This is about the 3rd time Reno has written on a subject I am planning to talk about I seem to be agreeing with him more these days.
Three nights ago I was at the reception of Wishdern Hotel Gboko Benue state and heard the discussion of some guys in response to a Nollywood movie going on the screen. I was saddened.
We Acknowledge Nollywood for showcasing our creative capacity and ability to create an industry out of nothing but enough of your poor presentation and representation of Igbo industry and enterprise.
An average Igbo does not travel to Lagos or Abuja and meet his friend Emeka who introduces him to a secret cult where he makes money.
An average Igbo I know sometimes start a business, sleeps in the shop, eats twice and sometimes once in a day, struggles over the years to raise a capital base for his business.
An average Igbo I know struggles with a little money in his cash flow travels to Lagos on night buses to save money and time in order to buy his goods to sell to his customers after so many years of doing this his consistency will start paying off.
An average Igbo I know graduates even from medical school, do two jobs a day, refused to buy latest cars like his friends because he is saving up money to start a clinic or travel abroad for better opportunities. Etc.
Why is Nollywood stuck in this ritual nonsense that is a false representation of our people?
Why is Nollywood consistent in painting a foolish narrative that is working against the Igbo reputation?
Is Nollywood fully controlled by culture and identity illiterates? What sort of nonsense is this?
Why is Nollywood not making more of Genevieve Nnaji’s kind of LIONHEART that showed Igbos in the fullness of their enterprise and business wits, why?
Why is Nollywood reducing our enterprise to an utopian ritual money which does not exist anywhere? Why?
Some years back I have defended Nnewi people like I am from there when some Nigerians including many Anambra people that do not understand the wealth magic of Nnewi people, they attributed it to rituals this is common with Africans they explain away things they are too lazy to study and understand and attribute it to an unseen force.
What Nnewi people enjoyed from the beginning was a kind of networking via apprenticeship and brotherly wealth redistribution It gave them an edge in business and they succeeded massively It would later spread to the rest of Anambra and gradually the rest of Igbo land.
Note, even most Anambra folks originally talked ignorantly and foolishly against Nnewi people, later other Igbos talked ignorantly about Anambra and then the rest of Nigerians talked ignorantly about Igbos.
Don’t give negative ignorant explanation to a concept you should be learning from.
The guys I saw at Gboko in response to the movie they were watching believed that Igbo people use charm to make money and succeed in their business, they mentioned few names in Gboko and how their businesses are doing well they believed it is not ordinary.
I was pained because I have had that argument more than 5 times in Benue alone the most annoying one is when a fellow PG student of a federal university was peddling that nonsense about using charms to succeed in business.
Before I blame others for their stereotypes I will heap the blame largely on NOLLYWOOD who are bent on defining our industriousness with a silly utopian, stupid and abstract stories of making money via rituals It is nonsense.
This damage has gone on for years and we need urgent and far-reaching education for the scriptwriters, directors, producers and all the stakeholders in Nollywood film making.
The culture misrepresentation is so huge that we don’t know what we are doing to the unborn generation, Nollywood is creating narratives that would define a generation that will be too shocked to know why they are being profiled.
Can I tell the Igbos the truth, with NOLLYWOOD, it is actually stupid crying that we don’t control the press, you can’t be controlling an industry that is as ADDITIVE as movie making with the higher and sustained international appeal without using it to push your identity rightly.
Nollywood should think beyond making money with their simplistic and monotonous storylines that are hurting us, enough of that nonsense already because the first movie, LIVING IN BONDAGE had a setting that talked about rituals, for decades, you are stuck there helplessly?
America for decades used movies to sustain their perception as global superpowers and good guys the bad guys are always Russians and Arabs this is to show you what nations can achieve even through entertainment.
The new friends I met in Gboko, I did my best to explain to them how many Igbos spend 5,10,20 years of hunger and wearing almost few trousers and shirts building businesses only for it to be reduced to ritual money once they say let them relax a little maybe, buy a small Lexus, build small duplex somewhere and send their children to fairly good school.
Nollywood is lying a greater number of Igbos running and doing businesses across the world have not seen how a native doctor look like neither do they belong to any secret cult where the money is being vomited for them that nonsense is the figment of NOLLYWOOD’s imagination and need to stop.
NB: I will constantly speak now in the correction of ignorant stereotyping of Igbos my reason is simple, the generation of our fathers kept quiet when everyone started the lies of IGBOS LOVING MONEY but a critical look on how Nigeria was plundered and stolen to death will show you that Igbos did not even make 3rd eleven in the national LOOTING league.
Those their Ex general and army fathers, uncles, cousins stole and wasted Nigeria’s future still point at an average Emeka struggling against racism in China while trying to engage in his businesses like the one who loves money. I CAN’T KEEP QUIET. This is a duty for the next generation.
By Ani David
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