13 years ago, in September 2004, film marketers decided to ban eight actors from Nollywood.
Popularly called the G8, these actors were Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, Emeka Ike, Ramsey Nouah, Nkem Owoh, Stella Damasus and Jim Iyke.
It all started in the early 2000s when most Nollywood actors started preferring market distributors to 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."
Marketers paid fees into actors' accounts even before negotiations. As a result of this, most actors had a backlog of productions to deliver on.
"Indiscipline from the actor had a demoralizing effect on general production. Even the marketers who created these monsters were affected," Novia said.
In a bid to curb this, the marketers decided to ban these actors from starring in a movie for one year. This decision shook the industry, infuriated loyal fans and birthed a new generation of actors.
Months after the ban, other talented actors took over DVD jackets. Actors like Nse Ikpe-Etim, Desmond Elliot, Majid Michel, Mike Ezuruonye, Uche Jombo and Mercy Johnson had ample opportunity to thrive and in turn, become household names. The ban of the A-list actors helped bring a new crop of Nollywood stars. Many of them are still relevant till today. You could say that the ban also served to bring in new blood to the movie scene.
Following the ban, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Jim Iyke went on to become musicians.The timing of this decision makes it difficult to ascertain if they always had a passion for music or turned to it as a backup plan.
In a 2011 interview with Connect Nigeria, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde said the ban was part of the changes the industry had to go through.
"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."
Are actors well paid these days?
In 2016, filmmaker Mildred Okwo said that crew and cast are still earning less than they earned 10 years ago
"It's relative. Several other factors like branding and talent determine your pay. The ban played a positive role in the evolution of Nollywood. But not so much on the pay," an undisclosed filmmaker said to Pulse Nigeria.
The infamous ban is still a touchy subject in Nollywood. Pulse reached out to the actors involved in the ban and the marketers. None of them replied with a statement for the article.
To some, the ban was a necessary move. To others, it was a dim-witted decision.
Yet, a few others consider it an evolutionary process that has created an advanced Nollywood. The aftermath of the ban led to the rise of new faces in the movie industry.