Chapter One                                     INTRODUCTION1.1 What is Nollywood?The ‘Nollywood’ appellation in simple wo...
1.2 Background of Study:‘Nollywood’ appellation is derived after Hollywood (American movie industry) andBollywood (Indian ...
shops are owned by non-Nigerians especially Indians. This development attests to the factthat Nollywood films’ popularity ...
1.3 Statement of the Problem:At the turn of 2006, Nollywood movies began to gain more viewing patronage in homes ofDiaspor...
African movies from Nigeria. Many non-Nigerians did not know where the movies camefrom but they simply just enjoyed seeing...
(iii) If there is interplay of the ways nationality features in the Nollywood moviesconsumption in the United States.While...
3. Does seeing Nollywood movie in the United States influence the social behaviour of       viewers?   4. Does viewing Nol...
two theories - culture and identity theories will focus on how audience background andshared identity could influence them...
because according to Hall (1990), the traditional way of thinking about cultural identity is interms of peoples’ shared cu...
diasporic identities and their retention, it is imperative to theorise further from theperspective of identity theory with...
Moreover, to connect culture and identity in this research, the concept of identity illustratesthe various ways in which p...
practical benefits and allows informed choices and intelligent decisions to be made by thepeople. It enables individuals, ...
countries who reside and work in metropolises of United States for economic or otherpurposes are chosen as case study for ...
religion, ethnicity, political belief, culture, etc than nationality, the emergence of theappellation ‘imaginary community...
people even when scattered through different lands, may still be devotees and long-distancepatriots to their cultural iden...
territorialisation of migrant cultures is related to the emergence of new hybrid identities andnew cosmopolitan possibilit...
flows of mass-mediated imagery and discourses creates “a new order of stability in theproduction of modern subjectivities”...
Chapter Two                                 EMPIRICAL OVERVIEW2.1 Literature Review:The world is now at the point where in...
with their cultural values. To achieve this, Verhulst (1999) said “Diasporic groups have nowfound medium of communication ...
‘Diaspora’ became an expansive dosage borrowed by academia in addressing the subject oftransnational ‘citizens living abro...
in form, substance or meaning- by peoples of African descent wherever they may be found”(Woodson, 1993:3).The enslavement ...
migratory populations is more differentiated than in earlier waves by type -labour, refugeeand settlement.A case in point ...
2.6 The Socio-political Dimension:Therefore, in hypothesizing the concept of black cinema, “what makes a Third World film(...
historically contingent, feature of the black diaspora that distinguishes it from other, mostlycultural, religious or nati...
the Third World. These mixed formations of people from Third World are also manifest inmany First World nations, where the...
dialogical; it sees all acts of verbal or cultural exchange as taking place not between discretebounded individuals or cul...
For many Third world countries, continuing interplay with Europe provides a crucial and byno means wholly negative thread....
This is where film comes in to help define and enforce tradition. The most far-       reaching inventions of Africa tradit...
black Africa, coming late to industrialisation, missed out on the boom. In these instancescinema came to be seen as an exc...
Though there is an extensive and well-organised production and distribution of films in EastAfrica, through the Kenya Inst...
only distributed in cinema houses and could only be seen by only the African audience whocould afford the cost of buying a...
259-270) which Nigeria indigenous filmmakers eventually gave the African colourationwhen the British succumbed to Nigerian...
“Foreign films have done harm to Nigeria society; foreign films have ruined the     audience’s appetite for African films....
Yoruba travelling theatre groups from south western part of Nigeria also made the transitionfrom stage to television and t...
films. After this time, many films were released and circulated across the country, and beforeanyone could understand what...
Nevertheless the volume and speed of growth of Nigerian video film production withinNigeria earned the industry the appell...
to 1.6 USA dollars each), making them affordable for most Nigerians and providingastounding returns for the producers.Most...
film sales. So many movies were produced within a short time frame and pushed out to theNigeria audience to buy and becaus...
Nollywood Babylon was released by AM Pictures and National Film Board of Canada andshown in the Official Competition at th...
in all major film producing countries like USA, India and UK, films are distributed in at leastthree different formats via...
Far away in the East Indies of St Lucian, a vendor confirmed that he has customers whoavoid films that explicitly depict t...
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)

9,695 views

Published on

5 Comments
4 Likes
Statistics
Notes
No Downloads
Views
Total views
9,695
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
3
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
84
Comments
5
Likes
4
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)

  1. 1. Chapter One INTRODUCTION1.1 What is Nollywood?The ‘Nollywood’ appellation in simple words is an acronym for Nigerian movie industry,and so the films made by Nollywood or Nigeria Movie Industry are known as ‘Nollywoodmovies’. Nollywood movies became transnational phenomenon when the VCD/DVD copiesmoved across territorial boundaries to the homes of Nigerian immigrants abroad. How thefilms first reached overseas to Nigerians was when they were sold in countries where thereare settlements of Nigerian immigrants. Over time, the movies got cross-national attentionand were patronised by non-Nigerian viewers mostly from Africa and Afro-Caribbeancountries. It is interesting to note that since 2007, there has been growing internationalviewing of Nollywood films in the United States among Anglophone African and Afro-Caribbean countries. This is very interesting and worth investigating, because despite thatthese cross-sections of immigrants live in the USA and are in close proximity to Hollywoodmovies, which are far better in production and quality, notwithstanding, they are turningrapidly to seeing Nollywood films. This study’s essence therefore, is to find out what sensethe Diaspora Nigerians and non-Nigerians who view Nollywood movies in the USA make ofthe movies based on their experience with seeing the films.In other to carry out the study, this research has employed qualitative method to interview atotal of 15 participants from seven different African and Caribbean nations namely: Nigeria,Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Jamaica, Bahamas, and Barbados. The participants were selectedbased on the criteria that they descriptively fit the definition of immigrants and diasporaaudience ad that they shared some identical socio-cultural, racial, historical, and politicalantecedents. The interview participants are classified into three groups of A (Nigerians), B(other Africans) and C (Caribbeans). These varieties of nationality of subjects are chosen soas to compare how nationality features in the viewing of Nollywood movies in the USA. Thestudy will make findings on the implications of viewing Nollywood movies by African andCaribbean immigrants in the United States.. Furthermore, the study will among other things,find out if, the manner in which Nollywood movies is viewed are in terms of resuscitatingnostalgia, cultural affiliations and values affectation among these Diaspora audiences withshared identical socio-cultural antecedents.
  2. 2. 1.2 Background of Study:‘Nollywood’ appellation is derived after Hollywood (American movie industry) andBollywood (Indian movie industry), literally, it means ‘Nigerian Movie Industry’. Literally,Nigerian Movie Industry means “made-in-Nigeria movies by Nigerian production team forthe Nigerian people” (Mbamara, 2005). The popularity of prominent studies on howtelevision and video are being used to re-create cultural traditions was first carried out onBollywood Indian film amongst diaspora Indians residing outside India. However, thepopularity of Nigerian video films first, amongst diasporic Nigerians and later, amongst othernon-Nigerian outside their country of origin particularly in far way continents like Europeand North America urged the researcher of this study to develop a fresh investigation on: (1) Why a cultural narrative film genre as Nollywood should become so famous to Nigerians and non-Nigerians particularly in the United States where Hollywood movies are readily available to them and (2) What sense do the Nigerian and non-Nigerian community in the USA make of these movies based on their experience with seeing the films.Before the 21st century, several studies have revealed that cultural memory occupies anintegral part of the use of collective media (particularly the film media) by Diasporiccommunity (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). In the 21st Century, It is observed that members ofthese groups demonstrate compassion and pride each time they individually or commonlyexperienced viewing their traditional films on television, video or at the cinema. Academicattention has shifted rapidly towards Audience/Reception studies on this area of narrativesand cultural forms as a result of this phenomenological development (Detokunbo-Bello,2007).Research studies on Nollywood became an international phenomenon when the moviesstarted selling across continental boundaries. This is particularly glaring in the United Stateswhere there is a large settlement of immigrants from Anglophone African and Afro-Caribbean countries, where Nollywood films have gotten booming viewing. There are manyplaces in USA like Brooklyn and Waterbury, which have densely populated Black Afro andCaribbean communities, where there are stalls selling Nollywood DVDs and some of these
  3. 3. shops are owned by non-Nigerians especially Indians. This development attests to the factthat Nollywood films’ popularity amongst diasporic communities in USA is blossoming.This seems significant considering the varieties of culture of different peoples from diffusedmulticultural societies of black diaspora in the USA.In 2007, the cable TVs on the satellite channels and the Internet such as AFROTAINMENT,MOVIEAFRICACHANNEL, BEN TV, NOLLYWOODMOVIES TV, AFRICANMAGIC,WWW,BUNIBUNI.COM WWW.DIGITALTVFREE.COM, WWW.TVOVER.NET,WWW.BVONMONEY.COM, WWW.NOLLYWOOD.NET among others began capitalising onthis phenomenon by showing wide range of African films and TV to audiences in the UnitedStates, and the vast majority of their programming is from Nollywood. What is responsiblefor this development? Is it that the Hollywood films no longer appeal to the taste of thesetarget audiences?The fact that the audio signal in nearly all Nigerian films are shot in English might be a corereason for the wide patronage among these viewers. This is perhaps because these viewersare all non-native English speakers and tend to appreciate the language of the movies,Nevertheless, it was suggested by earlier researches on Nollywood’s impact on the AfricanDiaspora in the UK (London) that some of the movies are introducing African cultures andvalues which are nonexistent in the UK so that Africans in Diaspora are able to connect totheir tropical cultural values (Omoniyi 2008; Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). Perhaps this may alsobe the case in the United States or perhaps not. This research will make findings on this.Moreover, this research will make comparative analysis of the responses gotten from theselect group of individual interviewees from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Jamaica,Bahamas and Barbados. This study uses a total of fifteen interviewees from these variouscountries. This research will analyse the interviewees’ responses to serve as guide in makinga logical judgment for drawing conclusion. The research’s conclusion will make assertionson whether there exist similar or differed reasons between Nigerians and non-Nigerians forwatching Nollywood movies. Additionally, this research will analyse the inferences fromresponses of the individual interviewees to provide insights on how the Nollywoodphenomenon impacts on people with differed national identity.
