I could have joined Hollywood a long time if I wanted to – Genevieve Nnaji

By Rita Okoye

Popular Nigerian actress Genevieve Nnaji has revealed her experience while seeking opportunities in Hollywood after the success of her 2018 film, “LionHeart.”

The mother of one said, she realized that she was seen as a commodity, with Hollywood wanting to exploit her talent and African stories for their own gain.

She stated that they were interested in using her to tell their stories rather than authentic African stories.

She made these comments while participating in a panel at the 2024 AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum/Afreximbank Annual Meetings.

Nnaji expressed her disappointment, stating, “For the first time, I realized I was a commodity. I thought, you know, given what I had done with “Lionheart,” I would have an opportunity to do more. Getting there and having the kind of support that CANEX is bringing on board, I thought I could find it in Hollywood. That was not quite the case.”

She decided to remain in Nigeria and contribute to the industry’s growth rather than pursue opportunities in Hollywood, adding, “But I am Nollywood. I could have gone to Hollywood a long time if I wanted to. But I had a dream to build an industry in Nigeria that could rival it. That’s because I’ve always believed in that. I have always believed that we were capable of actually owning an industry like that, that told our story for our people. I wanted that. I respect what Hollywood is doing. I respect what Bollywood is doing and I felt like Nollywood had an equal chance at it.

“So when I found it wasn’t quite what they had in mind, I was like I’m just going to wait this out and the Covid happened and the worlds switched at that point and Africa sort of became it.”

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