360Submissions: A Case Study Of Generations Of Nollywood Celebrities by Emma Ugolee

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Talent vs Packaging. The rivalry is as old as the movie industry.

I was reminded of this 20-year old wahala by a friend who belonged to the Mike Ezuronye, Nonso Diobi & Desmond Elliot generation of actors. He whined like an embittered 1st wife about younger actors not knowing the basics of the art. Called them untrained, unskilled, uninformed, unqualified. The only thing he didn’t call them was uncircumcised. I taya.

His pain? “Them just dey use six packs & fine boy dey join acting. They can’t act to save their lives. Social media hype. Modelling and acting na the same?”

The second he said Modelling was not acting, I figured he was on about my lil’ bro, IK Ogbonna, Alex Ekubo, Joseph Benjamin, my man Uti Nwachukwu, Gideon Okeke etc, all models turned actors. Even though I didn’t completely agree with his assessment of their skill set, I understood his pain for these youngsters have indeed began to make that batch look like artefacts.

But here is where my story takes a humorous turn. This guy and his set of actors colleagues did exactly the same thing to a crop of actors whom we knew were truly professional but never chose packaging over showing undeniable talent.

Yes, I am talking Nobert Young, Francis Duru, Bimbo Akintola, Sam Dede, Segun Arinze etc. These ones never bothered about anything but how to deliver memorable great lines. Respect for the art & not admiration from it was the focal point before my complainant and ndi otu ya (his fellow men) hit the scene with yellow faces and perfectly carved friction.

So now that the proverbial koboko used on the 1st wife is being duly administered on the 2nd wife, why cry foul?

So rather than ask “Who d hell is Toolz? Ta’ni Toke Makinwa?” What do they do? Simply join the wagon. Get a publicist. Go blog gaga. For every time you visit Chicken Republic, please let it be on social media.

Only a few theatre art lecturers would speak about you if you do not heed my advice to blend aimless noise & sex appeal with your skill.

The time is coming when deaf & dumb mannequin-looking actors would act in sign language & get all the attention and endorsement deals. This is not a country where the Sam L. Jackson look doesn’t stand in the way of a man’s talent.

Weep, please for my country Nigeria.

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