Something imitating an outrage is brewing about Tonto Dike, the light-skinned Nollywood actress with eminently kissable lips. Tonto–some contend her name is sexually evocative–is hardly a stranger to controversy. The imitation of the controversy brewing this time is Tonto’s role in a yet-to-be released movie, Dirty Secret. In the movie clip already uploaded on Youtube, the actress was shown in a steamy scene with Mura Obiekwe, swapping French kisses and showing fractionally little more flesh than is normally seen in Nigerian movies. The movie, produced by Sanga Entertainment, a US-based company, also featured Jibola Dabo. As at press time, it had recorded 45,201 views–hardly a viral hit. Obiekwe was also shown wearing a G-string revealing the upper part of his ass cheeks while passionately kissing another man.
The clip, with a running time of 65 seconds, has attracted varied reactions, especially on the social media. On Youtube, viewers accused it of promoting obscenity, which they allege is a product of the influence of relative explicitness of Ghanaian movies.
A viewer, who identified himself as “Devil Forbid,” wrote: “I am so ashamed, I was amongst the people critisising Ghana for their soft porn. Is this all about money, fame, or just emulating the western world? This is insane, proper Nollywood malfunction. I hope they put a ban on this movie and penalise the actors respectively. This is a sign of the end. Muna is kissing a man.” Pobosky 100, another viewer, wrote: “I hope you realise movies like this were created for controversy and creativity, and may or may not reflect the sexuality of the actors and writers of the movie. It’s not like incest and homosexuality isn’t occurring in Nigeria anyway, so this rant and pretence on display is sardonic.”
Gentlelyke85 was scathing, in less than gentle language. “Did I really just see that? Lord have mercy upon my eyes. Wow, what the f**ck are Africans doing in their movies these days. That’s so disgraceful,” he wrote.
Glenakin, who also took a dim view of the clip, wrote: “Guess they saw it worked for Ghana and trust Nigeria, they had to take this to the next level.”
Not every viewer has been sanctimonious. For example, one who called himself Amblors could not understand what the fuss is all about. “Look at Nigerians getting all holy and sh**t like they don’t have sex or do kinky things like wear thongs,” he wrote.
Tonto feels–naturally–the same way too. “Why would we enjoy seeing nudity in Hollywood? It’s a f**cking profession, peeps. Grow up. I’m all out with my job and f**ck you hard if you find it otherwise,” she wrote.
She said that change is inevitable and wonders why the society will want to remain in the past. “I hate fake damn tradition. I have got a mind and heart my profession requires,” she wrote on Twitter.
Reactions from Tonto’s colleagues are similarly varied.
Emeka Ike believes that films like Dirty Secret dent the image of the industry. “I don’t know what the movie industry is turning into now. It will be a sorry-scene if this is true,” he said. Ike, who is yet to see the film, said soft porn is not what Nollywood wants at the moment.
Stella Damasus argued that Tonto is old enough to decide what she wants to do and should not be slated for that. She, however, said she does not believe that the movie qualifies as porn. “I doubt the fact that she will star in a porn movie,” she added.
Segun Arinze, National President, Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, believes that measures will be taken, if it is true that Dike acted nude. “I’m yet to see the preview of the movie, but if it’s true that she acted nude measures must be taken to curb such practices,” he said.
Arinze added that the interest of the actress is paramount to the Guild and that he will have to watch the film before he makes more comments.
The equally provocative Shan George argued that there is no need to make a big story out of the movie. “I have been told that there’s no big deal about the movie. I don’t think there’s need for a fuss over this,” she said.
Actress Halima Abubakar is of the opinion that Tonto did her job to the best of her ability. “It’s time Nigerians realised the difference between reality and fiction. She’s a professional and she knows what’s good for her,” she said. “For people to be talking about it this way means she played her role very well.”
Claims that she starred in anything akin to pornography, especially when the whole movie has not been seen, are exaggerated. Beyond the scenes of wet kisses and show of G-string for a few seconds, nothing heavy is on display.
Dike, 25, came to prominence through a reality show, The Next Movie Star, from which emerged as first runner-up. Her ascent has been meteoric. But so has been the speed at which she attracted controversy.
Celebrity journals have linked her to marijuana use, alcohol abuse and bi-sexuality. All these were denied.
She was also reported to have a fondness for peeling off her dresses in public places, especially after having a drink too many. This was reported to have happened on location as well as at Lagos’ Eko Hotel, New Expo Centre, where popular hip-hop artiste, Tu Face, was performing.
Tonto, a graduate of Petroleum Engineering, grew up without her mother in a family of nine. She idolises American actresses, Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone.