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Chapter One
                                     INTRODUCTION
1.1 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 ‘Nollywood
movies’. Nollywood movies became transnational phenomenon when the VCD/DVD copies
moved across territorial boundaries to the homes of Nigerian immigrants abroad. How the
films first reached overseas to Nigerians was when they were sold in countries where there
are settlements of Nigerian immigrants. Over time, the movies got cross-national attention
and were patronised by non-Nigerian viewers mostly from Africa and Afro-Caribbean
countries. It is interesting to note that since 2007, there has been growing international
viewing of Nollywood films in the United States among Anglophone African and Afro-
Caribbean countries. This is very interesting and worth investigating, because despite that
these cross-sections of immigrants live in the USA and are in close proximity to Hollywood
movies, which are far better in production and quality, notwithstanding, they are turning
rapidly to seeing Nollywood films. This study’s essence therefore, is to find out what sense
the Diaspora Nigerians and non-Nigerians who view Nollywood movies in the USA make of
the movies based on their experience with seeing the films.


In other to carry out the study, this research has employed qualitative method to interview a
total of 15 participants from seven different African and Caribbean nations namely: Nigeria,
Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Jamaica, Bahamas, and Barbados. The participants were selected
based on the criteria that they descriptively fit the definition of immigrants and diaspora
audience ad that they shared some identical socio-cultural, racial, historical, and political
antecedents. 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 so
as to compare how nationality features in the viewing of Nollywood movies in the USA. The
study will make findings on the implications of viewing Nollywood movies by African and
Caribbean 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 resuscitating
nostalgia, cultural affiliations and values affectation among these Diaspora audiences with
shared identical socio-cultural antecedents.
1.2 Background of Study:
‘Nollywood’ appellation is derived after Hollywood (American movie industry) and
Bollywood (Indian movie industry), literally, it means ‘Nigerian Movie Industry’. Literally,
Nigerian Movie Industry means “made-in-Nigeria movies by Nigerian production team for
the Nigerian people” (Mbamara, 2005).           The popularity of prominent studies on how
television and video are being used to re-create cultural traditions was first carried out on
Bollywood Indian film amongst diaspora Indians residing outside India. However, the
popularity of Nigerian video films first, amongst diasporic Nigerians and later, amongst other
non-Nigerian outside their country of origin particularly in far way continents like Europe
and 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 an
integral part of the use of collective media (particularly the film media) by Diasporic
community (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). In the 21st Century, It is observed that members of
these groups demonstrate compassion and pride each time they individually or commonly
experienced viewing their traditional films on television, video or at the cinema. Academic
attention has shifted rapidly towards Audience/Reception studies on this area of narratives
and cultural forms as a result of this phenomenological development (Detokunbo-Bello,
2007).


Research studies on Nollywood became an international phenomenon when the movies
started selling across continental boundaries. This is particularly glaring in the United States
where there is a large settlement of immigrants from Anglophone African and Afro-
Caribbean countries, where Nollywood films have gotten booming viewing. There are many
places in USA like Brooklyn and Waterbury, which have densely populated Black Afro and
Caribbean communities, where there are stalls selling Nollywood DVDs and some of these
shops are owned by non-Nigerians especially Indians. This development attests to the fact
that Nollywood films’ popularity amongst diasporic communities in USA is blossoming.
This seems significant considering the varieties of culture of different peoples from diffused
multicultural 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 on
this phenomenon by showing wide range of African films and TV to audiences in the United
States, and the vast majority of their programming is from Nollywood. What is responsible
for this development? Is it that the Hollywood films no longer appeal to the taste of these
target audiences?


The fact that the audio signal in nearly all Nigerian films are shot in English might be a core
reason for the wide patronage among these viewers. This is perhaps because these viewers
are 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 African
Diaspora in the UK (London) that some of the movies are introducing African cultures and
values which are nonexistent in the UK so that Africans in Diaspora are able to connect to
their tropical cultural values (Omoniyi 2008; Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). Perhaps this may also
be 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 the
select group of individual interviewees from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Jamaica,
Bahamas and Barbados. This study uses a total of fifteen interviewees from these various
countries. This research will analyse the interviewees’ responses to serve as guide in making
a logical judgment for drawing conclusion. The research’s conclusion will make assertions
on whether there exist similar or differed reasons between Nigerians and non-Nigerians for
watching Nollywood movies. Additionally, this research will analyse the inferences from
responses of the individual interviewees to provide insights on how the Nollywood
phenomenon impacts on people with differed national identity.
1.3 Statement of the Problem:
At the turn of 2006, Nollywood movies began to gain more viewing patronage in homes of
Diaspora Anglo-African communities in countries like Great Britain, Canada and the United
States. In these countries, particularly in the United States where there are large settlement
of African emigrants from Anglophone African countries, it is now a subject of critical
discussion about the presence of Nigerian films there. In 2007, two American documentaries
Welcome to Nollywood and This is Nollywood were released in attempt to capture the
growing 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 the
English-speaking Afro-Caribbean from the West Indies are succumbing to the habit of seeing
more of Nollywood movies. This is despite that they live in the United States where there is
abundance of Hollywood movies, which are supposedly more popularly viewed in the USA
in particular and in the world in general. Notwithstanding, some African and Caribbean
immigrants 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 been
the most widely viewed movies within the USA. Initially, the global audience including
immigrants to the USA had watched more of Hollywood films. However, in early 1970s
other films such as Chinese and Indian movies penetrated into the USA and the global
terrain. Though these two genres of films were seen around the world, but it was the Indian
movie that was able to break the monopoly of Hollywood movies around the world as the
films were shown on big screen cinemas in many countries including the USA and across the
world. Interestingly, Indian movies appealed a great deal to the Indian immigrants residing
outside India.


The coming of the Indian movies introduced Bollywood to the world and Bollywood got the
attention of the world from the 1970s to 1990s. Subsequently, a lot of research studies were
conducted on the Bollywood phenomenon. However, at the turn of 2006 attention started
drifting to African movies which were actually made in Nigeria. This was largely due to the
fact that African immigrants wherever they were settled started taking to seeing more of the
African movies from Nigeria. Many non-Nigerians did not know where the movies came
from 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-Caribbean
Diaspora communities are patronising more African film brand from Nollywood.


For these immigrant communities in the United States to be patronising Nollywood movies
that are coming from Nigeria, a Third World country in Africa provides grounds for
investigating the cause of this behaviour. Against this backdrop, this research will find out to
what extent this novel phenomenon enables the select groups of immigrants who will be
interviewed 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 Western
countries is one indices of how such Diaspora groups negotiate their place in their chosen
countries of abode. Research has shown that such consumption has a tendency to penetrate
into the socio-cultural life of the country of immigration beyond the initial confines of
minority consumption (Ugochukwu, 2008). Nollywood films present such a possibility in its
present stage. It remains to be seen whether the Nollywood phenomenon comes to parallel
the 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 interesting
because it will not only focus on for what purpose and use Nigerian immigrants in the United
States see Nollywood movies, but as well on the reason non-Nigerian emigrants from Africa
and the Caribbean Islands to the United States are becoming accustomed to seeing
Nollywood movies without having any phylogenetic relation to Nigeria. This research will
go a step further to analyse the behaviour of the three groups of interviewees so as to
compare 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 in
the United States
 (ii) The extent if any, to which the growing and wider reach of Nollywood films have
affected their behaviours and lifestyles.
(iii) If there is interplay of the ways nationality features in the Nollywood movies
consumption in the United States.
While the research study will investigate the foregoing aspects in general, in particular, the
study will conclude its findings on the impact Nollywood films have on the select categories
of viewers in the United States with recourse to the way and manner in which the movies are
seen, appreciated and appropriated.


1.5 Relevance of Research:
The appeal of this research is contextualised in terms of theoretical suppositions that support
audience behavioural change due to occurring phenomenon. The phenomenon of Nollywood
movies and the emerging behaviours of the select group of viewers for this research is the
hallmark of this study. The research is significant because it will highlight theoretical
suppositions 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 tendency
of select group of individuals, it is necessary to put forward salient questions that the study
will seek to find answers to. This is even so because there is need to make the findings of the
study 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?
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 are
rooted in the intervening mediations between community life, cultural representation and
media. The rational for choosing theories for this study is guided by the variables of the study
and occurring mass media phenomenon. These variables include the people (nationals)
selected for interview, their behaviour (viewing habit) and the occurring phenomenon of
Nollywood movies. The selection of the interviewees of this research focuses on a trio group
of individuals with shared socio-ethnic and historic socio-political identity status as well as
some cultural similarities, against this backdrop, it is appropriate to use theories that
represent the socio-ethnography of the social group in focus of this study. Consequent upon
that, the theoretical suppositions that will serve as guide and that will be relevant for this
study 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 the
interviewees when grouped as audience or as a race. This categorisation is important because
it will enable better understanding of behaviour. Transnational film is in terms of the film
genre (which Nollywood movies represent). As Nollywood movies are seen in different way
ranging from DVD copies, cable TV and the Internet, it therefore implies that the audience
must seek out the medium where they can see the movies and depend on such medium for
continual     patronage       of     their     preferred      choice      of        movies.


 In the context of this study, culture anchors on the interviewees’ background; identity
focuses on their individual cultural philosophies when grouped as audiences and the media
here is specifically inclined toward the film genre. That being the case, the theoretical
approaches for this study will include the culture, identity and transnational film. The first
two theories - culture and identity theories will focus on how audience background and
shared identity could influence them. Whereas, the third theory - transnational film will
explain the phenomenon of Nollywood movies.


1.8 Culture Theory:
The emergence of Nollywood films as a cultural phenomenon, and Nigerian movies being a
micro representation of African culture in the macrocosm of holistic African cultures, hence,
culture approach in this study attracts diverse array of theories, associated practices and
which encompass many different approaches, methods, and academic perspectives. The
approach remains relatively structured in the academic field to understanding how cultural
dimensions enter consumption, usefulness and production functions of various kinds
(Harrison and Huntington, 2001). With regards to sociology and communication, culture
theory features in cultural studies on the interface of society to explain how essentially
culture purveyance places primary importance on the institutions that are involved in the
production, dissemination, and consumption of culture (Serrat, 2008).


Notably, culture theory strengthens the expectation that societies work, not because they are
comprised of autonomous individuals who are free of social sanctions but because they are
powered by social beings and their distinctive ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge that
contributes to understanding and promoting development of individualism where group
relationships predominate (Serrat, 2008). What constitutes perimeter for asserting social
identification for group of people attests to the beliefs in cultures that such group of people
share 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 people
in a sphere of thought to describe, justify, and praise the action which that people has created
itself and keeps itself in existence”. Consequently, the interplay between race, ethnicity, and
nation is central concern for understanding cultural identity analysis in contemporary cultural
studies.


In light of the foregoing, it is assumed when the national cultures in different countries take
place in similar paradigms, peoples from these countries will therefore find platform one way
or other to patronise, celebrate or identify with their cultures (Fanon, 1967:178-179). This is
because according to Hall (1990), the traditional way of thinking about cultural identity is in
terms of peoples’ shared culture, a sort of collective of “‘one’s true self and one’s shared self
with others” (Hall, 1990). Thus various cultural studies and social theories have investigated
the cultural identity and there are modern questions of culture that are transferred into
questions of identity.


Notwithstanding, there has being transnational movement and mixing of cultural identifiers
due to emigration caused by migration, exile and displacement. The movement processes of
cultural dynamics outside the restrictions imposed by nationally defined landmarks removes
the limits to perceptions of shared cultures to nations and nationalities (Gilroy, 1987). This is
even so because cultural practices are symbolic to peoples’ ways of life and when people
move, they carry their cultural practices along. For this reason, cultural practices can move
from defined enclaves of geographical boundaries to external zones and it is in this light that
we may begin to understand the formation of convergence of similar Diaspora cultures.


Culture convergence approach encompasses the symbolic convergence theory, which
according 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 Nollywood
movies, Nigerian cultures should influence an individual's perceptions of African culture as a
whole (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’s
otherness in an alien culture is a question one encounters from time to time: (i.e. where are
you from?), not ‘who/what are you?” (Lavie and Swedenburg, 1996). It follows that an
explanation of one’s identity of origin or birth leads to a certain signifying way of fathoming
the socio-ethno category or identity of a person in Diaspora. Such encounter is common to
the Anglo African and Afro-Caribbean Diasporas in the United States who are the
springboard for this qualitative study. Therefore, on the formation and development of
diasporic identities and their retention, it is imperative to theorise further from the
perspective 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, socioeconomic
status, race, ethnicity, social mobility, language, music, dance, dressing, etc. These are all
cultural identities which are negotiated, co-created, reinforced, and challenged through
communication (Hall, 1990) because culture is holistic and globes the needs common to all
people with similar primary socialisation. There are other more superficial or artificially
imposed ‘shared selves’ which people with a shared history, ancestry or dynasty hold in
common. This ‘shared selves’ is the harbinger for the feeling of ‘oneness’ among people
even when there exist different sociological identifiers such as language, nationality, gender,
religion, among others. Therefore, underlying all the other superficial differences, in truth, is
the 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 British
colonies. However, Hall (1990) suggests that it is better to envision a cultural identity, one
based on “not the rediscovery but the production of identity. Not an identity grounded in the
archaeology, but in the re-telling of the past” (Hall, 1990). Such a viewpoint would entail
acknowledging that this is an act of imaginative rediscovery, one which involves imposing an
imaginary coherence on the experience of dispersal and fragmentation, which is the history
of all enforced Diasporas (Hall, 1990). From this point of view, ethnic affinity is tandem to
cultural 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 and
understanding the future.
Moreover, to connect culture and identity in this research, the concept of identity illustrates
the various ways in which people view themselves in the context of specific or broad
societies. It also allows us to think about how individuals who are part of a larger group are
influenced 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 education
and 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 by
audiences with shared culture identifiers may do so because they are influenced by their
affiliation and engagement with the content of the films.     Therefore, it follows that when
various viewers of diverse nations form the habit of seeing certain types of movies because
they have become available, they perhaps do so because they find meaning in the film
content or perhaps the film content makes sense to them. Since Nollywood movies present
delectation for various nationals from diverse national geographical landscapes particularly
from African and Caribbean countries, it is necessary to overview these peoples later in the
study so that the cultural identity connection between them may be established.


