Genevieve Nnaji shares how Hollywood wanted to exploit her talent and African stories for their benefit

Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji has shared the hard decision she took while seeking partnerships in Hollywood after the success of her 2018 film, LionHeart.

She said she was viewed as a commodity for the first time, she also mentioned that Hollywood was interested in exploiting her talent and African stories for their benefit.

She said this at the 2024 AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum/Afreximbank Annual Meetings.

Genevieve further explained that they wanted to use her to tell their own stories, rather than authentic African stories.

She said, “I realized I was a commodity for the first time. I thought, you know, given what I had done with Lionheart, and all of that, I was going to 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.

“They wanted what I had but for their benefit. It was all about their story. It was all about how, even if it was our story, I could make it more authentic to their understanding of whatever Africa is because they did have a lot of literature in their archives.”

The Nigerian actress said she chose to stay in Nigeria and contribute to the industry’s growth rather than pursue opportunities in Hollywood.

She said: “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 could actually own 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.”