  4. 4. 1.3 Statement of the Problem:At the turn of 2006, Nollywood movies began to gain more viewing patronage in homes ofDiaspora Anglo-African communities in countries like Great Britain, Canada and the UnitedStates. In these countries, particularly in the United States where there are large settlementof African emigrants from Anglophone African countries, it is now a subject of criticaldiscussion about the presence of Nigerian films there. In 2007, two American documentariesWelcome to Nollywood and This is Nollywood were released in attempt to capture thegrowing phenomenon of Nollywood movies.Ever since then, Nollywood movies have gained popularity among communities of Anglo-Africans in the USA to the extent that other Blacks with African ancestry such as theEnglish-speaking Afro-Caribbean from the West Indies are succumbing to the habit of seeingmore of Nollywood movies. This is despite that they live in the United States where there isabundance of Hollywood movies, which are supposedly more popularly viewed in the USAin particular and in the world in general. Notwithstanding, some African and Caribbeanimmigrants in the United States are turning rapidly to seeing films from Nollywood.Before the influx of Nollywood films into the United States, Hollywood movies have beenthe most widely viewed movies within the USA. Initially, the global audience includingimmigrants to the USA had watched more of Hollywood films. However, in early 1970sother films such as Chinese and Indian movies penetrated into the USA and the globalterrain. Though these two genres of films were seen around the world, but it was the Indianmovie that was able to break the monopoly of Hollywood movies around the world as thefilms were shown on big screen cinemas in many countries including the USA and across theworld. Interestingly, Indian movies appealed a great deal to the Indian immigrants residingoutside India.The coming of the Indian movies introduced Bollywood to the world and Bollywood got theattention of the world from the 1970s to 1990s. Subsequently, a lot of research studies wereconducted on the Bollywood phenomenon. However, at the turn of 2006 attention starteddrifting to African movies which were actually made in Nigeria. This was largely due to thefact that African immigrants wherever they were settled started taking to seeing more of the
  5. 5. African movies from Nigeria. Many non-Nigerians did not know where the movies camefrom but they simply just enjoyed seeing them and referred to them as ‘African movies’.Nowadays in the USA, it is interesting to observe that Anglo-African and Afro-CaribbeanDiaspora communities are patronising more African film brand from Nollywood.For these immigrant communities in the United States to be patronising Nollywood moviesthat are coming from Nigeria, a Third World country in Africa provides grounds forinvestigating the cause of this behaviour. Against this backdrop, this research will find out towhat extent this novel phenomenon enables the select groups of immigrants who will beinterviewed connect with the movies and to what uses they put the film to after seeing it.1.4 Purpose of the Study:The consumption of Nollywood films by immigrants and minority groups in Westerncountries is one indices of how such Diaspora groups negotiate their place in their chosencountries of abode. Research has shown that such consumption has a tendency to penetrateinto the socio-cultural life of the country of immigration beyond the initial confines ofminority consumption (Ugochukwu, 2008). Nollywood films present such a possibility in itspresent stage. It remains to be seen whether the Nollywood phenomenon comes to parallelthe Bollywood phenomenon which projected Indian movies to the world even to non Indians.If so, in what distinct ways has that occurred? This research is particularly interestingbecause it will not only focus on for what purpose and use Nigerian immigrants in the UnitedStates see Nollywood movies, but as well on the reason non-Nigerian emigrants from Africaand the Caribbean Islands to the United States are becoming accustomed to seeingNollywood movies without having any phylogenetic relation to Nigeria. This research willgo a step further to analyse the behaviour of the three groups of interviewees so as tocompare their given reasons for patronising Nollywood movies.At any rate, the issues that are relevant to this research project include:(i) The contributions, if any, that Nollywood films make to the film preferences of viewers inthe United States (ii) The extent if any, to which the growing and wider reach of Nollywood films haveaffected their behaviours and lifestyles.
  6. 6. (iii) If there is interplay of the ways nationality features in the Nollywood moviesconsumption in the United States.While the research study will investigate the foregoing aspects in general, in particular, thestudy will conclude its findings on the impact Nollywood films have on the select categoriesof viewers in the United States with recourse to the way and manner in which the movies areseen, appreciated and appropriated.1.5 Relevance of Research:The appeal of this research is contextualised in terms of theoretical suppositions that supportaudience behavioural change due to occurring phenomenon. The phenomenon of Nollywoodmovies and the emerging behaviours of the select group of viewers for this research is thehallmark of this study. The research is significant because it will highlight theoreticalsuppositions relevant to Diaspora audience and media uses. Specifically, the study will: • Help to explain how mediated media content such as film creates forum for Diaspora identity and affinity. • Provides grounds to learn why Diaspora audiences are seeing Nollywood movies. This will be particularly relevant to researchers and Hollywood filmmakers. • Provide information for Nollywood practitioners on how to develop movies for increased patronage.1.6 Research Questions:Due to the fact that this study is a qualitative analysis of an occurring behavioural tendencyof select group of individuals, it is necessary to put forward salient questions that the studywill seek to find answers to. This is even so because there is need to make the findings of thestudy as broad as possible to accommodate the diversity of comments from the interviewees.As corollary, the questions put forward in this study include: 1. Does Nollywood movies have impact on Diaspora audience regarding to culture? 2. Does ‘nationality’ feature in the Nollywood movies consumption in the United States?
  7. 7. 3. Does seeing Nollywood movie in the United States influence the social behaviour of viewers? 4. Does viewing Nollywood movie induce less patronage of other movies available in the United States?1.7 Theoretical Framework:In this study, Nigerian films will be viewed through relevant theoretical frameworks that arerooted in the intervening mediations between community life, cultural representation andmedia. The rational for choosing theories for this study is guided by the variables of the studyand occurring mass media phenomenon. These variables include the people (nationals)selected for interview, their behaviour (viewing habit) and the occurring phenomenon ofNollywood movies. The selection of the interviewees of this research focuses on a trio groupof individuals with shared socio-ethnic and historic socio-political identity status as well assome cultural similarities, against this backdrop, it is appropriate to use theories thatrepresent the socio-ethnography of the social group in focus of this study. Consequent uponthat, the theoretical suppositions that will serve as guide and that will be relevant for thisstudy are drawn from studies on (1) culture, (2) identity and (3) the film media.Culture relates to the content of the movies being a tool for purveying customs, norms,values and beliefs that the viewers find relevant. Identity is in terms of the formation of theinterviewees when grouped as audience or as a race. This categorisation is important becauseit will enable better understanding of behaviour. Transnational film is in terms of the filmgenre (which Nollywood movies represent). As Nollywood movies are seen in different wayranging from DVD copies, cable TV and the Internet, it therefore implies that the audiencemust seek out the medium where they can see the movies and depend on such medium forcontinual patronage of their preferred choice of movies. In the context of this study, culture anchors on the interviewees’ background; identityfocuses on their individual cultural philosophies when grouped as audiences and the mediahere is specifically inclined toward the film genre. That being the case, the theoreticalapproaches for this study will include the culture, identity and transnational film. The first
  8. 8. two theories - culture and identity theories will focus on how audience background andshared identity could influence them. Whereas, the third theory - transnational film willexplain the phenomenon of Nollywood movies.1.8 Culture Theory:The emergence of Nollywood films as a cultural phenomenon, and Nigerian movies being amicro representation of African culture in the macrocosm of holistic African cultures, hence,culture approach in this study attracts diverse array of theories, associated practices andwhich encompass many different approaches, methods, and academic perspectives. Theapproach remains relatively structured in the academic field to understanding how culturaldimensions enter consumption, usefulness and production functions of various kinds(Harrison and Huntington, 2001). With regards to sociology and communication, culturetheory features in cultural studies on the interface of society to explain how essentiallyculture purveyance places primary importance on the institutions that are involved in theproduction, dissemination, and consumption of culture (Serrat, 2008).Notably, culture theory strengthens the expectation that societies work, not because they arecomprised of autonomous individuals who are free of social sanctions but because they arepowered by social beings and their distinctive ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge thatcontributes to understanding and promoting development of individualism where grouprelationships predominate (Serrat, 2008). What constitutes perimeter for asserting socialidentification for group of people attests to the beliefs in cultures that such group of peopleshare in common. Such cultures are usually formed through belonging to a nation or race.Fanon (1967:178-179) maintains that: “culture is the whole body of efforts made by a peoplein a sphere of thought to describe, justify, and praise the action which that people has createditself and keeps itself in existence”. Consequently, the interplay between race, ethnicity, andnation is central concern for understanding cultural identity analysis in contemporary culturalstudies.In light of the foregoing, it is assumed when the national cultures in different countries takeplace in similar paradigms, peoples from these countries will therefore find platform one wayor other to patronise, celebrate or identify with their cultures (Fanon, 1967:178-179). This is
  9. 9. because according to Hall (1990), the traditional way of thinking about cultural identity is interms of peoples’ shared culture, a sort of collective of “‘one’s true self and one’s shared selfwith others” (Hall, 1990). Thus various cultural studies and social theories have investigatedthe cultural identity and there are modern questions of culture that are transferred intoquestions of identity.Notwithstanding, there has being transnational movement and mixing of cultural identifiersdue to emigration caused by migration, exile and displacement. The movement processes ofcultural dynamics outside the restrictions imposed by nationally defined landmarks removesthe limits to perceptions of shared cultures to nations and nationalities (Gilroy, 1987). This iseven so because cultural practices are symbolic to peoples’ ways of life and when peoplemove, they carry their cultural practices along. For this reason, cultural practices can movefrom defined enclaves of geographical boundaries to external zones and it is in this light thatwe may begin to understand the formation of convergence of similar Diaspora cultures.Culture convergence approach encompasses the symbolic convergence theory, whichaccording to (Bormann, 1972), is used to explore and explain similarities between movie“myths”, “opinions”, “trend”, “fantasy”, dealing with the use of narrative in communication(Littlejohn & Foss, 2005). According to Griffin (1991: 34); “through symbolic convergence,individuals build a sense of community or group consciousness” (Littlejohn & Foss, p.158).This theory suggests that perhaps repeated exposure to the myths and themes of Nollywoodmovies, Nigerian cultures should influence an individuals perceptions of African culture as awhole (Onuzulike, 2007).Lavie and Swedenburg (1996) argue that “there is no ‘immutable link’ between cultures,peoples, or identities and specific places, yet the most common manifestation of one’sotherness in an alien culture is a question one encounters from time to time: (i.e. where areyou from?), not ‘who/what are you?” (Lavie and Swedenburg, 1996). It follows that anexplanation of one’s identity of origin or birth leads to a certain signifying way of fathomingthe socio-ethno category or identity of a person in Diaspora. Such encounter is common tothe Anglo African and Afro-Caribbean Diasporas in the United States who are thespringboard for this qualitative study. Therefore, on the formation and development of
  10. 10. diasporic identities and their retention, it is imperative to theorise further from theperspective of identity theory with particular recourse to socio-cultural approach.Subsequently, the identity theory will be used to explain further.1.9 Identity Theory Approach:There are various potentially salient parameters for describing identities, they include: age,gender, nationality, political orientation, sexual orientation, spirituality, socioeconomicstatus, race, ethnicity, social mobility, language, music, dance, dressing, etc. These are allcultural identities which are negotiated, co-created, reinforced, and challenged throughcommunication (Hall, 1990) because culture is holistic and globes the needs common to allpeople with similar primary socialisation. There are other more superficial or artificiallyimposed ‘shared selves’ which people with a shared history, ancestry or dynasty hold incommon. This ‘shared selves’ is the harbinger for the feeling of ‘oneness’ among peopleeven when there exist different sociological identifiers such as language, nationality, gender,religion, among others. Therefore, underlying all the other superficial differences, in truth, isthe essence of “being African and the black experience” (Fanon, 1963). It is this identity of‘being black’ that “blacks in Diaspora must discover, excavate, bring to light and express…”(Hall, 1990).Such a “conception of ethnic identity played crucial role in the postcolonial struggles”(Fanon, 1963) during the indigenisation process of colonised states in former Britishcolonies. However, Hall (1990) suggests that it is better to envision a cultural identity, onebased on “not the rediscovery but the production of identity. Not an identity grounded in thearchaeology, but in the re-telling of the past” (Hall, 1990). Such a viewpoint would entailacknowledging that this is an act of imaginative rediscovery, one which involves imposing animaginary coherence on the experience of dispersal and fragmentation, which is the historyof all enforced Diasporas (Hall, 1990). From this point of view, ethnic affinity is tandem tocultural identity because both concept are aspects of “becoming as well as of being” (Hall,1990), and belong not only as much to the past, but as well to analysing the present andunderstanding the future.