Cultural identities come from somewhere because they have histories. But like everything
which is historical, they undergo constant transformation. Far from being eternally fixed in
some essential past, they are subject to the continuous play of history, and shared
experiences. The ability to reminisce on past experiences, Hall (1990) stresses is done by a
set of “peoples with shared cultural or social identifiers”. Knowledge is not imposed but
shared 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 makes
possible for people whether in whole or parts, to focus on contexts and contents; on values
and value systems; and on strategic relationships (Rummens, 2001).


People may frame the same or different meaning in different ways towards a particular
culture phenomenon based on interests and needs. However, since individual beliefs stem
from being member to a larger cultural identity group, individuals are likely to use a frame
that prioritises their membership to a group (Robert, 2003). Between blocs of countries,
human beings and the natural environment, cultural identity yields conceptual insights and
practical benefits and allows informed choices and intelligent decisions to be made by the
people. It enables individuals, for instance, to deal better with complexity and the
disintegration of social norms governing behaviour, thought, and social relationships. And it
also helps to ensure that peoples’ rationale for behaviour are contextualised properly and
pointed 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 identity
theory 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 of
social identity, “but the way in which this occurs is directed and constrained by the
individual’s beliefs about the legitimacy and stability of the group the individual belongs to
and the individual’s degree of identification with the group” (Reid, 2008). From empirical
and theoretical advances in the field of research studies, the cultural identity theory has been
expanded and elaborated to explain the rationale of individual behaviour when they belong to
a 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 mirrors
of one’s background (Hall, 1990). All the same, we can deduce that before individuals can
develop social identities for themselves, particularly as peoples’ identity can only be derived
from belonging to a defined social system such as a group, race, family or class, then perhaps
the identity of each member belonging to any social system will be dependent on the cultural
orientation 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 the
individual, hence, the choice made by individuals when they select entertainments such as
cinema and TV programming will be influenced by what already exists in them in form of
imbibed norms’. And this enables us to understand the rationale for the preferred choices
made by certain group of Diaspora subjects for Nollywood movies. In the light of the
foregoing deduction, we may now fathom why emigrants from Africa and Afro-Caribbean
countries who reside and work in metropolises of United States for economic or other
purposes are chosen as case study for this research.


In recent decades, a new form of identification has emerged, this new form of identification
breaks down the understanding of the individual as a coherent whole subject to a collection
of various cultural identifiers. These cultural identifiers examine the condition of the subject
from a variety of aspects including: place, gender, race, history, nationality, language, sexual
orientation, religious beliefs, ethnicity and aesthetics (Serrat, 2008). Given that the collective
participants of interviewees in this research include (1) Nigerians, (2) other Anglophone
Africans, and (3) Anglophones from Caribbean countries, there are socio-cultural identifiers
which link them together. These include: common racial identities (Blacks), British
colonialism experience, common language (English), common religion (primeval paganism
and adopted Christianity), and common heritage of slavery experience and some basic
similar modes of greeting and dressing. The foregoing identifiers create grounds for selecting
and 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 on
common electronic media such as television, cinemas or Internet shifts to find and depend on
medium 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 to
the effects of globalisation upon the cultural and economic aspects of film. It incorporates the
debates and influences of post-nationalism, post-colonialism, consumerism and Third world
cinema (Ugochukwu, 2008). Transnational cinema as argued were creative cultural products
to supersede national boundaries to show cultural representations to dispersed ethnic
populations, which are often termed Diaspora people.


One salient argument of transnational film is the necessity for a redefinition. It does not refer
only to the concept of a national cinema to hold sway the interest of dispersed nationals
abroad as was first posited by earlier studies. As the concept of identity became further
defined more by social identifiers as class, economic status, sexuality, gender, generation,
religion, ethnicity, political belief, culture, etc than nationality, the emergence of the
appellation ‘imaginary community’ was formed to describe many separate and fragmented
communities but who participate in shared behaviours (Anderson, 1991). If we see the film
media as a culture purveyor, as a result, we may fathom why “an individual who finds a
medium for having his or her needs fulfilled, will attach more importance to that medium and
depend 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 are
made in Nigeria. Though there is plethora of movies that are able to cut across national
borders like the Hollywood and Bollywood movies, this study will limit its emphasis to
Nollywood films. This is particularly because Nollywood movies according to Motiki (2006)
are gaining popularity among the fast-growing African immigrant populations, offering their
much westernised children a glimpse of African life, particularly the clash of modernity and
traditionalism (Motiki, 2006:1). This is because consumption of Nollywood films and the
Nollywood cable channels has become evidently notable among the black African Diaspora
communities dispersed around the globe.
Robins (2003: 189) explains that transnational distribution of films was, in fact, a significant
cultural catalyst; the reason is because migrants in whatever country they abode, due to
watching 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 the
host culture” (Robins, Ibid: 190).


Supporting Robins, Meyrowitz (1986) says because “transnational film merged social
spheres 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 for
the construction of imagined selves and communities” Meyrowitz, 1986). Therefore, through
the proliferation of transnational film, what has now become crucial for the recipient
audiences is the need to be above ignorance of their community of origin and to become
exposed with cultural roots from their homelands. The agenda here is all about the protection
of national culture - about sustaining the integrity of the cultural heritage. “Deterritorialised
people even when scattered through different lands, may still be devotees and long-distance
patriots to their cultural identities…” (Verhulst, Ibid).


Consequent on the fact that this research work highlights how the Nigerian movie industry
showcases African culture, we must be “reminded that film as a powerful medium of
entertainment is a very good medium for the transmission of cultural values” (Orewere,
1992: 206). The convergence of media on the Internet which allowed film programming
online built up new virtual geographies that offered migrants new kind of experience to
watch movies on the Internet has created platform which offer Diaspora peoples around the
world to see films that provide cultural recreation to them. Therefore, through the creation
and proliferation of video films that could move transnationally, Diaspora audiences have
become more exposed with cultural antecedents from their homelands. The agenda here is
that, it is no longer farfetched nowadays to find migrants in foreign host lands fostering the
cultures 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 characterisation
of “root cultures as imagined communities” which are “bonded discursively by a sense of
deep … imagined common origin and a mythical past”. Robins, with inferences from
Verhulst (Ibid), further argues that “the imaginations of deterritorialised people, even when
scattered through different lands, may be marked correspondingly by absentee patriotism and
long-distance nationalism” if “diasporic groups are… with the tools of developing
communication technology…to maintain their identities…”. Thus the developing and
globalisation of communication technology such as film has helped to sustain rise of local or
national culture in the global scenario.


On the other hand, Aksoy and Robins (2003) argue that transnational film consumption
promotes de-ethnicisation and frees the migrant from the pincers of a ‘frozen image’ of the
homeland (Aksoy and Robins 2003:4-5, 36). They suggest that the habit of transnational film
viewing, places migrants in an “ironic stance to cultures”, and far from reinforcing long
distance national identities it fosters an experience of “moving beyond the frame of national
society”. Their argument is based on the assumption that “what is conceived in terms of de-
territorialisation of migrant cultures is related to the emergence of new hybrid identities and
new cosmopolitan possibilities” (Robins, Ibid: 192) for the migrant communities.


All transnational film entertainment seeks to ingrain the feeling of long-distance patriotism to
respective migrants to their communities of origin. This spectacular of course, is the bedrock
of an initiative to catapult national cultural identity even to the lost sheep. The transnational
movement of film may thus be described as the voice of the shepherd crying out to get the
attention of the strayed sheep (migrant) in the wilderness (foreign land).


Earlier studies on globalisation of national cultures on transnational film media portrayed
globalisation as the suppressing of national cultures by the Western culture- what was
referred to as: ‘cultural imperialism’. Western culture, particularly of the United States was
popularised by the American transnational distribution of Hollywood films which dominated
the global until other nations were able to come up with their movies. With the emergence of
transnational film media from other nations, it became possible to break the monopoly of
cultural 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 collaborate
in the production and circulation of global film commodities… (Iwabuchi, 2002: 554- 555).
Furthermore, the predominance of Western (U.S.) culture has been seriously challenged by
the intensification of intraregional cultural flows and connections in the non-West.
Transnational film media from other nations proliferated with a different agenda and changed
the rule of the game.


Unlike the American movies which sought to brainwash the global populace with American
culture, the upcoming cinema from other nations targeted their media messages at dispersed
communities in Diaspora. This calculated strategy from other nations created a new order in
the globalisation of culture and the migrants or diasporic communities were simply the pivot
around which the transnationally distributed films revolve their messages. The significance
of the interface between how transnationally circulated films connect with the migrant
populations and the role it plays in the contemporary global era with contemporary global
flows of mass-mediated imagery and discourses creates “a new order of stability in the
production of modern subjectivities” (Appadurai, 2004: 4).


For example, if we recall the impact of satellite cable TV in the broadcasting of transnational
films to diaspora communities as an instance, it became possible that Turkish migrants in
Germany are able to watch Turkish films on TRT-INT satellite TV from Ankara in their
German 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 able
to watch Mexican soaps on TELEVISIA from Mexico, as Nigerians in USA, Canada, UK, and
some parts of Europe are able to see movies from Nigeria on cables such as NOLLYWOOD
TV, AFROTAINMENT, etc. These examples are reflections of how film from the homeland
meets their deterritorialised viewers.


The above situation in turn, functions to produce and sustain the evolution of new diasporic
public spheres that transcend the scope of conventional nation-state. “The role of film in
articulating the dispersed members of the nation to the centres of symbolic power is crucial
here” (Morley, 2000:107). What this emphasizes is that, film capitalises on the consequences
of 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 that
diasporic members stampede to seek affinity with their respective cultural background
because ‘films’ seem to have some kind of absolute force for not only to rousing patriotism
to cultures of one’s homeland but nostalgia as well.


It is possible nowadays to find migrants in foreign host lands fostering the primary cultures
of their countries of origin instead of that of the national communities where they reside. This
is so because of the transnational broadcasting and circulation of films from homeland, which
has extended the notion of cultural consciousness and patriotism to the cultural identity of the
Black diaspora nationals abroad.
Chapter Two

                                 EMPIRICAL OVERVIEW

2.1 Literature Review:
The world is now at the point where interaction between local, national and global is
increasing in crescendo. Customary enclaves like cultures, communities, nations or even
territories that previously restricted transplanetary flow of diverse social exchanges has
become permeable. Thus there has been dispersion of people that were originally localised
even in their migratory capacity to develop mental spaces within their minds to retain their
imagined real identity despite being members to new communities. Thus they would create
diasporic 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 no
transnational media such as printed materials (such as newspapers and books), satellite TV
and video films to help the Diaspora communities become ingrained with their roots. As a
consequence, 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 and
rash 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 (Robert
Young, 1994). However, what creates the choice community a person belongs to is perhaps
determined by the imagined syndrome derived from the cultural artifacts that are practiced by
the community where they hail from. The individual is influenced by the concept of national
identity 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 devotion
to the interests or culture of the nation by its members (whether far or near) which he said are
outcome of cultural consciousness. Cultural consciousness therefore makes national societies
or imagined communities have it as priority to conscientise members to remain in solidarity
with their cultural values. To achieve this, Verhulst (1999) said “Diasporic groups have now
found medium of communication to maintaining their identities, whether they are defined by
religious fervour, ethnic pride, economic ambition or historic places of origin by establishing
supportive or interactive communities…” (Verhulst, 1999:30-31).                As a corollary,
communications media are developed and used to hold sway the behaviour of the nationals
for “…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 among
Black diaspora audiences, the constituency of the black diaspora audience is considered from
the classificatory line of Anglophone black African and Afro-Caribbean excluding
Francophone black African, Afro-Latin, black British and black American. This is because in
broad terms, the constituency that make up the black diaspora, even all though hail from
Africa (Reid, 1993: 2-4), some never had any contact with the continent. Moreover, as the
select 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 process
is independent and commercial and concerned with black themes in which people of African
ancestry participate as screen writers, directors and thespians.


Secondly, the content orientation of the films are only relevant to people who can understand
English when spoken with African (or Nigerian) accent and who have had fore experience of
partaking in the cultural rudiments performed within African locales before becoming
acculturated in their western environment. A third and most important reason is due to the
fact that the Nollywood movies are noticeably popular in wide scale among people in the
Anglophone 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 early
period of dispersion from their initial homeland into various cities across the globe. The term
‘Diaspora’ became an expansive dosage borrowed by academia in addressing the subject of
transnational ‘citizens living abroad’ (Braziel and Mannur, 2003). History exposes that the
extensive 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 into
new unfamiliar destinations. ‘A study of Diaspora can help explain the dispersal of previous
oppressed 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 is
experienced collectively, it moves from individual to a social phenomenon (Bal, et al
1999.75). Against this backdrop, pathway for construction of social memory based on
individual 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 communicated
by 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 diasporic
community people which often unifies them towards enhancing and encouraging each other
to finding meaning in things pertaining to their cultural roots. Consequently, the Black
African Diaspora audiences will become passionate about anything that purveys their local
tradition. This is perhaps where the film genre steps in to stimulate their thoughts and remind
them of their erstwhile solitary lifestyles of beloved homeland. In retrospect, the transatlantic
black African diasporic movement, echoes that create the idea of one’s home lies amidst the
framework ‘self and with community identities that are deterritorialised or constructed across
boundaries 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 in
which it is a determining social fact. This suggests that “a set of essential physical and
cultural traits, which emerged at a distant point in the past, have been preserved- unchanged
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 other
population groups, the destruction of sovereign nations, the formation of new states under
colonial rule, and the creation and propagation of false cultural claims and representations
that persist to this day, summarises the enduring impact of a race and the collective identities
of African posterity. The dislocation of millions of Africans - i.e., their uprooting and
transportation to various parts of the world- significantly changed their identity and sense of
people hood that had been theirs in various African settings. From the inception of the
diaspora to the present, race became a central defining factor.


For this reason, the primary experience of being defined in racial terms is pertinent to the
people-formation process. Therefore, racial definitions have constituted a fundamental reality
imposed upon the African diaspora peoples, and have informed their fate within a racially
divisive system. In response, such a system and in terms of their own efforts to survive and
develop as a group, it is virtually impossible for peoples of the black diaspora to avoid being
conscious of their race.


