We Hate to Say It, But These Old Nollywood Films Were Problematic AF

May 18, 2022

Though a lot of it was unintentional and can’t be recreated (I’m looking at you, Charles of Play), Old Nollywood is pretty iconic. I’ve recently been taking deep dives into the pool of movie nostalgia to gag at the insane fashion and bad CGI from that era. Do you know what else I’ve come across? Disturbing storylines that have left me shook and scarred. 

Brace yourself!

1. Men in Love 

Nollywood reflects who we are as a society, so it comes as no surprise that many of their old attempts at tackling LGBTQ+ issues reek of homophobia. 2010’s Men in Love is no exception. The movie follows Whitney (Tonto Dikeh) and Charles (John Dumelo), a couple whose disaster of a marriage (he cheats on her with anything in a skirt) is threatened by the arrival of Alex (Muna Obiekwe), a juju-wielding gay man. It’s bad enough that this film portrays its gay characters as rapey predators laden with every negative gay stereotype you can think of. But the movie’s worst sin is  making homosexuality out to be the result of a spiritual affliction, which is why many Nigerians suffer inhumane punishments in the name of conversion therapy (aka going for deliverance) till this day. 

Everyone who worked on this project needs to bow their heads in shame. 

2. Beyoncé and Rihanna 

There’s gist that Beyoncé has seen Beyoncé and Rihanna, and now I want to hear her take on it. But before I ring up my girl Bey on WhatsApp (because a regular call to Houston, Texas would be too expensive), can we talk about how they made a film inspired by two of the biggest pop stars on the planet and centred their storyline around wanting a man? Ewww. There’s so much they could’ve explored, but the film’s producers thought, “Why not make a FOUR PART movie franchise where Nadia Buari and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde bitch slap each other because of Jim Iyke? ”

If it was about Dr Dre and Jay Z, the plot would be completely different from this. 

3. To Rise Again

To Rise Again is proof that, even in death, Nigerian men will not let you rest. Joseph (Richard Mofe Damijo) is an armed robber who loses his life after a robbery attack. Instead of staying dead like his friends, he rebrands as a bible-believing ghost taxi driver who gets Lydia (Stella Damasus) to fall in love and have a child with him. Spoiler: it ended up being a dream or something. But, we were rooting for their love story. It just feels manipulative and gross. It might not be problematic in the grand scheme of things, but no one should bang a ghost. Not even if he looks like Richard Mofe Damijo. 

RECOMMENDED: Ranked: Nobody Beats These 10 Nollywood Actresses at Crying in Movies

4. White Hunters 

Tabitha (Ini Edo), Peggy (Funke Akindele), and Pamela (Mercy Johnson) are three young women who decide to chase and date white men after growing tired of broke-ass Nigerian men and their bullshit. Not to defend Nigerian men, but what the hell is this plot? Their thirst for coloniser penis and money isn’t even my issue with White Hunters; it’s the offensive stereotype it enforces by squeezing in jokes about the only Indian character smelling like garlic 24/7. 

5. Emotional Crack 

While Emotional Crack has given us a ton of iconic memes, the problematic nature of the movie’s plot is undeniable. Chudi (Ramsey Noah) is married to Crystal (Stephanie Okereke), who he beats and cheats on like it’s nobody’s business. Things take an exciting lesbian (or bisexual— honestly, fuck labels) turn when Chudi’s side thing Camila (Dakore Akande on a rasta P) decides to ruin the already messed up marriage by seducing Crystal. 

Once again, the queer character here is depicted as a crazy disposable stalker, while the wife-beater is given a redemption arc that makes him out to be a victim. His abusive nature is never even addressed.  Old nollywood was really deep in their homophobic/misogynistic bag when they made this one.  

6. Thunderbolt (Magun)

Yinka Ajiboye (Lanre Balogun) marries Ngozi (Uche Osotule) during their NYSC years. But when his friends start spreading rumours that his wife is the whore of Babylon, Yinka consults with a Babalawo and places a Magun curse on her, endangering her life. The wild thing here is that at no point in the movie does he properly confront her. He just goes straight to the Babalawo like he’s ordering food from Instagram. Thunderbolt (Magun) is a prime example of toxic masculinity, and pushes the idea that a wife is her husband’s property. Even if she cheated, why is placing a curse on her the next logical step? The ghetto. 

ALSO READ: Reimagining Nigerian Musicians as Characters in a Nollywood Horror Movie

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

March 30, 2020

BOJ — “Assignment” BOJ has a reputation for being one of the most impressive featured acts in the game, consistently stealing the show with his inimitable voice and impossible-to-forget hooks. That being said, he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for what he’s able to accomplish on a solo track. Thankfully, he’s here to remind us […]


Now on Zikoko

July 3, 2022

In this letter #ToHER, Tumi writes to one of her closest friends, Tolu. Tolu japa’d to America, and although she read this letter before travelling, Tumi wants everyone to know how special their friendship has been for her.

Recommended Quizzes

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

More from Pop

Hollywood conference
July 2, 2022

The 12th edition of ZUFF, Nollywood’s major film festival, raised the question of whether the world’s second-largest film market by the number of films can tap the continent’s huge film-making potential and leverage changing economic and technological realities.


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.