Samuel A. Perry, popularly known by the name ‘Broda Shaggi’ is a multi talented Nigerian entertainer who studied creative arts from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), he is an actor, a singer, a comedian and a dancer. He has been able to carve a niche for himself in the comedy and content creation industry in Nigeria. In this interview by FEMI OGUNTAYO, he talks about his career experiences and how he has managed to remain relevant.
You have been able to carve a niche for yourself over the years in the comedy and content creation industries, how would you describe your journey so far?
I would say the journey has been blessed; it has been rough and smooth kind-of, because I have been able to believe in myself and say, yes this is my craft and this is what I want to do. I have vision of where I am taking my craft to so, it has not been so smooth from the beginning, you know there are many challenges, but all glory to God.
Recap how it all started for you; what motivated the brand Broda Shaggi? And can you tell us the Broda Shaggi story?
I am just an actor. I graduated from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) where I studied Creative Arts. I started acting while in school. Back then in school, I had this theatre group where I trained students in acting, singing, dancing and how to drum. That was how it all started. Then after school, okay let me say, back then in school, I used to go for movie auditions, but I hardly got roles, I only got supporting roles because there were other movie actors there who were more popular. The Nollywood industry is not an industry that really cares about the upcoming to be honest and let me say that I won’t blame them, because everybody is about their businesses. Everyone wants to sell, so they need a popular face to sell their movies. So, at a point, I said to myself I wasn’t going for auditions again, I have to make a name for myself first, since that is what they want, that is what they need to sell their movies. They need a known face, so I was determined to become a known face that would get bigger roles and get more money. So that is how it all started. When I finished from school, I started making skits and I had different characters then, I had Akanni Ibadan, I had inspector Perri, before ‘Broda Shaggi’. Actually, Broda Shaggi started when I relocated to Lekki, I was fixing my car at a mechanic workshop, then I saw these area boys come around and I saw the way they talk and all that. Then I said to myself, since imitating characters is what I am good at, this is something I can do, it is something no one has done before. Then I didn’t want to do the normal drama people do all the time, because they keep repeating the same stories all the time. So I carved out the character of an ‘Agbero’ (Area boys), because there is nobody in Lagos or even in Nigeria that wouldn’t know about the ‘Agberos’. So that’s how it all started and I gave the character the name ‘Broda Shaggi’.
Standup comedy and comedy skit making, which would you say is more profitable and why?
Well, I would say, it depends on the act or the individual; you have to build yourself to a particular point where you can start making money in both fields. A good example is AY Comedian. He is a standup comedian and you know how good he is doing, even though he does skit making too sometimes, but he is not really known for that. There are other comedians like him who are still struggling to be where he is, so it is all about the individual. Whatever you do, just do it well and be sure good income will come out of it.
Since most of the stuff you do is online, your audiences are mostly online people. Would you say this Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have affected you in one way or the other, as an entertainer?
Well, as an entertainer, most of my stuffs have always been online and it seemed like an opportunity for me to do more. The only issue I had then during the first lockdown was that, shooting my skits was to be done outdoor which I couldn’t do, so I started re-strategising on how I can do things indoor and still keep my fans updated. It was a period when many entertainers were lost because there was nothing to do and it was a period when you have to keep entertaining people to stay relevant. I am a writer, so I started writing different scripts that could fit-in for that period, which was how I was able to sustain myself.
With the skit-making industry now gaining a lot of attention and newcomers everywhere, what would be your advice to a newcomer who would like to venture into skit-making and content creation?
Just like I do say, skit making is something you have to be dedicated to, I won’t be where I am today if there was no consistency. Even when I started, I was dropping skits everyday because I write also and I was dropping skits everyday and people in the industry were like, Shaggi, why not drop these skits once in two weeks or once a week, that I would run out of ideas. I just laughed because I know myself, no be today, I am a workaholic, I write everyday and I am used to it. So, I do tell people if you really want to excel in this industry, it is something you must take serious, you must take it as your job, as a 24-hours job and you must give it attention. It is not something you would do and your mind will be divided, it is something you must give your time to. Another thing is that, most people now are more into “I want to make followers”, they are after followers and I tell them, when you make good contents, followers will come. You can’t have followers without good contents, because if you drop a video today, they will come to your page and watch, they will say “wow, this guy is good” and that is all, they will leave the page, they won’t follow. But when they watch a video and see other videos too, they will stay, so that is how it works. So, like I said consistency is the key, they must be able to believe in you that you know what you are doing and it is not a period when you now start repeating people’s skits. You must know how to write, even if you don’t know how to write, you must get a writer.
Would you say the skit making and content creation industry in Nigeria or in Africa is really profitable, compared to other continents?
Yes, it is profitable but not as it is in Europe and America. Reason is that as a content creator, you must have a YouTube page, because that is the only platform that is really paying, Facebook just started paying. Instagram doesn’t pay, just imagine! You know how many followers I have on Instagram; let us assume they pay, imagine how many millions I would be having right now. So, to make money from content creation and skits making, you must have a YouTube page and YouTube in Nigeria is not like it is in other countries. People hardly watch YouTube in Nigeria, because there is no free internet, people will have to buy data to watch your videos, but the little we are getting from it, we appreciate God.
On a lighter note now, you have a lot of followers on your social media platforms; over 4 million followers on Instagram; close to 500, 000 subscribers on YouTube and millions of followers on Facebook. If you are to delete all these accounts for 1 billion Naira, would you do that?
1 billion Naira? I will delete my phone. With all the social media and all, I have not even made 1 billion Naira, shey you dey wyn me ni? You will not see me again.
So you mean, if you are offered 1 billion Naira today, you will forget the brand Broda Shaggi?
I won’t forget the brand Broda Shaggi, movie industry is there, I will go into the movie industry. With that 1 billion, I know how I can invest in the movie industry and make enough money.
What is the most memorable moment in your career?
I would say, the day I met David (Davido), because I am a big fan of his, I met him through my craft, it was not as if I just walked up to him. It was through my craft, he just called me, he said he is a big fan, and said I should come to his house, that is a day I will never forget.
What is the relationship between you and Aunty Shaggi? It is widely believed that you guys are lovers, how true is that?
Everybody is free to believe what they want to believe, my relationship life is personal. Aunty Shaggi is my partner on the job.
What are your words to your fans in this trying time?
This is a very sensitive period and I just want to say we should all remain prayerful, because there is nothing going on now that God doesn’t know about. We should all put everything in prayers and the world will come back to normal as soon as possible. The pandemic has really changed the world, I wonder if we can go back to the way things were before now, but everybody should just stay safe because the virus is real. I have never for once doubted the virus. Even though I might have doubted the data released daily by the NCDC but I have never doubted the reality of the disease. It is real, because I know someone, a personal person to me, who contracted the disease in America, so everybody should just stay safe.
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