The race dimension must be examined as a prime factor in the group’s own social formation
and in the development of their sense of identity. Thus, populations such as the black African
diaspora can become, under particular historically conditioned circumstances, a distinctive
people (Darnton, 1994). The present moment is distinguished by three significant and
contingent 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, its
development, as noted earlier, has been associated with and dependent on large-scale
international 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 earlier
migrations in magnitude, composition and pervasiveness. International migration has
significantly grown as the global capitalist economy expanded. The composition of the
migratory populations is more differentiated than in earlier waves by type -labour, refugee
and settlement.


A case in point illustrative of the magnitude of international migration is the number of the
dispersed persons from Third World countries of Africa and Caribbean. The declining
economic conditions In the Third world has put enormous pressure on some governments in
the World to adopt policies that encourage the outward migration of populations to those
areas of the world where there is demand for low-wage labour. For instance, one-half of the
Jamaican 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 the
growth largely associated with massive and rapid rise in Third World urbanisation. We are
today witnessing rapid urbanisation of the emigrated black Diaspora in western countries in
a scale that is creating mega-cities in which traditional cultures and ethnic affiliations are
increasingly stressed (Borges, 1983:262), reconstituted and displayed by them. Another
condition 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. The
development 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, and
how diaspora communities reshape “national” cultures, reconfigure and create “new”
identities, while maintaining “bi-national citizenship,” are the subjects of renewed study and
redeployment that challenged the notions and the normative assumptions and definitions
about these categories.
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 of
patriotic viewers from Africa and the Caribbean, is not exclusively the racial make-up of the
film, 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 2009
reflected 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 be
appreciated by cross-section of the Black community in the world. Correspondingly, black
Africans and Caribbeans come under the auspices of “the de-colonised nations of the world
whose economic and political structures have been shaped and deformed within the colonial
process of the Western imperial nations (Stam and Spence, 1985).

The black diaspora exists over time and space, and is a historical formation of the capitalist
world-system; it is dynamic, plastic transnational, intersecting across the world. Migration
and displacement, social oppression and resistance are among contemporary exemplars of
black diaspora dispersion. In defining the black diaspora, Hamilton (1988) contends that it
represents:
       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 a
magnitude unprecedented in human history. This largely forced scattering peoples of African
ancestry in other geographical sites, linked by a common socio-political condition under
colonialism and slavery. This defines the historical antecedent of the contemporary black
diaspora. However, tentative and problematic the category, race is also a defining, though
historically contingent, feature of the black diaspora that distinguishes it from other, mostly
cultural, religious or national diasporic populations.


2.7 The Socio-Economic Dimension:
However, it is also pertinent to view another profound knowledge which expresses a different
sense of remembering from one person to another. This will be based on a different recourse
for the dispersion of black African diaspora abroad. Apart from the black Atlantic slave trade
harbinger for the pockets of Diaspora communities spread pervasively across the globe
(Braziel and Mannur, 2003), another point of diasporic dispersion is witnessed in the way
many peoples around the world including black Africans massively migrated from their
continents to other continents in search for greener pasture (better economic conditions). This
latter rational for migration introduces the criteria for which present-day migrants emigrate
from their countries.


These set of migrants are more close to their country of origin because they had lived much
of their early life there and perhaps gotten their primary and secondary educational
orientation before they left for overseas. In this regard, some of them go through cultural
shock and may find it difficult to acculturate in their new place of domicile. So there is
tendency that they will represent themselves in the manner they had culturally been imbibed
with from where they were coming from. And since they may not be able to exhibit their
cultural mentality in their host lands, they will find means of reconnecting to the cultures
from back home through any cultural media forum that re-create their cultural identity (this is
where film is deemed relevant).


2.8 The Socio-Cultural Dimension:
Diaspora and cultural studies scholars, concerned with marginalised communities have
increasingly engaged these subjects; along with the cultural-technological forms that
communicate and maintain solidarity among dispersed social groups in a mediated and
interconnected world. Mixed formations have preceded colonialism, but they were expanded
and reconfigured in the colonial process. These formations are most evident in Third World
cities, 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
the Third World. These mixed formations of people from Third World are also manifest in
many First World nations, where they are largely defined as minorities.


In USA, for example, the racial and ethnic formations that have evolved were forged largely
by Third World immigrants who have historically served as a source of cheap labour in the
post-war period. Distinguishing racial and cultural features of the immigrants that set them
apart from their relationships to the peoples of the host nations followed labour from the
peripheries 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 of
the political expansion of Britain Empire. But in the 1950’s, due to a post-war labour
shortage, a damaged economy and a weakening grip on its territories forced Britain to
encourage 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 are
the living artifacts of a colonial past, peoples who self-consciously parade the worlds of their
former imperial states culturally and physically distinct, “carrying their identity on their
faces (Sivanandan, 1991). While some cultural and physical traits of social groups are
clearly discernible, the categories that they presumably signify are immutable in racial
discourse.


In describing the features of multiculturalism, Stam and Spence (1985) presented a
reconstituted and dynamic framework for understanding “identity” in its variegated,
multilayered and transnational dimensions. The authors view it “from the margins, seeing as
minority communities not as interest groups to be added on to a pre-existing nucleus but
rather 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, and
essentialist conceptualisation of identities (or communities) as consolidated sets of practices,
unstable, historically situated, the products of ongoing differentiation and polymorphous
identification…. (Hall, 1993).


This goes beyond narrow definitions of identity social relations, opening the way for
informed affiliation on the basis of shared social desires and identifications….it is reciprocal,
dialogical; it sees all acts of verbal or cultural exchange as taking place not between discrete
bounded individuals or cultures (Ziff, 1982: 301) but rather between permeable, changing
individuals and communities with regards to culture and identity given that culture is the
whole body of efforts made by a people in the sphere of thoughts to describe, justify, and
praise the action which the people has created to keep them a unified people. Thus when
cultures are formed nationally, Fanon (1967) argues, they should therefore find ways to
taking their place at the heart of struggle for freedom of practice in countries where their
practitioners 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 quality
that matters, but rather the message and its historical and cultural specificity. Within the
network of contradictions that characterises Africa, there is probably no more problematic
area than that of culture. The artistic craftsman of Africa displays the tensions between the
forces of westernisation and tradition to a particularly intense degree. Even if they are driven
to oppose the political and social policies of the ruling elite, they cannot cease to be a part of
it, though either shared origins or achieved social status. In respect to the gulf between rulers
and ruled, those concerned with culture, whether as politicians and intellectuals, organisers
and 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 of
individuals 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 the
ruling members of the elite to which they belong by virtue of their education, they are
equally cut off from the mass of the people by the literary forms and language that they
choose. Their position could hardly be more different from that of the traditional storyteller
or 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 us
who are writers are also people who have to some extent lost their roots” (Sembene, 1975
cited in Hall, 1993).
For many Third world countries, continuing interplay with Europe provides a crucial and by
no means wholly negative thread. The example of Jamaica could stand as a particularly clear
example to trends present to some extent throughout Caribbean and continuing across the
divide of political independence. This sense of entering the present thanks to the assimilated
influence of Europe contrasts strongly with the retreat into the past entailed in the
confrontation with local tradition. The attempt at a reinsertion into tradition can be extremely
difficult for an individual, and one of the central themes of the West African film released
over the last thirty years has been the destructive impact of westernisation on an educated
person who subsequently finds himself caught between two cultures (Lawson, 1982). Even
when this crisis is mastered and becomes the subject of a successfully completed African
film, a certain retreat into the past still inevitably seems involved.


Once more the African experience can be seen as analogous with a slightly earlier tendency
in Indian film making, where a similar return to the past and to the rural life is attempted by a
number of Indian producers in the later part of the 20th century. Similarly, the African film is
essentially a cinema about African tradition for westernised audience; it was a way of
returning to the past and to the rural life of Africa. African cinema were created from
inspiration derived from African literature which centre on reflections of African life and
experiences defined in terms of national and traditional traits and presented to the African
audience 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 which
makes 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 in
favour of a return to specifically understood traditional roots after a period of colonisation by
foreign 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),
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 African
culture. Maybe a sense of tradition, but not a vital component of cherished culture from an
African perspective which is by no means easily attained, particularly by those whose
thought process have been shaped by a Western education. The kind of intellectual task that
the 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 reality
must 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 individual
filmmakers and a number of governments is hardly surprising in view of the fact that modern
film industry of any kind in Africa dates only from colonial governments’ regimes seeking to
project African heritage to Western audience for commercial advantages. As late as 1950s in
Nigeria (a country which was later to become something of a film producing giant in black
Africa), the production of films were done in high percentage by foreigners cashing in on the
industrialisation that occurred under colonial rule. Early film enterprises tended to be owned
by foreign capital until later indigenous capitalism which led domestic film entrepreneurs to
be added to the foreign control.


Initially, the film industries have been created by indigenous capitalists attracted by the
profits to be derived from catering to the entertainment needs of the new audience composed
of those drawn into the cash economy by urban industrialisation and the rural exodus. But
black Africa, coming late to industrialisation, missed out on the boom. In these instances
cinema came to be seen as an excellent investment for undeclared profits from the
illegitimate economy. In country like Nigeria, where there have been far more lucrative and
less speculative outlets for reinvestment in the film industry. Though subsequent films aimed
at gaining indigenous control over foreign firms, but the production business had to be
completed overseas because the realisation of establishing local production facilities was
beyond the reach of local film producers.


Industrial infrastructure for cinema studios, sound and editing facilities, laboratories are
almost completely lacking in black Africa. For most of francophone black Africa’s cinema
organisations that were involved in film production such as in Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou
and other French African colonies where indigenous producers tried to carry out domestic
cinematography, resources were not available to the local producers for reason that the
francophone countries were indeed the continent’s poorest countries because, amongst other
reasons, they were exploited and impoverished by the French imperial rulers (Martin, 1995).
However, unlike in Anglophone black Africa, where the British introduced industrialisation
and film production economies for its inhabitants. Perhaps this is why Nigeria later became a
leading black African nation in film production.


However, the factors which go to shape cultural productions in a black Africa nation like
Nigeria 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 to
differentiate the North from the South constituencies of Nigeria. For example, patterns of
capitalist development in Nigeria make a division between Nigeria and other West African
countries. In West Africa, entrepreneurs emerged largely from artisanship and trade, whereas
in East Africa they have tended to come “through the straddling process of western education
and modern-sector employment” (Débrix, 1988). This finds its reflection in cinema to the
extent 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 Nigeria
and Ghana (Diawara, 1995).
Though there is an extensive and well-organised production and distribution of films in East
Africa, through the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, for example. But all this local
production is of documentaries serving government educational and agricultural
programmes. 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 set
of divisions in black Africa is that deriving from colonialism, which even after several years
of formal independence continues to tie states and in particular their Western-educated elites
to the former colonial capitals of Western economies. Western influences on the
development of cinema from the efforts of British missionaries in Nigeria to the traditions of
neutral informational documentary in Anglophone Africa continued into the 1980s.


In West Africa, it was missionary Catholic Organisations such as the Organisation
Catholique Internationale du Cinéma et de L’Audiovisuel (OCIC) that in the 1980s brought
African filmmaking to Western attention (OCAM, 1974). The OCAM (now extinct), was an
economic and cultural organisation that grouped the following francophone African
countries: Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger, Benin, Togo, Cameroun,
Gabon Chad, the Central African Republic, and others for the purpose of sponsoring and
projecting documentary      films with African heritage to the Western audience. This
undoubtedly gave many young French African filmmakers an orientation to showcase their
films towards the West.




However, the lack of post-production facilities in black Africa caused most films to be
finished abroad, which not only increases enormously the cost of African production but also
made the filmmakers to depend on western benefactors or philanthropists to be able to bear
the cost. But by the end of December 1980, attempts were made by some African states to
break free from the dependence on foreign shaping influences, with the ending of aid to
African filmmakers. This was remarkable because it marked the main force behind the
development of film making without financial assistance.


The method of finance became through purchase of the films by the African audiences. The
films entered a commercial distribution system in black Africa. However, the films were
only distributed in cinema houses and could only be seen by only the African audience who
could afford the cost of buying a ticket. Consequent upon this, the scheme did little to bring
African 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 these
films was rooted in the particularities of African culture for the mass audience, which persists
into the 1980s.


Turning to production, the amount of films (68 feature films) that were produced in Africa
between 1980 to 1984 came from 13 countries in all, with nearly half of the percentage of
total 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 any
film during the period. However, nowhere in Africa did a satisfying career for filmmaking
surged than in Nigeria. It is quite interesting to learn from history that cinema was brought
into Nigeria by the English colonialist who started by making slavery and racists films. With
the advent of decolonization, indigenous filmmakers took over and used the ‘seventh-art’ to
develop 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 has
grown up largely separate from the African languages which has been a key element of black
African cultural production. The major African films of the 1980s have been made in
indigenous languages, but it is notable that the two countries which produce the most films
concerned with purely commercial success were Nigeria and Ghana. Both countries have a
tradition of filmmaking in the language (English)) of their former coloniser. In Nigeria, there
can be no discussion of cultural imperialism without some mention of the more pervading
imperialism 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 (the
northern and southern protectorates). Suffice to say that the British also developed the
Colonial 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 way
than to stamp this belief on celluloid feature films (Akpabio and Mustapha-Lambe, 2008:
259-270) which Nigeria indigenous filmmakers eventually gave the African colouration
when 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 to
find out if foreign films still had stronghold on Nigerian audience members, the findings
indicate that a majority of respondents watch and have a favourable attitude towards Nigerian
homemade films (Akpabio and Mustapha-Lambe, 2008). However, in terms of preference
between local and foreign films, a small percentage indicated preference for the former. The
study concludes that the high quality of production of American films accounts for the
favourable views held by respondents, even though it is apparent that these and other foreign
productions 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. They
produced Death of a black President and Cry Freedom respectively. These films were shot
in English. In Ghana too, films like love brewed in the African pot, directed by Kwaw
Paintsil Ansah and kukurantumi, directed by King Ampaw, play out their conventional
themes of stagey tone and their dramatic scenes in English, The writing and performing in
English of scenes which would inevitably be acted out in indigenous languages gives
filmmaking of this kind an air of contrivance akin to the sense of an African culture as
translated in moving pictures that is also seen in many of the African culture revealing
novels written in English.