  11. 11. Moreover, to connect culture and identity in this research, the concept of identity illustratesthe various ways in which people view themselves in the context of specific or broadsocieties. It also allows us to think about how individuals who are part of a larger group areinfluenced by their affiliation with and participation in that group. That is, individuals’identity frames are also strongly influenced by their affiliation with particular ethnic group,racial background, place of birth, or place of primary educationand by participation in a particular cultural or sub-cultural group (Robert, 2003).It is in this light that patronage of culture purveying media such as films from Nollywood byaudiences with shared culture identifiers may do so because they are influenced by theiraffiliation and engagement with the content of the films. Therefore, it follows that whenvarious viewers of diverse nations form the habit of seeing certain types of movies becausethey have become available, they perhaps do so because they find meaning in the filmcontent or perhaps the film content makes sense to them. Since Nollywood movies presentdelectation for various nationals from diverse national geographical landscapes particularlyfrom African and Caribbean countries, it is necessary to overview these peoples later in thestudy so that the cultural identity connection between them may be established.Cultural identities come from somewhere because they have histories. But like everythingwhich is historical, they undergo constant transformation. Far from being eternally fixed insome essential past, they are subject to the continuous play of history, and sharedexperiences. The ability to reminisce on past experiences, Hall (1990) stresses is done by aset of “peoples with shared cultural or social identifiers”. Knowledge is not imposed butshared due to the power of inner compulsion and subjective conformation to the norm (Hall,1990). Hence, from this perspective, it must be acknowledged that cultural identity makespossible for people whether in whole or parts, to focus on contexts and contents; on valuesand value systems; and on strategic relationships (Rummens, 2001).People may frame the same or different meaning in different ways towards a particularculture phenomenon based on interests and needs. However, since individual beliefs stemfrom being member to a larger cultural identity group, individuals are likely to use a framethat prioritises their membership to a group (Robert, 2003). Between blocs of countries,human beings and the natural environment, cultural identity yields conceptual insights and
  12. 12. practical benefits and allows informed choices and intelligent decisions to be made by thepeople. It enables individuals, for instance, to deal better with complexity and thedisintegration of social norms governing behaviour, thought, and social relationships. And italso helps to ensure that peoples’ rationale for behaviour are contextualised properly andpointed in the right direction. Consequently, it helps people to function better as self-governing entities.Likewise, by focusing on the totality and innate worth of a given society, cultural identitytheory can minimise the ethnocentric bias that results from one’s cultural conditioning(Rummens, 2001). This makes people motivated to maintain or enhance a positive sense ofsocial identity, “but the way in which this occurs is directed and constrained by theindividual’s beliefs about the legitimacy and stability of the group the individual belongs toand the individual’s degree of identification with the group” (Reid, 2008). From empiricaland theoretical advances in the field of research studies, the cultural identity theory has beenexpanded and elaborated to explain the rationale of individual behaviour when they belong toa group or race.Hall (1990) espouses that the traditional way of thinking about cultural identity is in terms of“one’s shared culture, a sort of collective ‘one’s true self’, i.e. hiding inside the many mirrorsof one’s background (Hall, 1990). All the same, we can deduce that before individuals candevelop social identities for themselves, particularly as peoples’ identity can only be derivedfrom belonging to a defined social system such as a group, race, family or class, then perhapsthe identity of each member belonging to any social system will be dependent on the culturalorientation that pertain to the social or ethnic system they belonged to.Thus by theorising identity as constituted, not from outside but why the representation of theindividual, hence, the choice made by individuals when they select entertainments such ascinema and TV programming will be influenced by what already exists in them in form ofimbibed norms’. And this enables us to understand the rationale for the preferred choicesmade by certain group of Diaspora subjects for Nollywood movies. In the light of theforegoing deduction, we may now fathom why emigrants from Africa and Afro-Caribbean
  13. 13. countries who reside and work in metropolises of United States for economic or otherpurposes are chosen as case study for this research.In recent decades, a new form of identification has emerged, this new form of identificationbreaks down the understanding of the individual as a coherent whole subject to a collectionof various cultural identifiers. These cultural identifiers examine the condition of the subjectfrom a variety of aspects including: place, gender, race, history, nationality, language, sexualorientation, religious beliefs, ethnicity and aesthetics (Serrat, 2008). Given that the collectiveparticipants of interviewees in this research include (1) Nigerians, (2) other AnglophoneAfricans, and (3) Anglophones from Caribbean countries, there are socio-cultural identifierswhich link them together. These include: common racial identities (Blacks), Britishcolonialism experience, common language (English), common religion (primeval paganismand adopted Christianity), and common heritage of slavery experience and some basicsimilar modes of greeting and dressing. The foregoing identifiers create grounds for selectingand grouping them for the study.1.10 Transnational Film Theory:This theory follows from Audience/Reception and televised video or moving pictures (Stam,2000). It explains how viewing experience of individuals when they see motion pictures oncommon electronic media such as television, cinemas or Internet shifts to find and depend onmedium that hold in store program and content that catch their attention (Chaffee and Berger,1997). Transnational films developed within film studies that cover the theories relating tothe effects of globalisation upon the cultural and economic aspects of film. It incorporates thedebates and influences of post-nationalism, post-colonialism, consumerism and Third worldcinema (Ugochukwu, 2008). Transnational cinema as argued were creative cultural productsto supersede national boundaries to show cultural representations to dispersed ethnicpopulations, which are often termed Diaspora people.One salient argument of transnational film is the necessity for a redefinition. It does not referonly to the concept of a national cinema to hold sway the interest of dispersed nationalsabroad as was first posited by earlier studies. As the concept of identity became furtherdefined more by social identifiers as class, economic status, sexuality, gender, generation,
  14. 14. religion, ethnicity, political belief, culture, etc than nationality, the emergence of theappellation ‘imaginary community’ was formed to describe many separate and fragmentedcommunities but who participate in shared behaviours (Anderson, 1991). If we see the filmmedia as a culture purveyor, as a result, we may fathom why “an individual who finds amedium for having his or her needs fulfilled, will attach more importance to that medium anddepend on it for fulfillment of his or her media uses and gratification” (DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach, 1976).The film medium in the context of this study as earlier stated is Nollywood films which aremade in Nigeria. Though there is plethora of movies that are able to cut across nationalborders like the Hollywood and Bollywood movies, this study will limit its emphasis toNollywood films. This is particularly because Nollywood movies according to Motiki (2006)are gaining popularity among the fast-growing African immigrant populations, offering theirmuch westernised children a glimpse of African life, particularly the clash of modernity andtraditionalism (Motiki, 2006:1). This is because consumption of Nollywood films and theNollywood cable channels has become evidently notable among the black African Diasporacommunities dispersed around the globe.Robins (2003: 189) explains that transnational distribution of films was, in fact, a significantcultural catalyst; the reason is because migrants in whatever country they abode, due towatching indigenous films programming beamed from satellite TV from back home, were“becoming progressively dissociated from social life of the society where they reside”.Consequently, “transnational films were held to be a threat to the …unity and integrity of thehost culture” (Robins, Ibid: 190).Supporting Robins, Meyrowitz (1986) says because “transnational film merged socialspheres and severed the traditional links between physical places; they have created place-less cultures which offer Diasporas around the world new resources and new disciplines forthe construction of imagined selves and communities” Meyrowitz, 1986). Therefore, throughthe proliferation of transnational film, what has now become crucial for the recipientaudiences is the need to be above ignorance of their community of origin and to becomeexposed with cultural roots from their homelands. The agenda here is all about the protectionof national culture - about sustaining the integrity of the cultural heritage. “Deterritorialised
  15. 15. people even when scattered through different lands, may still be devotees and long-distancepatriots to their cultural identities…” (Verhulst, Ibid).Consequent on the fact that this research work highlights how the Nigerian movie industryshowcases African culture, we must be “reminded that film as a powerful medium ofentertainment is a very good medium for the transmission of cultural values” (Orewere,1992: 206). The convergence of media on the Internet which allowed film programmingonline built up new virtual geographies that offered migrants new kind of experience towatch movies on the Internet has created platform which offer Diaspora peoples around theworld to see films that provide cultural recreation to them. Therefore, through the creationand proliferation of video films that could move transnationally, Diaspora audiences havebecome more exposed with cultural antecedents from their homelands. The agenda here isthat, it is no longer farfetched nowadays to find migrants in foreign host lands fostering thecultures of their original nation instead of that of the national communities where they reside.(Robins, Ibid: 190).Supporting the foregoing, Robins (Ibid: 192) reiterates Benedict Anderson’s characterisationof “root cultures as imagined communities” which are “bonded discursively by a sense ofdeep … imagined common origin and a mythical past”. Robins, with inferences fromVerhulst (Ibid), further argues that “the imaginations of deterritorialised people, even whenscattered through different lands, may be marked correspondingly by absentee patriotism andlong-distance nationalism” if “diasporic groups are… with the tools of developingcommunication technology…to maintain their identities…”. Thus the developing andglobalisation of communication technology such as film has helped to sustain rise of local ornational culture in the global scenario.On the other hand, Aksoy and Robins (2003) argue that transnational film consumptionpromotes de-ethnicisation and frees the migrant from the pincers of a ‘frozen image’ of thehomeland (Aksoy and Robins 2003:4-5, 36). They suggest that the habit of transnational filmviewing, places migrants in an “ironic stance to cultures”, and far from reinforcing longdistance national identities it fosters an experience of “moving beyond the frame of nationalsociety”. Their argument is based on the assumption that “what is conceived in terms of de-
