African Actors Shortchange Themselves- Binta
With an unparalleled passion for acting, Binta Yahaya is one actress with a difference as revealed in this chat with Solomon Nda-Isaiah
How has the journey been?
It may interest you to know that I am from Sokoto State but grew up in Kaduna. I have always enjoyed watching films. I also enjoy watching cartoons and I read a lot of books and magazines too. Whenever I am not doing any of these, I write and at my leisure time, I tell my younger ones stories. All these led to total interest in films that just developed on its own.
What is your educational background?
I have a Higher National Diploma in management studies from the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa. I am looking forward to a post graduate and a masters soon, insha Allah.
Can we know some movies you've featured in?
I have acted in both Hausa and English films, in 'Kurman Gari' which is a very common and popular film and 'Ban Sake Ta Ba', 'Common Ground,' (English Film) 'Mata da Miji', 'Miyatti Allah,' etc.
How would you rate Kannywood today?
Kannywood is growing.
There was a time some Kannywood actors had problems with the Kano State censorship Board, what is happening now ?
That was then, it's a thing of the past now. We have sorted things out and what happened has really helped our people to take the profession more serious. Before the censorship board's hammer came down, the Kano film industry was not as organised as it is today. I think it has really helped.To be fair, it has made things better for the industry and has contributed to making it what it is today.
Who Is Your Mentor?
There are many people I look up to in Kannywood and the entertainment industry of the world as a whole. People I look at and convince myself that if they can do it then I can do better. I am not the kind of person that will say I want to be like somebody because I do not believe in wanting to be some one else, you can only be yourself. In Kannywood, one of the people I have much admiration for is Ali Nuhu, because of the way he is able to bring out professionalism in his acting . I also like Ashwariya Bachchan, an Indian actress. I admire her a lot, I love that she has been able to scale from being an ordinary Indian actress to becoming an international Icon. Another person I admire is Genevieve Nnaji.
What are your challenges in the industry?
We all face many problems. My greatest challenge as an individual was my parents. At first they were not supportive. They were not happy with my wanting to become an actress but I had to make them understand and with much persuation, they gave in. Another disturbing issue is the stigma that is associated with Northern actors. Most people look at the movie industry as a thing for waywards. Some people look at me and ask what I am doing in the acting profession with my education and I wonder what they are talking about.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the future?
Wow!! I want to succeed, it is not all about money. I want to be a good example especially to Northern women and girls. No matter where you come from, you can always achieve what you want to achieve.
Female artistes are not given the same opportunity as their male counterparts because men dominate the industry. Until now, people did not take female acts seriously . I think that is the main challenge.
Which will you say is your favorite movie so far?
Actually, I love all my movies, they are so dear to me. Each of the movies I've acted in different. I act different characters and they are all of benefit to society. I love them all.
How do you unwind?
I said earlier that I am a movie freak. I am not the ultra mordern type, I prefer to just sit down at home and watch movies 24 hours non-stop; I don't have problem with that as far as there are movies for me to watch.
What can you say are your likes and dislikes in the entertainment industry?
Up till date, African actors fail to know their worth. Once you are referred to a as celebrity, you are supposed to know that you have passed a certain stage and that you are blessed among others. Most Nigerian celebrities are greedy, that is what I hate about them. They misbehave or we misbehave because of minor things caused by our greed.
Aside acting, you are also a TV presenter, when did you start your Tv presentation and what kind of programme do anchor?
Actually, I just started shooting a programme for African Magic called 'A Ladun Arewa'. It is a programme mainly for the Northerners. I just started TV presentation but I have been a producer for some time now.
Are you married?
No, I am single
What do you have to say about celebrity marriages that have been crashing?
It is not just celebrity marriages that are crashing, it is an issue that is everywhere. When you want to look at a problem, you should look at it critically not randomly. It is not just a celebrity issue, it is everywhere. But because celebrities are always in the news, people take it as if it is only celebrities that are affected with these problems. Once you are a celebrity, anything that has to do with you is open. It becomes news.
What is your most memorable(s) moment?
My most memorable moment was first location because it is something I have always dreamt of and I am very happy today that dream came true.
Besides being in the movie industry and presenting, what else do you do?
Beside movies and presenting, my company is also into entertainment and public relations, the name is Blue Dot Global Concept. We do a lot of PR stuff, producing and event management. Right now, we are planning for an award in Niger Republic and Insha Allah, it will take place in November this year.
I think one of the major problems the entertainment industry is facing is capital. If only the federal government, private sectors and individuals would get involved, things will get better . I personally prefer individuals, I think they will monitor better and make sure there is great improvement.
Another major problem facing the industry is piracy, what advice can you give to combat it?
Work hard as far as we can to combat and eradicate it completely. Those who are involved in piracy should find something else to do or they should be involved in marketing the
films instead, put in their money and reap it.
What advice do you have for upcoming talents who will love to venture into acting?
My advice for them is to get their basic educational qualification first even if it's just a diploma, that is very important. Again, they should not think that they are going into it for fame or for the money because money may not come immediately. They should go into it as taking up a career. What you have passion for is what is likely to give you joy and you will make money from it in the end.
Some actors now venture into music, are you planning to also join ?
No, I don't think I will like to go into music, maybe something else, something like fashion designing but not music.
What advice do you have for Nigerians?
My advice to Nigerians basically is to live in peace and accept each other as brothers and sister irrespective of tribe, culture or religion. We are one so let us learn to tolerate each other and live together as one big family. We are complaining of our government, let all of us contribute to the governance and progress of our country. How do you expect the government to contribute to your life when you have not done anything as contribution to your own live, not to talk of bettering other people's lives?
Words for your fans?
They should always bear with me and I love them more than anything.
Talking about fashion designing, who is your favorite designer?
I don't think I have a specific fashion designer, I love all fashion designers that put a lot of creativity in the designs and the love they put into it.
Any last word?
I am a very loving, peaceful and caring person.