Ernest Asuzu confesses, “I’ve mended my ways”
Ernest Asuzu, has been every thing that represents 'bad' in the movie industry. Name it, thug, fighter, lover boy, there is no end to his names.
But when our Entertainment Editor, Ogbonna Amadi confronted him, at his favourite hangout Ojez's in Suru-lere, Lagos, it was a very sober lad who insisted he was not what the people think of him.
“I'm misunderstood and I'd want the world to know this. And if ever I have exhibited behaviours that people don't like, let it be known today that I'm born again and I have mended my ways.” And just how much of these ways have changed is revealed in this interview.
How are you doing?
I'm doing perfectly well as you can see.
Lately, we have not seen your face on movies.
What's your reason?
Many things are responsible for that. Firstly, I had to take out time to rediscover myself, to restructure myself and to go back to my first love. Lastly, back in the industry there came a point when things were not too favourable for me.
So I had to take out sometime But now I'm back and its for good.
Can you throw more light on what you mean by things not being too favourable for you in the industry?
It got to a point when a lot of people were saying a lot of odd things about me especially our national dailies and magazines. But not Vanguard. I believe it is the ones that are not serious minded. I don't want to mention names.
Sometime ago I heard stories about you having problems with women, directors and producers. How true are the stories?
About women, I only had some relationships known and unknown but there was never a problem. It just got to a point when I felt I just had to move and that was it. As for producers and directors, I never had any problems with them.
When I said a lot of people were saying so many things about me, they painted my image so bad that they made the world believe so many things about me and I felt bad about it because nobody ever gave me the chance to say my own side of the story.
Those things they wrote and said about me were detrimental to my person. To an extent I felt bad but when I discovered that God loved me more and had more reasons for my existence even more what I taught, I stopped feeling hurt.
Those things they said was like calling somebody shit when that person has never been to the toilet and calling someone a dog when he has never eaten shit in his life. All those things they said were used just to sell their magazines out my own blood and I call that blood money.
Did these things they said affect your social life?
I recall that it all started back in 2000 (8 years). Some magazines had it boldly written on their papers that Ernest Azuzu has gone mad and the first day I saw it I cried not because I was what they wrote but because they were bringing me down. They saw that I was popular and knew they could use things like to sell their papers.
Could that have been because of your attitude to people? The way you relate and move with people who read negatives meaning and gave different interpretations to your outward person?
As regards attitude, we all have attitudes but there's never been an attitude I displayed that has been contrary to the ones I've had from beginning. When Jesus Christ was crucified it was not necessarily because he had done good or bad. They just needed to crucify him.
There's this thing about life that you don't throw a stone on a fruitless tree. You only throw on a tree that's got something to offer. I'm not the only one in the industry that has got attitude and whatever attitude I have is musical. For instance, I injected Hip Hop into the movie industry.
There's this thing about Hip Hop acts. If you don't understand, you'll think it is pride or bragging or something else. That is how some people started thinking I smoke Indian hemp and cocaine saying I'm a drug addict, I do this or that.
I just laugh at them. I laugh because I know that since I was born I've never smoked and drug is not a cheap habit. Of course, if I'm on drug, I won't be looking this good. To an extent they thought they could bury me forever and I thought so too.
You were accused of destroying properties. What happened?
There are some things I wouldn't want to go into for now for personal reasons.
So what's this your first love all about? Why did you abandon it for a second love?
My first love is Christ but maybe I didn't take him so seriously. Sometimes you can love someone and you feel like the person is always there so you keep going astray and coming back to that person. So I had to go back to Christ when it became like the world had rejected me.
I was like an empire when I came into the industry and I've been instrumental to a whole lot of people's progress in this industry. I don't want to mention names.
Whatever has happened to me all through this years, I see it as the best thing that would have ever happened to me. If these things had not happened, I would not have discovered how much Christ loves me and how much I should have held onto him.
Can you say more about the problems that you had?
The first was the write-ups which was enough to kill any man that is not strong in the Lord. One day, a guy walked up to me at Ojez's and was houting my name. He hugged me and said that in America he was told that I had died and he cried. If I drink alcohol, I will be getting drunk everytime because people keep celebrating everytime they see me.
Are you sure you never fought anywhere on the street?
Have you taught that the fact that I'm an actor or a public figure does not make me a saint? Blood still flows through my vein.
This fact is what people take as an advantage to keep cheating on you because they know you will be the one to be written on the papers and I kept saying “No” to that. The only difference now is that I've found Christ. Yes.
I did fight sometime. I'm not a fighter but don't push me. Christ for instance, went into the temple and saw things he didn't like. He beat up the people turning the temple to a market place. But that does not mean that Christ is violent. He only could not stand evil. I don't just fight for myself alone, I also fight for others who are been maltreated because I cannot stand evil. I hate injustice and can't stand it. But now it's minimised and modified because of Christ. I now fight for Him.
Did these write-ups affect your relationship with the ladies?
No, they love me more now. I have more female friends now and my fan base have increased. They keep telling me they've missed me and are pleading that I come back. But I am choosing the kind of movies I want to feature in now as I don't want anyhow movies anymore.
Is your acting life on suspension now?
It has never been on suspension. I decided to take out time to restructure myself and its over now that's why I'm back.
Would you attribute whatever happened to you to youthful exuberance as you found fame at a very early stage in your life?
No. I became famous at a very tender age. First at six years I was used to do a chalk advert and in secondary school. I would mine and rap songs. Back in Kings College then, we'll go for competition and I will come first and then when I got into higher institution, I would write Hip Hop songs and soon I became the popular.
All these didn't get into me because I found Christ at a tender age too and it made me humble. As a kid my father taught me that Christ was the only person I needed in my life every time and every where as if he knew he would leave us on time.
Now lets talk about you and music. How far have you gone into it?
I've not released any music yet but I've been doing a whole lot of performances at Ojez and they've all been selling out. A lot of people do not know I'm into music so I'm just promoting it for now. People think I'm switching from acting to music. They don't know I actually started with music and I need to create awareness too because I've not been around for sometime.
So where did you go to?
I travelled out. I've been on the move. Right now my album is ready and it's a 15-track album titled, Return of The Don.
I know I owe my fans a lot and I want to give them an overdose of me because they've missed me so much.
How many movies have you done since your return?
I've done about six movies and one of them titled My Target is out. Next month others will be out.
As for music, this is my third attempt into music.
The first was in 1988. The second in 1998 and this time I have to do whatever it takes make the album sell. That's what I owe myself and my fans. By God's grace I believe everything will work out fine.
Are you in any serious relationship?
Yes. Every good guy needs a good girl.
Do you want to talk about her?
No. That will be on the day of my wedding.
What do you have to say to those who are going through what you went through?
Waoh! It's not an easy road at all and I don't even wish my enemy to go through what I've gone through. All I can say to them is that they should see themselves as soldiers which means “So with Jah Jehovah”.