It's just not about the fact that Mercy Aigbe was omitted from the 'best dressed' list, it's more about the fact that there's indeed a kind of discrimination in Nollywood.
She wrote "are yoruba movies not part of nollywood? .....is Nollywood not supposed to mean home grown Nigerian movies? .....hmmmmm I am very sure they didn't coz, they won't want to STAIN their cover with a 'RAZZ' 'LOCAL' yoruba actor!....Yes I am razz, Yes I am local and Yes I am a Yoruba actor!.....No I refuse to speak ur almighty English with fake British or American accent!....Because I'll always remain true to myself!...I am ME."
Her 'rant' led to people asking questions like "what's the para for?" I get it, I mean, it is just a magazine cover! But then, there is actually a bigger picture here.
It's just not about the fact that she was omitted from the 'best dressed,' it's more about the fact that there's indeed a kind of discrimination in Nollywood.
Yes, whoever put the 'best dressed' list is entitled to his or her opinion, but the actress saw it as a perfect opportunity to address a bigger problem.
Are Yoruba movies and actors not part of Nollywood? When we say Yoruba actors, we don't mean actors who are from the Yoruba tribe, we mean actors that feature in Yoruba speaking movies. My answer to that question is "Yoruba movies are part of Nollywood, because Nollywood covers home grown movies, but they are not considered part of Nollywood."
Taking a look at most of our prestigious movie awards in Nigeria, the Yoruba actors and movies do not have enough categories to celebrate them. They are simply recognized in the popular "best indigenous" movie category - denying them the opportunity to win 'best actor,' 'best actress.'
Are they ignored for being 'razz' or too local as Mercy stated in her post? Are they ignored for the quality of their productions, or are they not doing enough generally to meet up to the Hollywood standard?
The discrimination isn't just amongst the Yoruba actors vs English movie actors. Have you even thought of the Kannywood industry? It's almost like they are in a whole different world.
Let's even come home to the English movie industry, which is considered the main Nollywood, there's still a kind of discrimination with the popular term "New vs Old Nollywood."
Unfortunately, whoever you ask, even the Yoruba actors, you will get the "everyone is one" response. But because we are in a country and industry where people only react when they feel directly affected, this issue is coming up now. If Aigbe had not felt slighted, she probably would not have remembered that some people actually do not consider Yoruba movies and actors a part of the industry, because she gets almost the same attention other 'Nollywood' actors receive (reminds me of the Kunle Afolayan piracy march).
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This much talked about discrimination doesn't only exist in Nollywood. It's in the media, and it's also amongst the actors.
You get to hear some Yoruba actors say things like "in the Yoruba film industry," "Kannywood," and all the other kind of woods. If our Yoruba actors truly want that 'one industry,' then why do they separate themselves? What exactly have they done to bridge this gap we all know does exist?
There is a yearly Yoruba Movie Awards, which on its own, already segregates the industry, as only Yoruba movies are nominated and awarded.
What role does the media play in this discrimination? After most events, you get to see only photos of the likes of Genevieve Nnaji, RMD, Adesua Etomi, OC Ukeje, Beverly Naya, Osas Ighodaro on the red carpet. You begin to wonder, was Queen Nwokoye, Sikirat Sindodo, Rachel Okonkwo, Junior Pope, Rahama Hassan among others not in attendance?
I have never seen a red carpet interview with Yoruba movie actors or 'Asaba Movie' actors. If they get to be interviewed on the red carpet, it's probably because their outfits had heads turning (positively or negatively).
A particular group of people have been selected to be hyped by the media, and very few Yoruba movie actors are fortunate enough to be amongst the selected.
Mercy Aigbe, Faithia Balogun, Toyin Aimakhu, Doris Simeon and Iyabo Ojo are few of the Yoruba movie actors who have been fortunate enough to receive a certain media coverage. The rest get to make it when they say, do or partake in something controversial.
When a list of 'top ten' actors or actresses are published on blogs, you find out Yoruba actors rarely make the list - a different list would rather be created for them, something like "top 5 Yoruba actors." Why should there be that segregation? Are they not all producing content for the country at large?
Most of the Nigerians screaming "take several seats" at Aigbe, are the same ones who will come crying about how white the Oscars nominees list is, or how whites were cast in "Gods of Egypt."
If you ever thought Jada Pinkett Smith's rant wasn't completely about Will Smith's supposed Oscars snub, then somehow, you also should understand that Aigbe's rant has more to do with the fact that Yoruba movie stars are truly not considered as part of Nollywood.