It seem Hollywood has a default accent type when it comes to portraying Africans in their movies. I’ve often said that Hollywood producers, as fantastic as they are in what they do, often demonstrate an appalling show of laziness (or is it racism?) when it comes to issues of Africa in their movies. A typical African costume in any Hollywood movie is an old outdated Danshiki style either in an ugly shade of green brocade or old style Aso Oke complete with a horrendous looking cap that no self respecting Nigerian in this day or age will ever be seen dead in.
But even worse than the ugly African costumes is the even uglier and atrocious accent that Hollywood producers put in the mouths of their actors playing African characters. In what is a long line of such persistent insults to the people of Africa and especially Nigeria, the latest is the woeful accent used by Will smith in his new movie “Concussion” – where he portrays a Nigerian Pittsburgh-based forensic pathologist Dr Bennet Omalu.The movie is a true story about Dr Bennett’s discovery of a neuro-degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after conducting an autopsy on a former NFL player. despite the serious matter of the movie, the accent used by Smith has turned the movie into a subject of social media ridicule.
It would seem like Hollywwod is still unaware that there are over 100 different dialects in Nigeria alone and a great percentage of Nigerians or Africans are educated and many speak with little or no regional accent. But in Hollywood’s yes, all Africans no matter their level of education or even exposure – and regardless of whether they’ve lived many years out of Africa still speak in the funny African way. Ironically, many Africans or Nigerians who have never lived outside Africa do not even speak in Hollywood’s awful version of the African accent
One would wonder though, why with the surplus number of Nigerian actors in Hollywood such as David Oyelowo, Akinwale Agbaje, Kae Kazzim, Chiweitel Ejoifor, Gbenga Akinagbe, among many others, would Hollywood continue to insist on using Americans who have never even been to Africa – talk less of knowing how Africans speak, in playing African roles.
Kind of reminds me of the days when white actors had to black up (cover themselves in black shoe polish) to play black characters!
Play video of movie trailer here: http://m.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11506080