Why investing in the next generation of female storytellers is crucial?

"I don’t want another potential “Kemi” or a 12 year old Chioma watching the interview on TV, only to see my obstacles and limitations highlighted, simply because I am a woman.

Why investing in the next generation of female storytellers is crucial?

"They would not be encouraged to explore positions of interest within the industry, thinking they don’t stand a chance. I’d rather speak on and highlight that they do stand a chance. While it could be better, they have solid representation and opportunities within the industry thanks to the increasing involvement of international players, like Netflix.

I want these aspiring women to see that I am HERE, I have a VOICE, and I’m doing my 'darn thang’ without needing to engage in anything outside my principles.” Says Kemi Adetiba, Prominent Nigerian filmmaker, and director.

For a young woman growing up in Nigeria, watching a film at home meant trying to put yourself into a character’s shoes that probably wasn’t relatable and left you wondering why roles played by women truly didn’t depict the woman's point of view.

Today, thanks to the efforts of incredibly talented women like Mo Abudu, Genevieve Nnaji, Kemi Adetiba, and others, local stories are being told with female voices at the core of its production. The Nigerian film industry has experienced many "female firsts": “First Netflix original film ever produced in Nigeria”, and “first time Nigeria had submitted a film to the Oscars” and Netflix, has been that springboard to developing and showcasing Nigerian talent and stories to global audiences.

To mark International Women’s Day, Netflix Head of Global TV Bela Bajaria announced that the first $5 million of a recently announced Creative Equity Fund will go towards programs that help to nurture, develop and uplift women in the entertainment industry globally.

The fund dedicates $20 million annually over the next five years to setting underrepresented communities up for success in the TV and film industries, as well as bespoke Netflix programs that will help us to identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally, especially Africa.

Sharing her thoughts on the announcement was Kemi Adetiba’s who expressed her support for the initiative saying; “When I first started off in the industry years ago, I was constantly asked about the obstacles I face as a woman in a “man’s industry.” First, I always took the time to correct this notion. The filmmaking industry is not a “man’s industry.” It might be ‘male-dominated’ for now, but certainly not an industry for only men. This is also why, I never answer even the revised question.

If there’s anything Netflix has taught us, it’s that great stories are universal; they can come from anywhere and can be created by anyone, loved by everyone but what truly matters is the authenticity of these stories. Now we must ensure that every deprived voice, in this case, women- gets the same recognition and chance to be heard in this industry.

In conjunction with the announcement of the fund and to celebrate International Women’s Day, Netflix also: launched a video narrated by Janet Mock honoring groundbreaking women in entertainment throughout history; LINK TO CAMPAIGN VIDEO

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