Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ON DISTRICT 9

Like everyone else I'd been seeing trailers for the movie 'District 9' for a couple of months now but I'd never really rated it as a 'must see', alien invasions; not my thing. Then last week I heard that it had been pulled from all the cinemas in Nigeria and Information Minister; Dora Akunyili had [on behalf of Nigeria] written a letter to Sony Entertainment, who distributes 'District 9' to edit out the scenes in which Nigerians were portrayed in a not so favourable light.

Of course that got my amebo juices flowing and I had to go see what all the fuss was about, so one cold, windy night in Canary Wharf, I and my friends formed a Nigerian contingent and went to see what the dilly was. Let's just say I came out of there pissed as hell! I'm not an overly patriotic Nigerian but that movie was an effing piss take, they managed to insult us as a nation on every level. Not to be a complete hater, it was a good movie, engaging, action packed etc, i mean it wasn't my thing but I was able to sit through it [though I think that had more to do with the 8 pounds I paid to see the damn thing, compared to the 500 naira I usually pay at Silverbird or the 150 naira I'd have given to my homie down the road who'd have hit me up wit a bootleg right quick].

But I digress, back to the point 'District 9' is about aliens and humans co-existing side by side in Johannesburg and the movie begins when the South African government try to relocate the aliens from District 9 to another district where they won't be in such proximity with humans. So where my poor countrymen come in, is that within District 9, they're the only humans that live there and they're involved in arms selling, trading with the aliens, cannibalism, ritual killing, inter-species prostitution [wtf!] and the biggest insult of all, the gang leader is called 'Obasanjo'!. Now I'm all for freedom of expression and media and press or whatnot, after all I'm a writer, but this is actually extreme. In the first instance the movie is directed by a South African , Neill Blomkamp and set in South Africa but I can count on one hand how many times South Africa was mentioned in that movie, what I kept hearing was 'the Nigerians' this and 'the Nigerians' that. They made sure they didn't leave the viewers in any doubt as to who the criminals in the movie were, we were basically reduced to the level of the aliens maybe even lower, as in INTER SPECIES PROSTITUTION!!! What the hell! Nigerian girls sleeping with the aliens, who btw looked like giant prawns. I left the cinema thoroughly disgusted. Plus the sheer audacity of naming the gang leader Obasanjo was mind boggling, granted he's no Winston Churchill but that was just immensely disrespectful. Imagine Nigerian filmmakers making movies about South African gangsters and naming the leader Nelson Mandela, I doubt if that will fly. If they wanted that calibre of people in their movie seeing as the movie is set in Johannesburg, why not make the gangsters local South Africans? Instead they had to go all the way to West Africa and put Nigerians in a movie that should not have concerned them in the first place.

At the end of the movie, I actually stayed behind so I could see the credits and see if any Nigerian was foolish enough to actually be a cast member and what did I see? A foolish Nigerian called SAINT GREGORY NWOKEDI [we need to find this dude and set him straight]. How much could they have paid that man to appear in a movie that portrayed his country in such a damnable light, plus he's an Ibo man, I know my kinsmen like the Benjamins but I didn't think it was to this level. I am very dissapointed in the entire production team and I wholeheartedly support the Nigerian governments stand of banning 'District 9' from all the cinemas, at leat we won't participate in helping the movie make any more money.

I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get a lot of flak over this but I don't care. Some people are saying its Nigeria's fault in the first place because of the way we portray ourselves in Nollywood movies but I tell you, Nollywood is very far from District 9. The light in which my country is cast in this movie is a very unforgiving light and most people may think its not that serious and people don't really pay attention to things like this, but you'd be surprised at the kind of things the human brain internalizes. There are too many misinformed people in this world and movies like District 9 compund this misinformation, people who have no idea what Ngeria is like would have an even worse idea after seeing this movie. For example that gbegborun Perez Hilton put up a post about it and said maybe the Nigerian government should focus on running their country and not bothering about movies. To correct the misinformed Mr Hilton, only the Ministry of Information is involved in the boycotting of District 9 and it is their job to preserve Nigeria's public image as that ministry is essentially Nigeria's PR agency, so dude get your facts straight before mouthing off.

In conclusion, everybody go see that movie, we need to know what we're up against in this world but i urge you, if you're not Nigerian, to regard the scenes containing Nigerians as utter fabrication. Like every other country we have our problems but we did not deserve District 9. Oh and newsflash the FBI list of top internet scam countries goes thus:
1) United States of America - 66%
2) United Kingdom - 10%
3) Nigeria - 7%

Well what do we have here, a mere 7%, whoulda thunk it? Someone needs to go tell the ad agency that handles the Sony Playstation 3 account, me thinks that ad has got to be re-written as "an American internet millionaire" non?
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10 comments

  1. ose jare TWP......thanks a whole lot; cos these ppl, need to get it straight!

