You may recognise Gabriel Afolayan from the TV commercials of telecom brand Airtel. A graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan, Gabriel like his older brother Kunle is steadily becoming a famous star on the silver screen. For the first time, Gabriel whose first appearance in front of the camera was in 1990 would be featured in a feature film produced by his brother. It’s not the first time they are collaborating on projects. Gabriel has starred in Kunle’s short film for Sahara Energy and works behind the scene in each of his productions. However, Gabriel is particularly excited about the latest production ‘Citation’ which stars veterans like Sadiq Daba and Joke Silva, as well as newcomer Temi Otedola. In a brief encounter with The Interview, Gabriel talks about the importance of artistes proffering solutions to the myriad of problems facing Nigeria.
Is this the first feature film of your brother that you are starring in?
Yes it is indeed. This is my first time and I’m super glad to be part of it.
The excitement is not because he is my brother, it is about the subject matter.
It is one of these things we need to address.
I don’t like talking about problems but solutions. We know the country has problems, what solutions are you offering? Let’s talk more about the solutions.
Fela talked and sang about our problems but he never offered solutions.
Now, it is the best opportunity for artists and entertainers to use their art as a mouthpiece to proffer solutions to the growing problems in Nigeria.
It seems as if you are not a fan of Fela?
I am. I’m not saying this as a derogatory statement. It is just a fact. I’m not bringing down anyone’s legacy.
In the meantime, we have a lot of problems, we know there are problems.
Ever since our childhood days, we heard about corruption and embezzlement of funds, every other thing has been going on so there’s no point talking about it a lot, let’s talk about solutions.
How well do you relate with your character in ‘Citation’?
I play Koyejo in the movie. He is a final year medical student and the love interest of the main character.
You can call him a stand up guy who fights against all injustices. He is not an overly ambitious person but you can describe him as a lover boy who is jealous that his girl is getting involved with the professor.
He’s a fun character to play apart from the fact that he is quite expressive.
He plays a part in bringing a solution to the problem and I’m so glad to play him.
Koyejo is that character I connect a lot with a whole lot of memories because I was once a student.
How is your music career progressing?
Very well. I had an album last year and another one is coming out this February. Soul is my genre of music, but I love afro-pop.
Between music and film, which gives you the most fulfilment?
I derive fulfilment from both. It’s funny but as a singer or a songwriter, you are still telling stories. I am a storyteller.