It was an Instagram post on a blog’s page I think: the ad announcing the #METGALA theme for the Ocean’s 8 movie premiere in Lagos.
At that time, I didn’t take note of the implications of a #METGALA theme going by the last Met Gala event.
It wasn’t until I saw it, the first photos of a couple of Nollywood actresses dressed up in tell-tale replicas of Hollywood’s Met Gala designs that the meaning of #METGALA themed for the Ocean’s 8 movie premiere struck. Beyond what you might think, I was shocked and not in a good way.
It would be almost dishonest to say a lot of Nigerians appreciate the recently held #METGALA theme for the Ocean’s 8 movie premiere in Lagos over the weekend. In fact, any Nigerian attempting to defend the genuity of the Ocean’s 8 movie premiere dress theme in Lagos should be mentally dragged across the streets of Ojuelegba by horses.
It would be doubly dishonest to admit that equal efforts have been put into theming locally made movies by the Nollywood movie industry in celebrating these local films because from over here, the effort seems way less.
This ill-treatment of our own creations: movies made from the sweat blood of our fellow Nigerian brothers and sisters is not only irking but in a larger way, reflects the irony of the Nigerian movie industry.
D’abord, Brief notes on the original Met Gala 2018
The Met Gala is an annual fund-raising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. Formerly know as The Costume Institute Ball, the event grandly opens the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibition.
The theme for this year’s Met Gala held on May 7 was, ‘’Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’’ and sought to explore the influence of religion an liturgical vetements in fashion according to Vogue.
Chaired by Vogue Editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour and co-chaired by Rihanna, Donatella Versace, and Amal Clooney, this year’s edition of the gala showcased the creative interpretation of Heavenly bodies and Catholic imaginations from top designers like Lois Vuitton, Moschino, Iris van Herpen, Valentino and etc.
Celebrities like Rihanna, Blake Lively in Atelier Versace, Naomi Watts in Christian Kors, Lewis Hamilton, Solange, Kylie Jenner, Anne Hatheway, Katy Perry, etc. dazzled at the gala going all the way to represent the event’s theme.
The irony that is Nollywood
Saturday will not be the first time Nollywood went all out for a movie premiere. In fact, if the Nigerian movie industry was not enthusiastically celebrating new release movies one would have to worry. What is a movie industry without the extra drama?
The constant, however, and sadly is that the Nollywood movie industry seems more interested in investing more dramatic themes on foreign movie premieres as opposed to the locally made ones.
Last year, the most celebrated Nollywood movie, elaborately themed on the red carpet was The Wedding Party 2, where the film producers explored the theme of an Arabian Night.
One can confidently say that Nollywood actors and celebrities came out in full force to show off their creativity influenced by The Wedding Party premiere theme.
2017 saw a reasonable amount of top Nollywood movies that keeping us at the edge of our seats. Movies like Isoken, Hakkunde, A Hotel Called Memory, Ojukokoro, The Tribunal, Picture Perfect, Bariga Sugar and Roti, went undramatically celebrated by the Nigerian movie industry. during their premieres
On February 16 this year, The Black Panther movie premiered in Nigeria sending us into a frenzy. The premiere held at FilmHouse Lekki, was donned with beautiful African and Wakandan-inspired decor.
Nollywood celebrities religiously followed the dress code for the debut black super-hero movie premiere to the last, despite the fact that we all had our serious reservations on whether the movie should mean so much to us who were not African American.
Skip forward a few months to the premiere of Crazy People, a Ramsey Noauh offering, and the lack of effort in theming is almost baffling.
Perhaps, one might argue it is because there was no overarching theme to the premiere or maybe it’s just a reflection of the difference in the publicity budgets of the two movies, but I think that the difference in our response shows the general snobbishness with which we still regard Nollywood despite how much it has grown in the past 10 years especially.
I have a friend who still says she “can’t go to the cinema and pay money to see a Nigerian film“.
Poultry Podcast anchors, question the level of Nigerian females in the midst of the global shake by women fighting gender pay-gaps, sexual misconduct against them and equality:
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Image Credits: Ocean8 premiere Lagos, CNN