Was Femi Branch all wet with his 'Mark Zuckerberg' and 'misrepresentation of Nollywood' comment?
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, visited Afrinolly, a studio which is using the latest technology to help make Nollywood films. During his visit on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, Zuckerberg met with some filmmakers including Kunle Afolayan, Rita Dominic, Adebola Williams, Richard Mofe Damijo, and Stephanie Linus. Others in attendance were Yemi Alade, Basketmouth, Chidinma, Ehiz among others.
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The actor shared the above video which addressed all the above-mentioned entertainers as 'major stars in Nollywood.' Femi who found the statement unacceptable, shared the video with the caption: "Was really pissed off at the way we misrepresent ourselves to foreigners sometimes. Imagine this fellow saying "Here we have all the major Artistes"????? Seriously?!?! These are all the major stars in Nollywood?!?! And are Yemi Alade, Chidinma, Basketmouth and Co Nollywood Artistes?!?! This is really idiotic, to say the least!!!"
As expected, his fans, followers, strangers, and active Instagram users came for him. He had more attackers than supporters, as many saw no reason for the post and its aggressive and serious note.
I have some questions. If Jay-Z is a part of Hollywood, why can't Chidinma and co be addressed as Nollywood? Finally, if Femi Branch was invited for the occasion and also addressed as part of the major acts in Nollywood, would he have gone on a social media rant?
I'm not focusing on the motive behind his post or its necessity, but Femi Branch said nothing wrong.
Unlike Hollywood where P Diddy, Jay-Z, John Legend, Common, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian are all part of Hollywood which is supposedly the U.S film industry, Nollywood doesn't cover every celebrity in Nigeria.
When I heard Mark Zuckerberg was paying a visit to Nollywood, the first question I asked was 'where is Nollywood.' The billionaire probably thought he was visiting 'Nollywood,' the home for Nigerian creatives, just like Hollywood. A thought that was confirmed by the anchor in the above video, who described the entertainers present as 'major acts in Nollywood.'
Nollywood is simply a term for Nigerian cinema or movie content, whereas Hollywood is a place named in Los Angles, United States and the headquarters of the American film Industry. Hollywood is also a highly ethnically diverse, densely populated, economically diverse neighbourhood and retail business district.
Unlike Hollywood, 'Nollywood studios' do not have an existing strong relationship with the music industry. The famous Universal Music was once the music company attached to film studio Universal Pictures. Warner Music Group is one of the "big three" recording companies and the third largest in the global music industry, next to Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment (SME). These recording companies are prominent in the music and film industry - incorporating the two entertainment bodies into one, creating an industry that can be called 'Hollywood.'
Every creative individual in Nigerian can be described as 'Nollywood' or a universal term when they all become integrated with each other, whilst keeping their own each unique features. Until that happens, a gathering with a musician, actor, fashion designer, is a creative gathering.
Over the years, we have seen actors like Genevieve Nnaji, Desmond Elliot, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde venture into music. We have also seen musicians like Banky W, Sean Tizzle, Ayoola, Tiwa Savage among others go into acting. Is that enough to describe the music and movie industry as one?
The American film industry has embraced pop stars since the 1950s, understanding music as an important ingredient in a film. We are yet to understand the importance of music in film in Nollywood. We are yet to have movie studios financially capable of establishing music labels. We are yet to take the bold step of premiering a song in a movie, and still, have it emerge a success or hit.
While the anchor's introduction of Chidinma, Ehiz and the rest might have been a careless or harmless statement, it births the question "when would the Nigerian creative industry have a universal name?' How long will they keep being 'celebrities and entertainers?' When would that needed structure be erected?
Femi Branch is right in saying 'Nollywood' was misrepresented to Mark Zuckerberg. He was presented with a Nollywood that has 'incorporated the music and movie world.' A Nollywood like Hollywood. A 'Nollywood' that doesn't exist.
But how serious is this 'misrepresentation?' What harm could it possibly cause, and then again, would this 'misrepresentation' still be a social media topic if Femi Branch had attended the 'star-studded' event?