Eight A-List Nollywood actors, including RMD and Genevieve Nnaji, were barred in 2004 for demanding exorbitant fees.
In September 2004—18 years ago—the Nollywood industry decided to expel eight actors.
They were Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, Emeka Ike, Ramsey Nouah, Nkem Owoh, Stella Damasus, and Jim Iyke, collectively known as the G8.
Beginning in the early 2000s, the majority of Nollywood actors began to favour market distributors over independent producers.
“They felt shooting with the marketers guaranteed them steady jobs compared to independents like us, who they felt added no value to their career,” Charles Novia wrote in his book “Nollywood till November: Memoirs of a Nollywood Insider.”
Even before negotiations, marketers deposited fees into actors’ accounts. As a result, the majority of actors had unfinished productions to finish.
“Indiscipline from the actor had a demoralizing effect on general production. Even the marketers who created these monsters were affected,” Novia said.
To combat this, marketers decided to prohibit these actors from appearing in films for a year. This choice upended devoted fans, rocked the industry, and gave rise to a new group of actors.
Other talented actors took over DVD jackets months after the ban. Nse Ikpe-Etim, Desmond Elliot, Majid Michel, Mike Ezuruonye, Uche Jombo, and Mercy Johnson, among others, had plenty of opportunities to succeed and eventually become well-known actors. A new generation of Nollywood stars emerged as a result of the A-list actors’ ban. Many of them remain important today. You could say that the ban helped the movie industry by introducing fresh faces.
Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, and Jim Iyke all became musicians after the ban.
It is difficult to tell from the timing of this choice whether they have always had a passion for music or have used it as a fallback.
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde stated that the ban was a result of the changes the industry had to go through in a 2011 interview with Connect Nigeria.
“Most of the people we had worked with were not professionals. They didn’t understand the chain of movie making. They thought “why would you be asking me for that kind of money?” We fought it and today, actors are well paid.”
Nkem Owoh, better known by his stage name Osuofia, is a comedian, television personality, producer, and Nollywood comic actor. He was born on October 17, 1960 in Enugu State, Nigeria’s Amagu Village, Udi Town.
A well-known Nollywood actor, director, producer, investor, businessman, and philanthropist is Emeka Ike. On March 17, 1979, he was born in Mbano, Imo State, in the southeast of Nigeria. He began working in Nollywood in 1995 and has appeared in more than 200 films.
James Ikechukwu Esomugha, also known as Jim Iyke, is a well-known Nollywood actor, producer, director, hip hop rapper, model, and entrepreneur. He was born in Libreville, Gabon, on September 25, 1976. Jim Iyke started acting in 1996 and has since appeared in more than 150 movies. He is one of Nollywood’s highest-paid actors.
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is a Nollywood actress, singer, model, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 7th, 1978. Although she was raised in Lagos, Nigeria, she is from Ondo State. She began working in Nollywood in 1995 and has appeared in more than 230 films.
Ramsey Nouah is a well-known Nollywood actor, director, model, and television personality. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on December 19, 1970. In 1993, Ramey Nouah entered Nollywood and has since appeared in over 250 films. His roles in romantic movies have earned him the nickname “Lover-Boi.”
Stella Damasus is a well-known Nollywood actress, producer, singer, TV personality, and model. She was born on April 24th, 1978 in the southern Nigerian city of Benin, Edo State. She began working in Nollywood in 1992 and has appeared in more than 200 films.
Richard Mofe Damijo
Richard Mofe Damijo, better known by his stage name RMD, is a well-known Nollywood actor, director, producer, businessman, and politician. He was born on July 6, 1961, in Warri, Delta State, in the southern region of Nigeria. RMD entered Nollywood in 1995 and has appeared in more than 250 films.
Genevieve Nnaji is an actress, singer, model, and businesswoman from Nollywood. She was raised in Lagos, Nigeria, after being born on May 3, 1979, in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria. She began working in Nollywood in 1997 and has appeared in more than 200 films.