” I Have Been A Victim Of Racism All The Time ” – Olu Jacobs
Most fans of the seasoned actor, Olu Jacobs, are aware that he cut his teeth in Britain in the 1960s.
At least records say that the man who was recently 75 years old was trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts in London and participated in many British film and film productions until he returned to Nigeria several years later later.
But many of them do not know that he had to disobey his father to make the trip to this country.
Jacobs, in an interview with our correspondent, described his father as the only obstacle that stood between him and a burning ambition to move to England and start an acting career.
He said, “My father did not want me to come to England.”“I was his favorite child. When I said I wanted to act, he said I should do something else and not something that takes me away from him.”This may sound funny to many Nigerians today, especially in these difficult times as parents would do everything possible to send their children abroad in search of the Proverbial Gold Forest.
But such was the connection between the actor and his father that the latter was afraid to allow him to settle in a foreign land.
However, the young man was determined to have his way. So he conspired with his elder brother who was already living in London and eventually came to this country in 1966.
Even then, he had to do something to appease his father and return to his good books. “When I arrived in London, I had to send him a message.”“As the person closest to him in the family, I knew that the good thing that would calm him was tobacco. My father loved tobacco.”“He was a pipert, so I bought him a new pipe and tobacco and I sent them by someone who was traveling home, and he forgave me for disobeying it,” he said. declared.
Jacobs also explained that he chose Britain because he thought it was the right place to fulfill his ambition. “At that time, if you want to do the work we do in the arts, you have to go to Europe or America.”“France was out of the question for me because I did not speak French. I still do not speak French, but I speak German or Russian.”
“English was the language of communication I knew and everything I wanted to learn, I preferred to do it in the language I understood.”
“And as we already had a relationship between Great Britain and Nigeria, it was much easier for me to go to England,” he said.
At the same time, most immigrants of African origin had difficulty creating a career or obtaining decent jobs, Jacobs managed to reach the British art scene with relative ease. Returning to those days, he attributed it to good fortune.
“Providence must have taken it in hand, and I think good luck followed me wherever I went, and at the time, to become an actor in England, you must be able to have an equity card.”
“The card was issued by the actors’ union in this country, and to get the card you have to have a job, and to get a job, you have to have an agent,” he said.
But life in Britain was not quite smooth for Jacobs.
Although her acting career has thrived and it is timely to appear in some productions that have also featured some of the best actors and actresses in the world, there have been challenges.
One of them was racism.
“I was a victim of racism all the time. You felt it in the way people looked at you and in their attitude towards you. But you could not do anything. I could not bring anyone to justice for this, “said the actor.
Recalling an incident that occurred in the first year of his stay in London, he added: “A white woman called me a dog.”“She had a vacant room to rent, but when I approached her, she asked me if I could not see the sign” No dogs” on her door.”
“Before I could answer, she said that a dog was better than me and slammed the door in my face. I felt so bad that I almost decided to go back to Nigeria.”Driven by patriotism and the desire to contribute to the growth of the artistic and cultural sector, Jacobs returned to Nigeria 20 years later. Olu Jacobs has been very active in the film industry.