Tope Omoniyi abstract, Nollywood Project

What's in a Name? Nollywood, Diaspora and Identities

By Tope Omoniyi

In many cultures, names and naming practices are sacrosanct and purposeful. They attempt as closely as possible to represent and convey the worldview of groups in general and the particular contexts and circumstances of the bearers' coming into existence. Against this background, it is interesting that the $246 million annual turn-over Nollywood phenomenon owes its name to an 'Other', an outsider, and sarcasm. My purpose in this talk is two-fold: one to interrogate the authenticity of the 'Nollywood' tag, and second to use it as anchorage for the identity discourses that the industry is currently generating. I shall focus on two questions: (a) Who watches/distributes Nollywood video films? (b) Where are they located? These questions will present us with a framework within which to revisit 'nationality' and 'ethnicity' as identity concepts in relation to immigrant homelands and the reconfiguration of the cultural landscape of the metropole through a process of postcode colonisation and the formation of Little Xs (Lagos, Kingston, India) or X-Town (Chinatown). I shall be drawing on data from an on-going study in London.