Renowned Ghanaian actress, Yvonne Nelson, has opened up on her ban from the Ghana Movie Industry and her subsequent shoot to fame in Nigeria’s booming film industry, Nollywood.

In 2010, Yvonne Nelson, the rising movie star then, was banned by the Film Producers Association of Ghana for a year, over her fight with popular movie producer Abdul Salam Mumuni.

Narrating her fight with Abdul Salam in her new book titled ‘I am Not Yvonne Nelson’, the movie star claimed injustice was meted out to her coupled with power play by some of the producers.

“The most hostile obstacle I faced at the time was not spiritual. Even if it was, it manifested in a physical form with known human causal agents. It happened in 2010 when the Film Producers Association of Ghana, a bunch of men whose behaviour I found to be disgraceful, decided to ban me from acting for one year.

It all started with my altercation with Abdul Salam Mumuni, the man who gave me my breakthrough. The misunderstanding between us did not warrant a ban. I saw it more as someone who felt entitled to me and wanted to show me where power lay. It was no doubt that he gave me the opportunity to shine when no one else believed in me. I was, and still am, eternally grateful to Abdul Salam. But what I could not do was lose my voice to fight for my right because he had helped me. I had always stood up for myself and others in situations of injustice and didn’t think I should not complain about unfair treatment just because he had helped me.

My fight with Abdul Salam—if I can call it a fight—happened when we were acting ⁴Play I was in my final

year at Central University when Abdul Salam called me to join the cast. He was well aware of my commitment to academic responsibilities and that I didn’t have much time to spare. I was not ready to defer my programme, and leaving CUC without a degree would leave me in despair. But he still acted in a way that was totally unfair”.

Recounting the reasons that led to her altercation with the popular movie producer, she highlighted how she abandoned lectures and quizzes for a shoot that didn’t take place due to the absence of one of the lead actors.

Yvonne Nelson said she was unhappy with the development since it was adversely affecting her academic work at Central University College and had to inform Abdul Salam.

She said her explanation didn’t go well with the movie producer who flared up and verbally attacked her.

“I had sacrificed a quiz and answered an urgent call to go on set for the shoot when he called me. I left campus and went to sit the whole day, but there was no show. One of the lead characters did not show up. The following day, I again abandoned class and went for the shoot, but nothing happened. One of the lead actors, we were told, was a judge in the Miss Malaika beauty pageant. Those responsibilities had kept her away and kept me at bay from academic work.

“When I was leaving that day, I told Abdul Salam that I had already missed two days of class and a quiz, so I wasn’t coming the following day. What I said was as if I had struck a match stick and dropped it in fuel. He flared up and started a condescending attack on me. I have never seen him angrier”.

Yvonne Nelson further mentioned the actions of Roger Quartey, one of the crew members, stoked the fire.

“Roger Quartey, one of the crew members, kept fueling his ego and stoking the fire that raged until I left that day. I didn’t receive any call to go back on set for the shoot. The next time I heard from or about him was a week later when I heard in the media that FIPAG had banned me from acting for a year. It was the top story on every entertainment show. Social media and newspapers used it as the cud they ruminated on from time to time. When I had an opportunity, I told my side of the story, but the popular narrative was that I was a young “disrespectful and ungrateful actress fighting those who had made her who she is”.

She pointed out how the ban opened opportunities in Nigeria for her to feature in a series of Nollywood movies.

“My name was on the lips of many. Those who hadn’t paid attention to me were beginning to find out more about me. While I launched my glaucoma foundation and tried to give back to society in my own small way, a floodgate of opportunities opened in Nigeria for me and I featured in a number of Nollywood movies. Their intended lull in my career turned out not to be the dull moment they had anticipated.” “Acting in Nigeria was more lucrative than in Ghana. There were times I shot multiple movies on a single Nigerian trip before I returned to Ghana. If Ghana gave me a professional breakthrough in acting, my financial breakthrough came from acting in Nigeria. This is a fact many Ghanaian actors who have featured in Nigerian movies will not dare contest. Nigeria has a bigger market and an even bigger budget for movies.,” Yvonne recalled in her book.