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Many celebrities more broke than fans asking for giveaways — Kunle Afod – Punch Newspapers


Actor, Kunle Afod, speaks with OLAJIDE SAMUEL about his career and other issues

How did your journey into the movie industry begin?

I am the first born of my parents and I remember that when we were little, I used to act in church, especially during Easter and Christmas. My maternal grandfather was a pastor. I participated in many of the drama presentations done by children.

I have always dreamt of becoming a professional actor ever since I was little in church. Then, I didn’t know much about the industry but I had so much love for it. The best career decision one can take in life is to do what one loves and be happy. I don’t regret the fact that I chose this path. I believe that by the special grace of God, it is going to be better.

What was your first on-set experience?

I started out as a crew personnel. As a crew member, I met the likes of Jide Kosoko, Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello), Dele Odule and Iya Awero. I was always so happy because it felt like I was meeting people I saw as my family. My first appearance on a movie was in the film titled, Jokotade, by Sola Sobowale at about 1992/ 1993. I also featured in some English movies. Those days, I played cameo roles.

How did Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello) inspire you?

I trained under many actors. Before I joined Oga Bello, I had been with Ben Tomoloju, Jide Ogungbade and Jahman Anikulapo. They majored in stage productions and radio dramas. I understudied so many actors before joining Oga Bello.

However, Adebayo Salami has imparted many good things into my life. You can hardly watch any of his movies and fault the storyline. He inspires me through his storylines. Now, I don’t produce movies without good storylines.

How do you feel when fans compare actors to one another?

There will always be comparisons till we die. People have compared Christianity to Islam, Jesus to Prophet Muhammad, Cristiano Ronaldo to Lionel Messi and Wizid to Davido. Things like that will always be there.

What is your opinion about Nigerian awards?

It is a serious issue. The awards I appreciate in Nigeria are the ones given to one by people one doesn’t know. For example, when students of a university decide to give one an award, they would have done a lot of scrutiny before finally settling for one.

What do you think about the use of English in Yoruba movies?

I think it’s a 50-50 thing. There are some Indian movies that fuse English and their local language. I have also seen some Indian movies in which they spoke mostly English. It’s called showbiz. When you do the show, you should also look at the business angle. Things like that are done because of the ‘online’ market— those not resident in Nigeria. Most movies go online these days and the people who watch those movies more are Nigerians in the Diaspora. When Yoruba is spoken throughout, one would end up with a movie having few views online. I am also ‘guilty’ of that. We make movies that can cut across, so people can understand what we are doing at the end of the day and put food on our table. There is an extent to which subtitles can work.

What has helped you to remain relevant over the years?

I am a realist. People have told me that I don’t behave like a celebrity. Being a celebrity doesn’t mean I should do what I don’t want to do or inconvenience myself just to make others feel comfortable. I have always been real and I pray to God not to change me to a fake person.

How do you cope with the attention from female fans??

I trained under popular journalists such as Ben Tomoloju and Jahman Anikulapo, so I know how to handle public relations and things that have to do with the public. I reply almost every message and pick almost every call. I know how to stop discussions that won’t be of benefit to me.

Do you think all celebrities should do giveaways?

It is not compulsory for anybody to do giveaways. Some people have just been making excuses and lying that it is the lockdown that has made them resort to begging for giveaways. However, it predates the lockdown. Ever since the advent of social media, people have always been begging online. I don’t agree with the entitlement mentality that celebrities must give out money. A lot of celebrities are even more broke than fans asking for giveaways. There are many celebrities that are broke but they cannot say it and beg for money openly. We need to know that celebrities are human beings too. Ours is even worse because it is when one works that one would make an income. We also have family responsibilities like everyone else.

How have you been coping with the lockdown?

It’s been fun and boring at the same time. It has given me more time to bond with my boys (sons). They also teach me how to play video games. We have just been managing ourselves and we pray the pandemic subsides soon, so things can return to normal.

What influenced the car gift you bought your wife recently?

I am a father of four boys. Do you think it’s easy to train boys? She is doing a great job and whenever she takes them out, I pity her. Most times, she takes cabs and it’s been stressful. I just decided to appreciate her.

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