Folagade Banks is not your regular skit maker. He is re-enacting the stories of a typical Yoruba mother one skit at a time. If you stick around long enough on his social media pages, you’ll find a cherished memory you share with your parents.
In this interview, the humour merchant who recently bagged a university degree tells Legit NG’s Adeyinka Odutuyo how it all started, his journey to the top and plans for the future.
So take me to the very beginning. What was growing up for you like in a typical African home?
Growing up in a typical African home wasn't an easy task. A lot of things that should have gotten overlooked were not overlooked. A typical African parent is a spiritual parent; in the same vein, an African mother is spiritual. This is why a lot of stuff that children do...Like playing with a cat? You dare not do that in an African home. Where did you get the cat from?
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Watching some kind of cartoon? That’s demonic, don’t do it! Do you understand? So I’ll say it was fun and you also feel this kind of protection over you. Your parents are there for you to let you know that they care a lot, but then they don't want you to turn out bad.
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So I think that's where the love you have for your African parent is coming from because everything they are doing is coming from a place of care and love, but they might just be overdoing it.
So I’ll say growing up for me in an African home was very tough but it taught me how to love and actually care. It also made me a much more disciplined person. A lot of things that some people do in the abroad, they do not born me well to try in Nigeria…
And your mother, tell us about her. Is she similar to some of the scenarios you paint in your videos?
Everything you see in my videos—asides from the accent and the Ekiti/Ondo intonation that you get in my Yoruba—is my mom. The only difference is that she doesn't have an accent. She's not from Ondo or Ekiti. She has a very normal way of speaking Yoruba. She’s a sweet person, a caring mother and there are times when I feel like she’s treating me like a child. You know, even my elderly ones that are grown, she still treats them like they are babies. There's this kind of way she goes “don't do that o, don't do that.”
Who born you to get a tattoo in my house? Who born you to pierce your ear? When it comes to your looks, it matters to her. No matter how you say that's what is in vogue, she says her children will not do that even if it’s in vogue. So she's extra.
A random Yoruba mother is extra and dramatic. Ordinary ceremonies that should go smoothly, they will be like “ah, where are these caterers? They are delaying already.” Do you understand? And that their shouting will not do anything but they just have to shout because it’s in the culture. It is something that has to happen.
My mum is actually a deaconess in church and I've learned a lot from her. I've seen her vulnerability. I've seen the way she loves even when she's trying to be strong. I've seen how heartbroken she could get when a child disappoints her. I've seen her when she was down because a child misbehaved or did something bad. I've seen her. It makes me feel some kind of way and tap from her emotions when she's actually in that kind of situation.
I feel like I could use that to pass up information and make people see that this is how our parents actually feel when we do certain stuff.
How did the skit-making journey start for you?
The skit-making journey started in sometimes in November 2020 and I started with something totally different from what I'm doing now. I started with rants and then from there, I went to reaction videos. Maybe people decide to go on a weird adventure and I’ll react to their videos. I found out that people loved my videos. So I started working on developing more content because I really have a passion to entertain people. I've seen that when I do that, I'm so happy. It gives me some sort of fulfilment when I see people entertained. And that’s how I’ve always been right from my childhood.
If you gather all the friends I've had in my life right from my primary to secondary school, to my university days and even right now, they would tell you that I’m someone that loves to make people laugh and loves to entertain people. So I took it as my craft and started making content. I also decided to evolve and try out different stuff and that was where my love for African mothers came in. I love African mothers and love being around them. All my mom's friends—I just want to get close and meet them. I feel like it’s only when you have a child that you’ll understand the kind of bond and responsibility that comes with being a parent.
Most of a parent’s life is committed to a child; their existence is for a child. It’s until you start to see that you’ll start caring about them, that's when you start putting them first because they have sacrificed a lot of things for you. When you get disappointed, they are the ones disappointed. When you are happy, they are happy. When you're sad, they're sad. Even when we were young, there were times they were sad and we had no idea. We would just keep playing around while they fight battles in silence.