In Nigeria, a country with apparently 427 local languages, virtually all the filmmaking so far has
been in English. This was because, for films to be generally accepted by a wide cross section
of 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 more
than purely commercial ambitions. Set against this excessive desire for commerce, films
were 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 the
prolific making of films in Nigeria when he argued that
“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 to
make a film in Nigeria as is done by Hollywood filmmakers who can spend that much on a
film since the production are covered by insurance (so that if it flops the filmmaker can
borrow money again to make yet another film). Nigerian filmmakers do not have such
privilege so cannot afford to make movies with breath taking stunts and special effects with
outright demolition of structures and props. Those types of films are bad for Third World
societies who want to preserve their own cultures (Ugbomah, Ibid).
Since independence in 1960, governmental policy in Nigeria has hindered the development
of a viable national film industry. For example, the government in Nigeria uses Federal Film
Unit exclusively to produce self-aggrandizing documentary films that they put on national
television for Nigerian audience to see. Nigerian filmmakers are thus free entrepreneurs who
do not need to clear with government sponsors or any agency before they shoot a film. The
filmmakers invest their own money for producing their films. For this reason, it is important
in Nigeria that films must make money while entertaining or informing the audience, for the
Nigerian film industry to survive.




2.11 The Development of Nigerian Films:
The Nigerian movie industry could be thought of as beginning with the first independently
produced film, Kongi’s Harvest, produced in 1971 by Ossie Davis. In the course of the 1970s
a number of Nigerian films were released in the country for the big screens, some notable
ones include Amadi, Bisi Daughter of the River, and The Mask. Later in that decade,
Yoruba travelling theatre groups from south western part of Nigeria also made the transition
from stage to television and to the big screen. A few to recall include films like
Mosebolatan, Omo Orukan, Aiye, and Taxi-Driver. The influences that shaped the 1970s
development of Nigerian film have been variously noted.

On the one hand, it has been suggested that the cinematic experience as recreation in Nigeria
is a colonial inheritance. The cinema displaced traditional forms of entertainment which
included story-telling, cultural enactments of songs and traditional dances as well as
wrestling competitions, especially in urban centres (Ukadike, 1994). On the other hand, the
offers 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 film
viewing habits. The development of indigenous cinema helped to emphasize the transition
from foreign films to Nigeria films by the Nigerian populace.

With the downturn of Nigeria’s economy in the 1980s came the collapse of the indigenous
cinema industry, and the advent of video film making. Through prolonged periods of
repressive military rule, mismanagement of resources, and the adverse effects of austerity
policies, 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 home
video film formats. Films were subsequently produced in Betacam videotapes cassettes and
were produced in an uneven manner and mainly for domestic consumption.

Therefore, the first real Nigeria films produced outside the theatre were in traditional
analogue video, of Betacam videotapes. Later, they were produced in VHS (video home
system) cassettes. The commercial success of the VHS videotapes was immense so much so
that at the end of the 1990s film distribution to Nigerian homes had become quantitatively
one 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 celluloid
film production and failing cinema industry converted their films into VHS cassettes for sale
to the audience. By the mid 1990s Law limited foreign television content so producers began
advertising local popular films in TV stations and because at the time every state in Nigeria
had its own broadcasting station it was possible for massive Nigerian audience to see the
films. After this time, many films were released and circulated across the country, and before
anyone could understand what was going on, a small scale informal video producing and
marketing industry developed.

In 1992, the release of VHS movie Living in Bondage set the stage for Nollywood as it is
known today. Living in Bondage (1992) was directed by Kenneth Nnebue and produced by
NEK Video Links. The release of Living in Bondage in the Eastern Nigerian got wide
patronage from the Nigerian audience and this set the stage for the business instincts of other
film entrepreneurs in the country to explode (Mbamara, 2004; Servant, 2001; Onuzulike,
2007; Haynes, 2005). After Living in Bondage, thereafter, Glamour Girls (a very widely
popular film) was released in 1994.

Since then, despite the problems posed by inadequate infrastructure for filmmaking, lack of
finance and a strong censorship regime, the Nigerian home video industry has grown with
extraordinary speed. Films were hurriedly shot and distributed in major cities across Nigeria
and the videos began to reach people across the country in mass volumes. Thus, Nigeria
films exploded into a booming industry that eventually pushed foreign films out of the homes
of Nigerians. The huge success of Living in Bondage and Glamour Girls films set the pace
for others to produce other films. Through the business inherent aptitude and ethnic links of
the ‘Igbo’ (the most enterprising and entrepreneurial ethnic race in Nigeria) and their
dominance in marketing and distribution in major cities across Nigeria, films began to reach
people across the country. Aggressive marketing using posters, trailers, and television
advertising played a role in spreading the films to audiences across Nigeria.

This phenomenal quantitative growth however did not necessarily translate to qualitative
standards, which continue to be regarded as poor for many such productions, and nor did it
mean that the economic turnovers could come anywhere near those of established film
industries 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 New
York Times reported “the industry is worth about US$45 million dollars” regardless of
profits not being subject to tax (Ukadike, 1994:150). Also, the precise figures of production
and distribution are difficult to come by because they were not recorded by any agency.
Nevertheless the volume and speed of growth of Nigerian video film production within
Nigeria earned the industry the appellation of “Nollywood” a terminology believed to be
coined by a non-Nigerian, first appearing in an article by Matt Steinglass, an American
reporter 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 to
as Nollywood movies. This nomenclature however is not known to most non-Nigerian
viewers outside of Nigeria who see them and they simply refer to the movies as ‘African
Movies’. In Nigeria everyone knows and refer to them as Nollywood movies. This
appellation is now gradually becoming popular in the global discourse of film. Back home in
Nigeria where the films are made, most movies are not produced in studios. Video movies
are shot on location all over Nigeria with hotels, homes, and offices often rented out by their
owners and appearing in credits in the movies. The most popular locations are shot in the
cities of Lagos, Enugu, and Abuja (Ukadike, 1994). However, distinct regional variations
appear between the northern movies made primarily in the Hausa language, the western
Yoruba-language movies, the Edo-language movies shot in Benin city, and the Igbo movies
shot in the southeast (Akpabio and. Mustapha-Lambe, 2008: 259-270).

Many of the big producers have offices in Surulere; Lagos and Nigerian directors adopt new
technologies as soon as they become affordable. Bulky videotape cameras gave way to their
digital descendents, which are now being replaced by HD cameras. Editing, music, and other
post-production work are done with common computer-based systems.

The distribution centres and market for films is Idumota Market on Lagos Island, Lagos State
and house number 51 Iweka Road in Onitsha, Anambra State. Currently, Nigerian films
outsell Hollywood films in Nigeria and many other African countries. Some 300 producers
turn 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 every
week, where an average film sells 50,000 copies (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). A hit may sell
several hundred thousand Discs at two hundred and fifty Naira Nigerian money (equivalent
to 1.6 USA dollars each), making them affordable for most Nigerians and providing
astounding returns for the producers.

Most of the films are produced by independent companies and businessmen. However, the
big 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 to
150,000–200,000 copies nationwide in one day (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). With this type of
return, more and more film entrepreneurs go into the film business. According to Frank
Ikegwuonu, author of Who is Who in Nollywood, about “1,200 films are produced in Nigeria
annually and more and more filmmakers are heading to Nigeria because of the lucrative
competitive      distribution     system     and      a      cheap      workforce”      (see
www.nigeriaentertainment.com). Further, Nigerian films seem to be better received by the
market when compared to foreign films because “those films are more family oriented than
the American films” (Economist.com, 2006).

Nigerian movies are available in even the most remote areas of the country. Within the last
few years, there has been a growing popularity of Nigerian films among its people. This is
even so because local TV stations due to popular audience demand, are showing more of
local content than foreign films. There are now cable TV channels that have come up to add
to the mass communication of Nollywood movies to Nigerian audience. Nollywood films are
currently receiving wider distribution in Nigeria than any other film brand. Between years of
1994 to 2001, the National Film and Video Censors Board of Nigeria recorded over 333,810
films 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 using
celluloid which could only be seen in cinema houses. From 2005, there was an average of
400 films produced per year and the picture in the early 2007 boomed because foreign films
from the United States, China, and India were no longer popular in television stations and
film shops, Nollywood movies had supplanted other brands of movies that used to flood
Nigeria from overseas.

Another factor for the wide spread of Nollywood movies is caused by the massive production
of the film in tons of hundreds per year due to the huge profit that the producers make from
film sales. So many movies were produced within a short time frame and pushed out to the
Nigeria audience to buy and because Nigerians audience continued to buy, new movies were
continually being shot and produced. This resulted in economic growth and vast expansion of
the distribution channels of Nollywood movies within the country. However, because local
economies are not yet big enough to cater for home-grown programming and distribution of
the movies, Nollywood marketers made ambitious move toward Nigerian audience living
overseas (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 within
the continent of Africa, Nollywood film industry has inspired other nations to establish their
film 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) and
even Joziwood (films produced and shot by South African Black district). Nonetheless, all of
these various film industries are still upcoming and have not been able to break into the
global scenario as Nollywood films have done. This is even because Nollywood films have
also become the preferred genre of film watched by the nationals in most of these African
countries.


The projection of Nigerian movies outside the continent to the Western world came with the
2007 documentary Welcome to Nollywood by director Jamie Meltzer and This Is Nollywood
by Franco Sacchi gave an overview of the industry. Jamie Meltzer’s documentary pays
particular attention to the unusual, rapid, and enterprising way that most Nollywood films are
created as well as their significance and contribution to the greater society. On the other
hand, Franco Sacchi's documentary features interviews with Nigerian filmmakers and actors
as they discuss their industry, defend the types of films they make and detail the kind of
impact they can have.


Also in 2007, a Danish documentary Good Copy Bad Copy features a substantial section on
Nigerian cinema, which focuses on the direct-to-DVD distribution of most Nigerian movies,
as well as the industry's reliance on off-the-shelf video editing equipment as opposed to the
more costly traditional film process. Furthermore, in 2008, a Canadian documentary:
Nollywood Babylon was released by AM Pictures and National Film Board of Canada and
shown in the Official Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. The
Nollywood Babylon documentary “looks at the industry like a guerrilla filmmaking arena
where 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 films
and Nollywood industry successfully into international cynosure. As corollary, Nollywood
films are increasingly drawing the attention of the global media and film critics. With these
developments the Nollywood film industry has become subject to serious academic attention.
Currently in Nigeria, Nollywood movies have exploded into a booming industry that pushed
foreign film brands off the shelves from thousands of Nigerian homes. The industry now
markets it movies all over black Anglo Africa continent particularly eastern and western
Africa where the use of English is lingua franca. Thousands of movies leave Nigeria for other
countries even before they have been released in Nigeria (Vasagar, 2006).

One of the first Nigerian movies to reach international renown was the 2003 release of
Osuofia in London, a film that was shot in the London metropolis, starring Nkem Owoh, a
famous Nigerian comic actor who played the idiotic role caused by cultural shock which
most Africans depict on their first arrival in the UK. Since that time, shooting of Nigerian
films abroad has increased considerably. During the past three years, Nigerian films have
been given pride of place in an impressive series of festivals in three different continents: in
Nairobi, in France, in the Netherlands, in Berlin, New York, Yaounde and Los Angeles
(Economist.com, 2009). This expansion ensured genuine internationalisation of the
marketing of Nigerian film brands. It is now common feature to see Nigerian video CDs and
DVDs on online shops like eBay and Amazon websites as well as in market stores run and
managed 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 the
domestic market is becoming too small for them (www.economist.com, 2006). One
interesting phenomenon about viewing of Nollywood films in Nigeria is that, the Nigerian
audience rely almost exclusively on the VCDs and DVDs format to see the movies. Whereas
in all major film producing countries like USA, India and UK, films are distributed in at least
three different formats via cinema, television DVD and BlueRay. Audience in these countries
could see movies first in the big screen theatre before they are released in disk formats. This
is not the case in Nigeria. The pattern described here has continued and grown in scope since
and since 2009, Nollywood films are now increasingly available on DVD only.

The international distribution of Nollywood video films naturally has an impact in
multicultural contexts in North America and Europe. As a case in point, in the UK and USA
there are major concentrations of Nigerians in the Greater London area and Birmingham of
UK and in Brooklyn and the Bronx of New York in the USA. Although emigrants from
Nigeria 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 and
religious crises, many Nigerians immigrated to other western countries including the USA
and UK for economic, social and political benefits. It is remarkable to note that a significant
wave of greener pasture seeking Nigerians made exoduses to the USA and with the economic
downturn 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 gave
rise 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. The
distribution cuts across a larger African Diaspora network, notably, for instance, Sierra
Leoneans (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 in
the USA and UK. Circulation of Nigerian videos began in areas with concentrations of
Nigerian 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 located
in the East Indies, who claimed to introduce Nigerian films to the area by screening classics
such as Glamour Girls (a movie directed by Kenneth Nnebue, 1994), on local TV stations
for commercial incentive. Duru points out that viewers in the Caribbean are wary of the
enormously popular genre of ‘witchcraft and juju’ in Nigerian films which they commonly
associated in the Caribbean with Haitian fetish practices such as voodoo (cited in Cartelli,
2007).
Far away in the East Indies of St Lucian, a vendor confirmed that he has customers who
avoid films that explicitly depict the use of or belief in magic. However, he said ‘magic and
traditional 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 the
religious viewer in the Caribbean’ (cited in Cartelli, 2007).     Nollywood productions owe
their popularity because the viewers derive didacticisms. Some films tell stories of abject
poverty, the dream of becoming wealthy, the dangers of prostitution and the fascination for
magic (Laperriere, 2008). The films that have obvious international appeal are those that
address issues with deep resonance in religion, AIDS, women's rights, the miraculous and
supernatural (Meltzer, 2007).

