Ghanians can’t criticize Nollywood — Bukky Wright
When the pretty screen diva, Bukky Wright, will be cutting her 50th birthday cake next year on the 31st of March, she would be doing so in total joy of having lived her life doing the things she has penchant for. The UNILAG’s bachelors degree holder in Economics began her acting career in 1996. She has since featured in several Nollywood movies of Yoruba and English languages, including Wale Adenuga’s Television series Super story. Besides acting, she runs a Fashion house and Clothing line, B Collections and a beauty spa, B Wright. She has signed endorsement deals with brands like Chivita. In 2011, she won the Best Nollywood Actress of The Year award. In 2014, She contested for the post of a Senator in Ogun State House of representatives under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) led by former Governor Olusegun Osoba. Bukky’s marital life may be a subject of controversy, but her joy is unlimited as she raises and supports her two sons. Ediale Kingsley had the pleasure of chatting with mother and son (Ojayy Bright).
SINCE 1996, you have been doing justice to movie making in Nollywood particularly in the Yoruba genre. May I ask how is business nowadays?
Like in every business in Nigeria, things are a bit slow, nonetheless we are coping fine. The therapeutic nature of entertainment and its stress relieving antidote makes it still very lucrative and as such in high demand. What we need right now is to draw in investors and also attract the Government’s loyalty appropriately.
With such good command of the English language at your disposal, one wonders why you haven’t crossed the line into English speaking Nollywood films?
Short scarcity in Yoruba movies these days is given to the fact that for over a year now I have been involved in English Movies. Because of the quality nature of these English movies that I am involved in, you can’t expect the films to be made today and release tomorrow. That explains why you haven’t seen these English movies starring Bukky Wright. But movie buffs should keep their fingers crossed and expect great English films starring me hitting the cinemas soon. Yet, I will still keep making and acting in Yoruba films. It’s my language and I am very proud of such heritage.
How many scripts do you get per week?
Perhaps because of my training and personal work philosophy, I don’t believe in having back to back production. Overwhelming yourself on the job in the guerrilla style isn’t palatable to my nature. Naturally, I shot down when it’s 8pm, to prepare for the next day’s job. I don’t start my day early too; I work better when the day is truly bright. I can’t run from one location to another. Like a lot of people do. I can’t work that way because I want to pick up a script and give it my best. Especially, since the job involves wearing a character. At the end of a project, I need time to stand out and get out of the character. Then when I pick the next script, I need to wear that character too. I am very vibrant when it’s bright and sunny…when its dark, my system shorts down.
A quick Google-search of your name on the internet and we have scandals here and there. How does this make you feel?
You can’t avoid that in the entertainment industry. It’s the price to pay for stardom. Because I know the media gimmicks and chase for sensational stories, that’s why I am not bothered. People who know me or get to meet me usually have a complete change of thought about me from what they got fed with by the media. Our people are starting to understand that they mustn’t believe everything out there in the media. I have a unique base of diehard fans and I am grateful to them. That’s why I am careful not to disappoint them.
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Talking about fans, I would like to know about those unforgettable gifts you’ve gotten from your fans?
I met a little girl somewhere in Europe, can’t remember where exactly, we met in a mall. She gave me an ice-cream and said when I grow up I would want to be like you. I also have a niece, Omotara who could hear but can’t talk. She gave me one handkerchief…after watching a movie I starred in. Irrespective of the speech difficulty she was trying to express in a dramatic way how she enjoyed my job. That’s why I did a film called Omotara Johnson. I get a lot of gifts…Cars and the likes.
What project would you pick as your best work so far?
I feel an artiste is as good as her last job. I will say its “Beasts Amongst Us”.
Your son is here, making starting strides in the Music industry. How does this make you feel?
Like a mother, I am extremely proud. I will support him. I thank God that everyone around me, friends and families are also reeling in their supports.
Yeah, he says you are the label’s chairlady…but adding this to your already busy schedule. Do you think you can do all these?