  16. 16. territorialisation of migrant cultures is related to the emergence of new hybrid identities andnew cosmopolitan possibilities” (Robins, Ibid: 192) for the migrant communities.All transnational film entertainment seeks to ingrain the feeling of long-distance patriotism torespective migrants to their communities of origin. This spectacular of course, is the bedrockof an initiative to catapult national cultural identity even to the lost sheep. The transnationalmovement of film may thus be described as the voice of the shepherd crying out to get theattention of the strayed sheep (migrant) in the wilderness (foreign land).Earlier studies on globalisation of national cultures on transnational film media portrayedglobalisation as the suppressing of national cultures by the Western culture- what wasreferred to as: ‘cultural imperialism’. Western culture, particularly of the United States waspopularised by the American transnational distribution of Hollywood films which dominatedthe global until other nations were able to come up with their movies. With the emergence oftransnational film media from other nations, it became possible to break the monopoly ofcultural imperialism which America had enjoyed for decades.Iwabuchi (2002) supports that; the globalisation of transnational films generated the de-centring of Western (U.S.) cultural hegemony. Non-Western players now actively collaboratein the production and circulation of global film commodities… (Iwabuchi, 2002: 554- 555).Furthermore, the predominance of Western (U.S.) culture has been seriously challenged bythe intensification of intraregional cultural flows and connections in the non-West.Transnational film media from other nations proliferated with a different agenda and changedthe rule of the game.Unlike the American movies which sought to brainwash the global populace with Americanculture, the upcoming cinema from other nations targeted their media messages at dispersedcommunities in Diaspora. This calculated strategy from other nations created a new order inthe globalisation of culture and the migrants or diasporic communities were simply the pivotaround which the transnationally distributed films revolve their messages. The significanceof the interface between how transnationally circulated films connect with the migrantpopulations and the role it plays in the contemporary global era with contemporary global
  17. 17. flows of mass-mediated imagery and discourses creates “a new order of stability in theproduction of modern subjectivities” (Appadurai, 2004: 4).For example, if we recall the impact of satellite cable TV in the broadcasting of transnationalfilms to diaspora communities as an instance, it became possible that Turkish migrants inGermany are able to watch Turkish films on TRT-INT satellite TV from Ankara in theirGerman homes; Brazilians in San Francisco are able to see Brazilian theatre through TV-GLOBO satellite feeds from Brasilia, and Hispanos scattered all over South America are ableto watch Mexican soaps on TELEVISIA from Mexico, as Nigerians in USA, Canada, UK, andsome parts of Europe are able to see movies from Nigeria on cables such as NOLLYWOODTV, AFROTAINMENT, etc. These examples are reflections of how film from the homelandmeets their deterritorialised viewers.The above situation in turn, functions to produce and sustain the evolution of new diasporicpublic spheres that transcend the scope of conventional nation-state. “The role of film inarticulating the dispersed members of the nation to the centres of symbolic power is crucialhere” (Morley, 2000:107). What this emphasizes is that, film capitalises on the consequencesof national and cultural identification very well to sway the people to being part and parcel of‘their ‘nation and culture’ distance notwithstanding. The glaring effect of this is thatdiasporic members stampede to seek affinity with their respective cultural backgroundbecause ‘films’ seem to have some kind of absolute force for not only to rousing patriotismto cultures of one’s homeland but nostalgia as well.It is possible nowadays to find migrants in foreign host lands fostering the primary culturesof their countries of origin instead of that of the national communities where they reside. Thisis so because of the transnational broadcasting and circulation of films from homeland, whichhas extended the notion of cultural consciousness and patriotism to the cultural identity of theBlack diaspora nationals abroad.
  18. 18. Chapter Two EMPIRICAL OVERVIEW2.1 Literature Review:The world is now at the point where interaction between local, national and global isincreasing in crescendo. Customary enclaves like cultures, communities, nations or eventerritories that previously restricted transplanetary flow of diverse social exchanges hasbecome permeable. Thus there has been dispersion of people that were originally localisedeven in their migratory capacity to develop mental spaces within their minds to retain theirimagined real identity despite being members to new communities. Thus they would creatediasporic affinity to their root culture in spite of being surrounded by alien cultures.Diasporic affinity to root culture would not be effectively sustained if there were notransnational media such as printed materials (such as newspapers and books), satellite TVand video films to help the Diaspora communities become ingrained with their roots. As aconsequence, sub national identities are created by shifting national identity to the Diaspora.The body of migrants outside their community of origin is often perturbed with nostalgia andrash inclination to becoming affiliated to their roots.What is responsible for this can be deduced from the description of “mental space”. That is,how people imagine and assent to belonging to a certain community and not to other (RobertYoung, 1994). However, what creates the choice community a person belongs to is perhapsdetermined by the imagined syndrome derived from the cultural artifacts that are practiced bythe community where they hail from. The individual is influenced by the concept of nationalidentity built from inside and thrust upon him or her from outside insofar there is pre-existence of communities’ cultural artifacts such as language, religion and dynastic realms(Anderson, 1991; Robins, 2003).Furthermore, Anderson (1991) suffices all these imagining syndrome to stem from devotionto the interests or culture of the nation by its members (whether far or near) which he said areoutcome of cultural consciousness. Cultural consciousness therefore makes national societiesor imagined communities have it as priority to conscientise members to remain in solidarity
  19. 19. with their cultural values. To achieve this, Verhulst (1999) said “Diasporic groups have nowfound medium of communication to maintaining their identities, whether they are defined byreligious fervour, ethnic pride, economic ambition or historic places of origin by establishingsupportive or interactive communities…” (Verhulst, 1999:30-31). As a corollary,communications media are developed and used to hold sway the behaviour of the nationalsfor “…a more immediate…more intense and more effective form of transnational bonding”(Verhulst, Ibid.).2.2 The Black African Diaspora Audience:For the purpose of this project and its concern with the Nollywood film viewing amongBlack diaspora audiences, the constituency of the black diaspora audience is considered fromthe classificatory line of Anglophone black African and Afro-Caribbean excludingFrancophone black African, Afro-Latin, black British and black American. This is because inbroad terms, the constituency that make up the black diaspora, even all though hail fromAfrica (Reid, 1993: 2-4), some never had any contact with the continent. Moreover, as theselect audience relevant for this study are the Anglophone black African and Afro-Caribbean,this is due to, first, the dependant variable of study is Nigerian films, the film making processis independent and commercial and concerned with black themes in which people of Africanancestry participate as screen writers, directors and thespians.Secondly, the content orientation of the films are only relevant to people who can understandEnglish when spoken with African (or Nigerian) accent and who have had fore experience ofpartaking in the cultural rudiments performed within African locales before becomingacculturated in their western environment. A third and most important reason is due to thefact that the Nollywood movies are noticeably popular in wide scale among people in theAnglophone African and Caribbean countries including those in diaspora.2.3 The Slavery Exodus Dimension:In theorising diaspora, ‘Diaspora’ was the appellation attached with the Jews in the earlyperiod of dispersion from their initial homeland into various cities across the globe. The term
  20. 20. ‘Diaspora’ became an expansive dosage borrowed by academia in addressing the subject oftransnational ‘citizens living abroad’ (Braziel and Mannur, 2003). History exposes that theextensive exodus of black African communities date back to the early period of 16th century,the Slave Trade era that forced a huge sum of African natives out of their habitations intonew unfamiliar destinations. ‘A study of Diaspora can help explain the dispersal of previousoppressed or colonised subject in diverse locations and… identities and sense of belonging”(Agnew 2006:187).Usually, people that identified with each other as part of a collective past would however,together, often develop collective memories. This is because when personal memory isexperienced collectively, it moves from individual to a social phenomenon (Bal, et al1999.75). Against this backdrop, pathway for construction of social memory based onindividual experience is created (Agnew 2006:20). Quoting in similar vein as Bal, et al,Agnew stresses that as much as memory is capable of being created, stored, or communicatedby an individual, it could as well be used as social constituted forms, narratives and relations(Agnew 2006:20; Bal et al 1999).Agnew and Bal, et al opinions reflect the rudimental process of cultural memory in diasporiccommunity people which often unifies them towards enhancing and encouraging each otherto finding meaning in things pertaining to their cultural roots. Consequently, the BlackAfrican Diaspora audiences will become passionate about anything that purveys their localtradition. This is perhaps where the film genre steps in to stimulate their thoughts and remindthem of their erstwhile solitary lifestyles of beloved homeland. In retrospect, the transatlanticblack African diasporic movement, echoes that create the idea of one’s home lies amidst theframework ‘self and with community identities that are deterritorialised or constructed acrossboundaries of phenomena such as race, ethnicity, nationally and citizenship’ (Agnew, 2006).This submission simply means one’s home is in one’s imagination.2.4 The Race Dimension:This study does not intend to essentialise race, but rather to locate it in historical processes inwhich it is a determining social fact. This suggests that “a set of essential physical andcultural traits, which emerged at a distant point in the past, have been preserved- unchanged
  21. 21. in form, substance or meaning- by peoples of African descent wherever they may be found”(Woodson, 1993:3).The enslavement of a “race” of peoples and the forcible migration and displacement of otherpopulation groups, the destruction of sovereign nations, the formation of new states undercolonial rule, and the creation and propagation of false cultural claims and representationsthat persist to this day, summarises the enduring impact of a race and the collective identitiesof African posterity. The dislocation of millions of Africans - i.e., their uprooting andtransportation to various parts of the world- significantly changed their identity and sense ofpeople hood that had been theirs in various African settings. From the inception of thediaspora to the present, race became a central defining factor.For this reason, the primary experience of being defined in racial terms is pertinent to thepeople-formation process. Therefore, racial definitions have constituted a fundamental realityimposed upon the African diaspora peoples, and have informed their fate within a raciallydivisive system. In response, such a system and in terms of their own efforts to survive anddevelop as a group, it is virtually impossible for peoples of the black diaspora to avoid beingconscious of their race.The race dimension must be examined as a prime factor in the group’s own social formationand in the development of their sense of identity. Thus, populations such as the black Africandiaspora can become, under particular historically conditioned circumstances, a distinctivepeople (Darnton, 1994). The present moment is distinguished by three significant andcontingent developments that further contextualise the study of black Diasporic cinemas.First, as capitalism expanded on a world-scale, during the late 15th to 19th centuries, itsdevelopment, as noted earlier, has been associated with and dependent on large-scaleinternational migrations of people from one geographical site to another in the world-system.2.5 The Socio-Ethnic Dimension:In the late 20th century international migration became markedly different from earliermigrations in magnitude, composition and pervasiveness. International migration hassignificantly grown as the global capitalist economy expanded. The composition of the