The popularity of Nollywood films in the United States in particular, is partly due to the
launching of a 24-hour entertainment TV channel by AFROTAINMENT that run a
subscription video on-demand sub-channel offering unlimited viewing of fresh Nollywood
movies every month to the North American Nollywood patrons (Tribune.com, 2006). There
is also a pay-as-you-view facility of African films on the DSTV Channel called
AFRICANMAGIC that features mainly Nollywood video films. With these programming of
Nollywood movies, this has ensured growth in viewing habits among non-Nigerians living in
different cities of USA.

The degree to which patronage and reception of Nollywood video films have grown among
non-Nigerian immigrants within the USA is progressive within a space of short time which is
remarkable because Nollywood movies are in no way comparable to Hollywood movies in
terms 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-top
distribution of Nollywood brands to the USA, and particularly the audiences being targeted
by Nollywood marketers are the greater non-Nigerian viewers. This is a unique development
and necessitate that systematic study be carried out to examine for consumption by the wider
non-Nigerian diaspora in the West. Hence this study was developed for the purpose of
examining this attitude among non-Nigerians who see Nollywood movies in the USA.

2.14 Nollywood Movies in the United States:
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)
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Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)
Making sense of nollywood Movies (Part 2, Complete Document)

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

  • 1. Chapter One INTRODUCTION 1.1 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 ‘Nollywood movies’. Nollywood movies became transnational phenomenon when the VCD/DVD copies moved across territorial boundaries to the homes of Nigerian immigrants abroad. How the films first reached overseas to Nigerians was when they were sold in countries where there are settlements of Nigerian immigrants. Over time, the movies got cross-national attention and were patronised by non-Nigerian viewers mostly from Africa and Afro-Caribbean countries. It is interesting to note that since 2007, there has been growing international viewing of Nollywood films in the United States among Anglophone African and Afro- Caribbean countries. This is very interesting and worth investigating, because despite that these cross-sections of immigrants live in the USA and are in close proximity to Hollywood movies, which are far better in production and quality, notwithstanding, they are turning rapidly to seeing Nollywood films. This study’s essence therefore, is to find out what sense the Diaspora Nigerians and non-Nigerians who view Nollywood movies in the USA make of the movies based on their experience with seeing the films. In other to carry out the study, this research has employed qualitative method to interview a total of 15 participants from seven different African and Caribbean nations namely: Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Jamaica, Bahamas, and Barbados. The participants were selected based on the criteria that they descriptively fit the definition of immigrants and diaspora audience ad that they shared some identical socio-cultural, racial, historical, and political antecedents. 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 so as to compare how nationality features in the viewing of Nollywood movies in the USA. The study will make findings on the implications of viewing Nollywood movies by African and Caribbean 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 resuscitating nostalgia, cultural affiliations and values affectation among these Diaspora audiences with shared identical socio-cultural antecedents.
  • 2. 1.2 Background of Study: ‘Nollywood’ appellation is derived after Hollywood (American movie industry) and Bollywood (Indian movie industry), literally, it means ‘Nigerian Movie Industry’. Literally, Nigerian Movie Industry means “made-in-Nigeria movies by Nigerian production team for the Nigerian people” (Mbamara, 2005). The popularity of prominent studies on how television and video are being used to re-create cultural traditions was first carried out on Bollywood Indian film amongst diaspora Indians residing outside India. However, the popularity of Nigerian video films first, amongst diasporic Nigerians and later, amongst other non-Nigerian outside their country of origin particularly in far way continents like Europe and 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 an integral part of the use of collective media (particularly the film media) by Diasporic community (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). In the 21st Century, It is observed that members of these groups demonstrate compassion and pride each time they individually or commonly experienced viewing their traditional films on television, video or at the cinema. Academic attention has shifted rapidly towards Audience/Reception studies on this area of narratives and cultural forms as a result of this phenomenological development (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). Research studies on Nollywood became an international phenomenon when the movies started selling across continental boundaries. This is particularly glaring in the United States where there is a large settlement of immigrants from Anglophone African and Afro- Caribbean countries, where Nollywood films have gotten booming viewing. There are many places in USA like Brooklyn and Waterbury, which have densely populated Black Afro and Caribbean communities, where there are stalls selling Nollywood DVDs and some of these
  • 3. shops are owned by non-Nigerians especially Indians. This development attests to the fact that Nollywood films’ popularity amongst diasporic communities in USA is blossoming. This seems significant considering the varieties of culture of different peoples from diffused multicultural 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 on this phenomenon by showing wide range of African films and TV to audiences in the United States, and the vast majority of their programming is from Nollywood. What is responsible for this development? Is it that the Hollywood films no longer appeal to the taste of these target audiences? The fact that the audio signal in nearly all Nigerian films are shot in English might be a core reason for the wide patronage among these viewers. This is perhaps because these viewers are 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 African Diaspora in the UK (London) that some of the movies are introducing African cultures and values which are nonexistent in the UK so that Africans in Diaspora are able to connect to their tropical cultural values (Omoniyi 2008; Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). Perhaps this may also be 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 the select group of individual interviewees from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Jamaica, Bahamas and Barbados. This study uses a total of fifteen interviewees from these various countries. This research will analyse the interviewees’ responses to serve as guide in making a logical judgment for drawing conclusion. The research’s conclusion will make assertions on whether there exist similar or differed reasons between Nigerians and non-Nigerians for watching Nollywood movies. Additionally, this research will analyse the inferences from responses of the individual interviewees to provide insights on how the Nollywood phenomenon impacts on people with differed national identity.
  • 4. 1.3 Statement of the Problem: At the turn of 2006, Nollywood movies began to gain more viewing patronage in homes of Diaspora Anglo-African communities in countries like Great Britain, Canada and the United States. In these countries, particularly in the United States where there are large settlement of African emigrants from Anglophone African countries, it is now a subject of critical discussion about the presence of Nigerian films there. In 2007, two American documentaries Welcome to Nollywood and This is Nollywood were released in attempt to capture the growing 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 the English-speaking Afro-Caribbean from the West Indies are succumbing to the habit of seeing more of Nollywood movies. This is despite that they live in the United States where there is abundance of Hollywood movies, which are supposedly more popularly viewed in the USA in particular and in the world in general. Notwithstanding, some African and Caribbean immigrants 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 been the most widely viewed movies within the USA. Initially, the global audience including immigrants to the USA had watched more of Hollywood films. However, in early 1970s other films such as Chinese and Indian movies penetrated into the USA and the global terrain. Though these two genres of films were seen around the world, but it was the Indian movie that was able to break the monopoly of Hollywood movies around the world as the films were shown on big screen cinemas in many countries including the USA and across the world. Interestingly, Indian movies appealed a great deal to the Indian immigrants residing outside India. The coming of the Indian movies introduced Bollywood to the world and Bollywood got the attention of the world from the 1970s to 1990s. Subsequently, a lot of research studies were conducted on the Bollywood phenomenon. However, at the turn of 2006 attention started drifting to African movies which were actually made in Nigeria. This was largely due to the fact that African immigrants wherever they were settled started taking to seeing more of the
  • 5. African movies from Nigeria. Many non-Nigerians did not know where the movies came from 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-Caribbean Diaspora communities are patronising more African film brand from Nollywood. For these immigrant communities in the United States to be patronising Nollywood movies that are coming from Nigeria, a Third World country in Africa provides grounds for investigating the cause of this behaviour. Against this backdrop, this research will find out to what extent this novel phenomenon enables the select groups of immigrants who will be interviewed 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 Western countries is one indices of how such Diaspora groups negotiate their place in their chosen countries of abode. Research has shown that such consumption has a tendency to penetrate into the socio-cultural life of the country of immigration beyond the initial confines of minority consumption (Ugochukwu, 2008). Nollywood films present such a possibility in its present stage. It remains to be seen whether the Nollywood phenomenon comes to parallel the 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 interesting because it will not only focus on for what purpose and use Nigerian immigrants in the United States see Nollywood movies, but as well on the reason non-Nigerian emigrants from Africa and the Caribbean Islands to the United States are becoming accustomed to seeing Nollywood movies without having any phylogenetic relation to Nigeria. This research will go a step further to analyse the behaviour of the three groups of interviewees so as to compare 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 in the United States (ii) The extent if any, to which the growing and wider reach of Nollywood films have affected their behaviours and lifestyles.
  • 6. (iii) If there is interplay of the ways nationality features in the Nollywood movies consumption in the United States. While the research study will investigate the foregoing aspects in general, in particular, the study will conclude its findings on the impact Nollywood films have on the select categories of viewers in the United States with recourse to the way and manner in which the movies are seen, appreciated and appropriated. 1.5 Relevance of Research: The appeal of this research is contextualised in terms of theoretical suppositions that support audience behavioural change due to occurring phenomenon. The phenomenon of Nollywood movies and the emerging behaviours of the select group of viewers for this research is the hallmark of this study. The research is significant because it will highlight theoretical suppositions 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 tendency of select group of individuals, it is necessary to put forward salient questions that the study will seek to find answers to. This is even so because there is need to make the findings of the study 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. 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 are rooted in the intervening mediations between community life, cultural representation and media. The rational for choosing theories for this study is guided by the variables of the study and occurring mass media phenomenon. These variables include the people (nationals) selected for interview, their behaviour (viewing habit) and the occurring phenomenon of Nollywood movies. The selection of the interviewees of this research focuses on a trio group of individuals with shared socio-ethnic and historic socio-political identity status as well as some cultural similarities, against this backdrop, it is appropriate to use theories that represent the socio-ethnography of the social group in focus of this study. Consequent upon that, the theoretical suppositions that will serve as guide and that will be relevant for this study 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 the interviewees when grouped as audience or as a race. This categorisation is important because it will enable better understanding of behaviour. Transnational film is in terms of the film genre (which Nollywood movies represent). As Nollywood movies are seen in different way ranging from DVD copies, cable TV and the Internet, it therefore implies that the audience must seek out the medium where they can see the movies and depend on such medium for continual patronage of their preferred choice of movies. In the context of this study, culture anchors on the interviewees’ background; identity focuses on their individual cultural philosophies when grouped as audiences and the media here is specifically inclined toward the film genre. That being the case, the theoretical approaches for this study will include the culture, identity and transnational film. The first
  • 8. two theories - culture and identity theories will focus on how audience background and shared identity could influence them. Whereas, the third theory - transnational film will explain the phenomenon of Nollywood movies. 1.8 Culture Theory: The emergence of Nollywood films as a cultural phenomenon, and Nigerian movies being a micro representation of African culture in the macrocosm of holistic African cultures, hence, culture approach in this study attracts diverse array of theories, associated practices and which encompass many different approaches, methods, and academic perspectives. The approach remains relatively structured in the academic field to understanding how cultural dimensions enter consumption, usefulness and production functions of various kinds (Harrison and Huntington, 2001). With regards to sociology and communication, culture theory features in cultural studies on the interface of society to explain how essentially culture purveyance places primary importance on the institutions that are involved in the production, dissemination, and consumption of culture (Serrat, 2008). Notably, culture theory strengthens the expectation that societies work, not because they are comprised of autonomous individuals who are free of social sanctions but because they are powered by social beings and their distinctive ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge that contributes to understanding and promoting development of individualism where group relationships predominate (Serrat, 2008). What constitutes perimeter for asserting social identification for group of people attests to the beliefs in cultures that such group of people share 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 people in a sphere of thought to describe, justify, and praise the action which that people has created itself and keeps itself in existence”. Consequently, the interplay between race, ethnicity, and nation is central concern for understanding cultural identity analysis in contemporary cultural studies. In light of the foregoing, it is assumed when the national cultures in different countries take place in similar paradigms, peoples from these countries will therefore find platform one way or other to patronise, celebrate or identify with their cultures (Fanon, 1967:178-179). This is
  • 9. because according to Hall (1990), the traditional way of thinking about cultural identity is in terms of peoples’ shared culture, a sort of collective of “‘one’s true self and one’s shared self with others” (Hall, 1990). Thus various cultural studies and social theories have investigated the cultural identity and there are modern questions of culture that are transferred into questions of identity. Notwithstanding, there has being transnational movement and mixing of cultural identifiers due to emigration caused by migration, exile and displacement. The movement processes of cultural dynamics outside the restrictions imposed by nationally defined landmarks removes the limits to perceptions of shared cultures to nations and nationalities (Gilroy, 1987). This is even so because cultural practices are symbolic to peoples’ ways of life and when people move, they carry their cultural practices along. For this reason, cultural practices can move from defined enclaves of geographical boundaries to external zones and it is in this light that we may begin to understand the formation of convergence of similar Diaspora cultures. Culture convergence approach encompasses the symbolic convergence theory, which according 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 Nollywood movies, Nigerian cultures should influence an individual's perceptions of African culture as a whole (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’s otherness in an alien culture is a question one encounters from time to time: (i.e. where are you from?), not ‘who/what are you?” (Lavie and Swedenburg, 1996). It follows that an explanation of one’s identity of origin or birth leads to a certain signifying way of fathoming the socio-ethno category or identity of a person in Diaspora. Such encounter is common to the Anglo African and Afro-Caribbean Diasporas in the United States who are the springboard for this qualitative study. Therefore, on the formation and development of
  • 10. diasporic identities and their retention, it is imperative to theorise further from the perspective 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, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, social mobility, language, music, dance, dressing, etc. These are all cultural identities which are negotiated, co-created, reinforced, and challenged through communication (Hall, 1990) because culture is holistic and globes the needs common to all people with similar primary socialisation. There are other more superficial or artificially imposed ‘shared selves’ which people with a shared history, ancestry or dynasty hold in common. This ‘shared selves’ is the harbinger for the feeling of ‘oneness’ among people even when there exist different sociological identifiers such as language, nationality, gender, religion, among others. Therefore, underlying all the other superficial differences, in truth, is the 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 British colonies. However, Hall (1990) suggests that it is better to envision a cultural identity, one based on “not the rediscovery but the production of identity. Not an identity grounded in the archaeology, but in the re-telling of the past” (Hall, 1990). Such a viewpoint would entail acknowledging that this is an act of imaginative rediscovery, one which involves imposing an imaginary coherence on the experience of dispersal and fragmentation, which is the history of all enforced Diasporas (Hall, 1990). From this point of view, ethnic affinity is tandem to cultural 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 and understanding the future.
