By Christian Agadibe
Lateef Adedimeji is a celebrated actor with over 100 movies to his credit, and still counting.
Despite exhibiting some feminine traits, which came as a result of his growing up among women, Adedimeji doesn’t hesitate to rain curses on gays whenever and wherever he encounters them.
In this rare interview, the gifted thespian talks about career, wife and stardom. Here are excerpts:
You got married recently, how has life been for you?
Life has been quite interesting. For me, things are not different because I married my best friend.
How did you meet your wife?
We met on a movie set; it was just both of us getting together and working. And at a point, we discovered that people appreciated and loved seeing us working together. So, it just happened.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on three different projects: two movies and a stage play titled, The Prime Minister’s Son. It’s one-man character play and that is what I will be doing for the rest of the year, after the two movies.
How did you venture into acting?
My acting started in 1999. I’ve been in the industry for quite some time, so basically, I love it. It’s something that I started in my secondary school, having been trained by a non-governmental organization to be an educator and counselor through dance and songs. But in the long run, I realized that this is something that gives me money. And if I have this talent, what is the essence of me going elsewhere? Let me just start making money from it.
Some people see in you feminine traits, is that natural or otherwise?
That is the way I am. I grew up in the midst of so many women. I have sisters in the front and at the back; I am in the middle. So, that’s me naturally.
Is that your selling point?
I have a lot of selling points. I can choose to be a town crier or anything. I build on a lot of characters so that I am not stereotyping. Therefore, when you bring anything (character) to me, I’m able to fall into it. So, I create that flexibility.
Was the Airtel TV commercial you did a turning point for you?
Yes, it was a turning point, because at first, it came like a model job that I needed to do an advert for. Also, the second time was like that. And then, when it came the third time, they were like ‘a lot of people love what you are doing, so let’s make you our ambassador’ and that was it.
Have you ever been approached by a gay?
I think it happened on one or two occasions, and I cursed them because I feel being gay is madness. Any way, I am not like that.
What about lesbians, and what’s the reaction of your wife if they have by any means approached you?
I love myself the way I am and that is the most important thing. It is the love you show to yourself that will radiate to other people, and they will love you the way you are.
Has there been any kind of misconception about you?
Of course, there have been a lot of misconceptions about me, but that’s their problem. There is freedom of expression and people can say what they want. What is important is to know yourself and stick to what you do, and you would prosper.
What should your fans expect from you soon?
Lateef Adedimeji will always give his best. Do not expect a perfect person because I am a human being just like you. Do not expect that a celebrity like me cannot misbehave or make mistakes, because we are not angels. We can make mistakes, pick up our lives again and move on.
What is your take on entertainment in Nigeria?
Nigerian entertainment shows that we have a lot of great people and great talents in Nigeria. See the skit makers and what they create. It goes to say that we can create jobs for ourselves. Skit makers are making money and making a living from what they do. So, the entertainment industry is growing on a daily basis, and it is the best.
Do you think skit makers are taking the jobs away from Nollywood actors?
No, they are not taking away the jobs from Nollywood actors. I feel they are also actors; the difference is that they do like mini kind of movies. A lot of skit makers do acting jobs; it’s just that they need consistency in their acting
What changed after you got married?
Maybe the way I work. Before now, I used to go from one location to another. Right now, I had to slow down a little because I also have to relax with my wife before taking on another job.
How many children are you expecting?
I don’t know (laughs). But I wish to have just three children by the grace of God.
How do you wish to safeguard your marriage from crashing?
What is important is that, there must be a clear understanding between the couples. Learn to be friends and be open to each other. No one should feel more superior to the other. See yourselves as one, and tell yourselves everything. You will definitely fight and argue. Of course, that’s certain but be sure that after the argument, both of you reach a conclusion. Solve your problems indoor; everything should not be put on social media. Keep a low life and be open with your spouse. My wife and I both write all the things we want and do not want, exchange them, read them out to each other, and make sure that we keep to them. With this, we get to know each other better.
What is your view about divorce?
Whatever is becoming a threat to your life, if it’s your peace of mind or mental health, then there is no need to be together.
What do you think about men dominating and beating their wives to submission?
A woman is not a slave to her husband, and she wasn’t given to you as a housemaid. Why would you beat up your fellow human in the first place, over what? Whatever it is, once you know you cannot control your anger, and it’s getting to you raising your hand, the best thing is to just walk away and come back when you are calmer. But if you feel the situation keeps getting uncontrollable, then both parties can go their separate ways. Marriage is not something to die for.
Have you had any ‘toaster’ after you got married?
People would always ‘toast’ you (laughs).
What do you have to say about Pull-up Naija?
I’m impressed and encouraged because I haven’t seen something like this in Nigeria in a while. A lot of Nigerians do not believe that we have the power to make a decision and that, that power is our votes. When you have your PVC and you are able to vote for the right candidates, then you have the power and you can make the decision yourself. Also, I have come to the realisation that a lot of Nigerians do not believe in the fact that they need to vote. There is this Nigerian ‘I don’t care’ attitude that either they vote or not, their votes don’t count. So, we need to sensitize them that their votes count in every way. If it is one vote, it goes a long way to contributing to decision-making in your country. So, it’s a good thing that Pull-up Naija is trying to bring it to the notice of everybody that we need to get our PVC. I love the initiative; it’s a great one.