The connection is deep and I’m someone that really loves my mom so much. So I just tapped from that energy and put all of those emotions into my content. And since I’ve started with that, people have really loved my content. I'm just so happy that I’ve been able to project African Yoruba mothers out there for a lot of people to see.
Other skit makers like you bring their characters to life by dressing up in female outfits. Why have you stayed with shirts and trousers?
Oh, yeah. I'll not say those skit makers that dress like females are not doing whatever they are doing well, but for me, I just feel like the kind of message and content I want to put out there goes beyond the appearance. It goes beyond the dressing up. You know, I’ve just always wanted to pass out my message undiluted—the way it is. I want people to be able to say it out when they see that “wow, he doesn't even have to dress like them and we can still relate.”
I want people to see that my content is ‘conk’ and undiluted. In the process of me dressing up, doing this and doing that, I might not be able to focus. Once I'm in front of my camera, everything is set. The action comes in, the emotions are in, everything is set and it goes beyond the appearance for me. I’ve trained myself to be fully engrossed in the process when I'm in front of the camera. You’ll see that even when I'm not in front of a camera, when I just want to do it, I'm switching into it and I'm just talking like that. I'm not from Ondo and I'm not from Ekiti, I just find myself talking like that. So I’ll say the process is internal for me and not external.
A lot of skit makers seem to be making luxury purchases nowadays, how lucrative will you say the industry is?
The industry is lucrative, very lucrative. And the way it is growing and empowering the youth is so great. You don't need to be involved in vices before you are financially buoyant. The industry has helped a lot of people through brand influencing and brand ambassadorship deals. Every content creator you see out there has a rate card and they get paid for adverts.
This job also opens up a lot of opportunities because you're in the public and people become aware of you and what you can do. Some of them also begin to see you as the right fit for a job and they hook you up with paid gigs. So I feel the industry is really lucrative right now.
Do your family members watch your videos? Please share some of their reactions…
Yes, my family members—my mum, my brother—they all watch. For my mum, the first time she saw the video, she didn’t see it by herself. She was at the church and said one of our church members just brought a phone to her and was like “ah see Tobi o. Tobi is making me laugh, he’s my favourite comedian on Instagram,” and my mom was like “what are you talking about?” She said the video was sent to her on WhatsApp and she just couldn't stop watching it and laughing. She was also surprised and said she never saw that coming. I don’t really show that side of me at home and so when she saw me, she was amazed. My mum also asked where she could find other videos and I said they are on Instagram and TikTok. But I know she’s too old for that so I just told her to let those showing her continue doing so.
For my brother, he told me some days ago that my videos are so nice and he loves them. My other brother also mentioned that he sees my videos on a lot of people’s WhatsApp and Instagram stories and some of them don’t even know that we are related. He said when he eventually tells them they are always surprised. They are all just supportive as a family and they love watching my content. They show me love and support—family is all we’ve got.
I’ll also say everyone is my family as long as you can relate to the content I put out there. You know, what my content focuses on is home. I want you to come to my page and feel like you are watching your mum or dad. I want to re-awake those memories that are already going down the drain; I want them to be fresh again.
I’m aware that you recently bagged a degree from Obafemi Awolowo University. Now that university is out of the way, will you be focused on skit making? Share your plans.
Oh yes! Wetin con remain? University has been making me shrink myself and restricting me from doing a lot of stuff like travelling for production and all of that. But now that it is out of the way, all I have to focus on is my career and showbiz is my career; entertainment is my career. I’m looking forward to acting and right now I have like two gigs that I’m going to be a part of. We’ve already made conclusions and the only thing left for me is to join them on set.
I’m also focusing on my comedy career. That’s what I stand for; I love to see you happy and I do it effortlessly because it’s something I just love to do...
