Nigeria: Actress banned from film industry due to “immoral” performance

6 October 2016

The Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) expelled Nigerian actress Rahama Sadau on 2 October 2016 for what it considers “immoral” actions as the actress played a character in a music video where she hugged, cuddled and held hands with the male artist, reported Nigerian media outlet Premium Times on 3 October 2016.

In a statement, MOPPAN secretary Salisu Mohammed said the video was a “violation of its [MOPPAN’s] code of ethics” and that the association would “no longer tolerate” such behaviours that contravene the association’s code and constitution, thus banning her from acting in any films made in Kannywood, the name for the northern Nigerian film industry based in the city of Kano.

Mohammed added that “the leadership hopes that this will serve as a deterrent to the actors and actresses to check their public behaviour as they are expected to be good ambassadors to the society they represent”.

According to industry leaders, the actress’s performance in the video was a last straw after repeatedly failing to abide by the region’s conservative values, reported The Independent on 3 October 2016.

On 4 October 2016, Sadau released a statement and apology via Twitter:

To those who I have offended in any way, shape or form, and who I have caused any anxiety by featuring in the said music video, I sincerely apologise. It was a job and I was carrying out my role in my profession, as I would in any other production, be it a Hausa-language film or a Nollywood production. However, innocuous touching with other people in my line of work is inevitable.

I have lines that I would never cross and indeed I live and stand by the tenets, “actions are judged according to intentions”.

The outcome of the events that have taken place has come as a surprise to us all. I may have fallen short of some people’s expectations, but it was never my intention. I make no excuses for my actions and I take full responsibility.

A member of MOPPAN told Premium Times on 4 October 2016 that Sadau’s apology may help reverse the decision, saying “she has really shown maturity in handling the entire issue”.

Sadau played the role of a woman selling food in a market who catches the eye of musician ClassiQ in the video for his song ‘I Love You’, which was released on YouTube on 27 September 2016.

Nigeria’s two film industries
Nigeria is split between its mostly Christian south and Muslim north; a split that also characterises its film industries with the south’s Nollywood being a lot more loose in what and how it chooses to portray characters and plots, while the north’s Kannywood produces films that have to adhere to strict Islamic law, reported Daily Mail on 9 October 2016.

The first rule for Kannywood is that men and women cannot touch, and for many actors from the north who are trying to break into the south’s Nollywood, navigating that line is difficult.

Though now banned from Kannywood, Sadau will be starring in Nollywood drama tv-series ‘Sons of the Caliphate’ premiering on 13 October 2013, telling the story of three rich men in northern Nigeria caught up in conspiracy, corruption and passion.

Censors target indecency
Nigeria has a track record of banning music videos for indecent behaviour. Most recently, the Nigerian Broadcast Commission (NBC) banned a song and video by rapper Olamide due to its “obscenity, being indecent, [and having] vulgar languages, lewd and profane expressions”.

Earlier, in August 2015, NBC released an 18-song blacklist for songs and videos it deemed too obscene or vulgar for the Nigerian public.

» Article updated on 10 October 2016 to reflect the difference between the film industries in the north and south of Nigeria

Photo: Screen shot from music video on YouTube


» Daily Mail – 9 October 2016:
Ban on ‘immoral’ Nigerian star highlights north/south split

» Twitter – 4 October 2016:
Rahama Saudu statement

» Premium Times – 4 October 2016:
Expelled Kannywood actress, Rahama Sadau, apologises for music video role

» BBC – 4 October 2016:
Nigerian actress Rahama Sadau sorry for ‘offensive hug’

» Premium Times – 3 October 2016:
Why popular actress, Rahama Sadau, was expelled from Kannywood

» The Independent – 3 October 2016:
Nigerian actress banned from films for starring in ‘immoral’ pop music video

More from Freemuse

» 18 May 2016: Nigeria: Broad authority blacklists yet another one of rapper’s songs

» 1 November 2013: Nigeria: Increase in number of music videos banned for erotic content

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