Nollywood doesn’t get enough credit. While it is recognised for its productivity – it is the 3rd largest movie industry in the world – and for exporting Nigerian culture, what most people won’t tell you is that Nollywood is also a place where dreams come true, whether they’re good dreams or nightmares. It’s a place where any idea is good enough, as long as you have enough money to bring it to life.
That’s the only explanation for movies like “BlackBerry Babes” and “Beyonce vs. Rihanna”. Nollywood has an unhealthy obsession with Nigerian pop culture – and it often shows in the most honest way possible: by re-adapting popular songs & trends for the small screen. Needless to say, not all these movies are anything to be proud of.
We can’t stand the Nollywood slander anymore (even if we do our fair share of that thankless job from time to time) so we decided to help. Burna Boy’s new album, African Giant is getting all the buzz now, and it’s only a matter of time till someone gets the smelly idea to turn “Different” into a movie about Nigerian women that love marijuana. If you know someone in Nollywood who’s hungry for inspiration, please tell them to place their focus here instead. These are a few songs you can make into movies instead.
- Omawumi – “If You Ask Me”
You don’t name a song “If You Ask Me,” unless you have bombshells that you think people should hear. If an artist has ever successfully compressed the Nigerian spirit of drama into a song, it was this one. Omawumi spent four minutes teasing us with gossip that she never really let on till the end.
The highlight was the music video, which interpreted each verse as a different story about Nigerians misbehaving. And just in case anyone in Nollywood is worried about shocking the existing audience, they shouldn’t be. The stories look written for Nollywood; there’s a pregnant teenager, some cheating, the usual works. So there you go Zeb Ejiro; one song, three storylines and free visual templates or expo. You’re welcome.
- 2face – “E Be Like Say”
One of the more frequent criticism against about some Nigerian art is that they never truly reflect the state of society. Nollywood has the best medium to change this. And if they’re on the hunt for inspiration, look no further than 2face’s “E Be Like Say”, which sounds like someone did a survey of Nigerians’ feeling before all the elections ever and made it into a song. I can already see this movie in my head; think of a movie about revolution.
It’s the end of a dismal president’s tenure, and young Nigerians simply can’t take it anymore. Except, instead of protesting redundant leaders ahead of the new elections, they just gather at campaign rallies and leave immediately after refreshments are shared. When the elections arrive, someone on Twitter puts out a poll asking people to choose between fried yam and fried potato. “Fried Yam” ends up getting more votes than all the candidates combined.
- Eedris Abdulkareem’s “Jaga Jaga”
One of my unpopular opinions is that Nigeria at the moment feels like the prequel to Mad Max. Sometimes, it’s a great place to be in, but on other days, it’s like what happened before the world became a dusty landscape with fierce war boys and a bloodthirsty man-baby as king. Sometime in the early 2000s, a Nigerian rapper called Eedris Abdulkareem made the musical version of that prequel.
The chaos of “Jaga Jaga” is only comparable to the chaos it describes. That’s why we think it needs to be a movie. Imagine political commentary plus 90 minutes of a hopeful society descending into anarchy. We can finally see whether Solomon Dalung starts the militia he’s been dressing for since 2015. They think Nollywood doesn’t have the range; this is one of the ways you people can show them.
- Adekunle Gold and Simi’s “No Forget“
I shed a few thug tears when I first heard this song and a few more when I saw the music video. Adekunle and Simi’s love story had been years old by the time they made “No Forget”, which made all the hugging and sobbing feel even more real. In a way, the song is a metaphor for their real-life relationship.
The two are now married, which would be the best conclusion to the scenario they painted in the music video. Do I need to outrightly say it? This is
- Maleek Berry’s “Lost In The World”
This remorseful love song is on this list because it sounds like the soundtrack to a movie that never got made. In it, Maleek describes a woman who he loved so much he would have given her his last name. Only that she got caught in material distractions and eventually, got lost in the world.
If any scriptwriter sits with this song, it might end up being the easiest script they ever wrote. The lyrics are so descriptive that you wonder if Mr Berry wasn’t trying to talk to someone. Whether or not he was, the movie version of this song will be yet another tool in the hands of overbearing parents and guardians which is enough to make it one of the biggest Nigerian movies whenever it drops.
Did you enjoy this? You should sign up for our weekly pop culture newsletter, Poppin’. You’ll get to know what we’re up to before anyone else + insider gist, reviews, freebies and more. If it sounds like your deal, sign up here.