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  • Entertainment - Movies - Others
  • Updated: June 23, 2024

How Genevieve's encounter in Hollywood exposes disparity In the movie industry

How Genevieve's encounter  in Hollywood exposes disparity In

Genevieve Nnaji

By Cecilia Ogezi

Genevieve Nnaji's recent revelation about the challenges of transitioning from Nollywood to Hollywood sheds light on the complex dynamics at play for actors navigating these two vastly different film industries offering a nuanced perspective on the structural and cultural barriers that can hinder even the most talented Nollywood stars from achieving similar success in Hollywood.

Nnaji, who spoke on a panel at the recently held AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum/Afreximbank Annual Meetings Nassau, in the Bahamas, revealed that transitioning from Nollywood to Hollywood posed a challenge to her, despite notable achievements in filmmaking, pointing out the cultural gap that exists between the two industries.

"Nollywood films often reflect Nigerian cultural narratives and storytelling techniques, which may not always align with the global themes prevalent in Hollywood.

"This difference can pose a challenge for Nollywood actors who must adapt to new styles and sensibilities to appeal to a broader international audience.

"Language and accent also play a crucial role in this transition. While many Nollywood actors are proficient in English, the nuances of American English and the ability to perform in a way that resonates with western audiences can be a significant barrier.

"Hollywood often favors actors with a certain look and sound, and adapting to these expectations can be a daunting task for those coming from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds", Nnaji said.

Furthermore, she emphasized the importance of networks and representation, saying, "Hollywood operates on a system of agents, managers, and casting directors, who often serve as gatekeepers to the best roles".

"For Nollywood actors without established connections in the United States, breaking into this tightly-knit community can be challenging.

"Building these relationships takes time and often requires being physically present in Hollywood, which is not always feasible.

"Hollywood is the world's oldest national film industry, and largest in terms of box-office gross revenue.The cinema of the United States, consisting mainly of major film studios along with some independent films, has had a large effect on the global film industry since the early 20th century. 
While Nollywood is the world's second most prolific film industry, just behind Bollywood in India. Producing over 50 full-length feature films a week.

"Hardly, any place on earth evokes the same air of show-business magic and glamour. The majestic grandeur in which Hollywood sits is no wonder why filmmakers around the world want to be in the circle, it's elite class earmark modern American society rich in history and innovation.

"As the first Nollywood A-lister to 'outgrow' Nollywood productions with the hopes of evolving long before other actors followed", she added.

And maintaining a long absence from Nollywood, Nnaji kept having strategic meetings with Hollywood stars, graced international movie premiers.

At some point, she was about the only person from this part of the world to attend elite Hollywood events, from Essence Black Women in Hollywood; to the Oscars Nominees parties; to international film festivals; Vanity Fair and Lancome Women in Hollywood celebrations; just to name a few.

The general believe is that, she tried to break into Hollywood but it just didn't pan out well. Whether the comments are negative in any light to her personality or not as an icon in Nollywood, African's largest film industry who has garnered critical acclaimed massive fan base for her performance.

She noted that they wanted to use her to tell their own stories, rather than authentic African stories, stating that they wanted to use her as a 'commodity', forcing her to step back to concentrate on growing Nollywood.

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