  22. 22. migratory populations is more differentiated than in earlier waves by type -labour, refugeeand settlement.A case in point illustrative of the magnitude of international migration is the number of thedispersed persons from Third World countries of Africa and Caribbean. The decliningeconomic conditions In the Third world has put enormous pressure on some governments inthe World to adopt policies that encourage the outward migration of populations to thoseareas of the world where there is demand for low-wage labour. For instance, one-half of theJamaican population migrated to the United States (and Britain) during the post-war period(Watson, 1989), where they have established permanent diaspora communities.This foregoing factor for population growth of the black diaspora in western countries is thegrowth largely associated with massive and rapid rise in Third World urbanisation. We aretoday witnessing rapid urbanisation of the emigrated black Diaspora in western countries ina scale that is creating mega-cities in which traditional cultures and ethnic affiliations areincreasingly stressed (Borges, 1983:262), reconstituted and displayed by them. Anothercondition would be as a result of the historical and contemporary process of ubiquitous,though uneven, development of capitalism in the global system.The colonial process and slavery, of which international migration and settlement are a part,and the population growth and urbanisation, especially, but not only in the Third World,forged distinct multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural formations in the world. Thedevelopment of these “mixed formations, where race, gender, ethnicity, and class intersect,pose interesting and important intellectual and practical questions about “cultural” and“national” and “transnational” identities.What populations constitute a nation and what are nations’ (extra-national) boundaries, andhow diaspora communities reshape “national” cultures, reconfigure and create “new”identities, while maintaining “bi-national citizenship,” are the subjects of renewed study andredeployment that challenged the notions and the normative assumptions and definitionsabout these categories.
  23. 23. 2.6 The Socio-political Dimension:Therefore, in hypothesizing the concept of black cinema, “what makes a Third World film(i.e., Nigeria cinema) viable alternative to Western cinema) among wide cross-section ofpatriotic viewers from Africa and the Caribbean, is not exclusively the racial make-up of thefilm, the film’s aesthetic character, or the film’s intended audience, but rather the films’socio-political orientation within the hegemonic structures of post-colonialism” (Lott, 1991).For instance, the Nollywood film entitled: Amazing Grace, which was released in 2009reflected the story of the Slave Era in Nigeria. And because the movie featured white(English) characters from the UK, the film became the first major movie from Nigeria to beappreciated by cross-section of the Black community in the world. Correspondingly, blackAfricans and Caribbeans come under the auspices of “the de-colonised nations of the worldwhose economic and political structures have been shaped and deformed within the colonialprocess of the Western imperial nations (Stam and Spence, 1985).The black diaspora exists over time and space, and is a historical formation of the capitalistworld-system; it is dynamic, plastic transnational, intersecting across the world. Migrationand displacement, social oppression and resistance are among contemporary exemplars ofblack diaspora dispersion. In defining the black diaspora, Hamilton (1988) contends that itrepresents: a type of social grouping characterised by a historical patterning of particular social relationships and experiences. As a social formation, it is conceptualised as a global aggregate of actors and subpopulations, differentiated in social and geographical space, yet exhibiting a commonality based on historical factors, conditioned by and within the world ordering systems (Hamilton, 1988:18).Along with other diasporic population groups, whose descendants are from the Third World,the global dispersion of people of Africa descent is rooted in the colonial process. However,unlike other colonised groups, Africans were enslaved for nearly four centuries and on amagnitude unprecedented in human history. This largely forced scattering peoples of Africanancestry in other geographical sites, linked by a common socio-political condition undercolonialism and slavery. This defines the historical antecedent of the contemporary blackdiaspora. However, tentative and problematic the category, race is also a defining, though
  24. 24. historically contingent, feature of the black diaspora that distinguishes it from other, mostlycultural, religious or national diasporic populations.2.7 The Socio-Economic Dimension:However, it is also pertinent to view another profound knowledge which expresses a differentsense of remembering from one person to another. This will be based on a different recoursefor the dispersion of black African diaspora abroad. Apart from the black Atlantic slave tradeharbinger for the pockets of Diaspora communities spread pervasively across the globe(Braziel and Mannur, 2003), another point of diasporic dispersion is witnessed in the waymany peoples around the world including black Africans massively migrated from theircontinents to other continents in search for greener pasture (better economic conditions). Thislatter rational for migration introduces the criteria for which present-day migrants emigratefrom their countries.These set of migrants are more close to their country of origin because they had lived muchof their early life there and perhaps gotten their primary and secondary educationalorientation before they left for overseas. In this regard, some of them go through culturalshock and may find it difficult to acculturate in their new place of domicile. So there istendency that they will represent themselves in the manner they had culturally been imbibedwith from where they were coming from. And since they may not be able to exhibit theircultural mentality in their host lands, they will find means of reconnecting to the culturesfrom back home through any cultural media forum that re-create their cultural identity (this iswhere film is deemed relevant).2.8 The Socio-Cultural Dimension:Diaspora and cultural studies scholars, concerned with marginalised communities haveincreasingly engaged these subjects; along with the cultural-technological forms thatcommunicate and maintain solidarity among dispersed social groups in a mediated andinterconnected world. Mixed formations have preceded colonialism, but they were expandedand reconfigured in the colonial process. These formations are most evident in Third Worldcities, where diverse population groups are more likely to converge, cohabitate and interact,or in nations like Nigeria, perhaps one of the most mixed ethnic and “hybrid” of countries in
  25. 25. the Third World. These mixed formations of people from Third World are also manifest inmany First World nations, where they are largely defined as minorities.In USA, for example, the racial and ethnic formations that have evolved were forged largelyby Third World immigrants who have historically served as a source of cheap labour in thepost-war period. Distinguishing racial and cultural features of the immigrants that set themapart from their relationships to the peoples of the host nations followed labour from theperipheries of the Third World. The United States was virtually a non-homogeneous society.Its primary experience with white overlords had been with their colonial master in the time ofthe political expansion of Britain Empire. But in the 1950’s, due to a post-war labourshortage, a damaged economy and a weakening grip on its territories forced Britain toencourage people from the Caribbean and Africa to come overseas to fill manual jobs(Sivanandan, 1991).More generally, in ethnic enclaves and on the streets of any Western nation metropolis arethe living artifacts of a colonial past, peoples who self-consciously parade the worlds of theirformer imperial states culturally and physically distinct, “carrying their identity on theirfaces (Sivanandan, 1991). While some cultural and physical traits of social groups areclearly discernible, the categories that they presumably signify are immutable in racialdiscourse.In describing the features of multiculturalism, Stam and Spence (1985) presented areconstituted and dynamic framework for understanding “identity” in its variegated,multilayered and transnational dimensions. The authors view it “from the margins, seeing asminority communities not as interest groups to be added on to a pre-existing nucleus butrather as active, generative participants at the very core of a shared, conflictual history….”(Stam and Spence; 1985) However, this rejects the concept of a unified, fixed, andessentialist conceptualisation of identities (or communities) as consolidated sets of practices,unstable, historically situated, the products of ongoing differentiation and polymorphousidentification…. (Hall, 1993).This goes beyond narrow definitions of identity social relations, opening the way forinformed affiliation on the basis of shared social desires and identifications….it is reciprocal,
  26. 26. dialogical; it sees all acts of verbal or cultural exchange as taking place not between discretebounded individuals or cultures (Ziff, 1982: 301) but rather between permeable, changingindividuals and communities with regards to culture and identity given that culture is thewhole body of efforts made by a people in the sphere of thoughts to describe, justify, andpraise the action which the people has created to keep them a unified people. Thus whencultures are formed nationally, Fanon (1967) argues, they should therefore find ways totaking their place at the heart of struggle for freedom of practice in countries where theirpractitioners find themselves (Fanon, 1967, cited in Armes, 2006:64).2.9 African Culture and Film:If we look at the history of African cinema, it is not necessarily the film’s aesthetic qualitythat matters, but rather the message and its historical and cultural specificity. Within thenetwork of contradictions that characterises Africa, there is probably no more problematicarea than that of culture. The artistic craftsman of Africa displays the tensions between theforces of westernisation and tradition to a particularly intense degree. Even if they are drivento oppose the political and social policies of the ruling elite, they cannot cease to be a part ofit, though either shared origins or achieved social status. In respect to the gulf between rulersand ruled, those concerned with culture, whether as politicians and intellectuals, organisersand administrators, or as writers, artists, and film makers, are inevitably closure to the rulers.Yet ultimately in postcolonial society, culture can only be valid if it is the product ofindividuals able and willing to work against their own narrow class interest.The position of the Africa creative film artists is unique one. Though often at odds with theruling members of the elite to which they belong by virtue of their education, they areequally cut off from the mass of the people by the literary forms and language that theychoose. Their position could hardly be more different from that of the traditional storytelleror craftsman, whose identification with his audience or clientele was direct and immediate.As Ousmane Sembene noted at the First Festival of Negro Arts at Dakar in 1965, “All of uswho are writers are also people who have to some extent lost their roots” (Sembene, 1975cited in Hall, 1993).
