“Hello, How are you? Any question of the day? Oya hit me.” Those words should sound familiar to the fans of this actor and internet sensation known as Broda Shaggi. Born Samuel Animashaun Perry and raised by a drama-teaching father, this graduate of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos joined the ranks of stars whose popularity had been amplified by the social media. In admiration of his internet series, Broda Shaggi, known acts such as Helen Paul now take to the global space to share their comical episodes. Perry, a multi-disciplinary artist, is a singer, actor, screenwriter and director.
Recently, he was at a cocktail with many Nollywood Stars milling around when this reporter decided to unmask him. First, he didn’t look as intimidating as his Brother Shaggi persona. He is also a man of very few words, which sounds strange to any who has been following his garrulous alter-ego in Broda Shaggi. He went through the journey that took him to internet stardom.
“I have spent a lot of my acting career on stage and I have choreographed dances for stage plays. That was before music and social media based acting,” he disclosed.
No doubt, quite a number of emerging stars have leveraged on the social media to show their skills while their popularity is heightened. For Perry, the internet helps him to reach a wider range of audience. From playing roles such as Inspector Perry and Akanni Ibadan, the comedian-actor has stuck with the Broda Shaggi character because it became an instantaneous hit. Though Broda Shaggi is known for strong language, young audience find it a thrill.
“The character is one that we see everyday whether you are old or young; rich or poor,” he explained. “The touts usually have different characters. Some are very calm, funny and jovial. I’m just trying to use this character to tell this story of this people that there is beauty in ‘razness’. From the character, you can tell that Broda Shaggi is quite informed. So, it is something that people can relate to.”
The actor didn’t deny the fact that many fans still see him as Broda Shaggi long after he had shed the character.
“I have been able to differentiate my personal life from my characters. Although when I started, almost everyone thought I was a real tout,” he continued. “I have been doing movies before I started comedy online, taking on supporting roles also known as “waka pass.” Through Broda Shaggi, I have been able to express my talent in films and series.”
Though he acts like a street urchin from the notorious Lagos mainland neighbourhood of Mushin, he has never lived there. He was living in the up-market Lekki when the character of Broda Shaggi was conceived.
“The role came naturally to me,” he insisted in spite of the persistent question on how he is able to own that character with such plausibility.