You seem to get a lot of support from Nollywood’s Funke Akindele-Bello. Can you talk about your relationship with her?
Oh, my goodness. La Funky, she means a lot to me, she means everything to me. She's like a ‘mama’ to me. She's like a sister; she's a lot to me. She's my aunt, a mentor and someone I look up to. You know, she has always been there with love and support. She has taken me like a son. Even before I started making content, I’ll always go to her DM and disturb her. “Mama, should I do this? What do you think about this?” She would just tell me “yes, it’s nice, but anything you're doing Folagade Banks, I want you to stay original. Be natural, don't force things.” And you know, that’s all I’ve held on to all through my career as a content creator. I've held on to that originality.
It’s not an everyday thing for you to have somebody like her to mentor, tutor you and be like a godmother to you. She supports me financially, always there to advise me—she’s just superb. I know she will read this because I'll personally send it to her. So I just want to take this opportunity to appreciate you again mama Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele Bello, Ikorodu Oga. I love you so much and I’m sure you know that. Everything you do will continue to prosper, you are my fave. You know it. You know how much I love you…
Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to deserve somebody like her because she's so sweet. On my birthday she sent me money. She has given me movie roles, even when I was still working on myself. I was on the set of Omo Ghetto: The Saga, she trained me. You know, she's just always there for me. When I look behind me, she's right there. She’s somebody I can go to anytime and say “mommy, I need your advice. This is what I'm going through.” And anytime there’s a success, she's a go-to person. I just go and tell her and she's always happy.
I love her so much. I can talk from now till tomorrow about her and the way she loves and supports me. And it’s not only me; there are a lot of us like that she supports. God will bless her.
And others you look up to in the entertainment industry?
Bringing it down to the skit making industry, I’ll say my colleagues—they are my friends. Kiekie, Taaooma, Temisan—I love them so much. I love the way Temisan does his things. He’s a natural. Look at Kiekie and Taaoma as well—they are natural. I love natural people because I’m natural too.
These are also the first set of people that showed me support in the industry when I started making skits. They were there even before I started the Yoruba mothers content. A month after I started skit making, these were the first blue tick people that came and showed me love and support.
They will often put my content out there for a lot of people to see on their Instastories. I look up to them and want to emulate that kind of love, level of support that they give to people. I also want to emulate the level of prowess they all have in their crafts. They are good people who are good at what they do.
What are the challenges you have faced in the industry and lessons picked up along the way?
Oh, challenges? Will I say there are really challenges for me like that? I think the only challenge I'm certain about is the time barrier. Having to create content is not easy. It takes time trying to write down the ideas or just create. Sometimes I could just quickly record them as a voice note and put them on my WhatsApp before I eventually think of sitting down to record a video.
Even if I'm travelling I have to go everywhere with my ring lights. Anything that will not make me have time for my ring light means I would have shot like ten videos and know that even if I’m gone for like two weeks, I already have content that I’ll be posting. So that takes a lot of time because there are times when I have to shoot like five videos in a day, especially when I have adverts. Those are the kind of challenges I am facing and that’s a sweet kind of challenge because you're doing what you love and it’s going to put smiles on people’s faces.
I’ve also learned to plan. As a content creator, you have to be a good planner. Know how to plan things and set out plans for yourself. You have to schedule a lot of stuff on your Instagram…that’s how I do it.
Do you have words for those who are coming behind?
I’ll say people coming into this industry must learn to stay true to themselves. Stay true to yourself, do it because you have a passion for it and not because you want to make money. Don't let the money drive you into it, let your passion and talent drive you into it.
Skit maker Folagade Banks bags bachelor's degree from OAU
Some weeks ago, Legit.ng reported that Folagade Banks took to social media to celebrate the fact that he is now a graduate.
The young man shared the good news on his Instagram page as he thanked God for a successful journey at Obafemi Awolowo University.
The influencer has talked about combining school with content creation as well as coping with popularity.