  27. 27. For many Third world countries, continuing interplay with Europe provides a crucial and byno means wholly negative thread. The example of Jamaica could stand as a particularly clearexample to trends present to some extent throughout Caribbean and continuing across thedivide of political independence. This sense of entering the present thanks to the assimilatedinfluence of Europe contrasts strongly with the retreat into the past entailed in theconfrontation with local tradition. The attempt at a reinsertion into tradition can be extremelydifficult for an individual, and one of the central themes of the West African film releasedover the last thirty years has been the destructive impact of westernisation on an educatedperson who subsequently finds himself caught between two cultures (Lawson, 1982). Evenwhen this crisis is mastered and becomes the subject of a successfully completed Africanfilm, a certain retreat into the past still inevitably seems involved.Once more the African experience can be seen as analogous with a slightly earlier tendencyin Indian film making, where a similar return to the past and to the rural life is attempted by anumber of Indian producers in the later part of the 20th century. Similarly, the African film isessentially a cinema about African tradition for westernised audience; it was a way ofreturning to the past and to the rural life of Africa. African cinema were created frominspiration derived from African literature which centre on reflections of African life andexperiences defined in terms of national and traditional traits and presented to the Africanaudience as veritable alternative to films from the alien continents. Also goodly and arbitrary,is the idea that film makers seek themes from their own countries and add local colour whichmakes the films meaningless to non-Africans but palatable to those who understand them.For some, the salutary effect of the films led to apparent rejection of westernised culture infavour of a return to specifically understood traditional roots after a period of colonisation byforeign films. Certainly in Africa, much of what passes for “tradition” is the result of a conscious determination on the part of the decolonised people to re-establish order and security and a sense of community by means of defining and enforcing “tradition…” (Ranger, 1983: 262),
  28. 28. This is where film comes in to help define and enforce tradition. The most far- reaching inventions of Africa tradition took place when the Western film producers believed themselves to be respecting age-old African custom. What were called documentary of customary law, customary land-rights, customary political structure and so on, were in fact invented by colonial codification (Ranger, Ibid: 249- 50).The western perspective of making films that show African culture considered tradition,which has little historical validity, since it was the product of colonial perception of Africanculture. Maybe a sense of tradition, but not a vital component of cherished culture from anAfrican perspective which is by no means easily attained, particularly by those whosethought process have been shaped by a Western education. The kind of intellectual task thatthe reconstruction of the past after a period of colonisation is as Renato Constantino suggests: A people’s history must rediscover the past in order to make it reusable….The past should not be the object of mere contemplation if the present is to be meaningful.For if the past were viewed as a “frozen reality; … the past as a concrete historical realitymust be viewed as an integral part of the process of unfolding total reality of the people(Constantino, 1980: 234).The failure to build a black African film industry despite the valiant efforts of individualfilmmakers and a number of governments is hardly surprising in view of the fact that modernfilm industry of any kind in Africa dates only from colonial governments’ regimes seeking toproject African heritage to Western audience for commercial advantages. As late as 1950s inNigeria (a country which was later to become something of a film producing giant in blackAfrica), the production of films were done in high percentage by foreigners cashing in on theindustrialisation that occurred under colonial rule. Early film enterprises tended to be ownedby foreign capital until later indigenous capitalism which led domestic film entrepreneurs tobe added to the foreign control.Initially, the film industries have been created by indigenous capitalists attracted by theprofits to be derived from catering to the entertainment needs of the new audience composedof those drawn into the cash economy by urban industrialisation and the rural exodus. But
  29. 29. black Africa, coming late to industrialisation, missed out on the boom. In these instancescinema came to be seen as an excellent investment for undeclared profits from theillegitimate economy. In country like Nigeria, where there have been far more lucrative andless speculative outlets for reinvestment in the film industry. Though subsequent films aimedat gaining indigenous control over foreign firms, but the production business had to becompleted overseas because the realisation of establishing local production facilities wasbeyond the reach of local film producers.Industrial infrastructure for cinema studios, sound and editing facilities, laboratories arealmost completely lacking in black Africa. For most of francophone black Africa’s cinemaorganisations that were involved in film production such as in Burkina Faso, Ouagadougouand other French African colonies where indigenous producers tried to carry out domesticcinematography, resources were not available to the local producers for reason that thefrancophone countries were indeed the continent’s poorest countries because, amongst otherreasons, they were exploited and impoverished by the French imperial rulers (Martin, 1995).However, unlike in Anglophone black Africa, where the British introduced industrialisationand film production economies for its inhabitants. Perhaps this is why Nigeria later became aleading black African nation in film production.However, the factors which go to shape cultural productions in a black Africa nation likeNigeria constitutes only partial grids, each of which implies a different set of divisions.Though traditional beliefs persist, the varying penetration of Islam and Christianity tends todifferentiate the North from the South constituencies of Nigeria. For example, patterns ofcapitalist development in Nigeria make a division between Nigeria and other West Africancountries. In West Africa, entrepreneurs emerged largely from artisanship and trade, whereasin East Africa they have tended to come “through the straddling process of western educationand modern-sector employment” (Débrix, 1988). This finds its reflection in cinema to theextent that there is no equivalent in other parts of Africa with the individual initiatives,backed by local capital, which have led to the production of fictional feature films in Nigeriaand Ghana (Diawara, 1995).
  30. 30. Though there is an extensive and well-organised production and distribution of films in EastAfrica, through the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, for example. But all this localproduction is of documentaries serving government educational and agriculturalprogrammes. And even in the 1980s remains an expression of official views and ambitions:there have been no initiatives for privately funded features. Of course, the most important setof divisions in black Africa is that deriving from colonialism, which even after several yearsof formal independence continues to tie states and in particular their Western-educated elitesto the former colonial capitals of Western economies. Western influences on thedevelopment of cinema from the efforts of British missionaries in Nigeria to the traditions ofneutral informational documentary in Anglophone Africa continued into the 1980s.In West Africa, it was missionary Catholic Organisations such as the OrganisationCatholique Internationale du Cinéma et de L’Audiovisuel (OCIC) that in the 1980s broughtAfrican filmmaking to Western attention (OCAM, 1974). The OCAM (now extinct), was aneconomic and cultural organisation that grouped the following francophone Africancountries: Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger, Benin, Togo, Cameroun,Gabon Chad, the Central African Republic, and others for the purpose of sponsoring andprojecting documentary films with African heritage to the Western audience. Thisundoubtedly gave many young French African filmmakers an orientation to showcase theirfilms towards the West.However, the lack of post-production facilities in black Africa caused most films to befinished abroad, which not only increases enormously the cost of African production but alsomade the filmmakers to depend on western benefactors or philanthropists to be able to bearthe cost. But by the end of December 1980, attempts were made by some African states tobreak free from the dependence on foreign shaping influences, with the ending of aid toAfrican filmmakers. This was remarkable because it marked the main force behind thedevelopment of film making without financial assistance.The method of finance became through purchase of the films by the African audiences. Thefilms entered a commercial distribution system in black Africa. However, the films were
  31. 31. only distributed in cinema houses and could only be seen by only the African audience whocould afford the cost of buying a ticket. Consequent upon this, the scheme did little to bringAfrican films to African audiences, but it gave Africa the feel of putting the locally made-in-Africa-films by African producers for African audiences to test. The significance of thesefilms was rooted in the particularities of African culture for the mass audience, which persistsinto the 1980s.Turning to production, the amount of films (68 feature films) that were produced in Africabetween 1980 to 1984 came from 13 countries in all, with nearly half of the percentage oftotal films (33 films) from just two countries (Nigeria and Ghana) and a quarter (17 films)from 3 others (Senegal, Ivory Coast, Niger). No other black African country produced anyfilm during the period. However, nowhere in Africa did a satisfying career for filmmakingsurged than in Nigeria. It is quite interesting to learn from history that cinema was broughtinto Nigeria by the English colonialist who started by making slavery and racists films. Withthe advent of decolonization, indigenous filmmakers took over and used the ‘seventh-art’ todevelop a cultural voice for not only Nigeria, but for the black Africa continent as a whole(Ugochukwu, 2008).These African films were personal creations by African filmmakers. African cinema hasgrown up largely separate from the African languages which has been a key element of blackAfrican cultural production. The major African films of the 1980s have been made inindigenous languages, but it is notable that the two countries which produce the most filmsconcerned with purely commercial success were Nigeria and Ghana. Both countries have atradition of filmmaking in the language (English)) of their former coloniser. In Nigeria, therecan be no discussion of cultural imperialism without some mention of the more pervadingimperialism that was the situation of Nigerians and other hapless British colonies in Africa.The British had taken control of the territories that now form part of modern Nigeria (thenorthern and southern protectorates). Suffice to say that the British also developed theColonial Film Unit (CFU) in Nigeria to showcase their work in the country (Brill and Leiden,2008:260) While they had done a good job of civilizing the natives, there was no better waythan to stamp this belief on celluloid feature films (Akpabio and Mustapha-Lambe, 2008:
