Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Nollywood Week in Paris is Like Celebrating Your Birthday at a Your Friend’s House by Linda Orajekwe


So, recently there have been a lot of happenings in Nollywood as celebrities are flying around for the recent Nollywood week. When I heard about the week, I was impressed that people in the industry have again come together to celebrate each other; but when I started seeing celebs like Linda Ejiofor and co taking selfies at the airport, I wondered if they had cancelled the Week. Nope, they were going out of the country to celebrate themselves on behalf of Nigeria.

The idea of the traveling out didn’t sit well with me, but I decided to keep mute hoping a blog would bring up the issue. But after days seem to be entering weeks, my mouth-hands could no longer stay put, so here I am asking, “why in God’s name would Nigerian celebrities go all the way to Paris to celebrate themselves, especially when it has to do with Nollywood?”

In 1986, African writers were invited for a seminar in Sweden. It remains a fact that Chinua Achebe turned down the invitation, not because he wanted to be rude, but because he believed the best place to discuss African literature is in Africa and not a country where the realities are far different from that of Africa. Achebe’s position was simply that discussion of African literature should be done in a place where our literatures are taken seriously.
Not to make a rash statement, I consulted Google to know the contribution of Paris to Nollywood. I found nothing – not a single contribution.

This event elicited nothing but questions: Was is worth it? Why did they even hold the event and called it Nollywood week if the majority of people there will not be Nigerian?
Someone mentioned that the event was done for Nollywood – athough I don’t know how true that is. They should have called it something else other than Nollywood week… Maybe Paris Week featuring Nollywood actors would’ve been a perfect title for it.

We all want Nigeria to grow, but one way or the other, we don’t see ourselves as components of this change. We believe the change will just come, that one day people will start appreciating our country – a country we are refusing to appreciate. Isn’t this kind of festival supposed to bring tourist to the country and no matter how little, boost our economy that is presently always on the decline?

Whatever we want to do, we take it out of the country. Now this is not to say we shouldn’t go out, or explore what other countries have to offer, but let us try to do this sensibly, because these little things are in a huge way helping the economy of the countries we fly to.

Going to Paris for the very first Nollywood week is a shame to our country. What exactly was used there that couldn’t have been used in Nigeria? What class would Paris give the event that Nigeria won’t give it? We complain of the decline of our economy while we consciously improve other people’s economy! What sense have our celebrities shown with this act? It will go down history that the first Nollywood week was done in Paris. What does that say about us? What does that say about our respect for the country we call ours? Or even how we see the country?

When a Ghanian actress said the present Nigerian actors are independent actors, she was seriously bashed by the likes of Stella Damasus. While I think the bashing was necessary, I think Nigerian actors shouldn’t try to prove people like her right. Would you do your birthday party in your friend’s house? Well, I know some people would, but when they do, check them and the relationship they have with their family members; it might not be as rosy. Same way “Nollywood” has successfully shown the world the relationship the industry has with its country.

You don’t say you’re part of Nollywood and celebrate Nollywood in Paris. Would Hollywood come to Nigeria to debut an event? Absolutely not! So why do we love to bring ourselves lower than others? Why do we seek international approval when we’ve not even approved ourselves?

Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t go out, but it shouldn’t be at the detriment of the name of the country. It is apparent that the issue or importance of venue wasn’t considered, and if it was, then majority obviously carried the vote. I understand we want to be globally recognised and accepted, but being accepted starts from you accepting yourself, and we haven’t shown that with this act.

Hollywood is great today, not because they were misrepresenting where they’re from, but because they stayed with their craft, understood it takes time to ‘blow’, and when they eventually gained that reputation they now have, they’re now being seen as the height. How about we work our way to that height?

I’m not saying we won’t make mistakes along the way because we would. But while we’re at it, let’s promote what is ours. Lets stop the attitude of feeling having an event out of the country makes it better than when we do it here in our country, especially when it has to do with Nigeria.

I understand some readers will want to say it doesn’t matter and there is no need for segregation, afterall we’re all humans. But hey, that doesn’t change the fact that whatever is being celebrated is of Nigeria, by Nigerians ans should be in Nigeria. Nigeria isn’t celebrating “Human’s Day”, and even if we were, Nigeria will still be the preferred location. Who says we always have to travel and cover other people’s event? Why cant they come to cover ours? I have never seen a Nigerian event that E! Entertainment came to cover, but we’re always there, trying to be on the global scene, which is a good thing, but will also be nice if we respect ourselves enough to be respected. Once again, let’s learn to draw the line and not bring ourselves down.

So maybe I’m speaking out of what I know, but I would love to hear from the beautiful minds of my readers on this issue. Is Paris a good place to have celebrated the first Nollywood Week?

Credit: Bellanaija

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