Funke Akindele: Battle on the Buka Street is a farewell project
Funke Akindele is an actress, producer and politician. An indigene of Ikorodu in Lagos State, she is the second of three children of a retired school principal father and a medical doctor mother. She attended Grace Children’s School, Gbagada, and obtained an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Mass Communication from the former Ogun State Polytechnic. She also earned a Law degree from the University of Lagos. Akindele starred in the sitcom, I Need to Know from 1998 to 2002, and in 2009, she won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role. She rose to fame for her role in the movie titled Jenifa, which earned her the nickname Jenifa. The Omo Ghetto trilogy contributed to her fame. An award-winning actress, in 2022, she was nominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, as his running mate for the 2023 Lagos State governorship election. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, the actress cum politician speaks about her latest movie, Battle on Buka Street, what informed it and how she is combining it with her political pursuit.
You have just released a new movie titled Battle on Buka Streets. What makes this project stand out?
I’m excited about it because a young guy called ‘Jack’ owns the original story. He’s a newbie in the entertainment industry and the talents we showcased on Battle on Buka Streets are young, fresh talents. And I am so excited because, Nollywood needs to get ready for these new faces. Working with young people has really touched my heart. So, any time I hear that they have something new to work on, I quickly jump in, that’s why I’m excited about this project. Also, it is about family, the hustle and bustle in the family, the ups and downs and the frictions. All the scenes in the movie celebrate our African culture, they also celebrate oneness and unity in the family, and in the state of our country”
What is the cultural essence of the movie?
It is ensuring that we bring everyone together. Ensuring that there’s no segregation, whether you are Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa or got married from another tribe, there’s nothing like discrimination or tribalism. Just primarily preaching unity.
How involved were you in this project?
Perfectly well, I must say. From being an actor, I also write, I produce, I direct, I discover new faces, and I have passed the baton of production to the young people, because I have moved into politics now. So this is like a farewell.
Are you indicating that you are signing out?
I am going to be the next deputy governor of Lagos State. So I am handing it down to the new ones. We need to give them an opportunity. I will be at the background, to advise them, to supervise, but let them be the face, let’s celebrate them. Are you not tired of seeing old faces?
How challenging was it coming up with this project?
It was tedious. Let me tell you a story; I filmed Battle on Buka Street when I was emotionally down, this was before venturing into politics. And rather than sit down crying, I had to brace up. There are a lot of young people looking up to me in the entertainment industry, especially those that we have worked together. So I knew sitting down was not an option, I flushed past all the pain and emotions into the project, and today this is the big thing I have come out with. I am excited about it.
What should fans look out for?
They should look out for us celebrating our culture, our food, our unity and also making a mark in the entertainment industry.
What are the hard lessons you have learnt since plunging into politics?
From the scratch, nothing good comes easy. My mum has always told me that you have to work hard, pray harder, and you must learn patience to get to the top. So, moving into politics, there had been a lot of backlashes, a lot of ‘Nos’. But don’t forget, I got a lot of ‘Nos’ before I got here today. Yes, everybody can’t support you. That means if people support you, you’re not doing something good – you must get people to criticise you constructively. You sieve through it, pick out the constructive ones and get better with it. I’ve learnt to be better, I’ve learnt to be calmer, I’ve learnt to be more dedicated and I’ve learnt not to give up.
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