Some Nollywood fans have noticed this double standard, and the tendency to exaggerate; as one, commenting on this page, asks: “When will Nigeria start [making] blue films [pornography] and stop this nonsense they call sex? But these lone voices are drowned out by the much louder voices of people scandalized by nudity and some relatively tame sex scenes. Nollywood bad girl Tonto Dike voiced a similar opinion when fans started hyperventilating over her own “porn” movie, labelling her critics “pretenders”. Like Collins Onochei and Tonto Dike, Afro Candy calls out the hypocrisy in the reactions of Nigerian netizens, reminding her critics that Nigerians enjoy watching Big Brother Africa, in which housemates have been known to have sex. I must say, judging by the trailers only, her work seems to do a better job of portraying consensual sex.
Male actors, producers, but especially female actors involved in such films are routinely called out and shamed, though some of them don’t take the criticism lying down. Schizophrenic Unless they’re being disingenuous, none of the professionals think what they’re producing is pornographic, but Nigeria’s moral police disagree.
Read the comments below articles about these so-called porn movies and if you’re anything like me you will find yourself rolling your eyes in disbelief at the amount of puritanism on display.
The furore over sex in Nollywood is partly a reflection of our schizophrenic attitude to sex, one attitude behind closed doors, one when things are out in the open.
We are like the conservatives in America, who are the largest consumers of porn but also the loudest voices railing against sex in cinema, and against almost anything to do with sex in general.
What I find interesting about these movies is the moral panic around them, the “uncalled for” and “un African” “filthy sexual content” that apparently has no place in Nollywood.
Supposedly, the introduction and presence of sexually explicit scenes should now be added to the already long list of problems plaguing Nollywood, such as subpar acting, soundtracks that reveal the entire story, badly titled movies and poor directing.
Nigerians have a tendency to exaggerate – it’s not unusual for scene involving a half naked man kissing a woman in lingerie to be labelled a sex scene – but we don’t label Hollywood films with similar amounts of sex pornographic, so why are viewers judging Nollywood films, and actors, by a different standard?One possible answer is that Nollywood has long been seen as a means through which African cultures and mores are celebrated, thus, in the opinion of the morally panicked, sexually explicit scenes are demeaning because they show how the lack of moral values in the West is penetrating the African consciousness. Another writes: “when you think of doing something that has sex, let it convince the viewers not make them furious over nothing”. I am all out with my job and fuck you hard if you find otherwise. Benson Okonkwo, who appeared in the “gay porn” movie a couple of months ago got everyone in a tizz again and made the female lead Afro Candy notoriously popular with bloggers and online versions of Nigerian newspapers eager to interview her.We found this disturbing, as we did the ever-present male gaze: the way the camera lingered over the body of the attractive female actor but not on that of the male actors.The trailer did nothing to pique our interest further, and I promptly forgot about the movie and the entire topic of sexually-explicit Nollywood movies until I came across a trailer for yet another “controversial” movie. Altogether, I stumbled upon five Nollywood movies that supposedly contained pornographic scenes before deciding to look further into the matter.
There were many more: “Nollywood has gone haywire”, “Pornography takes over Nollywood”, etc. I happened to be chatting with friend and blogger Sugabelly, when one of us mentioned is one of the so-called pornographic movies that Nollywood had apparently started releasing.
The first thing that struck us was what appeared to be a rape scene.