  32. 32. 259-270) which Nigeria indigenous filmmakers eventually gave the African colourationwhen the British succumbed to Nigerians’ agitation for self-rule (Akpabio and. Mustapha-Lambe, 2008).From the viewpoint of a study conducted by Akpabio and Mustapha-Lambe in Nigeria tofind out if foreign films still had stronghold on Nigerian audience members, the findingsindicate that a majority of respondents watch and have a favourable attitude towards Nigerianhomemade films (Akpabio and Mustapha-Lambe, 2008). However, in terms of preferencebetween local and foreign films, a small percentage indicated preference for the former. Thestudy concludes that the high quality of production of American films accounts for thefavourable views held by respondents, even though it is apparent that these and other foreignproductions no longer have a captive market in Nigeria (Akpabio and Mustapha-Lambe,2008).Two pioneers (among others) of Nigerian films were Ola Balogun and Eddie Ugbomah. Theyproduced Death of a black President and Cry Freedom respectively. These films were shotin English. In Ghana too, films like love brewed in the African pot, directed by KwawPaintsil Ansah and kukurantumi, directed by King Ampaw, play out their conventionalthemes of stagey tone and their dramatic scenes in English, The writing and performing inEnglish of scenes which would inevitably be acted out in indigenous languages givesfilmmaking of this kind an air of contrivance akin to the sense of an African culture astranslated in moving pictures that is also seen in many of the African culture revealingnovels written in English.In Nigeria, a country with apparently 427 local languages, virtually all the filmmaking so far hasbeen in English. This was because, for films to be generally accepted by a wide cross sectionof Nigerian audience, the films need to be in a language that is a lingual Franca of the people.Against this backdrop, Nigeria films were made in English and much of it has had no morethan purely commercial ambitions. Set against this excessive desire for commerce, filmswere produced more in Nigeria than other parts of the African continent. Eddie Ugbomah(one of the most successful pioneer Nigerian filmmakers), gives another reason for theprolific making of films in Nigeria when he argued that
  33. 33. “Foreign films have done harm to Nigeria society; foreign films have ruined the audience’s appetite for African films. Africans have become addicted to violence as seen from Hollywood and other escapist alien films… I also believe that there is no reason that the Nigerian film industry should not be lucrative. There is a large audience demand for entertainment, Nigeria has massive market. It is a country of about 100 million people and in order to make a profit, a Nigerian filmmaker has to capture only a fraction of that population, say one million people paying ten naira each to see a film” (Ugbomah, 1994 cited in Ukadike, 1994: 154).Furthermore, filmmakers do not engage in extravagant filmmaking, or spend $15 million tomake a film in Nigeria as is done by Hollywood filmmakers who can spend that much on afilm since the production are covered by insurance (so that if it flops the filmmaker canborrow money again to make yet another film). Nigerian filmmakers do not have suchprivilege so cannot afford to make movies with breath taking stunts and special effects withoutright demolition of structures and props. Those types of films are bad for Third Worldsocieties who want to preserve their own cultures (Ugbomah, Ibid).Since independence in 1960, governmental policy in Nigeria has hindered the developmentof a viable national film industry. For example, the government in Nigeria uses Federal FilmUnit exclusively to produce self-aggrandizing documentary films that they put on nationaltelevision for Nigerian audience to see. Nigerian filmmakers are thus free entrepreneurs whodo not need to clear with government sponsors or any agency before they shoot a film. Thefilmmakers invest their own money for producing their films. For this reason, it is importantin Nigeria that films must make money while entertaining or informing the audience, for theNigerian film industry to survive.2.11 The Development of Nigerian Films:The Nigerian movie industry could be thought of as beginning with the first independentlyproduced film, Kongi’s Harvest, produced in 1971 by Ossie Davis. In the course of the 1970sa number of Nigerian films were released in the country for the big screens, some notableones include Amadi, Bisi Daughter of the River, and The Mask. Later in that decade,
  34. 34. Yoruba travelling theatre groups from south western part of Nigeria also made the transitionfrom stage to television and to the big screen. A few to recall include films likeMosebolatan, Omo Orukan, Aiye, and Taxi-Driver. The influences that shaped the 1970sdevelopment of Nigerian film have been variously noted.On the one hand, it has been suggested that the cinematic experience as recreation in Nigeriais a colonial inheritance. The cinema displaced traditional forms of entertainment whichincluded story-telling, cultural enactments of songs and traditional dances as well aswrestling competitions, especially in urban centres (Ukadike, 1994). On the other hand, theoffers of films available in the country at the time were mainly Hollywood and Indian films –of which, the former had a particularly powerful influence on the attitude of Nigerian filmviewing habits. The development of indigenous cinema helped to emphasize the transitionfrom foreign films to Nigeria films by the Nigerian populace.With the downturn of Nigeria’s economy in the 1980s came the collapse of the indigenouscinema industry, and the advent of video film making. Through prolonged periods ofrepressive military rule, mismanagement of resources, and the adverse effects of austeritypolicies, political and economic discouragement stunted the development of celluloid film-making. Film producers went out of business and Cinema halls and facilities were shut down.This led to the filmmakers finding cheaper ways to making celluloid films available in homevideo film formats. Films were subsequently produced in Betacam videotapes cassettes andwere produced in an uneven manner and mainly for domestic consumption.Therefore, the first real Nigeria films produced outside the theatre were in traditionalanalogue video, of Betacam videotapes. Later, they were produced in VHS (video homesystem) cassettes. The commercial success of the VHS videotapes was immense so much sothat at the end of the 1990s film distribution to Nigerian homes had become quantitativelyone of the largest in western Africa, with 20 or more video films being released every week.The celluloid films made by filmmakers who were frustrated by the high cost of celluloidfilm production and failing cinema industry converted their films into VHS cassettes for saleto the audience. By the mid 1990s Law limited foreign television content so producers beganadvertising local popular films in TV stations and because at the time every state in Nigeriahad its own broadcasting station it was possible for massive Nigerian audience to see the
  35. 35. films. After this time, many films were released and circulated across the country, and beforeanyone could understand what was going on, a small scale informal video producing andmarketing industry developed.In 1992, the release of VHS movie Living in Bondage set the stage for Nollywood as it isknown today. Living in Bondage (1992) was directed by Kenneth Nnebue and produced byNEK Video Links. The release of Living in Bondage in the Eastern Nigerian got widepatronage from the Nigerian audience and this set the stage for the business instincts of otherfilm entrepreneurs in the country to explode (Mbamara, 2004; Servant, 2001; Onuzulike,2007; Haynes, 2005). After Living in Bondage, thereafter, Glamour Girls (a very widelypopular film) was released in 1994.Since then, despite the problems posed by inadequate infrastructure for filmmaking, lack offinance and a strong censorship regime, the Nigerian home video industry has grown withextraordinary speed. Films were hurriedly shot and distributed in major cities across Nigeriaand the videos began to reach people across the country in mass volumes. Thus, Nigeriafilms exploded into a booming industry that eventually pushed foreign films out of the homesof Nigerians. The huge success of Living in Bondage and Glamour Girls films set the pacefor others to produce other films. Through the business inherent aptitude and ethnic links ofthe ‘Igbo’ (the most enterprising and entrepreneurial ethnic race in Nigeria) and theirdominance in marketing and distribution in major cities across Nigeria, films began to reachpeople across the country. Aggressive marketing using posters, trailers, and televisionadvertising played a role in spreading the films to audiences across Nigeria.This phenomenal quantitative growth however did not necessarily translate to qualitativestandards, which continue to be regarded as poor for many such productions, and nor did itmean that the economic turnovers could come anywhere near those of established filmindustries in the United States, European countries, or India (Ukadike, 1994).In 2002 the Nigeria film industry had grown so large in profits from film sale that the NewYork Times reported “the industry is worth about US$45 million dollars” regardless ofprofits not being subject to tax (Ukadike, 1994:150). Also, the precise figures of productionand distribution are difficult to come by because they were not recorded by any agency.
