By Our Reporters
To close industry watchers, it is possibly the worst kept secret: that Nollywood has become a cesspool of lesbianism, where homosexuality is no longer seen as an indulgence akin to taboo and where young starlets go to any extent to get roles in order to flaunt their new-found celebrity status with the view to
attracting the well-heeled in the society.
Investigations conducted by News of the World discovered that lesbianism has become so widespread that stars are increasingly becoming territorial with their lovers and many ‘beefs’ that have been reported
among the stars can be traceable to the invasion of each other’s ‘emotional or sexual space’ by other stars. “It started about 10 years ago, at that time, it was a hushed-hushed affair. Those who indulged in it were very secretive and circumspect about it. They didn’t want to be fingered or linked with this alternative
lifestyle for fear of societal reprisal. We knew who they were and for the most part, we looked the other way while they indulged in this shenanigan” a source had told us. “With time however, and with more stars openly displaying their bi-sexual tendencies, those who were closeted began to reveal a little of what was in the closet. You began to see brazen display of public affection by some actresses and soon, words began to make the rounds that certain actresses were openly flaunting their lesbian tendencies and young starlets who desired to advance their career in the industry started gravitating toward these
stars that also had strong influence with the marketers and producers. “I can tell you without a doubt that most of the new faces in Nollywood have embraced this lifestyle-not because they wanted to, but because the prospects of their growth would be limited if they refused to ‘play ball’” a source who is very familiar with this growing trend had confided in us.
Our investigations also revealed a wide web of lesbianism that exists within the larger society. According to our source “a lot of influential people in our society – those we call the big ladies are bi-sexual. These financially secure ladies have looked to Nollywood as the place to find emotional pleasure. Within the industry, there are a number of top stars who act as pimps to these big ladies and are expected to secure the services of some young and pretty starlets. We have heard of certain big society ladies who regularly organize ‘get-together’ parties involving Nollywood stars and at those parties, financial inducements are common place. Some stars whose careers are neither growing as fast as should be, but who however are living luxurious lifestyles – with beautiful apartments and exotic cars are beneficiaries of these big society ladies whose beds they regularly warm” a source had told us.
Our investigations also revealed that a tiny percentage of factors are also involved – even though they
are said to be very discreet about it. “Homosexuality has been around the industry for a long time” – our source who has dealt with some leading lights in the industry told us. “Being a society that maintains zero-tolerance for homosexuality, the guys have been too circumspect in their acts. If it were revealed that an actor was gay, you can bet that his career would be over and the public opprobrium he would encounter will be such that he would never recover from. But it is a known fact that this lifestyle exists in the industry.”
Another shocking discovery we made was the desperation by which young starlets desiring to have a foothold in the industry have shown in their efforts to get roles. “These young ladies are made to sacrifice both their honor and money to producers and marketers. They will first ‘couch-cast’ them a – euphemism for being willing tools for the sexual pleasure of the producers and directors, men whom these desperate starlets are too powerless to deny their request, and the same people having taken their pride also ask them to pay money for roles. I know certain actresses who made it to the industry by subjecting themselves through these indignities this, to a number of producers, directors and marketers. It is sad and depressing, but it is happening daily.” The reason for the desperation, our finding reveals lies in the desire by these young and beautiful wannabe actresses to make it to the industry. “The reward for being in Nollywood and in the public spotlight is high. First you have the powerful men at your beck and call – men who would go to any extent to sleep with celebrities and these men, our source sad are very generous, hence the desperation by young ladies to become Nollywood stars.
The producers who have the power to make or break them are acutely aware of this, and fully aware that once the ladies become stars, they won’t look in their direction, demand and get their way with these ladies. They have seen this, with today’s top actresses whom they discovered and nurtured, but who today, may not take their calls” the source had added.
Lesbianism is a uniquely Nollywood affair. It has been associated with most creative enterprises. Hollywood is filled with stories of top A-List stars who are gays and lesbians. The difference however, is that the American society is very liberal and more tolerant of such an alternative lifestyle. In Africa, and Nigeria in particular, gay and lesbian tendencies are still being frowned upon by a society that is still very traditional and conservative, hence the closeted manner people who indulge in the lifestyle conduct their affairs.