I Can Never Stop Acting in Yoruba Movies — Mercy Aigbe-Gentry Explains Her Frustration Over This Day Style Snub
Actress and fashion entrepreneur, Mercy Aigbe-Gentry, opens up on her career and misconceptions.
Why did you kick off your career in the Yoruba movie sector?
I didn’t choose to be in the Yoruba movie sector. I started out in Nollywood and I featured in several soap operas and movies. My career took a different direction when a Yoruba film producer cast me in his movie titled Ara. The movie became a hit and I soon began getting scripts from other Yoruba filmmakers and I couldn’t turn them down because I had just launched my career. In no time, I became a household name in the Yoruba film genre.
In between this time, I worked with Lancelot Oduwa-Imasuen in his movie titled The Other Side of the Coin.
You recently spoke about Yoruba movie practitioners being discriminated against. Why do you think this is so?
I really don’t know why and it has been on for a very long time. However, we have started to get better recognition unlike what obtained in the industry four years ago. The gap is already being bridged and I think it is only a matter of time. I think we Yoruba actors also need to let people know that we are also a part of Nollywood and demand to be respected like our English counterparts. Our works will speak for us at the end of the day. I think it is about time we are respected, so the gap that currently exists can be closed.
Do you think the Yoruba movie genre has better actors?
Our counterparts in the English genre have always had fantastic stories and actors. I think Nollywood should be one and devoid of any form of disparity or segregation. The term Nollywood in my opinion means movies made in Nigeria irrespective of the medium. I am also featuring in a Hausa movie which will be released soon.
Why are actors in the Yoruba sector tagged illiterates?
This is one area where I have a problem with people’s perception of Yoruba actors. Many people think we are uneducated and can’t speak good English. I think people are not informed, so whenever someone tells me they are not aware I speak proper English, I simply laugh it off.
In the last few years, you have attained new heights in your career. Some of your fans are of the opinion that you no longer fit into the Yoruba genre.
Some people write to me and request that I should feature in more English movies because they believe that only then will I gain more acceptance and recognition. My fans believe I’m not being appreciated in my sector.
Will you eventually stop acting Yoruba movies?
I can never stop acting Yoruba movies because that industry made me who I am today. As a matter of fact, a lot of people don’t know I am from Edo State. When I began featuring in Yoruba films, I wasn’t speaking the language flawlessly, so I had to learn on the job. My industry is very accommodating and that is why I would always be grateful to them for accepting me and giving me a platform to excel. I also produced a movie titled Osas in order to connect with my Benin roots.