For most of 2019, Cinema Pointer was one of the more exciting film review platforms on the internet. Run almost entirely on Instagram (they have a site but that hasn’t quite taken off), Cinema Pointer modelled itself after Instablog9ja, bringing the reviews to the platform where the audience it was seeking was. The gimmick worked, Cinema Pointer has amassed nearly 10,000 organic followers and generates genuine interest in its reviews. There have also been quite a few accusations of bias against Cinema Pointer, accusations the platform has shrugged off by suggesting its reviews are subjective and that the viewers are allowed to make their own conclusions on which films are great and which ones are not. It seems however, that Cinema Pointer doesn’t follow its own advice, considering the post it put up on its site two days ago.
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Hazardous Materials on Netflix and in Cinemas. Good afternoon, Yesterday, we saw ‘Blood and Water’ a TV series streaming on Netflix. It is a very exciting teen oriented series. It is cool. It is hip. It is colourful. And filled with beautiful and intensely interesting characters. But, it also includes several scenes of gay homosexual sex and kissing, both suggestive and vivid (please swipe left to see some of these offensive scenes). _ Portrayed in positive light, these acts are performed (and encouraged) by the “cool” teens in this TV series, by which means said acts are made to look innocent, appealing and inviting to its audience. Being that ‘Blood and Water’ is mainly targeted at younger people and is currently reigning as the “Number 1” most watched offering on the Netflix app (swipe left to see screenshot of ranking) one can only imagine the implication and damage the portrayal of such acts have had on young impressionable Nigerians (children and young adults). _ ‘Blood and Water’ is rated 18+ (same age rating is given to many other movies and series with offensive scenes). Regardless, our argument is that the 18+ rating doesn’t go far enough except we are to believe that only 18+ have access to see the trending “Number 1” teen series on Netflix. Also, beyond teenagers under 18+, we are also concerned for Nigeria’s young adults – It’s important to note here that homosexual and lesbian acts are by law, criminal in Nigeria – Thusly, we wonder if allowing such acts to be portrayed so “invitingly” in movies by the agencies of government responsible for maintaining censorship, orientation and cultural firewalls in Nigeria is not counter productive to the goals of duly passed Nigerian Laws? Yet, it doesn’t stop at just Netflix. The same perversions are running wild in Nigerian cinema. And not just in Hollywood movies but even more alarming in Nollywood movies seeking notoriety. For example in the “action-comedy” ‘Merry Men 2’ which opened in Nigerian cinemas on 18th December, 2019; one of its opening scenes had two young Nigerian women kissing and smooching mouth to mouth. And that with the hall filled with teenagers and children… (Cont’d in comments 👇🏾)
This epistle from Cinema Pointer (so long it spills into the comments) was triggered by Blood and Water, the new YA Netflix South Africa Original. Following all the usual tropes of high school drama, sexual exploration and teenage feuds, Blood and Water is a decent outing from Netflix, hitting all the usual markers and closely mirroring the realities of young adults across the world. It is no different from Dawson’s Creek, Gossip Girl or even Elite, another YA high school drama from Netflix. What really sets Cinema Pointer off, is that for a change it is black people who are portrayed in these shows.
Cinema Pointer sheds all vestiges of professionalism and launches into a proselytizing sermon about Blood and Water ‘exposing’ young Nigerians to the ‘evils’. According to them, though the show has an 18+ rating, it should not exist because people under 18 are being ‘exposed’ to the show and it is ‘corrupting’ them. This hypocrisy is heightened by the fact that Cinema Pointer conveniently ignores that Netflix has a clearly defined system that allows parents make separate profiles for their children with the necessary age filters, and Netflix announces repeatedly that the show is for adults. Cinema Pointer conveniently ignores that the only difference between Blood and Water and MTV Shuga which has been on air for nearly a decade and explored these very themes, is that one shrouds its explorations of sex in moralism and the other presents it as is.
Netflix is NOT responsible for how Nigerians choose to parent. Hypersexuality, drug use, teenage drama are all very real phenomena, and perhaps maybe young Nigerians would be well adjusted if Nigerian society wasn’t so heavily invested in pretending vehemently that young people don’t exist or have complex interior lives. It was refreshing to see Nigerians call Cinema Pointer out on their bigotry and expose their hypocrisy, perhaps there is hope for Nollywood.
If Cinema Pointer, a film review site that has reviewed films about sadistic serial killers where people were gruesomely murdered, has praised action thrillers where people steal, kill, betray their co-conspirators, rape and pillage and never saw it as an ‘attempt’ to indoctrinate Nigerian youth, but foam at the mouth at the thought of teenagers being sexually active and experimenting with drugs, perhaps its time they closed their Instagram account and opened a church.