Ghana

A Note to the Ghanaian Film Industry…

Dear Film Industry producers, actors, script-writers, directors, any participant in this “Ghollywood business”:

Stop the embarrassment. Period. This must stop. This is my message, and I just had to put it plainly. Now before you shrug this off as just another “unnecessarily incensed viewer” lambasting you for not depicting “moral life” or being overly judgemental of your craft with no knowledge of how to do your job, please, I beg you, take the time off to read. I may not be representative of the entire populace that reads this, but I believe I am not the only “young adult” who thinks so. Seriously, I don’t think I have been enraged like this in a while.

This is for all the producers, script writers, set creators, the brains/minds behind all those movies, the actors/actresses:

So I just viewed the trailer for actor-turned-producer, Yvonne Nelson’s “Single & Married” and there are only a few points I will make. This is not in direct attack at her movie in particular but of the overproduction of movies of this kind –> Scorned, 6 hours to Christmas, Adam’s Apples (to some extent), etc. , that constantly glorify screwing up, men who cheat or have insatiate libido, women who have uncontrollable hormones and the whole ‘drama of making out for the fun of it’.

1. To the many producers, actors and actresses in the Ghanaian film industry, if you collate all the movies you have produced, what is legacy? Will you be able to assert with authority that you were like a Denzel Washington, that has had meaning to his career? Or a Will Smith, Idris Elba, Leonardo DiCaprio, or whatever you wish? What meaning do you think your career has added to the lives of the ordinary people? How has it contributed to the promulgation of the image of Ghanaian modern or pop-culture? I’m not saying your careers have to be akin to these people I mention, I am just saying it will be nice to think about it in this way. 🙂

2. This is why I will continue to say Nollywood is by far, miles ahead of you, in fact. I can look at the Genevieve Nnajis, Omotola Ekeindes, Uche Jombos, Desmond Elliotts, Stella Damasus(es?), Patience Ozokwors, etc. and at least say that there has been some substance to their career! Look, if anything at all, Nollywood should have shown us that there are so many OTHER things we can dramatize apart from “hung up lovers”, “men who cheat” and “horny women”. This is not the material our society is based on. Yes, these exist but it does not mean you should glorify it in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE YOU PRODUCE! Hahba! And no, neither is it what the America’s Hollywood is built off on so I don’t know who gave you that funny impression. Unless you intend for our movie industry to emanate Hollywood from the “hip-hop industry standpoint”, and you have decided to make your movies extended dramas of video clips about lovers who cheat and have sex all day everyday. You are knowingly or inadvertently, breeding a generation that glorifies sex…and this is not a sweeping statement I am making! Also, just so you know, I do not agree with all the other people who are wagging fingers at you and saying you are “following the West blindly”. In making those assertions, they are seemingly as blind as you seem to be, with regards to the essence of your careers in society. Ah well, in the land of the blind, “the one-eyed man reigns king”, which of the described parties above is one-eyes, remains a mystery to me.

3. I commend the improvement of your picture and sound quality. As a lay-viewer, of course I have no idea the technicalities that go into the production of these things. Thus, hats off to you.Kudos. Mo, moayɛ adeɛ! But I presume that whichever lengths you go to to produce this constant spree/proliferation of sex, porn, nudity, and overly contrived ‘scripts’, to a larger extent, all the time and effort you spend is not worth the messages you convey on-screen. Trust me, it’s disheartening.

4. Gun salute to some of the more meaningful productions that have come out with time – I Sing of A Well, Sinking Sands, Ties that bind, The Pledge: Ghana Must Not Burn, Somewhere in Africa, Why Marry?, Divine Love, Love Brewed in the African Pot and even Adam’s Apples (again, to a large extent, but with some reservations). We need some more of these. Actually, better ones! Some more depth. Some more of a message. Some more craft. Some more comedy about the everyday things that we would have thought were banal, until we saw them in your productions. I thought that was the beauty of this art. That it entails imagination, variety, and it commands an audience because of the power of the art.

5. Again, I am not saying you should not produce any of these movies that have flooded our screens. Hey, you do have some viewers that appreciate this, so you can go ahead and depict the cosmopolitan view of lovers in Ghana. All I am saying is, try a little harder. If you want to produce movies that about love and sex, how about some class? There’s Think Like A Man, Brown Sugar, Love & Basketball, Love brewed in the African Pot, for reference if you please. What legacy are you each leaving behind as actors/producers? You see the beauty of variety in the kinds of scripts you produce or act in is that it prevents you from being reduced to the mere characters you play. Simple. If you ask me what I thought of Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts as actors and actresses, I would have a lot to say besides a role in a promiscuous scene. Same applies for Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Desmond Elliot, Stephanie Okereke, etc. I will not automatically equate them to horniness and a lot of drama. Variety is your gateway to your audience’s reductionism.

In short, I am asking that you do your job. Fill that void in society we are longing for. Play the part. Write those lines. Send a powerful message. Do this as often as you can. Add to the overall narrative of Ghana, and by and large, Africa. Join the effort in re-telling our own story. Re-branding our own selves. As Africans, by Africans.

Thank you.

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2 thoughts on “A Note to the Ghanaian Film Industry…

  1. Couldn’t have been written better. When it comes to graphic & sound quality, Ghallywood has got a thumbs up from me. I just can’t fathom why most of our movies(esp english) have more sexually-oriented scenes. How i hope that our producers; directors would read this post of yours. Well, i don’t think we can dispute the fact that we try to emulate da westerners in our movies. Angelina jolie, sandra bullock, leonardo di Caprio; others have all appeared in one or more sexual scenes. Just want our people to change.

  2. Proud of Nigeria’s movie industry. Looking at our movies, one can easily tell that we haven’t diverted from our culture. Not tryna saying we are perfect. Should a producer/director release a sexually-oriented movie, he/she would be lambasted and probably get his/her movie banned. I think Ghanaians need to voice out their disdain at the movies being released. We are too mute in this country. If you don’t like a movie, DON’T buy it. Perhaps, snubbing it would lead to a decrease in further production of such films.

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