Carmen Cameo

I have finally viewed a video clip portraying Talatu (the American PhD student in the Department of African Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison) in the Hausa comedy ‘Ibro P-Square’. It was sent to me by Prof Abdalla Uba Adamu, who called it “Carmen Cameo.” I couldn’t laugh after watching it. My honest view is that it is just crap. It reflects just the kind of embarrassing stuff our Hausa home video merchants are churning out. The fact that Talatu, a white young woman, and an academic for that matter, agreed to feature in those videos was a golden opportunity for the boys to work hard and bring out agreeble, mature home videos based on great storylines. (Still, I think featuring Talatu in all those Hausa video, including ‘419’ part 2, was exploitative. I know she didn’t do it for money; she must have simply regarded it as fun; or she was trying to behave like the Romans while in Rome).

Nonetheless, a more imaginative film industry would have seized the unique opportunity presented by Talatu and come up with an explosively enchanting movie tackling/depicting a genuine African issue (e.g. clash of cultures, race relations, etc etc) that would appeal to viewers worldwide. And Talatu could have even benefited financially from it since she had conquered all inhibitions and offered to appear in the movies. I imagine her being handled by Suleiman Cisse, the award-winning Burkinabe director of ‘Yaaba.’ But our boys have simply wasted the effort. Talatu cannot be proud of this kind of portrayal; she wouldn’t want it to be on youtube or anywhere else. Thank God it will remain in Bata and Wambai Market stalls only, from where a handful viewers may buy it and watch at home.

It is annoying. I hope she will not do it again unless she has gone through the movie script (or helped create one) and become convinced about its worthiness. Talatu should not be wasting herself (yes, herself, since the whole of her is depicted) unless the outcome is something even she would be proud of.

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