Kemi Adetiba wants to rule 2019 and we mortals might not be ready. Her sophomore but surprising smash King of Boys is inexorably becoming a box office darling, maintaining supremacy for a fifth consecutive week and grossing over N150,000 million. If Adetiba decides to take a year’s vacation on some exotic island while watching the sunset, then it would be well-deserved. But, apparently, she isn’t taking a break. On Monday, the director released the first teaser of her upcoming television show Brotherhood (Ring of Fire) on Instagram, and it looked visually arresting. Seated around a table are erstwhile rapper Lynxx, actor Jimmy Odukoya, presidential aspirant Fela Durotoye, CEO of Venia Group, Kola Oyeneyin and life coach and wellness mentor Lanre Olusola. The light in the room is just enough for us to see their faces.
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Adetiba has perfected the art of imbuing her projects with mood and atmosphere, and she carries this aesthetic into Brotherhood (Ring of Fire): the opening montage is ominous, morphing from a solar eclipse to resemble, well, a ring of fire. Welcome to the Brotherhood, guys. It’s already obvious that the show is the male iteration of Adetiba’s decidedly feminine interview-based TV series King Women, which ran on Accelerate TV. Like King Women, Brotherhood is a confessional moulded for television, its male subjects sharing viscerally personal stories, anecdotes, successes and failures. But the show’s brand of masculinity is still unclear. Yet, the teaser is a small guidepost towards the kind of masculinity that requires men to be leaders, that allows them to fall and fail just so they can peerlessly rise.
Seemingly, Brotherhood slips into the risk of narrowing masculinity. Case in point: how many Nigerian men look like Lynxx and Jimmy Odukoya, with their swole, gym-beaten bodies? Adetiba’s Brotherhood is arriving at a time where we are increasingly acknowledging a masculinity crisis – male suicide and depression, internalised, outdated ideas of manliness which upholds heterosexuality, dominance and violence on women and even on other men. Brotherhood is due out next year and will be available on Accelerate TV, a youth-centric platform which means the show is well situated in the right demographic. Whether the show will be nuanced and complex remains to be seen though.