Emem Isong’s Special Jollof Celebrates Black History Month
In the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day and celebration of Black History Month in the world over, Special Jollof, a new flick on love, hit the cinemas on Friday, February 14, 2020.
Directed and produced by Emem Isong Misodi, the movie preaches love.As a build up to the release, an exclusive screening of the movie held at the Genesis Cinemas, Lagos, during the week. The movie, which features Uche Jombo, Joseph Benjamin, Bukky Wright, Chiwetalu Agu and others, centres on immigration and uncertainties around travels. It focuses on the tainted perception of other nationals.
The film, which is a Royal Arts Academy production, was shot in the United States of America and Nigeria. It tells the story of a scorned American journalist, who goes undercover at a Nigerian restaurant in the United States to prove Nigerian immigrants come into the country illegally to hurt Americans and break their laws. She ends up falling in love and proven wrong.
According to Isong, the movie cuts across ethnic groups, tribes and race and a need to preach love no matter what. “Special Jollof is just a love story set with immigration as the background. It dwells on problems immigrants face and this preconceived notion that every Immigrant is involved in illegal activities,” she said.
“This movie is actually different from what I normally do and because it is a well talked about issue worldwide at the moment, causing a concern for world leaders, I just felt I should speak on it. Let’s abolish the hate and have more love. And because I was in the states for a while, I decided to do something on immigrants, in Houston, especially, where there is a large community of Nigerians. I want to believe I actually achieved my purpose.”
Speaking on the challenges she experienced, while shooting the movie and the inspiration behind the movie name, she said, “shooting this movie was very challenging but also fun. One of the major challenges we faced was finding foreign actors, so, I had to hold an audition but thank God, the turnout was really impressive. Another challenge was finding locations and getting people to open up to you. I was new to that terrain, so, it was quite challenging for me.”
She added, “I chose the name Special Jollof because I wanted something that would attract Nigerians, and of course, it is set in the background of a restaurant and jollof rice, which has always been controversial, so, it just fit.”
Also speaking at the event, one of the casts, Perez Egbi, cited deception and misconception as some of the messages the movie tries to pass. He also talked about the great timing of the movie. “The movie addresses deception and stereotypes. Just because a person looks a certain way or comes from a certain place does not mean you know them. Get to know people and don’t jump to conclusions.”