Posted by: Lucila Cejas | October 31, 2014

Homosexuality in Nollywood

While reading this week’s book, Spreadable Media, I encountered the interesting topic of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry explosion. Claiming to be the world’s second-largest film producer (over two thousand annually), its straight-to-video films are distributed all over the continent only a few weeks after being shot.  The cultural syncretism found in their film combines themes found in American soap operas, gangster and suspense films with “indigenous folk traditions” of Nigerian culture. Its success is such that other African countries fear that “it is undermining their own local and media practices”.

I recently read an article called Nollywood and Homosexuality.  In one of the films being discussed, “Men in Love”, viewers are exposed to men holding hands and being romantic in public places, something that is negatively seen in Nigerian culture (homosexuality is equated to pedophilia).  In other films, homosexual characters are portrayed as deranged, and generally pose a threat to the heteronormative life that society is accustomed to. The subject of love is not a matter between homosexuals, only for hetero couples.

In a country that will penalize a person for having intimal relations with a person of their same sex, how do these images affect the population? Are these unprecedented portrayals of the LGBT a result of American influence, regardless of how that portrayal may be? How will this influence future generations, policy, and neighboring countries that voraciously consume these films?

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