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  2. I kinda agree with you....I mean, why pick on Nigeria? But then again, you have to think about the reputation Nigerians give themselves!!!! In South Africa, Nigerians ARE involved in a lot of general shady-ness. Ignoring alluh tht tho, stereotypes happen!! All Italians are in the mafia, all Russians (and now ppl of Middle Eastern descent) are terrorists, all Irishmen are drunkards, all Nigerians are fraudsters. These statements might not be true but they exist for a reason!!!

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  3. i think it was a little (no, make that a lot) overboard in the movie..Gosh, it really is bad and to call the leader,Obedsanjo or whatever really is the height. i think it's pretty undeserving.

    besides since i learnt of all the re-routing that comes with most of these scam mails, i have since stopped believing that it all comes from Nigeria. they r just playing on an already bad image undeservedly or not.

    whatever their reasons, it was just over the top and in very bad taste.

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  4. If the movie had been about fraudsters, it'll have come off easier. It was too much of a long stretch, I mean the things the Nigerians were involved in in the movie were just too far fetched. When you're been stereotyped it should be for things you're normally known for. The movie was an absolute crock.

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  5. hun, i havent seen the movie so i cannot exactly comment on that aspect of ur post, but i dont think whatever was portrayed was too farfectched from what us Nigerians portray of ourselves, we sing songs like "Yahooze" and "Maga don pay" and we are unarguably a very corrupt country a la fraud et al, so whatever corruption was portrayed couldn't have been too far fetched. Dont get me wrong, I am pro my cuntry but the facts are glaring.
    The FBI list u mentioned is ambiguous. Is it saying countries with highest internet scam rates? If so, then its easy to see that the US and UK would top the charts; arent our Nigerian kinsmen in abundance in, and practise scams in these countries more than in Nigeria?? I know we care so much 4 our dear county's image, but whynying when we are thrown back what we ourselves give out is like covering a dishevelled bed with a counterpane.

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  6. Still enjoying yourself in London? LWKMD. You have a ver nice blog here.

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  7. I'm with you on this. Even yarned about the thing myself at Nigeriancuriosity.com

    Anyway, hope you update soon.

    Take care.

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  8. I haven't seen the movie o, I saw all the status update bruhaha on FB about it and I'm certainly curious. Will wait to see and it and see how I feel about it.

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  9. Vexing over District 9 is misplaced.

    Dora banning that movie was the single most powerful thing she could do to misinform Nigerians about the plight of their bad rep. She should have let it play. If we could tolerate Abacha, we can handle what some oyibo men think of us. It was a shockingly stupid and ignorant move on her part.

    From ps3 ads to x-men to District 9 to The informant, the big screen is doing Nigeria a favor. Giving her a peek into hidden prejudices in foreign minds.

    By banning the movie, Dora is more interested in doing her bit to keep Nigerians blissfully ignorant of that little bit of raw reality.

    As per vexing for Neill or Nwokedi, "thought policing" is always a bad idea. You don't know the circumstances behind the choices they've made. Perhaps Neill's biases are born of some bad experience at the hand of Nigerians and this is his payback. If that is the case do you think he'll give a damn about those of us caught in the middle?

    I mentioned some days ago that the saying "life imitates art more than art imitates life" is bs because art is a mirror(albeit sometimes skewed) and a subset of life. Getting upset over district 9 is taking that saying as creed.

    Anyways, what should you be more angry about; The deep seated prejudice that spawned the movie or the expression of that prejudice as a movie or the 3rd order effect of perpetuating the bias amongst movie goers?

    Whatever the case, no amount of vexing would change the fact that this world is a theater for the battle of ideas. The only true response to an affront like District 9 is to respond in kind. Not seeking apologies or banning viewings. No human soul is obliged to only have cute&cuddly thoughts of us or restrict its expressions to suit our taste or harbor no intent to promote ideas we might find distasteful. That applies to us also.

    9ja needs to quit acting like a granny with a severe case of victim complex and be more offensive. As a people we need to get others on their toes, in the name of art, for once. Frame ourselves as well as others.

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  10. hey babe, babe...new post plsssssssssss....
    about your comment: see..., that's why i was stucking you---move over here babe, so i can raid your closet!!!

    ReplyDelete

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