Loading

Onoshe Nwabuikwu: Nollywood, Mercy Johnson & the ‘emerging’ porn industry

by Onoshe Nwabuikwu

collins onwochei ynaija

I know there’s no porn industry, yet. At least, I hope not. But there have been stories flying everywhere about Nollywood’s venture into soft pornography. I don’t intend to help spread more information about these films or help publicise them than necessary. But I have to make an exception for one film: Room 027 directed by Ben Chukwuma which may or may not have been released. It features Tony Umez (Fred) and Collins Onwochei (Ray). Plus the now ‘famous’ Chinelo Enemchukwu. The first time I heard of this film, I had an ‘eee-yew’ moment because of Tony Umez. It wasn’t the most pleasant thing to imagine.

But that’s not the reason I’m singling out Room 027. One of the actors, Collins Onwochei has been defending the film while denouncing its critics as hypocrites, more or less. He was quoted in a magazine (National Encomium) report as saying: “I’m going to say this with all sense of responsibility that the average Nigerian viewer is a hypocrite. Why? Because you will sit down in the comfort of your bedroom and watch a normal porn movie. No problem. Let’s even leave a porn movie”.

“You will sit down in the comfort of that same room of yours and watch a Sharon Stone movie featuring maybe Michael Douglas and they are completely naked. You go and watch in Silverbird or other cinemas movies where there are sex scenes. They are all naked, yet nobody makes a fuss about it. Room 027 is nothing close to a soft porn movie. I have no interest in nudity. I just did my job as an actor. Nigerians have not seen the movie, they don’t know whether the girl was naked or if anyone was naked and they are making a whole lot of noise about it.”

For what’s it’s worth I’ve seen the trailer for Room 027. And it’s at best, soft porn. Except there’s now a different definition of what constitutes pornography. So, Mr Onwochei’s claim about the film not being porn is not very true. There’s no point knocking Nigerians for jumping to conclusions based on the carefully planned trailer. That trailer was meant to generate a certain reaction and raise certain expectations from viewers. Whether people actually get naked in the film is pointless. One thing is for sure, those who want soft porn are going to rush to watch while those who don’t will stay very far from Room 027 and hopefully will be praying for Messrs Onwochei and Umez.

Anyhow, this write up is not just to point out the evil of pornography. Or to denounce desperate out of form actors. Let’s even ignore the talk about hypocrisy. Suffice it to say that Oscar Wilde has already said ‘hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue’. Which is to say that hypocrisy is a necessary virtue. Just because everyone has sex doesn’t mean we should see people doing it everywhere we turn.

The point of this write up is to call on the relevant regulating agencies. We certainly need better regulation. And the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) is well-placed to tackle this issue. No, they do not have to wait in their offices for these films to turn up. Chances are films like Room 027 aren’t likely going to be submitted for rating. Even then, as has happened in the past, scenes are added to films after they have been rated by the Censors Board. If the existing laws do not suffice, can we get them reviewed?

It’s no use crowing about how bad people can be. The Bible already tells us the heart of man is desperately wicked. It’s no use also to just make noise about how Nollywood is going into soft pornography and who knows very soon outright pornography. We usually pride ourselves in the fact that a typical Nigerian girl will not go to certain extents or do certain things unlike say our Ghanaian sisters because of the innate fear of being watched by one nosy ‘oversabi’ relative or the other, etc. But just like suicide bombing which we were willing to bet our lives on that no Nigerian would willingly take his own life, it’s beginning to look like we are joining the rest of the world albeit not in the better things like improved standards of living. In any case, why are we even shocked about porn? Watch TV, our home grown musical videos, almost all of them are thinly disguised soft porn. Worse still, they’re shown at all hours even when kids are still awake. What about the sluttish fashion our celebrities are now embracing? There appears to be a war of the boobs. Some people think the best way to appear hip is to be half dressed with everything about to pop. Still? Onwochei is right in one thing: soft porn or whatever you call it didn’t start with Room 027. There are ‘normal’ films where actresses fall over themselves to expose the most flesh. What about the way we display pornographic materials? Go to a regular newsstand, you’ll likely see x-rated films prominently displayed. It used to be a joke that right at the turn to the NFVCB’s office in Abuja by Sharif Plaza Abuja, you could buy x-rated films.

So? We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. How did other societies deal with this? How are they still dealing with these kinds of things? We like to delude ourselves into thinking that our problems will just disappear if we ignore them long enough. We have to imagine that pornography (or terrorism for that matter) will likely get more serious in or outside Nollywood.

It shouldn’t matter what labels or appellations they go by, let those who wish to indulge in alternative film making be so identified. Let their films be clearly labelled as porn or adult entertainment. And should be marketed as such in the right places. Of course, they better be specially taxed-there’s money in porn films. The industry is worth anything from $4b to $13b in the US.

Before Mercy Johnson returns…

Mercy Johnson ynaija

It’s fitting that I should be talking about Mercy Johnson today of all days when the topic is soft pornography and nudity. I have been meaning to offer her this public advice, free of course. I’m hoping now that she’s a mother of one, that she will be more decent. In the recent past, she has had only one dress code: Show anything ‘showable’, jiggle every moveable part of your body, all in the name of being sexy. When I think of over exposure of flesh in Nollywood films, only one name comes to my mind: Mercy Johnson, Mrs Okojie. I once wrote that after introducing herself, she’d need to also introduce her mammary glands: Hello, my name is Mercy, meet my breasts!

Mercy Johnson is not the only Nollywood actress that allows herself to be paraded onscreen like raw meat. A few other actresses are guilty to varying degrees: Tonto Dikeh, Eve Esin even Ini Edo. I suppose someone tells them ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’. There’s a thin line between being sexy and being sluttish. I’m imagining that now Mercy is coming back, she’ll have her eyes on doing more serious things by letting her acting speak for her. She has to know that there ought to be more to her than her body. She is a capable actress, no doubt. I like her, especially in those ‘house girly roles’ (not in her princess roles when she sounds Indian). She does have the potential to move to another level.

All the above points cannot be overemphasised. At the end of the day we are all free to make our choices. Mercy does have a choice to continue to be the champion of subtle and not so subtle sluttish-ness. Because our films aren’t properly graded, we don’t know that some so called A-listers are actually B or C grade actors and actresses. Otherwise by now, everyone would’ve known who belongs where.


Article Tags:
· · · · · ·
Article Categories:
Reviews

Comments

  • Pls if u don’t have anything to say go and sleep and stop calling people names. What is ur business if she’s showing her breast yeye fowl rubish

    omoye May 9, 2013 1:21 pm
  • it dose nd mata werther she is nekat o nd.

    obinna triple g May 9, 2013 1:36 pm
  • No, no, no! Onoshe, you would have made your point without adding Mercy Johnson’s name to it. Her fans will not let you rest now. Mercy does not lack talent and she is not one of those who bleach their skin. She has remained the darling of Nollywood fans.

    They liked her that way. They STILL like her that way.

    Let her be.

    Al Hakiu May 9, 2013 3:14 pm
  • Who paid U for this write up ? Stop calling people names. You are free to flunt yours.

    maureen May 9, 2013 3:14 pm
  • Dats just a matter of ruined lives trying 2 ruin others lyk theirs,so ruined ones will see it as normal bt if urs is yet ruined u gots becareful nd go 4 beta films.

    Rufai May 9, 2013 3:16 pm
  • U sounded a little bit confused about this porn thing

    murphy May 9, 2013 5:28 pm
Loading Facebook Comments ...
Menu Title