Banjo has fertile ground for her research: The Nigerian film industry, known as Nollywood, outpaces Hollywood, producing 50 movies per week. With production levels second only to India’s Bollywood, the Nigerian film industry generates an estimated $590 million annually.
In addition, she says, their music industry is really taking off. She points to emerging artists Davido, an American-born Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer, and Nigerian singer-songwriter Wizkid, a rising global star who has racked up Pepsi and Nike promotional agreements.
“Nigerian musicians and their music are being played around the world. They’ve been collaborating with American artists so I’m curious about the popularity of their film and music industry. How does that relate to their sense of self in the global sphere?”
Back at UC, Banjo also serves as an affiliate faculty member in the departments of journalism, Africana studies, and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, while she adapts to her latest role as a mom to a 2-year-old girl. With so much on the agenda personally and professionally, the Fulbright Award came as an unexpected surprise, Banjo says.
“This was my first time to apply,” she says. “I thought, ‘Let me just see what feedback I can get so next year I can prepare.’ So, I was surprised! I didn’t really expect to get it.
“And being a mom, I started thinking about taking my daughter overseas and what that meant. But once it all sunk in, I felt pretty proud of myself — and thankful.”
Featured image at top: Crew on a film set in Awka, Nigeria. Photo/Bestvillage/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.