Nollywood Stars
251 pages
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251 pages
English

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Description

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2015


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In this comprehensive study of Nollywood stardom around the world, Noah A. Tsika explores how the industry's top on-screen talents have helped Nollywood to expand beyond West Africa and into the diaspora to become one of the globe's most prolific and diverse media producers. Carrying VHS tapes and DVDs onto airplanes and publicizing new methods of film distribution, the stars are active agents in the global circulation of Nollywood film. From Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde's cameo role on VH1's popular series Hit the Floor to Oge Okoye's startling impersonation of Lady Gaga, this book follows Nollywood stars from Lagos to London, Ouagadougou, Cannes, Paris, Porto-Novo, Sekondi-Takoradi, Dakar, Accra, Atlanta, Houston, New York, and Los Angeles. Tsika tracks their efforts to integrate into various entertainment cultures, but never to the point of effacing their African roots.


Preface and Acknowledgments
A Note on Orthography and Taxonomy
Introduction: Global Stars in Nigeria's Postindependence Firmament: From Ossie Davis to Doctor Bello
1. From Yorùbá to YouTube: Studying Nollywood's Star System
2. Glittering Video: Format, Fashion, and the Materiality of Nollywood Stardom
3. A Mobile Glow: Nollywood Stardom and Corporate Globalism
4. When Stars Collide: Lady Gaga and the Pirating of a Globalized Persona
5. Nollywood's Progeny: Stardom and the Politics of Youth Empowerment
6. Professionalizing Childhood: Nollywood and the New Youth Transnationalism
Afterword: Honoring Nollywood Stars
Filmography
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 10 avril 2015
Nombre de lectures 10
EAN13 9780253015808
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

NOLLYWOOD STARS
NEW DIR ECTIONS IN NATIONAL CINEMAS Jacqueline Reich, editor
NOLLYWOOD STARS
MEDIA AND MIGRATION IN WEST AFRICA AND THE DIASPORA
Noah A. Tsika
INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS
Bloomington Indianapolis
This book is a publication of
INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
iupress.indiana.edu
2015 by Noah A. Tsika
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z 39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Tsika, Noah, 1983-
Nollywood stars : media and migration in West Africa and the diaspora / Noah A. Tsika.
pages cm - (New directions in national cinemas)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-253-01571-6 (cl : alk. paper) - ISBN 978-0-253-01575-4 (pb : alk. paper) - ISBN 978-0-253-01580-8 (eb) 1. Motion pictures-Nigeria-History and criticism. 2. Motion picture actors and actresses-Nigeria. I. Title.
PN 1993.5. N 55 T 85 2015
791.4309669-dc23
2014049507
1 2 3 4 5 20 19 18 17 16 15
For the women of Nollywood. And for the late Christy Essien-Igbokwe.
A fantasy reel spooled through my mind, my meter-long face emoting on a cinema screen. Hollywood meant nothing. Why be a plankton in the ocean when I could be a big fish in an emerging pond? Nollywood now seemed a more dignified enterprise, something I could take seriously.
- NOO SARO-WIWA , Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria.
CONTENTS

Preface and Acknowledgments

A Note on Orthography and Taxonomy

Introduction: Global Stars in Nigeria s Postindependence Firmament-From Ossie Davis to Doctor Bello