  • 11. Moreover, to connect culture and identity in this research, the concept of identity illustrates the various ways in which people view themselves in the context of specific or broad societies. It also allows us to think about how individuals who are part of a larger group are influenced 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 education and 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 by audiences with shared culture identifiers may do so because they are influenced by their affiliation and engagement with the content of the films. Therefore, it follows that when various viewers of diverse nations form the habit of seeing certain types of movies because they have become available, they perhaps do so because they find meaning in the film content or perhaps the film content makes sense to them. Since Nollywood movies present delectation for various nationals from diverse national geographical landscapes particularly from African and Caribbean countries, it is necessary to overview these peoples later in the study so that the cultural identity connection between them may be established. Cultural identities come from somewhere because they have histories. But like everything which is historical, they undergo constant transformation. Far from being eternally fixed in some essential past, they are subject to the continuous play of history, and shared experiences. The ability to reminisce on past experiences, Hall (1990) stresses is done by a set of “peoples with shared cultural or social identifiers”. Knowledge is not imposed but shared 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 makes possible for people whether in whole or parts, to focus on contexts and contents; on values and value systems; and on strategic relationships (Rummens, 2001). People may frame the same or different meaning in different ways towards a particular culture phenomenon based on interests and needs. However, since individual beliefs stem from being member to a larger cultural identity group, individuals are likely to use a frame that 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. practical benefits and allows informed choices and intelligent decisions to be made by the people. It enables individuals, for instance, to deal better with complexity and the disintegration of social norms governing behaviour, thought, and social relationships. And it also helps to ensure that peoples’ rationale for behaviour are contextualised properly and pointed 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 identity theory 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 of social identity, “but the way in which this occurs is directed and constrained by the individual’s beliefs about the legitimacy and stability of the group the individual belongs to and the individual’s degree of identification with the group” (Reid, 2008). From empirical and theoretical advances in the field of research studies, the cultural identity theory has been expanded and elaborated to explain the rationale of individual behaviour when they belong to a 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 mirrors of one’s background (Hall, 1990). All the same, we can deduce that before individuals can develop social identities for themselves, particularly as peoples’ identity can only be derived from belonging to a defined social system such as a group, race, family or class, then perhaps the identity of each member belonging to any social system will be dependent on the cultural orientation 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 the individual, hence, the choice made by individuals when they select entertainments such as cinema and TV programming will be influenced by what already exists in them in form of imbibed norms’. And this enables us to understand the rationale for the preferred choices made by certain group of Diaspora subjects for Nollywood movies. In the light of the foregoing deduction, we may now fathom why emigrants from Africa and Afro-Caribbean
  • 13. countries who reside and work in metropolises of United States for economic or other purposes are chosen as case study for this research. In recent decades, a new form of identification has emerged, this new form of identification breaks down the understanding of the individual as a coherent whole subject to a collection of various cultural identifiers. These cultural identifiers examine the condition of the subject from a variety of aspects including: place, gender, race, history, nationality, language, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnicity and aesthetics (Serrat, 2008). Given that the collective participants of interviewees in this research include (1) Nigerians, (2) other Anglophone Africans, and (3) Anglophones from Caribbean countries, there are socio-cultural identifiers which link them together. These include: common racial identities (Blacks), British colonialism experience, common language (English), common religion (primeval paganism and adopted Christianity), and common heritage of slavery experience and some basic similar modes of greeting and dressing. The foregoing identifiers create grounds for selecting and 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 on common electronic media such as television, cinemas or Internet shifts to find and depend on medium 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 to the effects of globalisation upon the cultural and economic aspects of film. It incorporates the debates and influences of post-nationalism, post-colonialism, consumerism and Third world cinema (Ugochukwu, 2008). Transnational cinema as argued were creative cultural products to supersede national boundaries to show cultural representations to dispersed ethnic populations, which are often termed Diaspora people. One salient argument of transnational film is the necessity for a redefinition. It does not refer only to the concept of a national cinema to hold sway the interest of dispersed nationals abroad as was first posited by earlier studies. As the concept of identity became further defined more by social identifiers as class, economic status, sexuality, gender, generation,
  • 14. religion, ethnicity, political belief, culture, etc than nationality, the emergence of the appellation ‘imaginary community’ was formed to describe many separate and fragmented communities but who participate in shared behaviours (Anderson, 1991). If we see the film media as a culture purveyor, as a result, we may fathom why “an individual who finds a medium for having his or her needs fulfilled, will attach more importance to that medium and depend 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 are made in Nigeria. Though there is plethora of movies that are able to cut across national borders like the Hollywood and Bollywood movies, this study will limit its emphasis to Nollywood films. This is particularly because Nollywood movies according to Motiki (2006) are gaining popularity among the fast-growing African immigrant populations, offering their much westernised children a glimpse of African life, particularly the clash of modernity and traditionalism (Motiki, 2006:1). This is because consumption of Nollywood films and the Nollywood cable channels has become evidently notable among the black African Diaspora communities dispersed around the globe. Robins (2003: 189) explains that transnational distribution of films was, in fact, a significant cultural catalyst; the reason is because migrants in whatever country they abode, due to watching 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 the host culture” (Robins, Ibid: 190). Supporting Robins, Meyrowitz (1986) says because “transnational film merged social spheres 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 for the construction of imagined selves and communities” Meyrowitz, 1986). Therefore, through the proliferation of transnational film, what has now become crucial for the recipient audiences is the need to be above ignorance of their community of origin and to become exposed with cultural roots from their homelands. The agenda here is all about the protection of national culture - about sustaining the integrity of the cultural heritage. “Deterritorialised
  • 15. people even when scattered through different lands, may still be devotees and long-distance patriots to their cultural identities…” (Verhulst, Ibid). Consequent on the fact that this research work highlights how the Nigerian movie industry showcases African culture, we must be “reminded that film as a powerful medium of entertainment is a very good medium for the transmission of cultural values” (Orewere, 1992: 206). The convergence of media on the Internet which allowed film programming online built up new virtual geographies that offered migrants new kind of experience to watch movies on the Internet has created platform which offer Diaspora peoples around the world to see films that provide cultural recreation to them. Therefore, through the creation and proliferation of video films that could move transnationally, Diaspora audiences have become more exposed with cultural antecedents from their homelands. The agenda here is that, it is no longer farfetched nowadays to find migrants in foreign host lands fostering the cultures 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 characterisation of “root cultures as imagined communities” which are “bonded discursively by a sense of deep … imagined common origin and a mythical past”. Robins, with inferences from Verhulst (Ibid), further argues that “the imaginations of deterritorialised people, even when scattered through different lands, may be marked correspondingly by absentee patriotism and long-distance nationalism” if “diasporic groups are… with the tools of developing communication technology…to maintain their identities…”. Thus the developing and globalisation of communication technology such as film has helped to sustain rise of local or national culture in the global scenario. On the other hand, Aksoy and Robins (2003) argue that transnational film consumption promotes de-ethnicisation and frees the migrant from the pincers of a ‘frozen image’ of the homeland (Aksoy and Robins 2003:4-5, 36). They suggest that the habit of transnational film viewing, places migrants in an “ironic stance to cultures”, and far from reinforcing long distance national identities it fosters an experience of “moving beyond the frame of national society”. Their argument is based on the assumption that “what is conceived in terms of de-
  • 16. territorialisation of migrant cultures is related to the emergence of new hybrid identities and new cosmopolitan possibilities” (Robins, Ibid: 192) for the migrant communities. All transnational film entertainment seeks to ingrain the feeling of long-distance patriotism to respective migrants to their communities of origin. This spectacular of course, is the bedrock of an initiative to catapult national cultural identity even to the lost sheep. The transnational movement of film may thus be described as the voice of the shepherd crying out to get the attention of the strayed sheep (migrant) in the wilderness (foreign land). Earlier studies on globalisation of national cultures on transnational film media portrayed globalisation as the suppressing of national cultures by the Western culture- what was referred to as: ‘cultural imperialism’. Western culture, particularly of the United States was popularised by the American transnational distribution of Hollywood films which dominated the global until other nations were able to come up with their movies. With the emergence of transnational film media from other nations, it became possible to break the monopoly of cultural 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 collaborate in the production and circulation of global film commodities… (Iwabuchi, 2002: 554- 555). Furthermore, the predominance of Western (U.S.) culture has been seriously challenged by the intensification of intraregional cultural flows and connections in the non-West. Transnational film media from other nations proliferated with a different agenda and changed the rule of the game. Unlike the American movies which sought to brainwash the global populace with American culture, the upcoming cinema from other nations targeted their media messages at dispersed communities in Diaspora. This calculated strategy from other nations created a new order in the globalisation of culture and the migrants or diasporic communities were simply the pivot around which the transnationally distributed films revolve their messages. The significance of the interface between how transnationally circulated films connect with the migrant populations and the role it plays in the contemporary global era with contemporary global
  • 17. flows of mass-mediated imagery and discourses creates “a new order of stability in the production of modern subjectivities” (Appadurai, 2004: 4). For example, if we recall the impact of satellite cable TV in the broadcasting of transnational films to diaspora communities as an instance, it became possible that Turkish migrants in Germany are able to watch Turkish films on TRT-INT satellite TV from Ankara in their German 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 able to watch Mexican soaps on TELEVISIA from Mexico, as Nigerians in USA, Canada, UK, and some parts of Europe are able to see movies from Nigeria on cables such as NOLLYWOOD TV, AFROTAINMENT, etc. These examples are reflections of how film from the homeland meets their deterritorialised viewers. The above situation in turn, functions to produce and sustain the evolution of new diasporic public spheres that transcend the scope of conventional nation-state. “The role of film in articulating the dispersed members of the nation to the centres of symbolic power is crucial here” (Morley, 2000:107). What this emphasizes is that, film capitalises on the consequences of 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 that diasporic members stampede to seek affinity with their respective cultural background because ‘films’ seem to have some kind of absolute force for not only to rousing patriotism to cultures of one’s homeland but nostalgia as well. It is possible nowadays to find migrants in foreign host lands fostering the primary cultures of their countries of origin instead of that of the national communities where they reside. This is so because of the transnational broadcasting and circulation of films from homeland, which has extended the notion of cultural consciousness and patriotism to the cultural identity of the Black diaspora nationals abroad.
  • 18.
  • 19. Chapter Two EMPIRICAL OVERVIEW 2.1 Literature Review: The world is now at the point where interaction between local, national and global is increasing in crescendo. Customary enclaves like cultures, communities, nations or even territories that previously restricted transplanetary flow of diverse social exchanges has become permeable. Thus there has been dispersion of people that were originally localised even in their migratory capacity to develop mental spaces within their minds to retain their imagined real identity despite being members to new communities. Thus they would create diasporic 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 no transnational media such as printed materials (such as newspapers and books), satellite TV and video films to help the Diaspora communities become ingrained with their roots. As a consequence, 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 and rash 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 (Robert Young, 1994). However, what creates the choice community a person belongs to is perhaps determined by the imagined syndrome derived from the cultural artifacts that are practiced by the community where they hail from. The individual is influenced by the concept of national identity 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 devotion to the interests or culture of the nation by its members (whether far or near) which he said are outcome of cultural consciousness. Cultural consciousness therefore makes national societies or imagined communities have it as priority to conscientise members to remain in solidarity
  • 20. with their cultural values. To achieve this, Verhulst (1999) said “Diasporic groups have now found medium of communication to maintaining their identities, whether they are defined by religious fervour, ethnic pride, economic ambition or historic places of origin by establishing supportive or interactive communities…” (Verhulst, 1999:30-31). As a corollary, communications media are developed and used to hold sway the behaviour of the nationals for “…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 among Black diaspora audiences, the constituency of the black diaspora audience is considered from the classificatory line of Anglophone black African and Afro-Caribbean excluding Francophone black African, Afro-Latin, black British and black American. This is because in broad terms, the constituency that make up the black diaspora, even all though hail from Africa (Reid, 1993: 2-4), some never had any contact with the continent. Moreover, as the select 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 process is independent and commercial and concerned with black themes in which people of African ancestry participate as screen writers, directors and thespians. Secondly, the content orientation of the films are only relevant to people who can understand English when spoken with African (or Nigerian) accent and who have had fore experience of partaking in the cultural rudiments performed within African locales before becoming acculturated in their western environment. A third and most important reason is due to the fact that the Nollywood movies are noticeably popular in wide scale among people in the Anglophone 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 early period of dispersion from their initial homeland into various cities across the globe. The term
  • 21. ‘Diaspora’ became an expansive dosage borrowed by academia in addressing the subject of transnational ‘citizens living abroad’ (Braziel and Mannur, 2003). History exposes that the extensive 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 into new unfamiliar destinations. ‘A study of Diaspora can help explain the dispersal of previous oppressed 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 is experienced collectively, it moves from individual to a social phenomenon (Bal, et al 1999.75). Against this backdrop, pathway for construction of social memory based on individual 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 communicated by 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 diasporic community people which often unifies them towards enhancing and encouraging each other to finding meaning in things pertaining to their cultural roots. Consequently, the Black African Diaspora audiences will become passionate about anything that purveys their local tradition. This is perhaps where the film genre steps in to stimulate their thoughts and remind them of their erstwhile solitary lifestyles of beloved homeland. In retrospect, the transatlantic black African diasporic movement, echoes that create the idea of one’s home lies amidst the framework ‘self and with community identities that are deterritorialised or constructed across boundaries 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 in which it is a determining social fact. This suggests that “a set of essential physical and cultural traits, which emerged at a distant point in the past, have been preserved- unchanged
