Akah Nnani is an actor, TV host and content creator. A native of Imo State, he graduated from Covenant University where he bagged a degree in Mass communication. He has been cast in several ‘MNET Africa’ TV Films, Web Series and Feature Films, including On the Real, Banana Island Ghost, Lara and the Beat, Ajoche and The Royal Hibiscus Hotel. His Vlog ‘Akah Bants’ has been recognised as one of the fastest growing Nigerian YouTube channels. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he speaks on his first lead role in his seven-year career.
You played the lead role in Bolanle Austen-Peters’ Man of God. What prepared you for this?
I THINK that my entire life prepared me for this role. Immediately I saw the script, I knew it was for me. I knew that I could pull this role off. It was going to be the role of my life. Not the best one I’ll ever do, but the best one I’ve done yet.
My learning processes, my successes, my failures all prepared me for this role. Everything I’ve been through in my life, things that I have fought for, things I believe in, everything prepared me for this. I feel like this was a divine assignment for me.
Two things stood out; the fact that you played the role of a much older man, sang, danced and held performances.
How did you pull this through?
I think that’s just being able to hold my skin overtime. I have been in the movie industry for seven years; I’ve played lead roles in TV shows, in African magic 260-episode show, Ajoche. I’ve played little characters in small features and web series, and also watching other actors perform. It helps me to also sharpen my talent and my skill.
When I was in school, I sang, I was in then choir… that also helped in my singing performances. I really don’t like dancing; it was the least comfortable thing to pull off, but I had to do it for this film. I had to give it my all; I couldn’t make excuses.
As a thespian, how did you develop passion for what you do?
I don’t think I developed passion, I think the passion was just there; it grabbed me. The passion chose me. However, I’m not like a thespian head, I don’t like doing theatre every time. It takes too much time and doesn’t pay enough money.
But I like doing theatre once in two years at least, because theatre helps sharpen talent. It’s a tool to sharpen your skill, gives you finesse and also humbles you as an actor. That’s what theatre does.
As a media personality, content creator, YouTuber and more, how are you able to hone your skills?
It’s basically just making sure that I give time to develop myself, prioritise, and being focused. I try to remain focused in my art, my life and its what I do. Entertainment is what I do and it has several expressions. Whether as a content creator, YouTuber, actor, TV host, an event MC, it’s basically all expressions of my art, entertaining people.
What would you say stands you out?
I think the fact that people can relate with me stands me out. People see some part of themselves in me, which is somebody who is trying to make it and he’s growing and making it. I don’t think that my story is a one-night blow syndrome. Everybody has seen my growth process from when I started and people can relate that I started from the bottom and if I can do it, they can do it. I think it’s that representation of hope, but also relatable that also makes me stand out.
Also, what makes me stand out is my spirituality. I’m not afraid of my stand in my spirituality, my religion, and my faith. It shows and shines through everything I do and stand for. People know I stand for something; I have opinions, I speak out my mind about issues and all that.
Share with us challenges you have faced in the industry?
I don’t think that the challenges faced are peculiar, the challenges I face… everybody goes through them. Waiting for the best script to come or waiting for somebody to believe in you, waiting for a call for the next job, feeling like you’re not being paid what your worth is or what your value is.
What next should we expect from you, any new project?
I can’t wait for the new project to come out. A couple of projects are coming out soon, but I’d like to keep my lips sealed.
How would you describe Akah?
Akah is a husband, a father, an actor, a content creator and producer. He’s just a young man out there living his dreams and telling his truth. Living his authentic self and I hope that shines through. Hopefully, be a light to other people.
What does fashion mean to you?
To be honest, I’m literally just forming a relationship with fashion, and I don’t want to talk too much so that I don’t jinx it. But for me, fashion is wearing stuffs that fits your body type and makes you look good, period.
If you have the opportunity to change something in Nigeria, what would that be?
I think I would change the people’s mindset. The change has to come from down going up, not vise versa. We as people need to change the way we talk, behave, think, what we expect; who we are. Our patterns, belief systems, value systems, culture, those are the things I feel like we can change and have power over.
Then amongst us, we can become better leaders, select our leaders, hold them accountable, demand and act better. There’s no business demanding better from leaders when we are behaving anyhow, we don’t care about our neighbours. We ourselves are corrupt, so what are we doing?