My palate for watching movies varies from day to day. If someone were to look through my Netflix list of shows I watched, they would see that I enjoyed action, drama, comedy, romance, and my favorite of them all, documentaries.
Lately, I watched several productions that came out of African countries. In particular, Nigeria. This film industry has received the nickname “Nollywood”. It is the fastest growing film industry in the world, producing more films per year than Hollywood.
I found myself fascinated by both the stories they covered and watching the people of the Diaspora on the big screen to see the similarities/differences between them and the descendants of enslaved Africans. The subjects of the films I have watched range from skin bleaching to children kidnapped at birth and later discovered to social issues like the effect of mining on the health of villagers. Interestingly, very few of the productions I’ve seen have dwelt on apartheid or even the earlier domination of these countries by European nations. Most films are subtitled although the characters speak English. The subtitles never bothered me. They greatly improve reading skills because you have to quickly assimilate what is being said even if they speak English. The actors’ accents weren’t very heavy either.
So while browsing Netflix a while ago, I came across a two-season drama series titled Son of the Caliphate. It tells the story of three friends from northern Nigeria, all wealthy, who grew up together and even went to school together. One is the son of an industrialist, the other is the son of a political godfather, and the third is a prince and heir to the caliphate throne.
The series has all the usual characters. The scheming stepmother, the silly stepbrother, the other wife, the devoted wife, the good guys chasing the bad guys, the political intrigue, etc.
What has been most enjoyable to watch the series is the lack of profanity. Women aren’t being disrespected by being called bitches and hoes, men aren’t the product of single parents, so dads are very active in their lives, and the n-word isn’t spewed out of everyone’s mouths. the world as an adjective, verb, noun, pronoun, prepositional phrase, etc.
I appreciate fashion for men and women. One of the female characters on the show that I watch has some of the most beautiful African headscarves and dress styles I have ever seen. The men even wear their fula (a type of African hat) which is reminiscent of how black men in America dress their brims in a certain way.
What is amazing is how many different languages they will use to speak to each other. They range from English and native tribal languages to Swahili and Pidgen English.
It is good to see Africa portrayed in such a positive light. Modern cities, beautiful houses, nothing different from anything in the West. Breaking the stereotype of savages, hungry children and the jungle is a priority and a necessity.
So check Son of the Caliphate and then tell me what you think.
Arlene Jones is an Austin resident who writes a weekly column for Austin Weekly News, a Growing Community Media publication.