Williams Uchemba: People call me a comedian, I prefer to be known as an actor | The Guardian Nigeria News

Williams Uchemba is an actor, filmmaker, comedian, philanthropist and social media influencer. The native of Abia State is a graduate in International Relations from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He began his acting career as a child actor in early 2000, United Nations Ambassador and African Youth Representative. He runs the Williams Uchemba Foundation through which he reaches out to the poor and less privileged. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he talks about his desire to defend youth participation in the 2023 elections and his acting career, among other things.

You recently embarked on a PVC campaign tour in Enugu State. What informed this?
I think it is necessary and I believe that with the way Nigeria is going, if we have another bad government there may be no more Nigeria. I love this country so much. Also, when I learned about the new voting system released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I was thrilled to let people know that their vote now counted. What I mean by that is that in 2023 when you vote, the vote count will be uploaded for the public to see.

There are no more cases of ballot boxes being stolen and ripped off like we used to. This means that if we can have just 1% of the 1.2 billion BBNaija votes, go vote and have consensus on who we want, we will have the Nigeria we want. I want my daughter to come back to Nigeria and not be afraid of the insecurity and some of these issues that we are going through. That’s what I do; I fight for my children.

You started out as a child actor. How was this trip for you?
It was amazing. I entered the industry when I was eight years old. This is my 22nd year in the industry. At some point I took a break, traveled out of the country to focus on my studies. It’s been a great trip so far.

What inspired your film ‘Mambas Diamond’ and do you plan to produce more films?
I have two other productions, but the reason I produced “Mambas Diamond” is to let people know that doing the right thing pays off. I shot it not only to entertain but to teach young people that anything not given to you by God can be taken, and even your life can be taken. It’s a film I made to raise awareness among young people around the world and it’s coming to streaming platforms very soon. It might be on Amazon.

What projects are you currently working on?
I haven’t made it public yet but there’s another one coming out, ‘Sugar rush 2’. That’s what’s currently on my table, but there are two bigger projects coming out of my production teams. The goal is to further change the narrative of film production using state-of-the-art equipment.

You are quite passionate about philanthropy and it shows. Does your experience have anything to do with the fact that you have always helped people?
I have been in a low position in my life. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon and I know what it’s like not having one. When I was young, I was hungry because there was no food at home. I tell people that to find your purpose, you first have to find what excites you and what makes them very angry.

In terms of choice of scripts, why would you refuse one?
When I see a movie that no one will learn about. When the movie promotes something that I can’t stand, it doesn’t matter how much you give me. The money will end but the film remains. I have certain standards and morals that I keep and if it’s not in the movie, I don’t.

How did you find your niche in the comedy industry?
It was not planned. In fact, I’ve always been funny to the best of my knowledge. We’re just a funny family; my father, my siblings and I never thought to take him out of my comfort zone, because of my “status”. I thought when I go out I have to be cool as an actor, but when I realized the power of being you, that changed everything. I started acting when I was in California. I just tried a video and people loved it and kept reposting it.

He got a lot of views. One day I received a message in my DM (Direct Message) from a woman who asked to speak to me. When she called she was crying saying “Thank you very much, you don’t know what you have done for us”. She said her mum had cancer for over six months and she saw no reason to smile until she came across my comedy and laughed the whole time. That everyone was moved and they thought they should call me and thank me. It was then that I realized that this was not just what I was doing for art, but for a ministry, especially in Nigeria where there are a lot of people going through so much. The least I can do is relieve the stress with humor.

They say that laughter is good medicine. People call me a comedian but I prefer to be called an actor because an actor can make you cry, make you laugh, perform and that’s what I consider myself to be.

You have various responsibilities on your table. How to juggle them all together?
At this point, I would say God’s grace. We really don’t control anything. You wake up in the morning without knowing how. For me, I prioritize and put God’s will before my own and let it happen.

What is your assessment of the Nigerian creative industry?
I think they are doing extremely well, I think Nigeria is one of the most creative and respected industries in the world. Of course, our content trend in global markets, which means we’re doing something right. We have created jobs for many young people who might have done something illegal, suffered from depression or had suicidal thoughts. It has been an escape for some of them and I just pray that they use it to promote our culture and to have a better nation in general.

How do you relax?
I like to worship. I put a cult song or an instrument on the piano that can play for three hours. I just sit there and enjoy it all. I also like watching movies, going to Netflix, looking for interesting ones, having a snack, sitting in front of my TV and relaxing.