WIDELY celebrated actress Funke Akindele, better known and addressed as Jenifa, is in the news. The star actress just completed work on another hilarious flick, entitled The Return of Jenifa. The movie, she said, would surpass the success of Jenifa on account of its content and clarity. We cornered the Ikorodu, Lagos State born interpreter at an event recently and she had a chat with us on this and other movies coming from her stable. She also spoke on her alleged feud with Lagos State government.
What is the latest on your career?
I just finished two projects entitled, The Ransom and The Return of Jenifa. Then, we are also working on Dasofunjo. The Ransom and The Return of Jenifa, by the grace of God, will hit the cinemas in December this year and January 2011.
What should people expect, especially from The Return of Jenifa?
Oh my goodness! Everything is a bang. I am sure they will be expecting something big from Jenifa. They want to watch a better Jenifa. Technically, it’s a bang and storywise, it is a bomb. They will definitely enjoy it and learn a lot from it. Don’t forget, Funke Akindele is a youth ambassador. I like doing something that will affect the lives of the youths positively and they will see that in The Return of Jenifa.
What do you think separates The Return of Jenifa from Jenifa?
The fact that we went deeper into the problems of youths is actually what separates The Return of Jenifa from Jenifa itself. We want the youths to discover their specialties and make good use of their God given talents so that they too can become useful to themselves and the nation as a whole.
There is this tale in town that you have been dropped by Lagos State tax advert?
I was shocked when I saw it in one paper. I can’t understand the message and I don’t know where they got what they wrote.
The only thing I have done for Lagos so far is this tax promo on TV and also I supported NAWOCA, that is the National Women Coalition on HIV/AIDS. I am an ambassador. All in the interest of youths, who I am passionate about. But personally, I have not actually read the details of the story. I am sure my management will definitely do something about it.
Do you actually have any problem with the Lagos State government concerning the promo for effective tax payment?
I don’t have any problem with Lagos State government. Don’t forget, I am a Lagosian, I am from Ikorodu. I love Lagos State to the core, Sulia kan, Lagos State kan (laughs). So, I don’t know what could have brought about the story. It was just a mere fabrication.
A lot has been said about you, but the one that is an issue on the lips of many in the industry and beyond is that you have allowed fame to drive you crazy and make you arrogant, is that correct?
Hmmm, sticks and stones, I believe can break my bones, but words can’t do me anything. If you keep listening to what people are saying about you, you will lose focus. Definitely, I am not what they are saying. I believe in being very humble because it is when you humble yourself that God can lift you up. I am not in any way arrogant. I am only focused and disciplined.
What do you think has been keeping you on?
It is God because I am a very spiritual person. I believe without God, you can’t achieve anything in this life. I have God solidly behind me. He is the author and finisher of my faith. I give Him all the glory. Then, secondly, I am focused and also being myself has helped me a lot in forging ahead in my career.
Why are you the issue in the movie industry?
Oh! I am an issue because God has made me a success. He has blessed my work. His hand of success has been upon me and my career.
And because my fans do appreciate me a lot, and also because people see something special about Sulia kan, Aiyetoro kan.
Currently, how much do you charge if you must consider any script at all?
I collect like N350,000 in the Yoruba movie genre, but if it is in the English movie genre, I do take up to N500,000 and above.
THIS INTERVIEW WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010