A veteran Nollywood actor has decried the state of Nigeria’s film industry. Speaking to The Nigerian Tribute, 60-year-old Yemi Solade, who’s also a filmmaker and movie director, said Nollywood has been infiltrated with prostitutes and Yahoo boys, slang for the infamous Nigerian internet fraudsters. While calling for the restoration of professionalism in the trade, Solade said industry professionals were behind the influx of ‘clowns’.
“It has become an all-comers affair, anybody can stroll in and act. All the Yahoo boys are now there, all the prostitutes that you can imagine are there. People cannot even differentiate between the core professionals and these class of clowns who have infiltrated the association. It’s just so porous that anybody can become an actor… It’s a professional body and we must portray ourselves as one that has mastered the art and craft of the profession,” he said.
Solade isn’t the only actor to complain about the state of Nollywood as six months ago, Actor Yul Edochie condemned rampant exploitation and unethical practices in the workplace tweeting in part: “I condemn sex for jobs completely… This matter has wrecked many men especially Nollywood practitioners.”
Solade also called for the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) to have an emergency fund for members after a rise in the number of actors seeking financial assistance through social media influencers saying: “any professional body should have plans for their aged members. Little wonder we have some social media influencers raising donations for some actors on social media platforms, for people to help raise funds for them. If there were insurance schemes and plans in place for the aged they won’t run to social media to raise alms for their failing health conditions.”
The most recent case of a once-famed actor pleading for help was in January 2020 when a video of former Nollywod star Ernest Asuzu begging on the streets of Lagos surfaced online. In the video, a shirtless Asuzu could not walk, five years after suffering a stroke that marked the start of a downward spiral of his rather illustrious acting career. A man in the video called for the film fraternity to intervene saying: “They need to come to his aid and not when he dies; (that’s when) they will come and do a big burial.”
Speaking after the viral video, the AGN chair refuted claims they’d abandoned the actor who starred in over 100 movies saying: “We have been on his case for many years now. We took him to a man of God who healed him of his ailment. He was there for months and when he was leaving he blessed him with a Prado Jeep.”
Not long after, the AGN set up a committee to raise funds for the ailing actor was also a rapper, producer and movie director.