In 2004, eight A-List Nollywood actors, including Ramsey Nouah, Genevieve Nnaji, RMD and Jim Iyke, were banned by marketers for charging huge fees.
During an interview with Pulse Nigeria for his Oga Work app, Jim Iyke talked about the ban and its impact years later.
According to the actor, the vacuum created by the the ban is yet to be filled till date. He also said that the ban led to a decline in the general prosperity of Nollywood.
Read interview below:
On the ‘powerful’ marketers
When we were banned, so to speak, they forgot that the power that be then was transitional. It’s not real power. It’s something that was emerging, almost non-existent.
To think you have enough power to ban someone and totally shut down what they stand for, what they are gifted with, the joy they bring to themselves, not only as a challenge and a responsibility, but to the world in general, is downright evil. And they paid for it drastically, if you ask me.
The ban was a blessing to him and made him stronger
These were men who thought that what we were asking for at that point was undeserving, so they went ahead and banned us. But you know what? It made us stronger. It made me stronger.
It made me begin to look for other opportunities, do things that I didn’t think was conceivable, meet people that I didn’t know knew me and wanted to do business with me, travel the world, broaden my horizon. It was the greatest blessing of my life.
It ushered in a new group of actors and actresses and created new opportunities, no doubt. It was a welcome development.
The way they went about it was totally wrong and demeaning, but it also created a huge vacuum because a lot of us actually started investing our time and resources outside the industry, which paid off tremendously.
He says the ban brought a decline in Nollywood’s profitability
The gap is still felt till tomorrow. They have not been able to fill it, I dare say. And it has brought a general decline in the general prosperity of Nollywood as well.
Because that back to back thing, that availability really declined and the people that were coming in came in with a great deal of skepticism as regards loyalty. Because do me, you would probably do it to the next person. So they took measures not to fall victim as well, and together, it has been a very smart turnout.
Jim Iyke doesn’t think the ban ended well for the marketers
And these guys [marketers] were not properly trained in the business of filmmaker, so with time, there was redundancy and they started to fizzle out.
Economically, it was not something you could do. They thought they had the power, but they didn’t. It was not you the world wanted to see, it was us. It’s not you that hold the real power, it’s us.
It’s not you that commanded the real respect, it’s us. And the propensity of this entity? It was us. So at the end of the day, it was a terrible underestimation of the kind of power we swayed at that time.
On lessons to be learnt from the ban
I think it’s a great lesson to be learnt in history that you can’t wake up a monster that you don’t have the power to tame. They woke up a monster in all of us at the time, that monster is still there. The moral lesson of it is still etched on my mental mindset.
Nollywood has suffered tremendously for that singular act of mutiny because we really didn’t deserve it at that time.There’s always a table and there’s always civility, and two misunderstood groups can always sit down and meet each other half way. But they thought they had the power to shut our lives down.
At the end of the day, this was the only business they knew and when the audience that had the greatest power of all demanded to see us back on the platform, it was late.
We came back with a renewed energy and together – I think that was the only time we ever amalgamated effort – and decided that this would never happen again in our histroy.
Half of them have gone broke. Seriously, check the history. They have fallen on the road side. Of the pioneer members of Nollywood, I promise you that 90% are doing far better than all of them put together.
A lesson we should all learn in life; appreciate what you have and treat it good. Treat the source of your income well, the universe will respond in kind and give a returns that is worthy.
The G8 Ban
Popularly called the G8, the banned actors were Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, Emeka Ike, Ramsey Nouah, Nkem Owoh, Stella Damasus and Jim Iyke.
These actors were banned by marketers for charging huge fees. Back in the days, the marketers had their bank account details and would pay fees into their accounts even before negotiations.
As as a result of this, most actors had a backlog of productions to deliver on. In a bid to curb this, the marketers decided to ban these actors from starring in a movie for one year.
Ramsey Nouah thinks the ban birthed the new Nollywood
During an interview with Pulse, Ramsey Nouah who was also among the banned actors, said the ban gave birth to the cinema.
“The cinema started and then we started making movies for the cinemas since the DVD market was beginning to think that they owned it [all] and could decide to turn someone’s life around,” he said.
“We just delved into it [cinema business] and as you can see, an alternative market. Now the DVD market is almost dead and gone. There’s so much piracy going on there. It’s not a regulated market so even if you make your big movies and you want to take it to DVD, it’s selling little or nothing.”
Following the ban, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Jim Iyke went on to become musicians. The timing of this decision made it difficult to ascertain if they always had a passion for music or turned to it as a backup plan.
Nevertheless, 14 years later, most of the banned actors have gone ahead to win awards, become producers and directors of successful movies, and feature in successful films.
Jim Iyke will be seen next in the upcoming movie, “Seven and a Half Dates.”