Nigerian entertainment industry: Moral upholders or promoters of nudity?
By Victor Akuma
Tom Robbins once said, “Just because you are naked doesn’t mean you’re sexy.”
There seem to have been a unanimous paradigm shift in the entertainment industries of most countries of the world from what it was earlier known for and Nigeria’s hasn’t been left out in this trend.
Contemporary times have seen the Nigerian ‘make-happy’ industry grow into a sexual upheaval, painting indelible pictures in the heads of their audience which in turn breathes immorality in the society.
Among such supposed guilty segments of the industry include film makers and musicians who put up what some would call undesirable videos for alleged aim of profiteering and fame.
Sometime in August 2019, Augustine Miles Kelechi populary know by his stage name Tekno, came out to apologize to the public over one of his musical videos which went viral on social media, showing half-naked girls dancing in a transparent moving truck in lagos.
The singer claimed the truck was only used to convey dancers to their next shooting destination since some of their cars got broke, he also said there was no music playing in the truck as alleged.
However, this is not the first in the country to see musical videos with half-naked dancers, there abound a lot of them, like Timaya’s – Bum Bum, Maheeda’s – Naija Bad Girl, and Gorikwa by Dpzle.
Fast forward to 2020, the trend still continues unabated.
On Wednesday, Naira Marley in a video he posted on his Twitter handle, complained of receiving nude pictures from supposed fans. The video revealed that the Marlian is now begging that those sending him nude pictures should stop as he is observing his Muslim fast.
— nairamarley (@officialnairam1) April 29, 2020
“To all of you that keep sending bum, stop sending me now. When I wasn’t fasting, you weren’t sending me any nudes, stop sending me bum bum,” Naira Marley had said.
The movie industry in Nigeria is not left out of this. There have been a number of them on the radar, like Shakira, Room 027 and Bold 5 Babes. Even the ever trending BBNaija have all been reported to have contained some amount of nude visuals.
This is unlike what used to be the norm some few years back when movies like Diamond Ring, Blood Sisters among others were in vogue.
The music industry back in those days also saw some good songs devoid of nudes but still became a hit in the society. Songs like Diana by Daddy Showkey among others. It is true the wave of development and modernization have phased out the old forms of producing songs and movies away but it doesn’t entail incorporating nudes. We can adapt to all the new changes but nude.
Many are of the school of thought that the current trend in the entertainment industry is as a result of what the society have portrayed in itself overtime and even what they appreciate more now.
Others however, have argued that some of the half-naked persons we see in movies and musical videos are compelled because that is what their producers or directors want.
According Nnamani Eunice, a student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, “it depends on the character and what the director wants, Actors sometimes don’t contribute to the looks. Decision is between the script writer, wardrobe head, make up & hair team and the creative director.”
“They don’t really expose their bodies because of greater sales, I think they do so to bring out the real message the person representing that character is trying to show, to make it real and unique,” she said
Nnorom Wisdom, a 400 level student of Mass Communication, UNN said that sex sells in the industry at present.
“Yes, sex sells or in this case, sex appeal. Imagine a girl performing a dance routine with baggy clothes that covers everything (Mary Amaka) and then imagine another girl next to her performing the same dance routine but with skimpy clothes that hugs her figure and outlines every subtle movement of her body. Whose eyes would the audience be glued to? Whose performance would they like?” You will agree with me that even you would not be able to resist appreciating the other contestant (Skimpy girl),” he said.
“The awareness of this fact coupled with the influence of Western pop culture have greatly influenced the dress styles and grooming of Nigeria’s entertainment industry,” Wisdom concluded.
Uwa Immanuela argues that some of these artists believe they are meeting the expectations of their audience.
“Over time there are certain things expected or anticipated in the entertainment industry from it’s players. You would not really go to Tiwa Savage’s concert and expect a fully clothed artists and for some (or a lot of) people, they go anticipating a half dressed artist depicting her songs.
“A lot of them do it for the attention and publicity it draws sometimes in the movies, the ones with exposed bodies or the ones willing to expose their bodies (depending on the role they are playing) get paid more,” she said.
Egbo Rita said she believes some of the actresses and music video dancers that are seen half-naked are seizing the opportunity to sell themselves while others do it because it is their way of life.
I think that Nigerians have the habit of emulating the west. Once upon a time, no girl would wear a bikini but these days, some would have no problems going naked. There has been a paradigm shift indeed. Sexual appeal is a high seller for music videos or movies as we live in a sexual world and we are a very sexual generation. Not much can be done and this increases everyday because markerters use the term “give people what they want” and no one wants to be at the losing end. Nice one Victor
Great one Chiamaka, thank u