For the past six years, the duo of Jackie Appiah and Yvonne Nelson has been the major faces of the nascent Ghana movie industry and Nollywood
They have through their star power, looks and charms, elevated the evolving Ghallywood from the curiosity it once was, to a top brand it currently enjoys.
The two super stars have alternated between them hundreds of leading roles in many commercially viable and critically acclaimed movies. On screen, the two usually project a chemistry of amity and harmony, which in real live rings false. To assert that Jackie Appiah and Yvonne Nelson were in competition over supremacy and primacy of importance is to state the obvious.
Despite the façade of friendship they projected, the two stars had allowed the negative emotions of jealousy; ego and pride to come between them. To Yvonne Nelson, as sources close to her told us, she was the better actress, the more beautiful and the fan’s favorite and she expected producers and directors to treat her accordingly. She made it known that she was to the Ghana movie industry what Genevieve Nnaji is to the larger Nollywood – a megastar whose words and expectations must be respected and met, no questions asked.
According to a leading figure in Ghana movie industry, Yvonne Nelson “is a diva of indescribable proportions. She does what she wants and thinks she is above and beyond reproach. She thinks the adulations and her status as one of the major faces in the industry conferred upon her the capacity to foist her own rules on everybody. She won’t come to set on time, and when she appeared, she would expect to be catered to, and all her little whims and needs be met expeditiously.
She expects all other stars to genuflect to her and do her biddings. To her, everyone should be happy that she had lent her ‘majestic’ presence to the movie and should be treated as such. “For a long time” the source continued “we had indulged her whims – not because we wanted to, but simply because we had a production to finish and on schedule too, and we did not want to be bogged down by her infantile posturing. But we knew that it won’t be long before we wielded the cudgel and chop her to bits.”
Jackie Appiah on the other hand, according to the same source, is a true professional – sweet, friendly and shone of all the trappings of stardom. “Jackie, in spite of her bonafide stardom is the consummate professional. She is not in your-face, me, me, and me kind of a star. She believes that
she has been blessed to be given a chance to ply her craft to the admiration of her loyal and teeming fans. She has refused to be goaded into an open war of supremacy with Yvonne Nelson, and thinks that the industry is large enough to accommodate as many stars and mega stars as possible.
She has always accorded her props and respects to Yvonne Nelson, not minding the fact that in the real scheme of things, if the truth be told, she is by far a better actress than her. We had always hoped and prayed that Yvonne Nelson wouldn’t start any unnecessary brawl in the industry – one that would affect the ring of harmony or controlled ego that we have so far been able to weave around our major stars. But that was exactly what happened.
According to facts made available to The Diasporan Star exclusively, Jackie Appiah had been granted a few concessions while onset of a movie production. It is not often that she had requested such concessions, and the director felt he should grant her wish, and he did. That’s where all hell broke loose. When Yvonne Nelson heard that Jackie had been granted some waivers, she flew into an uncontrollable rage and demanded similar treatment. “If you did that for Jackie, then I must be accorded similar treatment,” she had demanded. “At first we thought she was playing” our source had stated “but she was deadly serious. “If you don’t do the same, I promise you, I will not continue with this production” she had threatened. We still thought she was bluffing, but when she indeed walked out of the set, since we didn’t meet her demands, we knew it was time to cut her down to size.
I mean, come to think of it, we made Yvonne, we discovered her, we made her the star she thinks she is today, and the fact that she can ride roughshod over her benefactors was something we didn’t wish to countenance and we told her in no uncertain terms that there would be a huge price to pay if she walked out. She did, and we acted and our decision was swift and binding: Yvonne is to be banned for one year in Ghallywood and in Nollywood as well.
Any director or producer who features her in his or her movie would be blacklisted and any movie she does in Nollywood, would not be sold in Ghana. We want to bring sanity to the industry and to send a powerful message to others who may think that they can impose their will and rubbish the discipline and professionalism that we have worked hard to foster in the industry.”
WILL YVONNE SURVIVE ONE YEAR BAN?
Many in Nollywood and Ghallywood are wondering if Yvonne will survive a year ban, given the fact that though she has chalked up a number of credits in Nollywood, she is not in the same league as Genevieve, Omotola, Stella Damasus and Rita Dominic, RMD or Ramsey Nouah who had suffered similar fate about four years ago when they were banned for one year in Nollywood, due to excessive amount of fees they had demanded, and for making it impossible for new talents to come into the industry.
In spite of the stardom the above stars enjoyed, when they came back to the industry, almost all had struggled to regain their aplomb and many Nollywood insiders are of the opinion that the one year ban, affected those stars adversely, even though some are still thriving while others like RMD, has moved on to a career in public service.
While the above stars were banned, new and fresh faces were discovered, prominent among them – Mercy Johnson, Chika Ike and even Yvonne Nelson herself among others who have since become the leading lights in Nollywood.
Many think with Yvonne Nelson out of the spotlight in one year, her spot will likely to be taken by other aspiring and pretty actresses, who have been waiting in the wings for moments like this. We shall see if that is the fate that will befall her, or if on the other hand, she will turn conventional wisdom on its head and come back stronger, and even more popular than ever. We wait to see how that will unfold!