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Nollywood: curse or blessing?

By Kingsley Abara
We live in an era, when the unusual receives popular support in a society content in jettisoning its cherished tradition for western influence. One area that is seriously affected by this passive attitude is the entertainment industry.
A look into that sector will reveal a people who have not only bastardized the true purpose of creation, but have also thrown restraint to the wind. Without mincing words, they qualify for zealots playing a discordant note in the traditional melody. This verdict is predicated on the fact that bulk of home videos reflects more of European culture than our native customs.


Some one may dismiss this assertion describing it as the idea of a man behind the time. But a proper knowledge of what communication entails will douse any controversy arising from this submission. In the first place, drama, music and most other arts belong to mass communication. The aim is to inform, educate, and entertain hence any art that falls short of this important element is bogus and irrelevant. Even the entertainment aspect bears more of a moral lesson than sensual gratification.
Now that I have established the purpose of art work, the question is, where does our entertainment sector fit into? Informing, educating or entertaining?
I have no doubt in my mind that they will claim to be right on target. The truth is that Nollywood films reflect more of foreign culture.
If the operators of the industry truly desire to educate, inform and entertain, it must be done in the native setting with all the paraphernalia of our culture.
It should not be a local food in a foreign wrapper; otherwise the purpose will be defeated.  If there is any area to be handled carelessly, it is not the movie sector because it sustains our traditional heritage. When the sector is politicized, the future generation stand the chance of being robbed of knowing their origin.
From time immemorial, works of art serve as depository for nation’s values and tradition. Serious minded leaders recognise its importance. They stop at nothing towards ensuring its sustainability.
Sadly the Nigeria movie industry which should have been in the fore front fighting whatever that encroaches on our culture heritage now sits on the fence.
Instead of being good culture ambassadors, they opt for something entirely different. African actors are guilty of neglecting their culture; hence home videos are but reflection of foreign culture.
Rather than promote our own ideals through films, they are bent on forcing foreign culture on the people.
A brief insight into their methods will prove this point.
In the first place, showcasing naked men and women in movies is not our way of life. Young Ladies are particularly prone to this ill behaviour. Nudity is not an integral part of African traditional values.
Conversely we were taught to look modest. Even God approves this ethical behaviour. His singular act of sewing fig leaves to cover Adam and Eve is a manifestation of his desire that men be clothed. He condemns nudity no matter the circumstances that prompted it.
Since our films represent foreign culture it is not surprising that it holds a pride of place among actors. In that part of the world, where they draw inspiration, all things are permissible including nakedness, same sex marriage and other indecent behaviours.
The issue of nudity is not only peculiar to the entertainment sector, the general public especially youths are also adopting that odd behaviour.
Whatever brand name we may adopt, the fact remains that it is anti-Nigeria. At one end it is still that collective resolve to remain at the mercy of European influence. Secondly, the use of guns, knives and weapons of destruction in films is another assault on our sensitivity. A movie that is home grown abhors the use of dangerous objects because our fathers taught us the benefit of living in harmony not in violence and killings. Again killings and gangsterism are peculiar to westerners.
Before now violence and terrorism were not part of us, but now they have become the norm. Who knows whether exposure of our youths to this films provided a seed bird for sprouting of this lifestyle. The above issues not withstanding, the constant bombarding of air waves with movies of this nature at best is an anomaly or worst still insensitivity.
Another outrage in the entertainment industry is the act of showing male folks and their female counterparts in a sexually exciting mood.
The pathetic aspect is that the parties involved may not have been legally married. Most films that represented our culture placed certain limits especially when opposite sex is involved. As an addict of the popular opera “masquerade”, I never for once witnessed the central character Zebrudaya, Lying in bed with his wife in that drama. He realized that such excess will thwart their good intentions. 
However, this writing does not in any way represent total condemnation of everything in Nollywood or similar bodies.
On the contrary, remarkable achievements have been made by these agencies. My only grouse is the dominance of western culture in something that should have been a home affair.
In most cases, it has left our traditional values gasping for breath.
I would like to draw the curtain with the following suggestions. Stakeholders in the entertainment industry should exhibit certain level of patriotism.
By and large, love for one’s own culture is the guiding factor on issues relating to allegiance. Once, there is respect for our traditions, the question of who takes the first short becomes secondary. Secondly, regulatory agencies should live up to their expectation.
I am not aware of the existence of any organ charged with the task of sanitizing that sector.
In the event of any, much attention should be given to the content and quality of films that filter down the homes.
This becomes necessary in view of the impact of visual images on the physiological outlook. Very few recognize the potential power of pictures. It can hasten a generation to moral abyss, like wise it can also build and uplift. Regulating the movie industry will go a long in saving people especially youths from the danger of over exposure to films capable of disturbing the mind equilibriums.

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