  • 22. 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 other population groups, the destruction of sovereign nations, the formation of new states under colonial rule, and the creation and propagation of false cultural claims and representations that persist to this day, summarises the enduring impact of a race and the collective identities of African posterity. The dislocation of millions of Africans - i.e., their uprooting and transportation to various parts of the world- significantly changed their identity and sense of people hood that had been theirs in various African settings. From the inception of the diaspora to the present, race became a central defining factor. For this reason, the primary experience of being defined in racial terms is pertinent to the people-formation process. Therefore, racial definitions have constituted a fundamental reality imposed upon the African diaspora peoples, and have informed their fate within a racially divisive system. In response, such a system and in terms of their own efforts to survive and develop as a group, it is virtually impossible for peoples of the black diaspora to avoid being conscious of their race. The race dimension must be examined as a prime factor in the group’s own social formation and in the development of their sense of identity. Thus, populations such as the black African diaspora can become, under particular historically conditioned circumstances, a distinctive people (Darnton, 1994). The present moment is distinguished by three significant and contingent 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, its development, as noted earlier, has been associated with and dependent on large-scale international 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 earlier migrations in magnitude, composition and pervasiveness. International migration has significantly grown as the global capitalist economy expanded. The composition of the
  • 23. migratory populations is more differentiated than in earlier waves by type -labour, refugee and settlement. A case in point illustrative of the magnitude of international migration is the number of the dispersed persons from Third World countries of Africa and Caribbean. The declining economic conditions In the Third world has put enormous pressure on some governments in the World to adopt policies that encourage the outward migration of populations to those areas of the world where there is demand for low-wage labour. For instance, one-half of the Jamaican 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 the growth largely associated with massive and rapid rise in Third World urbanisation. We are today witnessing rapid urbanisation of the emigrated black Diaspora in western countries in a scale that is creating mega-cities in which traditional cultures and ethnic affiliations are increasingly stressed (Borges, 1983:262), reconstituted and displayed by them. Another condition 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. The development 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, and how diaspora communities reshape “national” cultures, reconfigure and create “new” identities, while maintaining “bi-national citizenship,” are the subjects of renewed study and redeployment that challenged the notions and the normative assumptions and definitions about these categories.
  • 24. 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 of patriotic viewers from Africa and the Caribbean, is not exclusively the racial make-up of the film, 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 2009 reflected 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 be appreciated by cross-section of the Black community in the world. Correspondingly, black Africans and Caribbeans come under the auspices of “the de-colonised nations of the world whose economic and political structures have been shaped and deformed within the colonial process of the Western imperial nations (Stam and Spence, 1985). The black diaspora exists over time and space, and is a historical formation of the capitalist world-system; it is dynamic, plastic transnational, intersecting across the world. Migration and displacement, social oppression and resistance are among contemporary exemplars of black diaspora dispersion. In defining the black diaspora, Hamilton (1988) contends that it represents: 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 a magnitude unprecedented in human history. This largely forced scattering peoples of African ancestry in other geographical sites, linked by a common socio-political condition under colonialism and slavery. This defines the historical antecedent of the contemporary black diaspora. However, tentative and problematic the category, race is also a defining, though
  • 25. historically contingent, feature of the black diaspora that distinguishes it from other, mostly cultural, religious or national diasporic populations. 2.7 The Socio-Economic Dimension: However, it is also pertinent to view another profound knowledge which expresses a different sense of remembering from one person to another. This will be based on a different recourse for the dispersion of black African diaspora abroad. Apart from the black Atlantic slave trade harbinger for the pockets of Diaspora communities spread pervasively across the globe (Braziel and Mannur, 2003), another point of diasporic dispersion is witnessed in the way many peoples around the world including black Africans massively migrated from their continents to other continents in search for greener pasture (better economic conditions). This latter rational for migration introduces the criteria for which present-day migrants emigrate from their countries. These set of migrants are more close to their country of origin because they had lived much of their early life there and perhaps gotten their primary and secondary educational orientation before they left for overseas. In this regard, some of them go through cultural shock and may find it difficult to acculturate in their new place of domicile. So there is tendency that they will represent themselves in the manner they had culturally been imbibed with from where they were coming from. And since they may not be able to exhibit their cultural mentality in their host lands, they will find means of reconnecting to the cultures from back home through any cultural media forum that re-create their cultural identity (this is where film is deemed relevant). 2.8 The Socio-Cultural Dimension: Diaspora and cultural studies scholars, concerned with marginalised communities have increasingly engaged these subjects; along with the cultural-technological forms that communicate and maintain solidarity among dispersed social groups in a mediated and interconnected world. Mixed formations have preceded colonialism, but they were expanded and reconfigured in the colonial process. These formations are most evident in Third World cities, 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
  • 26. the Third World. These mixed formations of people from Third World are also manifest in many First World nations, where they are largely defined as minorities. In USA, for example, the racial and ethnic formations that have evolved were forged largely by Third World immigrants who have historically served as a source of cheap labour in the post-war period. Distinguishing racial and cultural features of the immigrants that set them apart from their relationships to the peoples of the host nations followed labour from the peripheries 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 of the political expansion of Britain Empire. But in the 1950’s, due to a post-war labour shortage, a damaged economy and a weakening grip on its territories forced Britain to encourage 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 are the living artifacts of a colonial past, peoples who self-consciously parade the worlds of their former imperial states culturally and physically distinct, “carrying their identity on their faces (Sivanandan, 1991). While some cultural and physical traits of social groups are clearly discernible, the categories that they presumably signify are immutable in racial discourse. In describing the features of multiculturalism, Stam and Spence (1985) presented a reconstituted and dynamic framework for understanding “identity” in its variegated, multilayered and transnational dimensions. The authors view it “from the margins, seeing as minority communities not as interest groups to be added on to a pre-existing nucleus but rather 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, and essentialist conceptualisation of identities (or communities) as consolidated sets of practices, unstable, historically situated, the products of ongoing differentiation and polymorphous identification…. (Hall, 1993). This goes beyond narrow definitions of identity social relations, opening the way for informed affiliation on the basis of shared social desires and identifications….it is reciprocal,
  • 27. dialogical; it sees all acts of verbal or cultural exchange as taking place not between discrete bounded individuals or cultures (Ziff, 1982: 301) but rather between permeable, changing individuals and communities with regards to culture and identity given that culture is the whole body of efforts made by a people in the sphere of thoughts to describe, justify, and praise the action which the people has created to keep them a unified people. Thus when cultures are formed nationally, Fanon (1967) argues, they should therefore find ways to taking their place at the heart of struggle for freedom of practice in countries where their practitioners 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 quality that matters, but rather the message and its historical and cultural specificity. Within the network of contradictions that characterises Africa, there is probably no more problematic area than that of culture. The artistic craftsman of Africa displays the tensions between the forces of westernisation and tradition to a particularly intense degree. Even if they are driven to oppose the political and social policies of the ruling elite, they cannot cease to be a part of it, though either shared origins or achieved social status. In respect to the gulf between rulers and ruled, those concerned with culture, whether as politicians and intellectuals, organisers and 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 of individuals 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 the ruling members of the elite to which they belong by virtue of their education, they are equally cut off from the mass of the people by the literary forms and language that they choose. Their position could hardly be more different from that of the traditional storyteller or 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 us who are writers are also people who have to some extent lost their roots” (Sembene, 1975 cited in Hall, 1993).
  • 28. For many Third world countries, continuing interplay with Europe provides a crucial and by no means wholly negative thread. The example of Jamaica could stand as a particularly clear example to trends present to some extent throughout Caribbean and continuing across the divide of political independence. This sense of entering the present thanks to the assimilated influence of Europe contrasts strongly with the retreat into the past entailed in the confrontation with local tradition. The attempt at a reinsertion into tradition can be extremely difficult for an individual, and one of the central themes of the West African film released over the last thirty years has been the destructive impact of westernisation on an educated person who subsequently finds himself caught between two cultures (Lawson, 1982). Even when this crisis is mastered and becomes the subject of a successfully completed African film, a certain retreat into the past still inevitably seems involved. Once more the African experience can be seen as analogous with a slightly earlier tendency in Indian film making, where a similar return to the past and to the rural life is attempted by a number of Indian producers in the later part of the 20th century. Similarly, the African film is essentially a cinema about African tradition for westernised audience; it was a way of returning to the past and to the rural life of Africa. African cinema were created from inspiration derived from African literature which centre on reflections of African life and experiences defined in terms of national and traditional traits and presented to the African audience 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 which makes 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 in favour of a return to specifically understood traditional roots after a period of colonisation by foreign 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),
  • 29. 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 African culture. Maybe a sense of tradition, but not a vital component of cherished culture from an African perspective which is by no means easily attained, particularly by those whose thought process have been shaped by a Western education. The kind of intellectual task that the 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 reality must 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 individual filmmakers and a number of governments is hardly surprising in view of the fact that modern film industry of any kind in Africa dates only from colonial governments’ regimes seeking to project African heritage to Western audience for commercial advantages. As late as 1950s in Nigeria (a country which was later to become something of a film producing giant in black Africa), the production of films were done in high percentage by foreigners cashing in on the industrialisation that occurred under colonial rule. Early film enterprises tended to be owned by foreign capital until later indigenous capitalism which led domestic film entrepreneurs to be added to the foreign control. Initially, the film industries have been created by indigenous capitalists attracted by the profits to be derived from catering to the entertainment needs of the new audience composed of those drawn into the cash economy by urban industrialisation and the rural exodus. But
  • 30. black Africa, coming late to industrialisation, missed out on the boom. In these instances cinema came to be seen as an excellent investment for undeclared profits from the illegitimate economy. In country like Nigeria, where there have been far more lucrative and less speculative outlets for reinvestment in the film industry. Though subsequent films aimed at gaining indigenous control over foreign firms, but the production business had to be completed overseas because the realisation of establishing local production facilities was beyond the reach of local film producers. Industrial infrastructure for cinema studios, sound and editing facilities, laboratories are almost completely lacking in black Africa. For most of francophone black Africa’s cinema organisations that were involved in film production such as in Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou and other French African colonies where indigenous producers tried to carry out domestic cinematography, resources were not available to the local producers for reason that the francophone countries were indeed the continent’s poorest countries because, amongst other reasons, they were exploited and impoverished by the French imperial rulers (Martin, 1995). However, unlike in Anglophone black Africa, where the British introduced industrialisation and film production economies for its inhabitants. Perhaps this is why Nigeria later became a leading black African nation in film production. However, the factors which go to shape cultural productions in a black Africa nation like Nigeria 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 to differentiate the North from the South constituencies of Nigeria. For example, patterns of capitalist development in Nigeria make a division between Nigeria and other West African countries. In West Africa, entrepreneurs emerged largely from artisanship and trade, whereas in East Africa they have tended to come “through the straddling process of western education and modern-sector employment” (Débrix, 1988). This finds its reflection in cinema to the extent 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 Nigeria and Ghana (Diawara, 1995).
  • 31. Though there is an extensive and well-organised production and distribution of films in East Africa, through the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, for example. But all this local production is of documentaries serving government educational and agricultural programmes. 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 set of divisions in black Africa is that deriving from colonialism, which even after several years of formal independence continues to tie states and in particular their Western-educated elites to the former colonial capitals of Western economies. Western influences on the development of cinema from the efforts of British missionaries in Nigeria to the traditions of neutral informational documentary in Anglophone Africa continued into the 1980s. In West Africa, it was missionary Catholic Organisations such as the Organisation Catholique Internationale du Cinéma et de L’Audiovisuel (OCIC) that in the 1980s brought African filmmaking to Western attention (OCAM, 1974). The OCAM (now extinct), was an economic and cultural organisation that grouped the following francophone African countries: Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger, Benin, Togo, Cameroun, Gabon Chad, the Central African Republic, and others for the purpose of sponsoring and projecting documentary films with African heritage to the Western audience. This undoubtedly gave many young French African filmmakers an orientation to showcase their films towards the West. However, the lack of post-production facilities in black Africa caused most films to be finished abroad, which not only increases enormously the cost of African production but also made the filmmakers to depend on western benefactors or philanthropists to be able to bear the cost. But by the end of December 1980, attempts were made by some African states to break free from the dependence on foreign shaping influences, with the ending of aid to African filmmakers. This was remarkable because it marked the main force behind the development of film making without financial assistance. The method of finance became through purchase of the films by the African audiences. The films entered a commercial distribution system in black Africa. However, the films were
  • 32. only distributed in cinema houses and could only be seen by only the African audience who could afford the cost of buying a ticket. Consequent upon this, the scheme did little to bring African 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 these films was rooted in the particularities of African culture for the mass audience, which persists into the 1980s. Turning to production, the amount of films (68 feature films) that were produced in Africa between 1980 to 1984 came from 13 countries in all, with nearly half of the percentage of total 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 any film during the period. However, nowhere in Africa did a satisfying career for filmmaking surged than in Nigeria. It is quite interesting to learn from history that cinema was brought into Nigeria by the English colonialist who started by making slavery and racists films. With the advent of decolonization, indigenous filmmakers took over and used the ‘seventh-art’ to develop 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 has grown up largely separate from the African languages which has been a key element of black African cultural production. The major African films of the 1980s have been made in indigenous languages, but it is notable that the two countries which produce the most films concerned with purely commercial success were Nigeria and Ghana. Both countries have a tradition of filmmaking in the language (English)) of their former coloniser. In Nigeria, there can be no discussion of cultural imperialism without some mention of the more pervading imperialism 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 (the northern and southern protectorates). Suffice to say that the British also developed the Colonial 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 way than to stamp this belief on celluloid feature films (Akpabio and Mustapha-Lambe, 2008:
