Love doesn’t exist in Nigeria, what we have is endurance.............Bukky Wright
Bukky Agbeke Wright is a delight to watch any day in movies. She is one of the very few that can hold their own in both the English and Yoruba genre of Nollywood. SAMUEL OLATUNJI paid her a long overdue visit and got her talking on movies, love, marriage and babies. The graduate of Economics from the University of Lagos, as usual, did not disappoint.
You did not do much movies in 2008, is that deliberate?
It is not as if I was not active, I was active in other things. I shot more adverts in 2008 compared to movies. I was also in Kids Alone and that took my time. It is not as if I did not do some movies. It is just that they are not as much as I used to.
I learnt you've turned more to business compared to acting.
I don't think so. I am just trying to marry the two. This year, I had to travel abroad to buy equipments for our studio, and that took much of my time. So, as I said, I am just trying to marry the two together. You know we can't do much without money.
But I learnt movie producers say you are too expensive for them. Someone said you have gone Plc.
(Laughter), I don't know what they mean by I've gone Plc. But you have to know that I have bills to pay, I have lots of mouths to feed and responsibilities to attend to. You have to be able to pay Bukky Wright as a brand. And I must say, everything is not all about money. The script and the production package must be worth my while. The story, your equipment and those involved are issues that I also have to consider.
Does it mean that you took part in Asa because the money and script were good?
Yes, both were good. I must also say that the approach was also good.
You did not produce any movie in 2008, what should we look forward to in 2009?
The last time I produced a movie was in 2007, but in 2009 I'll be releasing a new movie, Omotara Johnson. I'll be premiering the movie in a very big way.
What is the story line about?
I want to tell a story on what people can do for love. And that is why we are premiering Omotara Johnson on Valentine's Day. I'm sure you know me well enough to beat your chest that the movie is going to be a bang.
Are you sure Omotara Johnson is not one of the many love stories we have around?
There is nothing like it in Nollywood yet. You know my antecedent with Agbeke, Feran Mi or Remilekun. The cast include Chidi Mokeme, acting in a Yoruba movie for the first time, Toyin Alausa, Oga Bello, Akin Lewis, Lawori, Femi Brainard, Aina Gold and so on. The story was written by me. You can compare the quality of the work with that of Hollywood's movies.
Are we going to see more of you on locations in 2009?
I have a couple of scripts; I hope to do more movies in 2009. And that must mean they are able to pay my fees.
Tell me about your studio, I know lots of studios that are now extinct.
It depends on the kind of equipments you have. We just don't have editing studio, we also have sound studio, if we don't edit movies, we do musical recording. We have equipment I can vouch for. The name of the company is Wright Media International.
Is it true you have suddenly becoming a godmother in the industry?
I won't say I am Nollywood godmother. I just believe I should contribute my quota to the industry. I thank God that I'm appreciated in the industry.
I also learnt the single babes want to associate with you.
I don't know about that.
People said you were too harsh on set of Kids Alone.
You know that I am a mother and a disciplinarian. I believe what is worth doing is worth doing well. If you meet my boys who are not 15 and 13 you know what I'm talking about. I love children a lot, but don't forget that Kids Alone is a game and somebody has to win. I was not allowed to have a favourite.
What did Kids Alone reality show change about you?
I have not been able to be with so many children at the same time except my yearly visits to the motherless homes. It has been able to show me how well I can manage children because my children are now grown. I saw that I can still cope with children.
Does that mean we will get to hear patters of tiny feet in your household soon?
You are very funny Sam. Right now, I don't want to say never. If God says yes, who am I to say no? I'm not going to tell you I don't have a man in my life. So, what if it happens?
Do you want to have more kids?
I love kids and you should figure it out yourself.
What is your deal with Wole Madariola, the CEO of Fut Conceptus? You were recently chosen as face of Fut.
My deal with him is business. Wole Madariola is a business person to the core. I just believe it is just the grace of God that I clinched lots of endorsement in 2008. If they say I used anything on Wole Madariola, did I also use anything on the Indian man at Chivita? Or did I use anything on them for Harpic? Agencies were the ones that called me for those ones.
So, there is nothing between you two?
Not at all.
How much is the deal worth?
It is worth millions.
You make losing weight look so simple. In 2004 you were dashingly slim, and you became robust again. And now, you look so slim. What is the secret?
You in particular know that I would go out of my way to jog in the morning and make sure I look fit. But a lot of people read meanings to it then. So, I said if you want me to add weight, I would do it. I proved to people that I could be fat if I choose to. Looking slim makes me comfortable and lighter. I can wear whatever I want to wear. Bukky Wright is not just an actress, she is a brand.
Is it that you don't want to get old?
I believe age is just a number. How you feel is a thing of the mind. I am over 40.
Why didn't Dugbe Dugbe shake the market as expected?
It was due to situation on ground then. I don't want to live on the past; I love to concentrate on the present. Dugbe-Dugbe is a past tense, it is no more my present. The present now is Omotara Johnson. Dugbe-Dugbe was a fantastic movie that I put all myself into.
It is true that the demand of Dugbe-Dugbe broke your relationship then?
Like I said, I don't live in the past, I have moved on.
Do you agree with those who say our society does not favour women?
I agree with that. Our society does not see women doing anything right. People say it is a man's world but I believe what a man can do, a woman would do 100% better.
Does that validate the statement that marriage has not been fair to women?
Yes, that is why when our people see that a man is doing something wrong, they will tell you to enslave yourself all in the name of marriage. He might be beating the living daylight out of you, or he goes for weeks and doesn't come home, he might even be sleeping with your best friend, people will still tell you to stay put with him. Some women are even responsible for their home upkeep and people would say it is a man's world. When is it going to be a woman's world?
Does that mean love has not been fair to Nigerian women?
There is nothing called love in Nigeria. Love would not hurt the other person
But people would readily tell you that they know women who have been in their husband's house for ages.
Most of them are just enduring it. Love does not exist in Nigeria, what we have is endurance.
We are suddenly having women who are fiercely independent in Nigeria. They don't want to take everything a man does the way it is…
(Cuts it) do you think it should continue like that? You are going to have a girl; do you think you can let any man treat your daughter like a piece of shit? Where has that attitude taken our mothers? That is why I support the women liberation movement. We have to stand on our feet. We are all human and we are all running the race to make something out of our lives.
With the way you speak, I'm tempted to ask, do you still believe in love?
I believe in live and let's live. If a man shows care and love, I'll reciprocate. But if he behaves the other way I'll reciprocate well. I've been taught that you fall in love with your eyes wide open.
Do you still believe in marriage?
Why not? It is not about now; it is about your old age. You would want to sit with your husband when the children have all gone. I believe in marriage.
Will you still get married?
I am happy for now and I have a man who makes me happy.
When did this man come into your life?
It's been a couple of years. That is better than me having to sleep around or have series of boyfriends. You know we are all human, we cannot deny the fact that you want somebody to hold you, cuddle you and the rest. There will always be the urge. The fact that you have somebody will satisfy that urge.
Who is the man?
What if it is you?
Why do you think actresses have penchant for men abroad?
Perhaps, the men there are more exposed. It is not easy for Nigerian men to accept the fact that their women could go and stay on movie locations for weeks. They easily feel intimidated. That is where funny rumours start from.
What should we expect from you in 2009?
Expect wonderful movies like Omotara Johnson, and a whole lot of other things. My fans will definitely not be disappointed.
How does it feel when people say negative things about you?
I don't let it bother me anymore because I have a mission. If you want to get you to where you are going, don't let opposition bother you.