Welcome to Nollywood
What is it with Nigerians?Why are we so muddled?Why are we so power-drunk?Apparently,our administrative tool-kit contains only one instrument:the ban.Our governments,unwilling to put in the time and effort,required to govern,resort to the ban,at the drop of a hat.But,of course,you would expect that of those who embody the term “power-drunk”,and whose mandate seems limited to self-aggrandizement.Less expected,and understandable,is the easy recourse to the ban,in the entertainment industry,the bastion of free markets and the frontier of liberalism.
The story making the rounds in Nollywood now,is that of a gang-up of producers mulling a year-long ban,for a certain Nollywood actress of Ghanaian descent.What she may have done,or not done,to warrant this action,is unimportant.If she has broken the law,let law take it’s course.If not,let the market deal with her.Individual producer can punish her,if she is unprofessional,by taking their business elsewhere.If people find her,or her films,detestable,let them stop buying or renting them.
A few years ago,the cream of Nollywood performers were banned for one year.Their crime,according to the producers and marketers,was that they had ganged-up to demand for “high” fees.Their critics conveniently forgot,that by acting as a group to impose a ceiling on fees,the producers were guilty of the same gang-up.In a free market,an artist should command fees that are commensurate with the artist’s market-power.It is that simple.Banning any one from making a living,for one year is an atrocity.This is just abuse of power.Especially when used against the ladies.
The much-put-upon ladies of Nollywood.The entertainment business is not cake-walk for ladies,especially here in Africa.In a culture that forces the ladies to choose between a successful career,and domestic stability,Nollywood is the toughest possible legitimate business for a lady.In a business where “budget-movies” are the standard,performers are prolific,and have to be,if they are going to make a living.Literally having to scramble from “set” to “set”,the ladies lot is not made any easier,by the implications of the dress-code:in a conservative society,people fail to understand,that the mini-skirt or open-back dress is just industry uniform.
Wearing the mini should not make you a “bad” girl,any more than not wearing it makes a “good” girl.As Fela,the late Afro beat maestro,put it,”uniform na cloth,na tailor de sow am”,meaning clothes are made by tailors and that their wearers are not an alien species,they are no different from us.You really should not judge entertainers by their clothes,or the roles they play,the day-job demands it.These perceptions make life very difficult for married actresses.Recently,there was a story about an ex-actress been stripped naked and humiliated by her husband.People should not be so ignorant.
It is a little rich,to expect that a person who has built a career in the limelight,and is probably enamoured of the bright lights,can be domesticated yesterday,just because she has been given a ring.Especially a young woman,in her 20s, still exploring,and exulting in,the limits of her own power.As a rule of thumb,if you have to force your wife to stop acting,that means you probably do not rate her circle of friends and you definitely do not share her values.By forcing her to choose between the home and the office,you create an antagonism.If you are heat-shy,you should not venture into the kitchen.