Source: Ameyaw Debrah
Movie director and producer, Leila Djansi is urging African actors to learn how to switch their accents professionally before seeking jobs internationally.
According to her, speaking with an African accent during auditions in the West can go against an actor.
“You walk into places, they hear your accent and they’re already doubting what you’re capable of. They’re already doubting you because you’re African. Look if my accent was British, I’d probably have won a mainstream Oscar already,” she told Andy Dosty on Daybreak Hitz on Hitz FM, Tuesday.
Leila Djansi explained the accent of many African film directors, in the west, like Chinonye Chukwu, who has changed to suit the demand market and secure jobs.
She stated that a lot of Africans presented by talent agencies have barely made it on to the big screens.
“I kid you not about this accent issue. That’s what they’re going to hear and ask where you’re from. The number of jobs I have lost because of an African accent is crazy,” she added.
The ‘Sinking Sands’ director said that it is important when learning to switch an accent, it gets done professionally and not learned shabbily from TV. She told Andy Dosty that people have criticized her on numerous occasions about her accent. Others, she claimed, said she was losing her identity but she feels otherwise.
“I’m not changing my identity, I just have to pay my bills. Look at what you deal with when you come here (Ghana), there’s no support and there’s no infrastructure. So, when you get out there you gotta make that place work,” she added.
Supporting Leila Djansi’s argument, entertainment pundit Mr. Logic said he has also on some occasions, faced discrimination because of his accent.
According to him, while in Canada, he had called a distribution service to book a deal but they refused to go through when they noticed his accent was from Africa.
He explained that he had to wait and call back with a Jamaican accent which earned him the deal.
British Nigerian Adewale also in an interview with Lexis Bill on Personality Profile on Joy FM said that Hollywood does not always welcome Black people of Africa descent with open arms, hence 99% of the time, they should expect rejection after auditions.