Actress Funke Akindele-Bello has been in the news because of her reported role in an upcoming blockbuster American film Avengers: Infinity War. But there is more than meets the eye regarding her role.
NAIJ.com had earlier reported that popular Nigerian actress Funke Akindele is set to play a role in upcoming international film Avengers: Infinity War.
Since this became public knowledge, many especially Nigerians have taken to social media to celebrate Funke’s feat. Those celebrating her have every right to do so because it’s not every day a Nigerian actress gets to star in a blockbuster movie franchise.
To a lot of people, Funke moving from starring in local films like Jenifa to appearing alongside international heavyweights like Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, and Zoe Saldana is nothing short of amazing.
While we are all jubilating for Funke, one needs to take a closer look at her role in the film. According to information from IMDb.com, the well-loved actress will star as a member of the Dora Milaje, a team of women who serve as Special Forces for the fictional African nation of Wakanda.
The Dora Milaje (adored ones) were picked by the Black Panther from rival tribes to serve as his personal guard and ceremonial wives-in-training Wikipedia writes.
This means Mrs Skillz is not a member of the main cast. She is basically an extra in the movie – a waka pass – speaking in Nollywood terms.
A waka pass is a name given to someone who appears in a movie usually in an unimportant role. Many actors popular in the Nigerian film industry today began their careers with roles like this.
Some argue that the role Funke appears in in this film is not important, that the fact her name is on the list of actors is enough but her skills as an actress begs to differ.
Funke has starred in several Nollywood movies where she delivers her role with so much passion that a lot of people still find it hard to differentiate between her character and her in real life.
One great example is Jenifa, the eponymous character that has become second nature to her. Starring as an extra in a foreign film is simply not enough for an actress of Funke’s calibre no matter how one looks at it.
However, Funke is not the only Nollywood actress who has had a waka pass role in an American Film. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde famously appeared for less than 10 seconds in VH1's scripted series, Hit the Floor.
There are several Nigerian born actors who have gone on to have stellar careers in Hollywood. Some of them include David Oyelowo, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and most recently John Boyega.
One could say none of the actors mentioned above have a career in Nollywood like Akindele does, but she can match any of these names when it comes to acting skills. In all honesty, almost nothing could have stopped Funke from getting a much visible role in Avengers: Infinity War.
Other Nigerian actors need to use Funke’s appearance in this film as a source of inspiration to do more. They shouldn’t settle for waka pass roles in international films, no matter how ‘big’ they are.
There have also been rumours that Funke’s role in the Avengers franchise may be a hoax. Proponents of this theory point to the fact that the actress herself or anyone close to her has not confirmed or denied her involvement in the film as at the time of writing this article.
In conclusion, one should feel free to celebrate Jenifa’s achievement, but also remember that this is a waka pass role. Perhaps something ‘bigger’ will happen in future.
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