Mainstreaming Homosexuality in Nollywood: The Efforts and the Challenges
Authors: Adedayo Ladigbolu Abah
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A critical analysis of the attempts by Nollywood, the melodramatic video-film industry in Nigeria, to address and mainstream the notion of homosexuality in Nigeria and across the continent. Using the cultivation theory and the intergroup contact theory, the study explores the notion of mainstreaming of homosexuality by the very popular medium across Africa. How has this particular medium address the issue of homosexuality in society through characterization and plot? Since Nollywood is a highly didactic medium, what messages about homosexuality are being presented and how do these messages contribute to or erode from existing conceptions and misconceptions about homosexuality in Nigeria? Has the medium, in its portrayal of homosexuality, contributed to the moral panic on the issue or help deflect the moral panic? The analysis is done against the backdrop of the ongoing legal, social and political homophobic rhetoric currently engulfing Nigeria and other African nations. The focus of the study is the frequency of reference to homosexuality in the society, the characterization of homosexual persons in the video-films and the narratives of the homosexual person in relation to heterosexuals in the society. The video-films examined are: Emotional Crack (2003); Men in Love (2010) and Mind Game (2010). The results indicate that while more plots and characterization is being done by Nollywood to make homosexuality salient to the society, the characterizations of homosexuality is unsympathetic at best and even dubious in certain circumstances. In the one instance where a strong and sympathetic characterization is employed, the plot is undermined to restore the mainstream socio-religious homophobic discourse.