Saturday, 8 October 2016


I received some calls after last week’s edition on the above subject, mostly from the younger Nollywood artistes, debunking perception that they started such campaign of calumny that appears to be dividing the industry along a demographic/year of entry line.

“Young Nollywood is not attacking anyone. It’s the older people that started this divide and attacking and tearing down,” one of them said to me.

“There’s no new or old Nollywood. It’s even more of the older people who started calling the younger ones new Nollywood,” said another.

Your article sounds like we think we have arrived and are attacking; that’s not true o,” another one said. They said the latest onslaught started after an older colleague referred to OC Ukeje and Blossom Chukwujekwu as Instagram actors on air.

Without sounding judgmental, I want to disagree that these two actors do not deserve that description. It seems that when we quarrel among ourselves in this manner, we are merely venting our anger on the sensations of a given time. Yet, we cannot stop the world from evolving, because, like I said in the previous piece, life is a journey of new discoveries.
      The Instagram vogue does not exclude anyone who is upwardly mobile. It is the kind of business strategy or marketing platform that drives a fan base, if you like. And it does not in any way define who these artistes are.

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) did not see Ukeje merely as an Instagram actor to have invited him to lead a conversation at the last edition.

In case the guy does not know OC Ukeje, here is how TIFF described him: “a Lagos-born actor, singer and performer. Winner of the 2006 Amstel Malta Box Office reality TV show for actors, he later trained at the New York Film Academy. He has won several Best Actor awards, including the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award, a Nigeria Entertainment Award, an Africa Movie Academy Award, and a Best of Nollywood Award.”

His films include Teco Benson’s Two Brides and a Baby (2011); Jeta Amata’s Black November (2012); Half of a Yellow Sun (2013), based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling novel; Destiny Ekaragha’s Gone too Far!(2013); Kenneth Gyang’s Confusion Na Wa (2013); Seyi Babatope’s When Love Happens (2014); the television series Gidi Up; Remi Vaughan-Richards’ The Department (2015); Sara Blecher’s Ayanda (2015); and Niyi Akinmolayan’s The Arbitration (2016), which plays at the Festival.                   For Chukwujekwu who made his professional acting debut in 2009 and won the Best Supporting Actor Award at last year’s edition of Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award, here is what Wikipedia has to say: “In 2009, after several auditions Chukwujekwu landed the lead role in the yet to be released Nigeria soap opera; Portrait Of Passion. That same year he was cast in his first feature film, Vivian Ejike’s Private Storm alongside Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Ramsey Nouah.

Blossom was profiled on Africa Magic’s Nollywood show, Jara, as one of the top 5 actors to watch out for in 2013. He was number 4 on ace Nollywood director, Charles Novia’s, list of the best actors of 2013. In 2012, Chukwujekwu landed a role in Flower Girl which was his breakout movie.

Released in 2013, it achieved critical and commercial success in Nigeria, Ghana, the United Kingdom and film festivals in the USA and Canada. Chukwujekwu’s next block buster feature film, Finding Mercy, was one of the most anticipated and successful movies of 2013. It was the closing film at the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF 2013).

In 2014 Knocking on Heaven’s Door opened in cinemas nationwide on April 18. Chukwujekwu’s performance as the abusive and emotionally volatile “Moses” earned him the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice 2015 Best Supporting Actor award.

He has featured in a handful of TV dramas & series, such as Tinsel on MNET, where he played Mr. Akinlolu Hart, MTVBASE’s HIV themed Shuga, CATWALQ by Emem Isong and Monalisa Chinda, Greg Odutayo’s My Mum and I, About to Wed and Married.

Chukwujekwu plays the lead role of Kelechi Pepple in Nigeria’s first indigenous Telenovella; Taste of Love (2015).

If you described the two actors profiled above as Instagram stars, that was a careless talk. And indeed, you don’t expect the younger filmmakers to sit back and not set the records straight by correcting wrong impressions.

The fact that you are old school does not mean you should not be in vogue. Not when someone like my grandmother is on Facebook. People should make use of the tools available to them to rule every moment of their lives.

I am a witness to how Tunde Kelani and Tade Ogidan have celebrated Kunle Afolayan. Those are elders who mean well for the industry and are not afraid of competition. Afterall, don’t we pray that our kids should surpass our achievements in Life?

Respect is reciprocal. And this is not just for the guy who denigrated the above actors but for other older folks with similar mind. Call some other younger actors Instagram stars and you’d be fine, but not OC Ukeje and Blossom Chukwujekwu.


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