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I think I look nice–...My face sells movies–Yemi Solade

Source: nigeriafilms.com

CINDY ALISI
Yemi Solade is easily one of Nigeria's most popular actors. Hestarted acting on stage before joining Nollywood. In a recent chat with Daily Sun, Solade said he is unhappy about the dressing and speaking patterns of some actors and actresses who imitate the American ways of life at the expense of their indigenous cultures.

Solade, who has acted in English and Yoruba movies described himself as Amulu mala hinted that Amulu mala is a fusion of both the Yoruba and English acting.

The actor described his wife as the most beautiful woman he ever met, adding that all actors and actresses should portray Nigerian culture in their chosen profession.

Recent works
Some of them are not really new in terms of story lines. I see the same faces, the same kind of location, costumes, even the theme of the stories are almost the same. But basically, I have featured more in what I call Amulu mala, which is a fusion of English and Yoruba. So, I don't see anything new in what I do. It is becoming a recurring decimal. The title of the movie might sound new, but I don't see anything new because at times, once I don't play a major role, I may not remember the title of the movie. Somebody might just want me to do some few scenes, I would just go there, do four to five scenes and get out. It is when the movie is being advertised that I would start to recollect the name and where I shot the movie.

International awards
I would never be part of such madness. I call it madness because I think we are not getting it right. Who are these people that I have to be on the same trip with, what have they done in the field to merit such awards?. I don't blame the promoters because they see these artistes as being very cheap.

Usually, the promoters are faceless human beings who come into the country after they have disappeared from Nigeria for some time to come and embarrass our artistes.This is what they do to survive and all because there is much hunger in the land. Why would some funny human beings, disguising to be part of Nollywood ask me to come outside Nigeria to be celebrated all at my own expenses?.

Qualities of a good actor
A good actor must have the talent to act, because acting is all about being talented. Another important quality is for the artiste to be dedicated to the field. I am a passionate artiste for instance, I give my life into what I do and I have been acting for close to 30 years now.

It all started right from the stage, a theatre hall where plays are staged. Although home video has drawn us closer to millions of our audiences in their homes but where the discipline really is, is the theatre. And for people who do not understand the difference between the theatre and movie industry, they should come around and see for themselves. One other quality is to have the facial qualities and if we talk about people who look nice, and whose faces can sell movies, I want to believe that I am one of them.

Actors/actresses turned musicians
The movie industry is very wide. I am a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, I am a member of the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) as well as the Assocaition of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners (ANTP).

But when some of our colleagues had a quarrel with marketers/promoters, they were blacklisted and rather than lobbying around for favour, they resorted to other vocations like music to keep them going. Personally I sing almost everyday, but if I must go into the studio to sing, then it must be for a purpose.

Role model
I have never seen anyone as a role model in my life, I don't intend to have any. I have people I admire for their achievements.

Wale Adenuga Productions
I have been acting for close to 30 years and there was nothing like Wale Adenuga Productions when I started. But I have featured in Papa Ajasco, an earlier TV programme by Adenuga as well as other programmes by him such as Super Story and Odd World. I have always been there for producers and I have always been a conservative artiste who would not go around lobbying for roles unnecessarily.
I prefer my work to speak for me and whenever people watch me and like my work, they can call on me.
I am a highly principled person, an individual who strives to do what he does very well and is passionate about his work. But none of the productions I have featured in has anything to do with my private life. I live a three-in-one lifestyle; Yemi Solade as an individual, as a professional artist and as an actor. So, for people to know me better, they have to get closer to me.

Marriage
I am married to the most beautiful woman I have ever met. Her name is Hannah Marsh she is from a Nigerian father and a Swiss mother and we are blessed with a baby.

Childhood
I was born on Lagos Island 45 year ago. I grew up in Surulere where I had my elementary and secondary education. Growing up was interesting then and Lagos was a more peaceful city. There were no area boys, and we had playgrounds to play our football as well as mango trees to climb on.
I studied Dramatic Arts at the University of Ife (now OAU). After that, I had my youth service in Borno State after which I bagged a post graduate degree in International Relations, Sociology and Anthropology. I equally studied Public Relations before returning to Lagos as soon as the home movies started. By that time, all my contemporaries had dominated the TV soap operas. So, I just continued from where I met them while I was also in the university doing one or two things

Movie industry
As long as we can package ourselves as Africans and stop fooling ourselves looking or behaving like some other people who are not Nigerians or even Africans, we would attain the desired greatness we deserve. I see some of our actors wanting to sound foreign and looking like some ghetto boys from America. Usually, they plait their hairs, put on earrings and nose rings and look more like clowns.
I think it is high time our artistes defined who the typical African is and how he or she should look because there is need to sell African culture to the globe the same way other cultures are being sold to us.

Turn off
I don't like ugly things. I don't like it when things are not working out fine.

Acting
Acting has given me joy, it has given me blessings and has brought wonderful things my way which ordinarily, a working class Nigerian man would probably not get. But on a general note, I still have a long way to go.