By Christy Anyanwu
Jim Iyke Esumogha is a prolific Nigeria actor who has played his dues in the movie industry. His style of delivery as an actor stands him out in different roles.
However, there are some misconceptions about this handsome dude, but as the popular adage says,’ you never judge a book by its cover’.
Talking with Sunday Sun after the presentation of his new movie ‘Bad Comments’, one is amazed of the kind of personality he is. He spoke about his true identity, the knocks in the media , what prompted him into producing ‘Bad Comments’, among others.
What is the motivation behind the movie – Bad Comments?
The motivation was mostly perspective. I wanted people from all walks of life to have perspective as regard the social media space, its usage and most importantly the ripple effect of everything, of how we use that space. I heard the CEO of Google saying something along the lines of the reason these social media were created for controversial, for social experience, and for people to harness their best potential, but now, it’s been turned to some sort of tool of choice for intimidation and bullying. If you look at it from that perspective unbiasely, I wanted to shed light on the celebrity that is supposed to play the victim and say that people attack them for no reason and also some of the throws were they wrongly motivated to come after these people as regards the attacks. Are we doing a little too much, are we doing too much to offend people or at the end of the day, are they justified in their attacks. I thought it’s a narrative that should be placed on the table for all and sundry to discuss and give their opinion and not just find one divider for the other. That is basically what I wanted to do with a world viable story that is totally opposing of a celebrity to the world. I want to do it in a best technical possible way to make sure it’s up to every standard universally.
You have had bad press in the past, how do you feel?
Yes, I have had my share of horrible press. You cannot make a difference in anything in life if you are not open to critism. At first, don’t forget we are not schooled along what we expect in being famous and handling fame. We did a little bit too much that earned us the bad reputation, one, I can say that for myself, that I could not conduct myself in the best decorum in those days, but as you get older you understand yourself, your pattern and the people around you, the responsibility they entrusted to you, it’s no small gift to influence people, so you owe the world a certain responsibility whether we like it or not. Once you embrace it and you understand there’s no need to exist in that world, if you come into the world, do what you have to do and go back. It becomes easier and that is basically what I do these days. It’s about my businesses, about my family, about my mental health, and every time that I have to come in and do what I have to do. I have given a decade of my life. I have been doing this when I was barely 20, I have earned the right to come and go as I please. Every time I feel that I have a contribution, I have something to say, my voice I believe, in my earnest is permanent in the sands of time of this establishment. I come here say what I want to say and go back to the world, that’s how I live my life right now.
What would you say about restriction in social media right now, as the producer of Bad Comment, do you think government should regulate social media?
I don’t agree about the regulation. I think there should be free expression of voices; the strongest tool of interaction for the millennial is the social media. You cannot take that away. Of course, economically we are not viable as we were. We were not at the point where we are supposed to be. This has become the platform of not only ventures for them, but also vetting certain ills in the society and to take that away is to take away our fundamental right. To be denouncing in any form of shape is not right. It is not a solution to the matter.
Your dress sense is superb, what motivates your dressing, does that have anything to do with growing up?
Yes, I have a stylish father. My dad is very stylish. He is still alive. My mum passed. I watched him along the way. I think when I was about four years old; I literarily stopped them dressing me at home. He allowed me pick my choices, when we go shopping I pick bits out of pieces, I wore it. Style independence in a sense formed expression in me early. So, as I went along, as the budget improves, it became a lot easier to express myself. What they call fashion is an anathema to style. Style transcends style. Style is core self-individuality and flair. I think fashion is something created by fashion designers four seasons in a year, it comes and goes. You can call any stylist to make you look good in our world, but the true style icon, people that wedded in T-shirt and flip pop they stand out. One of the gifts I have is how to stand out in any crowd.
As regards social media what would you tell your fellow celebrities?
Don’t be ostentatious. Stop being ostentatious. There are so many ways you can celebrate success elegantly. You are offending more than motivating. You are telling people once thy can’t match your budget or whatever strata of your income that you have the first…it becomes a desperation. It is something you should tell people to be comfortable on their lane. Once you dabble into another, it’s another person’s lane and you will struggle there. Don’t forget your lane is traffic free. Once you venture into another person’s lane it is crowded there and you begin to struggle and it becomes desperation. Life shouldn’t be a struggle. What we are trying to push out there is, there are so many elegant ways; you can celebrate your success without forcing people to do something that is totally disagreeable because now, the propensity among our youths is that get rich and die tomorrow, make it at all odds.
What lessons has life taught you as a person?
One thing I have learnt about life is, the more you mind your business the more at peace you are. Immediately I became dead , deaf and mute to whatever happens around me I focus on my friends, my family, my immediate support system and most of all myself, my life became far less complicated. I’m not trying to knock the guys that like cliques, that is like the entourage, that’s like to move in a certain way, but I’m trying to tell you that if you are being indifferent , it’s what your success is being depending on , you find your peculiarity. My peculiarities are in a quiet space, another person’s peculiarity should be in the noise. There are people that are comfortable in that space of noise, gathering, it’s not my mantra so to speak. I chose my path and I’m doing my path comfortably and that’s how life ought to be.
I noticed you like wearing sunshades a lot, are you shy or is it a fashion statement?
I’m very shy. I think most actors are. Most creatives are. My shades have become far more a coping mechanism than a fashion statement.
I see you as a tough, wicked, arrogant character in movies but today I’m amazed seeing you smile, talk nicely, tell us who is Jim Iyke?
We are evolving beings. That is what we call illusion in real sense of the word. For me, the person I was two hours ago is not the same person I am standing with you right now. My elevation is to constantly seek knowledge, embrace truth; I have been totally unbiased about how knowledge comes to me. Many times, I tell you who I am. I’m sitting in a car with my driver. My driver is maybe a decade older than me and this man gives me more advice than some of my business partners. This is somebody that sees me when I wake up, he sees me when I leave. He has come to understand my character, he has come to understand my temperament, he has come to understand how things work, and he’s a deeply knowledgeable person. When he says haa, you didn’t handle that one well Oga, I take it cool. Sometimes I ignore him, but whatever goes wrong retrospectively at the end of the day, I find solid advice than associates with ulterior motive telling me what they want to tell me. My house keeper, I throw a tantrum sometimes, he comes back to me to explain certain things to me , this is somebody that deals with my inner caucus, deals with the environment that I live in, understands what is being said about me if possible so you have to take advice from different spheres of your life. I think that is one parent lesson my father taught me. I see my dad listened to business associates, I see my dad listened to people that work for us and he never devalued anybody’s opinion. I think perhaps that the biggest greatest thing that I have, that I’m not discriminative of where good advice come from.
You are a man that is highly misunderstood as an actor, what is your take on that?
In misunderstanding me, it also gives me credence to certain mystery that I have enjoyed over the years. I like being misunderstood. I just don’t like being disrespected. Being misunderstood is fine, we can have a conversation. We can change perspective at any time. Being disrespected is a whole different ballgame and I think that’s fine, people are afraid of being misunderstood, I’m not. I like it, it drives conversation, it drives narratives, it offers perspective and I think that’s how life should be.
You’re unveiling Bad Comments to the media today, when is it hitting the market?
August 27, 2021. It will go live worldwide.