International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Un-African? Representations of Homosexuality in Two Contemporary Nigerian Films
Frida Imbolo Lyonga

Criminalization of homosexuality in Africa has forced most gays and lesbians in Africa to live in the closet. Though invisible in day-to-day social life in Africa, homosexuality is increasingly gaining visibility in African films, for example in Nollywood – Africa’s largest movie industry. This paper analyses how two Nollywood films namely, ‘Men in Love’ and ‘Rag Tag’ represent homosexuality. Using the concepts of transnationality and stereotype as analytical frameworks, the paper brings out marked differences in how the two films represent homosexuality. The film ‘Men in Love’ reproduces predominant negative stereotypes on homosexuality by portraying homosexuality as a demonic or satanic influence that is tied to having a licentious lifestyle. The film ‘Rag Tag’, which is more transnational in orientation, radically challenges negative same-sex stereotyping, as it represents homosexuality on equal level with heterosexuality: that is, as a relationship that can be grounded on strong love and respect.

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