While we the still join the world in celebrating women especially as the month of March is dedicated to women, Genevieve Magazine’s Jeffrey Oparah had a chat with Nollywood’s Lala Akindoju where she intelligently answered questions about women, the Nigeria movie industry and what a desperate fan did to her during one of her movie screening. You should read this:
What in your opinion is the secret to being a happy woman?
I think we should start from the secret to being a happy person. It’s to be authentically true to yourself. At the end of the day, not living your life based on anybody else’s standards or requirement because if you do that at some point you’ll not be able to keep up; you may lose yourself. So, I think to be a happy person, you must be authentically true to yourself and even if you’re confused, be true to the confusion, understanding that the confusion would clear out. Just also, as you’re being true to yourself, you must also live in love; living in love for yourself and for the next person.
What is your view on the contemporary Nigerian movie industry?
As with anything else, growth is necessary, anything that is not growing is stagnant and I’m glad that the Nigerian movie industry have continued to grow. In the last five or seven years, we’ve seen growth; we’ve seen more attention to technicality; more attention to performance; more attention to scripting and it’s exciting because it’s normal, it must keep getting better and as the world becomes more of a global village, we have access to things we did not have access to 10-15 years ago. So, Yes! I’m excited to be part of the industry especially in this time.
How can more women be involved in politics?
First of all, we’re still working at trying to deliver ourselves from the patriarchal society we live in. So our society is patriarchal and politics have been a patriarchal thing; and politics is portrayed to be dirty, you know it’s rough, it’s not for the faint hearted, you know decisions in politics are made at midnight, at 2am ; you know if you cannot draw blood, you can’t do politics; you know there’s godfatherism and there is no godmotherism. You know there’s all these things that exclude the woman from the political landscape. Now it’s changing but it’s changing slowly because when you get in there you have to become corrupt, you won’t have time for your family; a woman is still seen first as a home builder. So if she’s out there chasing politics, they say she’s not paying attention to her family; who’ll do her children’s homework? She wants to be president. So those are the things we’re still dealing with and trying to change the mindset around; there is also a lot of funding that is necessary for politics. To purchase a form to join a party cost millions and what you find with the men is that they always rally round each other; a politician has already found one young guy in the party that he’s going to sit with; they’re going to decide that when you leave, this is the next person, and then those people already understand the entire process, they start paying their dues; they get the financial and emotional support that is required; there are godfathers there are no godmothers. They’ll just not throw their money on a woman. So I think we’re still growing that’s why there not too many women in politics yet but is changing. It’s not totally doom and gloom, it’s getting better slowly but surely.
Do you think the “press for progress” by women will affect the cordiality existing between men and women?
I don’t think so. I’m actually not one of those people who think that both genders kind of coexist; I think that we need each other, I think that a man needs a woman and a woman needs a man, it’s the way God designed it; I don’t think one is made to be above the other, I think they’re side by side. I don’t think that pressing for progress will get in the way of any man or get in the way of any man’s functions. We must be progressive! So the urge and the theme to press for progress like a clarion call to make sure that this progress that we talk about, we’re doing things that are moving us forward because it is very easy to talk and say “I am progressive”; so what are you doing to move from point A to point B, to move the other women around from point A to point B or to even create awareness whatever, however small. Your circle of influence is: “are you really pressing”? To press is an action word. You can talk about progress but if you’re not pressing, it’s just lipservice; so I think it’s just about it and because I am born on international women’s day so I’m up for it.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
The Holy Spirit is my biggest inspiration; and it’s two fold: the Holy Spirit inspires me a lot and when I remember my purpose, by that I mean the fact that I am on this earth not for myself, I am on this earth to leave a mark, to leave a legacy, to affect as many lives as possible and to make a difference. When I come on contact with somebody, I have to leave them with something unconsciously or consciously. So when I remember that I am inspired to do more, to continue to press for progress. (General laughter). So in terms of where the idea comes from, where the strength comes from, it’s the Holy Spirit.
Would you date a fan?
So first of all, I don’t particularly like the word “fan”, I think the word “fan” comes from fanatic which is a form of worship. So I think the people who support my work, who consume my content are my friends and my supporters because in my line of work if the audience doesn’t like you, you’re on your own. So I’m always grateful to them and I love them for that but I don’t know; I am not somebody who puts a cap on something, I’ve learnt in life that things are not really in black and white and nothing is ever that serious. So I am a case to case person. If somebody walks up to me, and they walk up to me because they support my work; can I be with them for who they are? Maybe! Would it be a plus of they’re my supporters? Perhaps! So it all depends.
What is weirdest thing a fan has ever done to you?
I had this one man who from following my work on social media on twitter. He would tweet at me, no problems I would respond; he would commend my work; he would call me “my Lala”, no problem. This was as far back as 2014 when I did “Dazzling Mirage”, Tunde Kelani’s film on sickle cell; and he would come everywhere we were screening the film because you would say where you’re gonna be (one of the hazards of the job) and he’ll be right there. And then sometimes in the midst of these things, people wait to talk to you, you talk to them, you take pictures; he asked for my number and I didn’t (laughs) I’m wiser now, I wasn’t wise then. He’ll say, hey I want to talk to you about something and I’ll give him my number. This guy wanted to marry me from nowhere; he was just like I see you in my dreams. I had to block him from all of my social media because he became a problem. Most of my followers would notice, some of my friends will be like this guy is always on your timeline, he’s always doing weird things, he’s always saying weird things; I had to block him, I had to tell him to stop; like he would tell me he would buy me gifts, I will have to reject them. So that’s one weird experience. And he was a much older man, definitely in his 50s.
What movie would you say is your favourite (either the one you’ve participated in or not)
That’s tough! Of all the films I’ve done, honestly I love them all. They’re all different. I think I’ve been blessed to play extreme characters so from playing the girl with sickle cell in DAZZLING MIRAGE to playing the role of a weird assistant in Kunle Afolayan’s THE CEO, then I played the role of a maid in FIFTY THE MOVIE; I played two characters in Mildred Okoh’s Surulere. So I’ve played all kinds of characters and everyone is unique; so I don’t know that there is a favourite of the things I’ve done. But in terms of Nollywood film that I’ve done, my favourite would still be Amaka Igwe’s VIOLATED; Tunde Kelani’s OLEKU part 1,2 and 3 and Kunle Afolayan’s THE FIGURINE.
Tall guy, short guy?
Breast job, Butt job?
Not fulfilling my purpose
Adekunle Gold and Flavour
Life’s biggest mistake?
Well, I’ve made mistakes and all of them were learning curves. Because my outlook to life, I don’t dwell too much on the negatives. Although this sounds very cliche but it’s the truth. I don’t know because I may say things like being too open.
Thank you so much Lala for talking to us