  36. 36. Nevertheless the volume and speed of growth of Nigerian video film production withinNigeria earned the industry the appellation of “Nollywood” a terminology believed to becoined by a non-Nigerian, first appearing in an article by Matt Steinglass, an Americanreporter in the New York Times in 2002 (Haynes, 2005).2.12 State of Modern-day Nollywood movies within Nigeria:Today all Nigerian films are produced using digital video technology and they are referred toas Nollywood movies. This nomenclature however is not known to most non-Nigerianviewers outside of Nigeria who see them and they simply refer to the movies as ‘AfricanMovies’. In Nigeria everyone knows and refer to them as Nollywood movies. Thisappellation is now gradually becoming popular in the global discourse of film. Back home inNigeria where the films are made, most movies are not produced in studios. Video moviesare shot on location all over Nigeria with hotels, homes, and offices often rented out by theirowners and appearing in credits in the movies. The most popular locations are shot in thecities of Lagos, Enugu, and Abuja (Ukadike, 1994). However, distinct regional variationsappear between the northern movies made primarily in the Hausa language, the westernYoruba-language movies, the Edo-language movies shot in Benin city, and the Igbo moviesshot in the southeast (Akpabio and. Mustapha-Lambe, 2008: 259-270).Many of the big producers have offices in Surulere; Lagos and Nigerian directors adopt newtechnologies as soon as they become affordable. Bulky videotape cameras gave way to theirdigital descendents, which are now being replaced by HD cameras. Editing, music, and otherpost-production work are done with common computer-based systems.The distribution centres and market for films is Idumota Market on Lagos Island, Lagos Stateand house number 51 Iweka Road in Onitsha, Anambra State. Currently, Nigerian filmsoutsell Hollywood films in Nigeria and many other African countries. Some 300 producersturn out movies at an astonishing rate—somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 a year(Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). The films go straight to Video compact and Digital Video discs(VCD & DVD). Thirty new titles are delivered to Nigerian shops and market stalls everyweek, where an average film sells 50,000 copies (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). A hit may sellseveral hundred thousand Discs at two hundred and fifty Naira Nigerian money (equivalent
  37. 37. to 1.6 USA dollars each), making them affordable for most Nigerians and providingastounding returns for the producers.Most of the films are produced by independent companies and businessmen. However, thebig money for films in Nigeria is made in the direct-to-video market. The average film,which costs between 2.5 to 3.5 million (Naira) Nigerian money (which is equivalent to($17,000 to $23,000 USA), is shot on video in less than two to three weeks selling up to150,000–200,000 copies nationwide in one day (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). With this type ofreturn, more and more film entrepreneurs go into the film business. According to FrankIkegwuonu, author of Who is Who in Nollywood, about “1,200 films are produced in Nigeriaannually and more and more filmmakers are heading to Nigeria because of the lucrativecompetitive distribution system and a cheap workforce” (seewww.nigeriaentertainment.com). Further, Nigerian films seem to be better received by themarket when compared to foreign films because “those films are more family oriented thanthe American films” (Economist.com, 2006).Nigerian movies are available in even the most remote areas of the country. Within the lastfew years, there has been a growing popularity of Nigerian films among its people. This iseven so because local TV stations due to popular audience demand, are showing more oflocal content than foreign films. There are now cable TV channels that have come up to addto the mass communication of Nollywood movies to Nigerian audience. Nollywood films arecurrently receiving wider distribution in Nigeria than any other film brand. Between years of1994 to 2001, the National Film and Video Censors Board of Nigeria recorded over 333,810films had been shown in local TV stations in the country (Akpabio and. Mustapha-Lambe,2008). This figure is quite significant when compared to the era of movie-making usingcelluloid which could only be seen in cinema houses. From 2005, there was an average of400 films produced per year and the picture in the early 2007 boomed because foreign filmsfrom the United States, China, and India were no longer popular in television stations andfilm shops, Nollywood movies had supplanted other brands of movies that used to floodNigeria from overseas.Another factor for the wide spread of Nollywood movies is caused by the massive productionof the film in tons of hundreds per year due to the huge profit that the producers make from
  38. 38. film sales. So many movies were produced within a short time frame and pushed out to theNigeria audience to buy and because Nigerians audience continued to buy, new movies werecontinually being shot and produced. This resulted in economic growth and vast expansion ofthe distribution channels of Nollywood movies within the country. However, because localeconomies are not yet big enough to cater for home-grown programming and distribution ofthe movies, Nollywood marketers made ambitious move toward Nigerian audience livingoverseas (Croteau and Hoynes 2007:310, cited in Akpabio and. Mustapha-Lambe, 2008).2.13 International Perspective of Nollywood Movies:For the remarkable success of Nigerian films projecting around black African nations withinthe continent of Africa, Nollywood film industry has inspired other nations to establish theirfilm industry. We have heard of Gollywood (films produced and shot in Ghana); Ugawood(films produced and shot in Uganda); Riverwood (films produced and shot in Kenya) andeven Joziwood (films produced and shot by South African Black district). Nonetheless, all ofthese various film industries are still upcoming and have not been able to break into theglobal scenario as Nollywood films have done. This is even because Nollywood films havealso become the preferred genre of film watched by the nationals in most of these Africancountries.The projection of Nigerian movies outside the continent to the Western world came with the2007 documentary Welcome to Nollywood by director Jamie Meltzer and This Is Nollywoodby Franco Sacchi gave an overview of the industry. Jamie Meltzer’s documentary paysparticular attention to the unusual, rapid, and enterprising way that most Nollywood films arecreated as well as their significance and contribution to the greater society. On the otherhand, Franco Sacchis documentary features interviews with Nigerian filmmakers and actorsas they discuss their industry, defend the types of films they make and detail the kind ofimpact they can have.Also in 2007, a Danish documentary Good Copy Bad Copy features a substantial section onNigerian cinema, which focuses on the direct-to-DVD distribution of most Nigerian movies,as well as the industrys reliance on off-the-shelf video editing equipment as opposed to themore costly traditional film process. Furthermore, in 2008, a Canadian documentary:
  39. 39. Nollywood Babylon was released by AM Pictures and National Film Board of Canada andshown in the Official Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. TheNollywood Babylon documentary “looks at the industry like a guerrilla filmmaking arenawhere the only limit is the passion the artists and artistes have for making films” (Laperriere,2008).The contributions of these various documentaries went a great deal to launch Nigerian filmsand Nollywood industry successfully into international cynosure. As corollary, Nollywoodfilms are increasingly drawing the attention of the global media and film critics. With thesedevelopments the Nollywood film industry has become subject to serious academic attention.Currently in Nigeria, Nollywood movies have exploded into a booming industry that pushedforeign film brands off the shelves from thousands of Nigerian homes. The industry nowmarkets it movies all over black Anglo Africa continent particularly eastern and westernAfrica where the use of English is lingua franca. Thousands of movies leave Nigeria for othercountries even before they have been released in Nigeria (Vasagar, 2006).One of the first Nigerian movies to reach international renown was the 2003 release ofOsuofia in London, a film that was shot in the London metropolis, starring Nkem Owoh, afamous Nigerian comic actor who played the idiotic role caused by cultural shock whichmost Africans depict on their first arrival in the UK. Since that time, shooting of Nigerianfilms abroad has increased considerably. During the past three years, Nigerian films havebeen given pride of place in an impressive series of festivals in three different continents: inNairobi, in France, in the Netherlands, in Berlin, New York, Yaounde and Los Angeles(Economist.com, 2009). This expansion ensured genuine internationalisation of themarketing of Nigerian film brands. It is now common feature to see Nigerian video CDs andDVDs on online shops like eBay and Amazon websites as well as in market stores run andmanaged by non- Nigerian sellers in tens of countries, including non-Anglophone and non-African countries.At the present rating, films from Nollywood are conquering new territories because thedomestic market is becoming too small for them (www.economist.com, 2006). Oneinteresting phenomenon about viewing of Nollywood films in Nigeria is that, the Nigerianaudience rely almost exclusively on the VCDs and DVDs format to see the movies. Whereas
  40. 40. in all major film producing countries like USA, India and UK, films are distributed in at leastthree different formats via cinema, television DVD and BlueRay. Audience in these countriescould see movies first in the big screen theatre before they are released in disk formats. Thisis not the case in Nigeria. The pattern described here has continued and grown in scope sinceand since 2009, Nollywood films are now increasingly available on DVD only.The international distribution of Nollywood video films naturally has an impact inmulticultural contexts in North America and Europe. As a case in point, in the UK and USAthere are major concentrations of Nigerians in the Greater London area and Birmingham ofUK and in Brooklyn and the Bronx of New York in the USA. Although emigrants fromNigeria may have started peregrinating from Nigeria from the early 19th century, however,due to the Nigeria Civil War of 1966-1970 and protracted political and sporadic ethnic andreligious crises, many Nigerians immigrated to other western countries including the USAand UK for economic, social and political benefits. It is remarkable to note that a significantwave of greener pasture seeking Nigerians made exoduses to the USA and with the economicdownturn of the 1980s which caused poverty in Nigeria.As stated earlier, it was due to the fact that Nigerians were settled in overseas that first gaverise to the international distribution of Nollywood films to Nigerian Diaspora. But as of now,the consumption of Nollywood videos is not confined to Nigerians in Diaspora. Thedistribution cuts across a larger African Diaspora network, notably, for instance, SierraLeoneans (a group of immigrants that has grown as a result of ten years of civil wars). Also,the films are consumed to some degree by Afro-Caribbean communities of longer standing inthe USA and UK. Circulation of Nigerian videos began in areas with concentrations ofNigerian immigrants then moved to attract other African and Caribbean diaspora in the USA.In the perspective of Justin Duru, a Nigeria living in the Dutch Island of St Maarten locatedin the East Indies, who claimed to introduce Nigerian films to the area by screening classicssuch as Glamour Girls (a movie directed by Kenneth Nnebue, 1994), on local TV stationsfor commercial incentive. Duru points out that viewers in the Caribbean are wary of theenormously popular genre of ‘witchcraft and juju’ in Nigerian films which they commonlyassociated in the Caribbean with Haitian fetish practices such as voodoo (cited in Cartelli,2007).
  41. 41. Far away in the East Indies of St Lucian, a vendor confirmed that he has customers whoavoid films that explicitly depict the use of or belief in magic. However, he said ‘magic andtraditional religious practices often appear in Nigerian films as evil counterpoints to the life-saving power of evangelical Christianity, this fact make these films more palatable to thereligious viewer in the Caribbean’ (cited in Cartelli, 2007). Nollywood productions owetheir popularity because the viewers derive didacticisms. Some films tell stories of abjectpoverty, the dream of becoming wealthy, the dangers of prostitution and the fascination formagic (Laperriere, 2008). The films that have obvious international appeal are those thataddress issues with deep resonance in religion, AIDS, womens rights, the miraculous andsupernatural (Meltzer, 2007).The popularity of Nollywood films in the United States in particular, is partly due to thelaunching of a 24-hour entertainment TV channel by AFROTAINMENT that run asubscription video on-demand sub-channel offering unlimited viewing of fresh Nollywoodmovies every month to the North American Nollywood patrons (Tribune.com, 2006). Thereis also a pay-as-you-view facility of African films on the DSTV Channel calledAFRICANMAGIC that features mainly Nollywood video films. With these programming ofNollywood movies, this has ensured growth in viewing habits among non-Nigerians living indifferent cities of USA.The degree to which patronage and reception of Nollywood video films have grown amongnon-Nigerian immigrants within the USA is progressive within a space of short time which isremarkable because Nollywood movies are in no way comparable to Hollywood movies interms of production and quality and which are abundantly in closer proximity to the non-Nigerians patrons of Nollywood films. This new development has effected an over-the-topdistribution of Nollywood brands to the USA, and particularly the audiences being targetedby Nollywood marketers are the greater non-Nigerian viewers. This is a unique developmentand necessitate that systematic study be carried out to examine for consumption by the widernon-Nigerian diaspora in the West. Hence this study was developed for the purpose ofexamining this attitude among non-Nigerians who see Nollywood movies in the USA.2.14 Nollywood Movies in the United States:

×