I’m still struggling despite being famous, I Pray that God will shine His light one day- Kunle Afod

IN spite of his fame and fortune, Nollywood actor and producer Kunle Afod, still believes he’s a star in the making. For him, when you are struggling, that means you’re progressing. In this chit-chat with OLAITAN GANIU, the Oyo-State-born thespian who got his big break as a teenager speaks on his early days in the movie industry, the bias against Yoruba-speaking films by some award organisers, among other topical issues.

Would you consider the epic movie titled, ‘Owo Blow’ as the greatest film you have ever featured in?

No. ‘Owo Blow’ is one of my greatest movies ever because it created a platform for me. Though, so far, I have been featured in many movies, but when people call you by the moniker of a role you play in a movie, it means that the film has had a great impact on your life. Aside from ‘Owo Blow’, I have played a sterling role in a lot of films, including ‘Ija Omode’, ‘Ewe Orun’, ‘Solo Makinde’, ‘Ade Ferarri’, and ‘Atanda Eru Obodo’. I also have a movie titled, ‘Awolu ati Awawu’ featuring Toyin Abraham and other fantastic movies.

Kunle Afod : I’m still struggling despite being famous

Tell us the concept behind your soon-to-be-released movie, ‘Esin Baba’.

What is the guarantee that your father’s faith will lead you to paradise or make you sane in the sight of the Lord? It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a very long time: ‘Does religion really matter in love, or does love determine people’s religion? And they say God is love; if truly God is love, do we have to create a barricade for two lovers to separate them because they are not worshipping God on the same platform?’

So this film is to address these questions and tells the world that loves supersedes all things since God is love. Though some people would feel that if the next person they are going to get married to, or if their son/daughter is going to get married to, is from another religion, it might have an effect on the kids. The question is: ‘Would your religion lead them to paradise?’ I feel what should matter is our love for one another.

A lot of Nollywood films are being released on streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, and others. How do you intend to distribute your new film to attract a global audience?

Streaming platforms are a welcome development. We are beginning to have a strong belief that the industry is now coming to put food on our table. However, my movie, ‘Esin Baba,’ was produced as a standard movie, but my plan is to release it on my official Youtube channel, Kunle Afod TV, so that a global audience can appreciate the platform and also know that quality production is always coming on my Youtube channel.

I’m also working on another movie titled, ‘Ide Ase’. The film tell the mistery behind peace seizure in a particular town is unknown and every citizen of the land suffers from the agony, comfort came through an unexpected means.

Kunle Afod : I’m still struggling despite being famous

Many Yoruba films are usually excluded from international awards. What could be the reasons for the omission?

Maybe we were not looking in that direction before now, but very soon you’ll be shocked at what is coming up. A lot of fantastic Yoruba movies are on the way, and I’m sure we will be getting international recognition by the time these films are released. So, get your fingers crossed.

…What about the just-concluded Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA)?

Well, if you look at the overall movie of the year, it was won by a Yoruba flick from Kunle Afolayan. Also, the movie, which got Tobi Bakre the Best Actor, you can say it is a 50/50 kind of Yoruba film.

However, my observation about AMVCA is that, for a very long time, Africa Magic/Multichoice usually celebrated their grooming talents more. A whole lot of them have won the award in recent years. There is a Yoruba adage that says: ‘Omo eni kii se idi bebere, ki a fi ileke sidi omo e lomi (meaning: one’s daughter would not possess a gorgeous waist while one adorns another person’s daughter with a waist bead).

I feel they have their own products, including folks from their reality show, #BBNaija, who have found themselves in the movie industry. So, they (the organisers of the award) awarded some of their Africa Magic projects.

If it is truly the Viewers’ Choice Award, let’s see how viewers are voting. In the past, some of these movies that got awards were unreleased projects. If it is truly the viewers’ choice, let them (viewers) be the ones nominating and voting, but as we can see, they have their own products and definitely have to promote them.

You’ve been acting for over two decades; could you tell us the driving force?

God has been my source of inspiration and my driving force, but I always love to work with the upcoming generation because sooner or later they will be the ones taking over from us. Recall that I played the role of a teacher in a movie entitled, ‘Ija Omode’ featuring some younger actors, but today we are acting together as friends and colleagues. I believe that if we encourage the younger generation by featuring them in our projects, it would give you a long stretch in the entertainment industry.

If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?

I love music production so much. If I were not into acting, I might be a music producer, promoter, event planner, or anything related to entertainment because I have a passion for it. Aside from that, I might have been a creative artist—drawing or painting—because I have little knowledge of that. Maybe, I would have ventured into it deeply, or I would’ve been selling cars.

Tell us about your early life. What are your memories of growing up?

Growing up was a bit rough and tough, but I believe experience is the best teacher in life. Let me use this medium to thank my mother, Iya Nurse, as we fondly called her. She single-handedly takes good care of us—three brothers and a girl. All my siblings went to boarding schools.

As the first child, I later went to stay with my uncle, and when I came back, I went to Command Secondary School, Jos. The journey was not so easy, but we thank God. After school, I ventured into acting, and I’ve been struggling to survive. I know that God will shine His light one day. Being famous doesn’t mean you aren’t still struggling. You won’t want to fall. You won’t want to fall behind when others are growing.

Kunle Afod : I’m still struggling despite being famous

What’s one thing you want to be remembered for?

One thing, ke? I have so many. I am a man of my word, I love helping people in my own capacity; and I am a comrade because I’ve always stood up to fight for people, especially the voiceless ones, in every area to which I belong.

You are one of the actors who doesn’t flaunt their wealth on social media. Is it a deliberate trait?

Like Davido said, ‘We rise by helping others.’ The number of people you help or assist is your wealth, not material things. People who made it through you are your wealth, not money in your bank.

It’s becoming the norm for touts to demand money from actors on the street and at movie locations. As an actor and director, how do you handle them?

Well, I don’t refer to them as hoodlums; I call them friends and family because some of them if they had the opportunity that we had, might not be doing what they are doing. Apart from that, these people have their own usefulness too, especially when we have to mimic them to deliver movie roles. Sometimes, we mingle with them to pick up trending slang and learn some street OT (orientation).

How I have been able to manage them is that I don’t make myself too scarce around them because when I try to sidestep them whenever I come out, I might find it too difficult to mingle with them. So get close to them and try to change their ways if possible. So I see them as brothers.

How do you respond to criticism?

If you don’t like criticism, you can’t grow. You have to know where you have flaws, faults and where you need to improve. There is no perfect human being, so criticism is good, but trollish or harsh criticism is terrible because not everybody has the coping mechanism to accept bad comments.

Author: Emperor

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