1 From Yor b to YouTube: Studying Nollywood s Star System

2 Glittering Video: Format, Fashion, and the Materiality of Nollywood Stardom

3 A Mobile Glow: Nollywood Stardom and Corporate Globalism

4 When Stars Collide: Lady Gaga and the Pirating of a Globalized Persona

5 Nollywood s Progeny: Stardom and the Politics of Youth Empowerment

6 Professionalizing Childhood: Nollywood and the New Youth Transnationalism

Afterword: Honoring Nollywood Stars

Notes

Bibliography

Filmography

Index
PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Before embarking on a detailed investigation of Nollywood stardom, it is necessary to acknowledge some of the historical, political, and cultural reasons for the absence of conventionally defined film stars from the firmament of classical African cinema. If one of Nollywood s outstanding contributions to African screen media has been the industry s cultivation of a range of globally recognizable African movie stars, then it is important to point to the longstanding difficulty of entering African films, and African film studies, into dialogue with diverse conceptions of stardom. Nollywood did not arrive at its star system overnight; with more than a little help from the Nigerian television industry, it developed it against the backdrop of an African cinematic practice that, since independence, had proscribed movie stars-even as it was forced, perhaps paradoxically, to canonize directors as auteurs in an effort to raise capital and awareness. Such contradictions are rooted in Western ethnographic filmmaking, but even the celebrated Frenchman Jean Rouch, who dubbed so many of his onscreen subjects with his own histrionic voice, could not possibly overshadow a series of remarkable African performers. When Rouch made Moi, un noir in 1958, employing the controversial practice of shared anthropology, he helped turn actor Oumarou Ganda-playing a character nicknamed Edward G. Robinson and patterned partly after Robinson s Hollywood persona-into a cinematic icon whose ambivalence about working with Rouch would reach expression in his own films, especially Cabascabo (1968). Roughly a decade after making Moi, un noir, Rouch relied upon rising star Safi Faye to confer considerable glamour upon his film Petit petit (1968)-a reliance that Faye would later criticize, although not because she was averse to screen acting, as her own films (particularly 1972 s La passante ) would prove. Apart from Rouch s controversial works, there was Lionel Rogosin s antiapartheid docudrama Come Back, Africa (1959), which opens with a title card assuring the spectator that no professional performer appears in the film, but which later lingers on the dazzling musical star (and future Grammy winner) Miriam Makeba, who sings two rousing songs to rapt diegetic audiences. Rouch s divisive works seem at times to reflect the dominance of his Western perspective, and Rogosin s Come Back, Africa -an antiapartheid film by a wealthy, well-connected white New Yorker-credits allegedly amateur participants with their first names only, thus rendering them semi-anonymous and compelling the curious spectator to do some digging. Nevertheless, neither Rouch nor Rogosin could apparently resist the allure of charismatic stars, and the contributions to their films of Ganda, Faye, and Makeba (among many others) suggest an exciting and understudied subject.
As is well documented, social realist techniques-often derived from but never reducible to Soviet traditions-comprised the mode in which many of the first postindependence African films were forged. African cinema s earliest interpretations of social realism entailed a narrative and thematic interest in collective experiences at the expense of a glamorizing individuation of actors; a reliance on static long shots and uninterrupted long takes; and a tendency to telegraph (through music, lighting, costuming, and set design) the shared, abstracted, class-specific identities of visible human figures. Simply put, social realism did not exactly lend itself to the consolidation of movie stardom in postcolonial sub-Saharan Africa; neither did Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino s theory of Third Cinema, with its focus on an imperfect, communitarian aesthetic practice as a means of resisting multiple forms of oppression. An equally discursive as well as practical obstacle to African movie stardom was the impact of Italian neorealism, which, as T lesphore Mba Bizo, Melissa Thackway, and Rachel Gabara (among others) have demonstrated, followed a circuitous route to influence African filmmakers in the adoption of nonprofessional performers. If such Italian neorealist classics as Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) and La Terra Trema (Luchino Visconti, 1948) are almost unimaginable with bona fide, prominently billed, conventionally skilled film stars in their central roles, then so are such postin-dependence African features as Ousmane Semb ne s Mandabi (1968), made without a traditional script at a time when Wolof was not a written language, and Djibril Diop Mamb ty s Touki Bouki (1973), with its focus on inexperienced, alienated Senegalese youths not yet sure of their own social identities. Finally, it would be difficult to overestimate the legacy of the 1975 Algiers Charter of the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers, which, in outlining a political project for African cinema, explicitly renounced the sort of Western individualist ethos on which movie stardom would seem to rest. If, according to the charter, African filmmakers were to extend the terms and conditions of Third Cinema to shape a truly liberationist artistic practice, then they would need to free themselves of the Western fetish for famous faces.
That does not mean that great acting was anathema to classical African cinema; it does, however, suggest why the names of individual performers are so little known. Who, exactly, provides the human face of Semb ne s black girl -who (literally) embodies his eponymous La Noire de . . . ? What was this woman doing in Dakar in the mid-1960s, and what was her offscreen experience, around the same time, in the south of France? Who plays Semb ne s Faat Kin , and does she share her character s special, unapologetically sexual, and altogether irreverent brand of Senegalese feminism? Does she endorse it in her daily life, and does the character linger in her consciousness, at least as she expresses it publicly? The difficulty of answering these and related questions speaks to the lack of documentation surrounding acting as individuated labor in West Africa. Millions of moviegoers worldwide have seen Semb ne s iconic La Noire de . . .; how many of them can name the woman (Mbissine Th r se Diop) who portrayed the title role? Of those who have seen Faat Kin (2001), how many remember-or ever took note of-the name Venus Seye? How many are aware that Joseph Ga Ramaka, in casting his Karmen Ge (2001), deliberately turned to one of the stars of Touki Bouki, the marvelously talented Magaye Niang, to portray a key role while also providing a platform for the Senegalese pop star El Hadj N Diaye? Such questions, whose answers can hardly be heartening, remind us that, in analyses of African cinema, auteurism has tended to eclipse even the simplest considerations of acting (let alone of stardom).
Efforts to rectify this problem have emerged in the blogosphere, as several pioneering writers (many of them operating well beyond the boundaries of academi

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