That’s why I am a mother. To sacrifice and be there for your kids and pray with hope that when they grow up they do so well and be a blessing to you too and thereby reap the fruits there of.
You cut across as an Amazon. Tell us about your woman advocacies and message for the women folks?
Love yourself first as a woman. Then it will be natural to love other women and you will want to do something for other women. And women should not allow themselves to be second fiddles, we are help mates. If the men aren’t doing things right we should step in and rectify things. As women, we are yet to be given the proper chance and support in this nation, and that’s why I went into politics.
You contested for the post of a Senator in Ogun State House of representatives under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) led by former Governor Olusegun Osoba. Tell us about this side of you and are you going to keep the politics drive?
I am one person that doesn’t accept defeat. I didn’t suffer defeat in this present case, so my chances are still very much bright. I was asked to step down. Women haven’t gotten the proper positioning yet. As long as I believe in what I believe in. I will continue in women advocacy.
Ok, let’s go back to your first constituency. Which is acting, many wonder about the structurelessness of the Yoruba film business. Nobody seems to understand it.
Do you understand the nation Nigeria? Maybe I should ask you the question first?
No. I agree it’s quite complicated.
As long as it stays complicated, as long as we do not have a structure in Nigeria, Whatever structure we thrive so hard to build for ourselves…will be a tough one. Someone pirates your movie, you arrest him. Because he has somebody up there, he puts a call through and he is let go…but you are the one that is treated like a thief.
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So what’s the way forward?
The way forward is when the entrepreneur, people and government see us as an industry with the capacity to impart greatly. Yet I wouldn’t want just about anybody coming in to destroy it.
I was watching an interview recently, a Ghanaian lady thespian was bad mouthing the Nollywood…talking so rudely and badly about our craft. I am like where was Ghana films when we were building the industry. We paved way for other African countries. Where was Ghana films when Nollywood started? Just because you got training does not mean you should start rubbishing our hard. Somebody who came into the industry like two to three years ago can’t badmouth me. I would ask where was she when we were struggling to make sure things where in place. If we didn’t start there won’t be anything to flourish in.
Tell us about your mentees?
So many…I feel so happy when they are called superstars now. I told them this industry is a place they can make a career of. Mojiola Iya, Toyin Aiyemakun and even my own friends like Lola Alao… I gave them chances in my movies to showcase their talents.
And most of these actors are in different caucuses. Which do you belong to?
I don’t believe in groups and caucuses. I am a one man army and one with God fears no fall. I believe in unity and oneness. That’s why you won’t find me in any group. I don’t believe in any Caucuses…but I am friendly with everybody.
If you could change a thing about the Yoruba film sector. What will that be?
I would change the perspective of people towards us. The way people see us. A lot of people see Yoruba actors and producers like illiterate and it’s far from it. A lot of us are well schooled than whatever they think. Because people act in English films doesn’t mean they are better schooled. Because people act in Yorubas doesn’t make them illiterate. And when you are talking about acting, you will find it in Yoruba films, raw talent. Good improvisers…not when they tell you word for word what to say…how to move. We make the best movies in Nigeria. What do you want to say; because we are telling our stories…not someone telling us an American story…the cultures are not the same.
And a lot of complains concerning the subtitling of most Yoruba movies being usually awful keeps making the rounds. What’s your take on this?
It’s better than the five years ago…we are growing…it is getting better. It will continue to grow.
When is retirement going to come for Bukky Wright?
I won’t retire until I am very tired and my bones can’t move anymore, so long I have breath in me. I will keep going on because I believe I have something in me to offer. Like when I was campaigning towards the last election…a lot of people wondering what will happen to my acting. Nothing would affect my acting…it’s my first constituency. And to tell them movie will still continue. I will always create the time for it.
At the end of your works and life, what would you want the world to remember you for?
Bukky Wright was here and lived an exemplary life.
And if your life is a book, what will be the title?
If my life was a book what will be the title…Simply Bukky Wright… Cos, what you see with me is what you get.