African History 7.9 Music and Movies
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African pop culture gives people a way to have fun, feel connected, and express themselves. So does streaking at football games, but when we do that, it's "disturbing," and "illegal." Whatever.
|World History||African History|
Unless you're watching a documentary on like…the life cycle of barley, or something…which
we highly recommend if you're trying to get to sleep, but otherwise, it'll bar-ly hold [People falling asleep while watching a film]
Anyway, African pop culture, like soccer, is a way for Africans to shake off colonialism
and shout their identity to the world. [Person on a cliff shouting loudly]
Like everywhere else in the world, pop culture in Africa gives people a way to have fun,
feel connected, and express themselves.
It also helps development by creating thousands of jobs. [Person using a video recorder]
We could talk all day about all the different genres of music in Africa.
It’s a gigantic continent, so, though it’s full of totally different kind of jams.
And tons of different peanut butters…
Heh…and it's also full of tons of different musical jams. [Lots of african dancers in colorful clothing]
There are about 10 major genres in the South African recording industry alone.
And almost every country has its own unique genres, with many genres dating back to the
For example, Highlife uses a Ghanaian harmonic scale that dates back to the 15th
And then there’s Berber folk music, which refers to the musical traditions of the Berbers, [People playing instruments together]
a group indigenous to North Africa.
And there’s nothing quite like those Berber Shop Quartets. [Quartet of men in striped suits singing outside a barber]
…Okay, those don’t exist.
But with a name like that, they're missing out on a golden opportunity.
Of course, the genres that have international appeal tend to be American imports.
We’re talkin’ hip-hop, smooth listening pop…that kind of stuff.
But when Africans put their spin on these genres, they take on a whole new life. [Man with dreadlocks DJ'in at a club]
Many pop stars and artists go further than just providing entertainment.
They bring different African countries together… [Entertainer on stage singing and clapping to the audience]
…and they even help fight oppression from all sides.
All right, now let’s talk about the movies.
The movie capital of Africa is Lagos, Nigeria.
Cool people call it Nollywood. [A sign saying Nollywood on a hill]
Nollywood produces about 900 feature films a year. [Old man sitting in a chair beside a lamp]
That’s about twice as many as the world’s largest film industry, which is in…
Good guess though.
It's actually not Hollywood, but Bollywood, in Mumbai, India. [Bollywood labelled on a space image of the Earth]
Bollywood actually makes the most movies every year with around 1,100.
Hollywood makes closer to 450.
and its declining every year..Slackers.
Of course, the main reason Bollywood and Nollywood are making
way more movies is that they’re doing it on the cheap. [Two men stood talking on a street]
The budget for the average Nollywood movie is around $5,000.
In Hollywood, that wouldn’t even pay for craft services. [Man stood next to a buffet table]
Nollywood movies are also released directly to VHS or DVD.
Then, they’re purchased by bars and coffeehouses across Africa, so they can easily be watched
by audiences who don't personally own TVs. [Family eating popcorn and watching TV]
So you can pick up your morning java and check out a new flick at the same time.
Sounds pretty sweet to us.
The vast majority of Nollywood movies are romantic dramas or comedies. [A series of Nollywood movies]
This is because violent films are heavily censored in Nigeria.
Like you can't show a soldier or police officer being injured or killed without special permission. [Police offer shot and camera turns off]
Also, action movies need larger budgets, so they’re kind of a non-starter.
Many Africans relate more to the upper-class Nigerians shown in Nollywood romances than [Two African men sat watching TV]
the upper-class Indians or Westerners in other films.
Though Nollywood movies can get wildly popular, even though they’re made on a shoe-string.
It doesn’t matter if these movies are basically unknown in the West. [Two men on a street discussing Nollywood]
We see that as an opportunity.
Next time we want to seem indier-than-thou, we’re going to tell people we’re into