  • 33. 259-270) which Nigeria indigenous filmmakers eventually gave the African colouration when 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 to find out if foreign films still had stronghold on Nigerian audience members, the findings indicate that a majority of respondents watch and have a favourable attitude towards Nigerian homemade films (Akpabio and Mustapha-Lambe, 2008). However, in terms of preference between local and foreign films, a small percentage indicated preference for the former. The study concludes that the high quality of production of American films accounts for the favourable views held by respondents, even though it is apparent that these and other foreign productions 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. They produced Death of a black President and Cry Freedom respectively. These films were shot in English. In Ghana too, films like love brewed in the African pot, directed by Kwaw Paintsil Ansah and kukurantumi, directed by King Ampaw, play out their conventional themes of stagey tone and their dramatic scenes in English, The writing and performing in English of scenes which would inevitably be acted out in indigenous languages gives filmmaking of this kind an air of contrivance akin to the sense of an African culture as translated in moving pictures that is also seen in many of the African culture revealing novels written in English. In Nigeria, a country with apparently 427 local languages, virtually all the filmmaking so far has been in English. This was because, for films to be generally accepted by a wide cross section of 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 more than purely commercial ambitions. Set against this excessive desire for commerce, films were 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 the prolific making of films in Nigeria when he argued that
  • 34. “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 to make a film in Nigeria as is done by Hollywood filmmakers who can spend that much on a film since the production are covered by insurance (so that if it flops the filmmaker can borrow money again to make yet another film). Nigerian filmmakers do not have such privilege so cannot afford to make movies with breath taking stunts and special effects with outright demolition of structures and props. Those types of films are bad for Third World societies who want to preserve their own cultures (Ugbomah, Ibid). Since independence in 1960, governmental policy in Nigeria has hindered the development of a viable national film industry. For example, the government in Nigeria uses Federal Film Unit exclusively to produce self-aggrandizing documentary films that they put on national television for Nigerian audience to see. Nigerian filmmakers are thus free entrepreneurs who do not need to clear with government sponsors or any agency before they shoot a film. The filmmakers invest their own money for producing their films. For this reason, it is important in Nigeria that films must make money while entertaining or informing the audience, for the Nigerian film industry to survive. 2.11 The Development of Nigerian Films: The Nigerian movie industry could be thought of as beginning with the first independently produced film, Kongi’s Harvest, produced in 1971 by Ossie Davis. In the course of the 1970s a number of Nigerian films were released in the country for the big screens, some notable ones include Amadi, Bisi Daughter of the River, and The Mask. Later in that decade,
  • 35. Yoruba travelling theatre groups from south western part of Nigeria also made the transition from stage to television and to the big screen. A few to recall include films like Mosebolatan, Omo Orukan, Aiye, and Taxi-Driver. The influences that shaped the 1970s development of Nigerian film have been variously noted. On the one hand, it has been suggested that the cinematic experience as recreation in Nigeria is a colonial inheritance. The cinema displaced traditional forms of entertainment which included story-telling, cultural enactments of songs and traditional dances as well as wrestling competitions, especially in urban centres (Ukadike, 1994). On the other hand, the offers 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 film viewing habits. The development of indigenous cinema helped to emphasize the transition from foreign films to Nigeria films by the Nigerian populace. With the downturn of Nigeria’s economy in the 1980s came the collapse of the indigenous cinema industry, and the advent of video film making. Through prolonged periods of repressive military rule, mismanagement of resources, and the adverse effects of austerity policies, 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 home video film formats. Films were subsequently produced in Betacam videotapes cassettes and were produced in an uneven manner and mainly for domestic consumption. Therefore, the first real Nigeria films produced outside the theatre were in traditional analogue video, of Betacam videotapes. Later, they were produced in VHS (video home system) cassettes. The commercial success of the VHS videotapes was immense so much so that at the end of the 1990s film distribution to Nigerian homes had become quantitatively one 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 celluloid film production and failing cinema industry converted their films into VHS cassettes for sale to the audience. By the mid 1990s Law limited foreign television content so producers began advertising local popular films in TV stations and because at the time every state in Nigeria had its own broadcasting station it was possible for massive Nigerian audience to see the
  • 36. films. After this time, many films were released and circulated across the country, and before anyone could understand what was going on, a small scale informal video producing and marketing industry developed. In 1992, the release of VHS movie Living in Bondage set the stage for Nollywood as it is known today. Living in Bondage (1992) was directed by Kenneth Nnebue and produced by NEK Video Links. The release of Living in Bondage in the Eastern Nigerian got wide patronage from the Nigerian audience and this set the stage for the business instincts of other film entrepreneurs in the country to explode (Mbamara, 2004; Servant, 2001; Onuzulike, 2007; Haynes, 2005). After Living in Bondage, thereafter, Glamour Girls (a very widely popular film) was released in 1994. Since then, despite the problems posed by inadequate infrastructure for filmmaking, lack of finance and a strong censorship regime, the Nigerian home video industry has grown with extraordinary speed. Films were hurriedly shot and distributed in major cities across Nigeria and the videos began to reach people across the country in mass volumes. Thus, Nigeria films exploded into a booming industry that eventually pushed foreign films out of the homes of Nigerians. The huge success of Living in Bondage and Glamour Girls films set the pace for others to produce other films. Through the business inherent aptitude and ethnic links of the ‘Igbo’ (the most enterprising and entrepreneurial ethnic race in Nigeria) and their dominance in marketing and distribution in major cities across Nigeria, films began to reach people across the country. Aggressive marketing using posters, trailers, and television advertising played a role in spreading the films to audiences across Nigeria. This phenomenal quantitative growth however did not necessarily translate to qualitative standards, which continue to be regarded as poor for many such productions, and nor did it mean that the economic turnovers could come anywhere near those of established film industries 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 New York Times reported “the industry is worth about US$45 million dollars” regardless of profits not being subject to tax (Ukadike, 1994:150). Also, the precise figures of production and distribution are difficult to come by because they were not recorded by any agency.
  • 37. Nevertheless the volume and speed of growth of Nigerian video film production within Nigeria earned the industry the appellation of “Nollywood” a terminology believed to be coined by a non-Nigerian, first appearing in an article by Matt Steinglass, an American reporter 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 to as Nollywood movies. This nomenclature however is not known to most non-Nigerian viewers outside of Nigeria who see them and they simply refer to the movies as ‘African Movies’. In Nigeria everyone knows and refer to them as Nollywood movies. This appellation is now gradually becoming popular in the global discourse of film. Back home in Nigeria where the films are made, most movies are not produced in studios. Video movies are shot on location all over Nigeria with hotels, homes, and offices often rented out by their owners and appearing in credits in the movies. The most popular locations are shot in the cities of Lagos, Enugu, and Abuja (Ukadike, 1994). However, distinct regional variations appear between the northern movies made primarily in the Hausa language, the western Yoruba-language movies, the Edo-language movies shot in Benin city, and the Igbo movies shot in the southeast (Akpabio and. Mustapha-Lambe, 2008: 259-270). Many of the big producers have offices in Surulere; Lagos and Nigerian directors adopt new technologies as soon as they become affordable. Bulky videotape cameras gave way to their digital descendents, which are now being replaced by HD cameras. Editing, music, and other post-production work are done with common computer-based systems. The distribution centres and market for films is Idumota Market on Lagos Island, Lagos State and house number 51 Iweka Road in Onitsha, Anambra State. Currently, Nigerian films outsell Hollywood films in Nigeria and many other African countries. Some 300 producers turn 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 every week, where an average film sells 50,000 copies (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). A hit may sell several hundred thousand Discs at two hundred and fifty Naira Nigerian money (equivalent
  • 38. to 1.6 USA dollars each), making them affordable for most Nigerians and providing astounding returns for the producers. Most of the films are produced by independent companies and businessmen. However, the big 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 to 150,000–200,000 copies nationwide in one day (Detokunbo-Bello, 2007). With this type of return, more and more film entrepreneurs go into the film business. According to Frank Ikegwuonu, author of Who is Who in Nollywood, about “1,200 films are produced in Nigeria annually and more and more filmmakers are heading to Nigeria because of the lucrative competitive distribution system and a cheap workforce” (see www.nigeriaentertainment.com). Further, Nigerian films seem to be better received by the market when compared to foreign films because “those films are more family oriented than the American films” (Economist.com, 2006). Nigerian movies are available in even the most remote areas of the country. Within the last few years, there has been a growing popularity of Nigerian films among its people. This is even so because local TV stations due to popular audience demand, are showing more of local content than foreign films. There are now cable TV channels that have come up to add to the mass communication of Nollywood movies to Nigerian audience. Nollywood films are currently receiving wider distribution in Nigeria than any other film brand. Between years of 1994 to 2001, the National Film and Video Censors Board of Nigeria recorded over 333,810 films 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 using celluloid which could only be seen in cinema houses. From 2005, there was an average of 400 films produced per year and the picture in the early 2007 boomed because foreign films from the United States, China, and India were no longer popular in television stations and film shops, Nollywood movies had supplanted other brands of movies that used to flood Nigeria from overseas. Another factor for the wide spread of Nollywood movies is caused by the massive production of the film in tons of hundreds per year due to the huge profit that the producers make from
  • 39. film sales. So many movies were produced within a short time frame and pushed out to the Nigeria audience to buy and because Nigerians audience continued to buy, new movies were continually being shot and produced. This resulted in economic growth and vast expansion of the distribution channels of Nollywood movies within the country. However, because local economies are not yet big enough to cater for home-grown programming and distribution of the movies, Nollywood marketers made ambitious move toward Nigerian audience living overseas (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 within the continent of Africa, Nollywood film industry has inspired other nations to establish their film 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) and even Joziwood (films produced and shot by South African Black district). Nonetheless, all of these various film industries are still upcoming and have not been able to break into the global scenario as Nollywood films have done. This is even because Nollywood films have also become the preferred genre of film watched by the nationals in most of these African countries. The projection of Nigerian movies outside the continent to the Western world came with the 2007 documentary Welcome to Nollywood by director Jamie Meltzer and This Is Nollywood by Franco Sacchi gave an overview of the industry. Jamie Meltzer’s documentary pays particular attention to the unusual, rapid, and enterprising way that most Nollywood films are created as well as their significance and contribution to the greater society. On the other hand, Franco Sacchi's documentary features interviews with Nigerian filmmakers and actors as they discuss their industry, defend the types of films they make and detail the kind of impact they can have. Also in 2007, a Danish documentary Good Copy Bad Copy features a substantial section on Nigerian cinema, which focuses on the direct-to-DVD distribution of most Nigerian movies, as well as the industry's reliance on off-the-shelf video editing equipment as opposed to the more costly traditional film process. Furthermore, in 2008, a Canadian documentary:
  • 40. Nollywood Babylon was released by AM Pictures and National Film Board of Canada and shown in the Official Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. The Nollywood Babylon documentary “looks at the industry like a guerrilla filmmaking arena where 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 films and Nollywood industry successfully into international cynosure. As corollary, Nollywood films are increasingly drawing the attention of the global media and film critics. With these developments the Nollywood film industry has become subject to serious academic attention. Currently in Nigeria, Nollywood movies have exploded into a booming industry that pushed foreign film brands off the shelves from thousands of Nigerian homes. The industry now markets it movies all over black Anglo Africa continent particularly eastern and western Africa where the use of English is lingua franca. Thousands of movies leave Nigeria for other countries even before they have been released in Nigeria (Vasagar, 2006). One of the first Nigerian movies to reach international renown was the 2003 release of Osuofia in London, a film that was shot in the London metropolis, starring Nkem Owoh, a famous Nigerian comic actor who played the idiotic role caused by cultural shock which most Africans depict on their first arrival in the UK. Since that time, shooting of Nigerian films abroad has increased considerably. During the past three years, Nigerian films have been given pride of place in an impressive series of festivals in three different continents: in Nairobi, in France, in the Netherlands, in Berlin, New York, Yaounde and Los Angeles (Economist.com, 2009). This expansion ensured genuine internationalisation of the marketing of Nigerian film brands. It is now common feature to see Nigerian video CDs and DVDs on online shops like eBay and Amazon websites as well as in market stores run and managed 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 the domestic market is becoming too small for them (www.economist.com, 2006). One interesting phenomenon about viewing of Nollywood films in Nigeria is that, the Nigerian audience rely almost exclusively on the VCDs and DVDs format to see the movies. Whereas
  • 41. in all major film producing countries like USA, India and UK, films are distributed in at least three different formats via cinema, television DVD and BlueRay. Audience in these countries could see movies first in the big screen theatre before they are released in disk formats. This is not the case in Nigeria. The pattern described here has continued and grown in scope since and since 2009, Nollywood films are now increasingly available on DVD only. The international distribution of Nollywood video films naturally has an impact in multicultural contexts in North America and Europe. As a case in point, in the UK and USA there are major concentrations of Nigerians in the Greater London area and Birmingham of UK and in Brooklyn and the Bronx of New York in the USA. Although emigrants from Nigeria 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 and religious crises, many Nigerians immigrated to other western countries including the USA and UK for economic, social and political benefits. It is remarkable to note that a significant wave of greener pasture seeking Nigerians made exoduses to the USA and with the economic downturn 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 gave rise 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. The distribution cuts across a larger African Diaspora network, notably, for instance, Sierra Leoneans (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 in the USA and UK. Circulation of Nigerian videos began in areas with concentrations of Nigerian 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 located in the East Indies, who claimed to introduce Nigerian films to the area by screening classics such as Glamour Girls (a movie directed by Kenneth Nnebue, 1994), on local TV stations for commercial incentive. Duru points out that viewers in the Caribbean are wary of the enormously popular genre of ‘witchcraft and juju’ in Nigerian films which they commonly associated in the Caribbean with Haitian fetish practices such as voodoo (cited in Cartelli, 2007).
  • 42. Far away in the East Indies of St Lucian, a vendor confirmed that he has customers who avoid films that explicitly depict the use of or belief in magic. However, he said ‘magic and traditional 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 the religious viewer in the Caribbean’ (cited in Cartelli, 2007). Nollywood productions owe their popularity because the viewers derive didacticisms. Some films tell stories of abject poverty, the dream of becoming wealthy, the dangers of prostitution and the fascination for magic (Laperriere, 2008). The films that have obvious international appeal are those that address issues with deep resonance in religion, AIDS, women's rights, the miraculous and supernatural (Meltzer, 2007). The popularity of Nollywood films in the United States in particular, is partly due to the launching of a 24-hour entertainment TV channel by AFROTAINMENT that run a subscription video on-demand sub-channel offering unlimited viewing of fresh Nollywood movies every month to the North American Nollywood patrons (Tribune.com, 2006). There is also a pay-as-you-view facility of African films on the DSTV Channel called AFRICANMAGIC that features mainly Nollywood video films. With these programming of Nollywood movies, this has ensured growth in viewing habits among non-Nigerians living in different cities of USA. The degree to which patronage and reception of Nollywood video films have grown among non-Nigerian immigrants within the USA is progressive within a space of short time which is remarkable because Nollywood movies are in no way comparable to Hollywood movies in terms 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-top distribution of Nollywood brands to the USA, and particularly the audiences being targeted by Nollywood marketers are the greater non-Nigerian viewers. This is a unique development and necessitate that systematic study be carried out to examine for consumption by the wider non-Nigerian diaspora in the West. Hence this study was developed for the purpose of examining this attitude among non-Nigerians who see Nollywood movies in the USA. 2.14 Nollywood Movies in the United States: