actually doing in the field and why it's like this. You may not want the glory to end too.

What is your impression of the controversy surrounding the use of English artistes in Yoruba movies?

I don't have a problem with that. We are all Nigerian artistes, but what I will not subscribe to is bringing someone who does not have the mastery of the language, which is the medium of communication. Once the artiste does not have a mastery or the knowledge of the language, then everything becomes a child's play. You bring someone outside the tribe to do something and the language he is expected to use is bastardised. To me, it is not proper.

It is appalling, it's repulsive. I get angry when I see things like that. At first, some artistes did not like my stance, they thought I had problems with individual artistes invited to star in Yoruba films. I don't, they are my friends, all I know is that I don't speak Igbo and I don't expect to be invited to star in an Igbo film. Even if I'm taught how to speak Igbo in such films, when an average Igbo man sees me, what do you expect him to say? Of course, he will say 'that popular Yoruba actor can speak Igbo', but what terrible Igbo language is he speaking? That is unacceptable and it is tantamount to ruining the language.

That is exactly what these funny producers are doing to Yoruba language and mind you, Yoruba language is one of the most sophisticated languages in the whole world. My brother, I can't be in support of those producers who feel that because an actor has made his name in English movies, 'let me use him in my film for commercial purpose'.

But you have starred in some of these films with English artistes. Why have you not complained or rejected the role you were given?

I don't have a problem as an actor. I get invited, play my part, get my fee and go home. But we must not forget that producers are the killers of the industry. They want to maximise profit and as such, they just want to do anything in order to grab everything, and this has resulted in the destruction of the profession.

What about the allegations of poor sale of movies?

Well, everything starts from the market to the production proper. There is the problem of proliferation. Everybody wants to produce and everybody wants to have something to do with the Nigerian movie industry. And it is not possible for the movie industry to grow under that situation. So what we have on the ground is what I can refer to as a test-run programme. The movie industry has not kicked off, all we are seeing now are the teething problems that come before the eventual kick off of the movie industry.

Let's go back to the issue of using English actors in Yoruba movies. Can you mention some names you never expected producers to feature in Yoruba films?

Zack Orji does not speak Yoruba at all. I can still stomach RMD's involvement in "Ayomida." But I don't watch these movies. I guess Emeka speaks Yoruba and that is to say there are non-Yoruba artistes who do well in Yoruba movies. Rachael Oniga, Ngozi Nwosu and others speak flawless Yoruba, even better than some of us who are Yoruba artistes. But what I'm saying is that you don't need to engage someone who can't speak the language properly in Yoruba films. You know it's all about pronunciation and once the artiste can't pronounce the words, the dialect is bastardised. When you now sit to watch the films, you will realise that the producers are interested in making money and nothing more.

Have you ever featured in Igbo movie?

No. I won't be invited for an Igbo movie, but I have featured in many English home videos and as a professional I don't have to struggle for roles no matter who is in charge.

What I do is, if I get invited and it is worth my status, I will take the role I'm offered.

What about this caucus stuff in the Yoruba movie industry?

It exists. It is a Yoruba thing. In Yorubaland, when you give birth to a child, it is not only yours but ours - "Omo Wa Ni." If I am talking about my child now, I will say 'Ayo see what your son did', whereas I am talking about my own son.

Sometimes when you are invited to a social function, they will say "A de pe yin si party e wa". Not knowing the cause, so it is a societal thing. We assist one another, that is the mentality.

Is that doing the movie industry any good?

It does. When you see the practitioners and you look around, you will know what they have been able to do for themselves presently, as compared to what happened five years ago. You will see that things have changed for the better.

You have acted in both English and Yoruba movies. Which one is more lucrative?

Well, I will say the English producers pay bigger money. I think this is because they always carve a niche for the actor. In their own case, once an actor has reached a stage of celebrity, they believe that the celebrity status should be lifted. You can not be a star and start joining molue.

So, they pay you what matches your status. You will feel the impact of the remuneration more than the Yoruba producers. That is the big difference, they attach importance to the business side of it than the Yorubas.

If that is the case, why do you feature more in Yoruba and not English?

Well, that is a personal decision. I want to be seen first and foremost as a Yoruba man because I am so proud of where I come from - the Yoruba race and I want the Yorubas to see me as their cultural projector, someone to be emulated. I want to be a role model for Yoruba people, especially the younger ones.

The legacy is going to start from the burden of artistes acquiring more education, as education is the bedrock of anything. If anybody comes into the field uneducated, it will affect his/her act. If such a person is a producer, he cannot produce outside what he knows. He will have limited knowledge.

Is that why most Yoruba artistes don't get invited to star in English movies?

Yes, because if you are not educated, how do you read the script?

Have you encountered some top stars in such dilemma?

Yes, I have, but I will not mention names as I don't want to embarrass anybody. I have seen them, Nigerians will celebrate anything, even someone who is not worth being celebrated.

Have you really got your dues in the movie industry?

If it is material, no, but I have been able to stamp my presence in the movie scene, because it is very difficult for anybody to ignore me now. I have left Egypt, but I have not got to the Promised Land. We are getting to the next level, where I will start doing my own movies.

How soon?

As soon as possible.

What kind of movie do you intend to shoot?

It is a fusion of Yoruba and English movie. The kind of movie people in Ikoyi, Agege and others can watch.

After twenty solid years of acting, are you planning for your retirement?

No. I don't see myself retiring. I want to live and die an actor, but if I have to do some other things that will take me off the camera, off the stage, I will still be around acting. I see myself becoming a politician, but then, I still want to become an actor.
 

mamarita

OJODTROUBLELOVER
#3
What is your impression of the controversy surrounding the use of English artistes in Yoruba movies?

I don't have a problem with that. We are all Nigerian artistes, but what I will not subscribe to is bringing someone who does not have the mastery of the language, which is the medium of communication. Once the artiste does not have a mastery or the knowledge of the language, then everything becomes a child's play. You bring someone outside the tribe to do something and the language he is expected to use is bastardised. To me, it is not proper.

It is appalling, it's repulsive. I get angry when I see things like that. At first, some artistes did not like my stance, they thought I had problems with individual artistes invited to star in Yoruba films. I don't, they are my friends, all I know is that I don't speak Igbo and I don't expect to be invited to star in an Igbo film. Even if I'm taught how to speak Igbo in such films, when an average Igbo man sees me, what do you expect him to say? Of course, he will say 'that popular Yoruba actor can speak Igbo', but what terrible Igbo language is he speaking? That is unacceptable and it is tantamount to ruining the language.

That is exactly what these funny producers are doing to Yoruba language and mind you, Yoruba language is one of the most sophisticated languages in the whole world. My brother, I can't be in support of those producers who feel that because an actor has made his name in English movies, 'let me use him in my film for commercial purpose'.
Too funny
 

vince

Well-Known Member
#6
I do not agree with him about the igbo actors being casted in yoruba movies sha.I don't see anything wrong with it as long as it is believable.
An actor like Orji who speaks yoruba with some accent will not be very believable if casted as a yoruba man,but it will work well if casted as an ibo man who speaks yoruba.That would be more believable.
 

Simisola

Well-Known Member
#7
I can't belive he's married either too, u know. I read on a 9ja mag. that he got himself in a financial problem about two months ago. I hope he's ok now sha. He's still a good actor & his English language is perfecto too! :)
 
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