Music News | 27 May 2007 15:35 CET

WOMEN ARE NOT MY PROBLEM —SEGUN ARINZE

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They call him Black Arrow of the Nigeria Movie industry but Segun Arinze, a Theatre act graduate, actually have his hands spread across the various spectrum of the Nigerian entertainment industry. He speaks on his art career and broken relationship in this exclusive interview with Richard Eghaghe. Excerpt:

You seem to be no longer visible in your acting career. Have you decided to step aside?

I am very choosy about the kind of film I do. I look at the script and ask myself, do I want to do this? Am I doing this just because I want to make money or put food on the table for my family? Or is it because I want to make a name? I do films now because I love the script, and I still maintain, because of the passion I have for it. I don't do any wishy-washy film because I have a reputation I need to protect.

Are you saying there are still films that are wishy-washy in the market?

All over the world, there are wishy-washy films. Even as big as Hollywood, there are still wishy-washy films there - films that are substandard. It is just like a football team. There are football teams that are big and can spend. There are also football teams that are not big and can't spend. They don't even have to pay the allowances of their players. You have banks that are big and can pay salaries and you have the ones that are small and can't even pay salaries. Depending on what you want, you set a standard for yourself and maintain that standard.

As a top Nollywood player, what are you doing to correct this?

This is an individual thing. If there are artistes that feel the same way I feel, they should go ahead and do the same thing I am doing. But if they feel like doing it for the money, I wish them luck because they have their individual and family names to protect and because they have their individual ambition I don't begrudge them. For me, I set a standard for myself. I don't see myself coming down on that. I see myself moving to the next level.

What happens if the film is good and the pay is small?

I will go ahead and do it. There is a saying that you don't because of the eba, eat the soup, you because of the soup, eat the eba. If it is a damn good script, I will do it because at the end, when the film comes out, it speaks well of you and you make money with the next movie. People will begin to demand your service and you give them your price. You can say I want to earn this for this movie because, good soup, na money kill am.

Why don't you set a standard pay for yourself, like if you don't pay me so, so amount, no dice?

Let me tell you one truth about the acting career. Any artiste who tells you that if you don't pay me this amount as his fixed fee, no show, is telling a big lie. Sometimes, we as actors, step down. Maybe because of the script or the personal relationship we have with the producer or director, we come down and do that job. For an actor to tell you he earned so, so amount to act a film and does not come down is telling you a big, fat lie.

You still have this passion for playing 'bad guy' roles in films?

I don't see myself as a stereotype. I see myself as a method actor. So, I have broken away from being stereotyped. Most minor appearances I have been making in some films here and there, have been positive roles. Not negative roles. Even if it has to be a negative role, it has to be a damn good script.

Why don't you want to be identified with a particular role in films, be it positive or negative?

I refused to be stereotyped. I am a trained actor. I pick up a script, I read it and I give about 10 or 15 interpretations of a particular character. I just got a script; I read it and I know what it is all about and what I am expected to do. If I feel like doing it, I go ahead and do it. If I don't feel like it, I will just send the script back. I am also working on Duka's film. He is shooting right now. It is titled a "Place In The Sky"

Are you ever thinking of coming fully back to music as you have broken away for a very long time now?

As I speak, my album is ready. I am dropping it at the end of June. You can judge the album when it comes out.

What kind of music are you coming out with this time around?

I play R and B, Hip-Hop. I play what I called Hip-Life as well. There is something for everybody in the album. I have a dose of Ballad in it too. So, I look forward to having a good time with music as well.

And the album is coming out after how many years of your first album?

Almost15 years after my first album, titled: Gold, because I had to develop and focus on my acting career. By the same footing, I am back to music. Singing and acting are natural to me. I studied theatre arts and it is all encompassing.

Now, if the album turns out to be a success, won't that take you away from acting?

No it will not. I am an actor, I am a singer, and I will continue to be an actor and a singer. I will continue to do voice-overs. I will continue to do endorsements for companies and I will continue to do PR for people. The album cannot stop me. It is a good given talent.

Which of all these areas of your 'God given talents' do you see as more beneficial to you?

They are all jobs and I take them the way they are.

As a full time entertainment practitioner, how would you appraise the industry at this point in time?

Entertainment is growing to the next level. We are doing very well. Young people are coming in with their wild and innovative ideas and we are pushing things to see that the things we see outside are brought back here for people to also feel it. We also educate and discipline ourselves as we move forward. We have done so well and in the whole of Africa, we stand out. Many homes now have cable network and people appreciate what we are doing in Nigeria. We can only wish for the best and go for the best.

Now looking back at your career from where you started, what are those things you feel bad about?

In life there are many challenges and you continue to face these challenges. I believe challenges will definitely come and go. Each challenge that come, I look for ways of overcoming it and move on to the next level because I see challenges as hurdles you must (overcome) to achieve your goal. I have scaled a lot of hurdles and I will continue to scale them because I don't see them as hurdles or problems but challenges. Each of them makes me stronger.

So how does your family appreciate your being called Black Arrow?

They are very proud of me and are fully in support of what I do. They continue to pray for me.

So how do your family appreciate you being called Black Arrow?

They are very proud of me and are fully in support of what I do. They continue to pray for me.

How would you describe your marital status for now?

I have been married and divorced. I haven't re-married yet. If you want to call it separated, fine. I think it is good I made it clear once and for all that I have only been married only once in my life. I hope to re-marry in the near future. Women are not my problem. I see them as my friends. Relationships come and go. Relationships are not a do or die affair. If it works, fine. If it doesn't work, then let it go. You don't do relationship based on sympathy. You don't stay in a relationship because you want to be seen in the relationship with somebody. It can either work or not. There is no two ways about it. I don't let popularity get into my head. I try as much as possible and I will continue to work and pray to be humble. God has humbled me and I will remain his humble servant. God has given me a large heart and I will continue to keep that large heart. Today that I am Segun Arinze is by the Grace of God and people like you in the media. And people on the streets. It keeps me going.

Is there no room for you to mend your broken relationship?

I am not looking forward to it. That is categorical. I have moved on. We are still very good friends. But I am not looking forward to any reconciliation. My daughter is with her. She is my only child for now and I visit her all the time. We are still the best of friends but the relationship has become history.

For how long have you been separated or divorced?

Next year will make it 10 years.

So you intend to remarry another woman?

When the right time comes and I (meet) the right person, I will. But there is nothing like the right person any way. When I see a compatible person I will remarry. When I feel it is time and somebody who is compatible is there, I will. I know there is no relationship that is right or made on bed of roses. You work out your relationship.

Is it your focus on your career that is keeping you away from having another wife for so long or what?

That is not my problem for now. I certainly don't need distractions. I want to move on.

So what is your problem right now?

To be the biggest, the strongest, the most versatile and influential artiste that ever walked on planet earth. I look forward to going into politics as well. I look forward to serving my community and people in my country in whatever capacity.

So you are not working hard to make big money to achieve these goals?

That is not it. It is not all about money. It has to do with my personal goals I have set for myself. Money is only an integral part. It is not the main thing. I think achieving the goals is what count.

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