Akah Nnani started to seek a gig in entertainment when he became bored with his nine-to-five job. He heard about an opportunity at TVC, so he prepared himself and auditioned for a new role as the host of an entertainment show developed for young Nigerians.
He did not get the role.
However, the network was displeased with their new hire, so they dived into their audition pool and found him, marking the beginning of a new career in entertainment that will launch Akah Nnani into the public consciousness.
Making it in entertainment
Akah Nnani’s big break came years after he had left that job at TVC and started his YouTube channel Akah Bants. The graduate of Mass Communication from Covenant University uses the platform to comment on topical issues. His comments are often made with tongue in cheek, and he uses quips that he would not have been able to say on air.
Once, he asked the former Nigerian senate president, Bukola Saraki, if he was a witch,
On Instagram, where Akah Nnani has more than 180 thousand followers, he posts comedic content, including singing famous songs in funny voices and taking up different characters that make up everyday Nigerian life.
“I just felt like ‘ooh I need to share my voice. I had something to say and I needed to share my opinions with the world,” Akah said of his decision to branch out from TVC.
Today, he has built a career as one of the top comedic actors in a new Nollywood, with cinema releases and original Netflix flicks. Also, he co-produced Shade Corner, a panel chat show with Accelerate TV.
He has starred in many TV shows and more than 7 blockbuster movies, including the Netflix movie, Man of God, produced by Bolanle Austen-Peters. Akah has been nominated for the Africa Movie Academy Awards and The Future Awards Africa.
Success has come with a price. He has had to move away from sharing his hot takes about Nigerian politics on the internet. Entertainers are advised to focus on their art and avoid politics by their PR people, but he says he stepped back from that role because he wants peace on the internet.
“Me, I need to live my life,” he said, taking up the voice of one of his many comedic characters. “I need to breathe. I didn’t come here to carry headache because of politicians,” he said.
But sometimes, politics creeps up on him, like in May when he called out “a black-faced man who looked like a rogue.” on Instagram. It was a police officer who he goes on to say was drunk on duty and harassed him in Lagos, or the Christian Association of Nigeria after they paid a 100 million naira ransom after a top clergyman was abducted.
But even with all these, he believes that the problems the country faces are less the repercussions of a corrupt political system and elected officials and more symbolic of who Nigerians are as a modern civilisation.
“Who came first, the chicken or the egg?” he asked the classic trick question. “This is something that I recently just clocked. People always say the problem of Nigeria is political leaders, and I beg to differ. The problem of Nigeria is Nigerians. Firstly, we get the leaders we deserve because the leaders are from among us. If we do not allow the leaders, the leaders will not get there,” he said.
Akah Nnani: One-half of a regular Instagram happy couple
When Akah Nnani is not commenting on the news cycle or politics, he posts videos on social media, sometimes with his wife Clair Idera-Nnani and occasionally with their daughter making a cameo, the regular Instagram happy couple content.
“Everything we do is intentional. We weigh the pros and cons, How will people learn from this? How will people learn from our mistakes? We are very comfortable with what we do,” he said. “We are not always pressed to put out content. It’s first, our marriage before we share. Whatever we share, is a result of what has already overflown. We invest in ourselves more.”
But once, the video wasn’t the typical happy couple content. It was of Akah and his wife arguing about producing breast milk. That video, still up on the Instagram he shares with his wife (AkahandClaire), has been watched more than 300 thousand times, with another three thousand comments.
Read also: How Eric Okafor became the king of short-form tech reviews on YouTube.
“It was just a learning moment for me and that’s why I put it out; to understand that breast feeding is not what you think it is,” he said.
He said he is a completely different man now that he is a father.
“I have the most beautiful thing in the world, and she inspires me,” Akah said. “I love her so much. She’s made me softer. She’s made me think of the future more. She’s made me love my wife more.”
He is currently on vacation in France, a detour from work in Europe, where he just hosted the YouTube Creator Summit in Spain. Before that, he was at the Toronto International Film Festival promoting the new Netflix original Death and The Kings Horseman, based on the Wole Soyinka drama of the same name.
Then he will be in Lisbon most of this week for the Web Summit, one of the world’s biggest tech events and a new interest.
“I love entertainment, but the truth is that it’s technology that’s taking it even to the height that it’s reaching now. And so we can’t run away from it. I have ideas that I felt are really cool to pull off.”Akah Nnani on his interest in Tech
He said he used to shy away from the idea of “the classic entrepreneur,” selling products, that traditional idea of entrepreneurship. But with tech, he is considering giving the whole entrepreneur thing a shot.
“Tech is more cerebral than physical work. It’s more smart work than hard work. For me, I feel more comfortable with tech, the idea behind it, the way it’s run. I just feel like it’s better suited for my personality.”
He has also started to invest in crypto. At the recently concluded Coinference, he said that crypto is for those with a “spine,” and can handle the fluctuations of the digital asset market. Does he have any spine?
“My risk threshold is medium,” he said. “Now that I am a married man with a child, my risk threshold is very medium.”
But he adds that he is pro-crypto and will always invest in crypto, even as he looks for more investment opportunities in tech.
“I need spaces where I can keep money and it will be safe and it will multiply. Crypto is another means for me to store value,” he said. “Crypto is here to stay.”
See how he did in a little rapid question session below:
Akah’s top tech companies
What does Akah do for fun?
Hang out at home with friends.
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