One of Nigeria’s most accomplished Nollywood actresses, Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde, has just celebrated 20 years on the screen, CHUX OHAI
writes Unknown to many movie fans, popular screen actress, Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde quietly celebrated 20 years in Nollywood in her Lagos home recently.And to show just how modest and kind hearted she is, she chose to celebrate with widows and orphans.
As part of the occasion, the actress hosted her annual ‘Give and Let Give’ party – an event in which gifts were handed out to the less priviledged.Once nominated by TIME magazine as one of 100 most influential women in the world, Jolade-Ekeinde has, no doubt, come a long way in the Nigerian film industry.From being a pimply young actress under the close supervision of the likes of producer, Zeb Ejiro, she has moved up the ladder in Nollywood to become one of the most sought-after and respected members of the Thespian family in the country.
Jolade-Ekeinde has, no doubt, had a chequered career in Nollywood. Like many other actors and actresses, she has had her fair share of challenges. At a time Nollywood was virtually an all-comers affair and run by traders, who were largely driven by plain commercial interests and had very little regard for professionalism; she had found herself making some sacrifices for the future of the industry.At a point in her career, a powerful cabal comprising some movie marketers and distributors had slammed the actress and a few others with a ban. As punishment for refusing to bow to the wishes of the almighty marketers, who virtually held the fledgling film industry in a vice grip, they made her to wait for almost three years before she could return to the screen.
The actress said, in a recent interview with Encomium magazine – a Lagos-based tabloid – that she had to stick her neck out for Nollywood because of an urgent need to make some changes in the industry.“Personally, I was fighting for all movie artistes, I wasn’t fighting for myself alone. I was fighting alongside many other colleagues of mine. They just decided in those days that we’re getting too powerful and demanding too much,” she was quoted as saying.Even now, it seems that Jolade-Ekeinde is not done with making sacrifices and giving Nollywood a deserving push in her own little way. There is an indication that she is currently working behind the scenes to help drive the expected transition from cheap home video films to big budget movies that conform with global standards.
The actress was recently overheard telling some associates that she had decided to wash her hands off home videos and would play for higher stakes, including high standards for Nollywood, a higher standard of living for actors and actresses, a code conduct for older and incoming artistes, as well as good work ethics.What this means is that this diva may decide to stay away from the screen if the present conditions fail to improve. If this is true, then movie fans had better brace themselves for her absence.With many appearances in the movies – over 200 in all between ‘Venom of justice’ and ‘Ije’ – Jolade-Ekeinde has certainly carved a niche for herself in Nollywood. While receiving an award in Cyprus last year, she dedicated it to her husband, Captain Matthew Ekeinde who she has repeatedly described as very supportive.