‘Ìfẹ̀’ a Queer Nigerian Film About Two Women In Love Releases Its Official Trailer

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The awareness for LGBTQ representation in Africa continues; and like Nigeria, most African countries classify same sex relationship/marriage as a strongly condemnable act and criminal offence under the laws. An appeal to the Nigerian court of appeal that challenges the Corporate Affairs Commission’s refusal to register Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiative (LEEI) an NGO set up for lesbians in Nigeria is still pending, this along with other means of oppression and silencing of initiatives championing the rights of Queer people.

A 2019 Social Perception Survey on LGBTQ+ Rights in Nigeria showed a gradual increase in acceptance of LGBTQ+ persons. The results revealed that 60% of Nigerians will not accept a family member who is LGBTQ+, significant progress from the 83% who said they would not in 2017.

Movies have always played a big role in the representation of the current and popular culture of most communities. In Nigeria, it is almost impossible to see queer people openly featured in Nollywood, which happens to be one of the biggest film industries in the world based on volume. It speaks volume on how the country as whole, and its people deal with gender fluidity.

31-year-old Radio, Television, and Film Studies graduate of Eastern Mediterranean University in North Cyprus, Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim, has decided to challenge this with her new film ‘Ìfẹ̀‘, her directorial debut, she shared with Minority Africa that she wants to challenge the ugly norms of homophobia that have become ingrained in Nollywood over time. 

Stories can be used to paint a group of people however you want to paint them. What I did in Ìfẹ̀ is to paint LGBT people in a different light, representing queer people as normal people who are here and live normal lives like everyone else. I am focused on is the joy the movie is going to bring to the LGBT community in Nigeria, not the public perception of a lesbian love-themed movie or any possible backlash.’

Ikpe-Etim shares about why she made the film.

According to Minority Africa, Ìfẹ̀ would not be the first film to address queer representation in Nigeria. It is coming after Hell or High Water, a movie about a gay pastor who eventually accepts his sexuality amidst stiff opposition from the public, but Ìfẹ̀ would nonetheless be the first Nigerian film to center women who are lesbian or bisexual. The ultimate goal of the team behind Ìfẹ̀ is not to create a separate space for movies that portray queer people’s experience but to make the inclusion of queer people seamless and a part of the system.

The film officially released it’s trailer today and we’re excited at how it’s looking.

Adedayo Laketu

Adedayo Laketu is a creative inventor who's interested in curating a New Age for Africa across all mediums.

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