Excellence is divine and beautiful to behold, and Biodun Stephen reflects that so well in SIsta. A prophet not being respected in his hometown is something I do not do with African arts. I want it to be excellent; I want to love it and talk about it, and every once in a while, a Nigerian Creative puts so much joy in my heart. And today, it’s Biodun Stephen making my heart leap. And with joy.
Kehinde Bankole, who plays the titular character of Sista, is who she thinks she is. Her craft is something to behold. She carried her scenes so well; you would think it was a lived life. Fola’s character was portrayed so well by Deyemi. The actor gets the bombastic side eye from me consistently. I recommend you see the movie.
The story of Sista is one that is fully Nigerian, down to all our nuances, and that is what I love the most about it. It’s a Nigerian story, not an American story in Nigeria.
You get lucky in life and build beautiful friendships like Aunty Kay and Sista had. Sometimes on unequal footing. Not equal, but yet not unequal. A curious social situation.
Kids who love you undyingly and yet “betray” you in the face of something material. In this case, it was more than just material things, but there was no grudge at all where one would have been expected to be held. Another curious situation.
A mother who selflessly and primarily, above all else, loves her children. Her waking and ending moments revolve around care and provision for them.
These are realities so common in our societies, but somehow, when she got pregnant as a teenager, the same affection parents so lavishly bestow on their children was not extended to her. Another reality, one that is sad.
A pivotal part of the story of Sista’a life was Fola’s behavior. It shows there’s not much in life you can do alone, even with being affectionate. Our actions affect both ourselves and someone else, and sometimes in a way that is fundamental to how our life and other people’s lives pan out. Being kinder, honest, and trying to be better today could give someone a fighting chance tomorrow.
It is important to note that no one seemed to have called Fola to order when he made his choice. Our societies are beginning to lack the communities that hold us together.
In the past, just like depicted in the book, things fell apart, the community elders would have fogged Fola with their words, and perhaps the trajectory of Sista’s life would have been different. But they would also rally around him to provide a cushion. Sista would not have had to deal with raising two babies alone.
Our communities are dying, and our priorities and cultures are changing. All man to himself, God for us, and may the devil take the rest. It, however, seems the devil is taking the best.
I hope we can be the community that someone needs. Rally around the Sistas of the world and provide a cushion for them. Be a better person than Fola was. Be more honorable in every moment of your life. And perhaps in our passing moments, our lived experiences will be ones we are proud of.