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Exclusive: Bryan Kabugi opens up on mental health challenges in the entertainment industry

Kenyan actor Bryan Kabugi has recently opened up about the evolving landscape of African storytelling and the challenges actors face, shedding light on mental health in the entertainment industry.

In a candid interview with Nairobi News, Kabugi, known for his roles in both film and television, expressed optimism about the direction of African representation on the global stage. “This is the era and age where our stories are now being told by Africans, with Africans, for Africa and the entire world,” he stated. With notable projects such as “VOLUME” and “BLOOD AND WATER” enriching screens with diverse African characters, Kabugi believes that the younger generation is increasingly finding representation in media.

When asked about his role in shaping this narrative, Kabugi emphasized his commitment to being not just an actor but also a filmmaker and positive critic. He highlighted the importance of supporting and championing stories that resonate with young people, both in Kenya and across the continent.

Reflecting on the intensity of preparing for movies versus TV shows, Kabugi shared his perspective. “To me, it really depends on not just the structure of the show but the characters,” he explained. Despite the freedom and experimentation afforded by television, Kabugi asserted that films demand a higher level of intensity due to the limited time frame to develop and portray characters effectively.

However, amidst discussions about the evolving industry, Kabugi didn’t shy away from addressing a critical issue often overlooked: mental health in the entertainment sector. “We don’t yet openly and aggressively talk and discuss mental health in our industry, which is very important,” he expressed concern. With the demands of physical, mental, and emotional strength required for acting, Kabugi stressed the need for actors to prioritize mental well-being.

Unfortunately, Kabugi highlighted the lack of structures in place to support actors’ mental health needs. “Actors should start talking about their mental health, seeking professional therapy services, and taking breaks to de-role from intense shooting schedules,” he urged, emphasizing the importance of creating safe spaces within the industry.

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