Kunle Afolayan thinks critics have no right to speak. I think that's ridiculous.
A significant amount of Nigerian creators see their consumers in two categories:
i. There are those who believe people love their work, also know as fans.
ii. There are those who criticise their work, also known as haters.
It is pretty common for Nigerian creators to see criticism, not directed at their work, but as a direct attack on their person. So most of the time, when a person tries to critique the work, it feels useless because the creator completely misses the point.
Let’s talk about Kunle Afolayan.
I was a boy when Tunde Kelani introduced Kunle Afololayan to the world. He was barely a man himself, dropping all the best words to impress Arapa re gangan, the love of his life in the classic Saworoide.
He has come a long way from being just an actor, to being a filmmaker with critically acclaimed works like The Figurine and October 1st.
In a recent interview with members of the press, he was asked regarding critics and their place in the industry, and The Nollywood Story quoted him as saying;
“They are not film makers and should not be able to say anything.”
This is the one thing people easily forget about critics — they are consumers first, before they are even critics. A film industry exists because of consumers. If consumers weren’t important, film makers can take their work and jerk off to it in the private time. On an empty stomach of course. A critic, if you ask me, is a consumer who has honed his taste over time. Coincidentally, a lot of people tend to take their word for it.
Kunle also talked a lot about film making and how much work it takes to make a film and how a lot of the time, critics don’t understand the concept of filmmaking. He even went on to say some people are stupid (based on their criticism due to a perceived ignorance).
The most common problem among creative people is insecurity. When we put work out, we fear that people might not appreciate all the hardwork and sleepless nights we put into it. We fear backlash. We fear, that maybe, just maybe, what we have sacrificed so much to create, might just be shit.
You might compare this to parents who are overly protective of their children. They fear that one day, the harshness of the world will corrupt all the things they have imbibed in their children.
We forget a lot of the time that the art and the artist aren’t the same. Sometimes, great people make mistakes, and it is up to the consumer or critic, to point it out.
He went on to say;
“Look, I can even tell you that I’ve met with professors of film, doctors of film, in festivals and we’ll argue. We’ll argue because, they’re not practitioners, they’re scholars. And how they earned the doctorate degree and being a professor is because they picked the information from different people about films and how to do films. But they’re not film makers, so a lot of times, they go off.”
To be honest, this is just too much English.
I hitch a ride to work with my brother and his friend, and we have this puff-puff woman we go to every morning. It makes the morning traffic to work more bearable. On days when her puff puff is too small, we tell her. On days when it’s too salty, we tell her. Most of the time, her puff-puffs are round balls of perfection. Praise the Lord.
Well guess what? I have never made puff-puff in my life, and I have no plans of learning how to make one. But the day she fries rubbish for me, I’m sure as hell going to spit it out. Because I am a consumer, or critic if you like, and I have a right to call out whatever will make my stomach turn.
This terrible attitude towards criticism in Nigeria has creeped into every sphere of Nigerian society. You criticise a member of the ruling part and someone automatically thinks you belong to the opposition party. You criticise an artist and he’s using you as lyrics for his next song calling you a Bad Bele Hater.
Criticism is feedback. Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it sucks, but it is surely important, every time.
Let the film makers make their films and let the consumers, or critics do their critiquing. In the end, the art will be better and everyone will be alright.
By the way, I watched Kunle Afolayan’s The CEO, with a ticket I paid for.
It was a pretty decent movie, except for the gaping plot hole where there wasn’t any security in the VIP resort that had people showing up dead.
And then there's that part where someone's wrists got slit, and somehow, somehow, the pure white bed sheet she was lying on didn't even get a drop of blood on it. Makes you wonder whether the management of the resort said they were going to charge extra if the bed sheet got stained.
Chidumga our movie nerd thinks it's not a conventional Nollywood movie, and I agree. It's worth your time and money.