I have refrained from writing about this incident until now because I figured Kannywood was getting enough bad press right now, without me adding to it. But since Hausa video film and gender is my area of research, here is a brief synopsis of the situation.
A popular Kannywood actress Maryam Hiyana (screen name taken, as seems to be the custom, from a popular film she acted in... Hiyana) has recently been implicated in a sex video made on a mobile phone camera by her boyfriend, a Lagos-based Hausa businessman. The video, created sometime last year, lasts about eight minutes and apparently shows the two of them having sex. The video was somehow leaked about a week ago and has "gone viral" via email and cell phone. Since then, the actress and her fiance have gone into hiding and could face stoning under sharia law. Seventeen other very popular actors from the Hausa film industry have also been banned from making films. According to This Day, they "were not connected to the phone clip, but were involved in immoral acts like homosexuality, fornification and drunkeness, contrary to Islamic law. Islamic clerics in the state has already urged their supporters to shun the film industry." According to the Tribune, there has been a call to close production of Hausa films for the rest of the year in order to "sanitize" the industry.
This follows on the heels of a related scandal in which four actresses from the Kano film industry were accused of being involved in a polygamous lesbian wedding. The women involved denied the allegations, claiming that the celebration was a fundraiser (which sounds much more credible to me than a polygamous lesbian wedding in Kano....). A minor actress was also found guilty of murdering her politician boyfriend a few years ago.
My own take on this is that, of course, there is some "misbehaviour" going on, but that unfortunately individual scandals are taken by the public to represent the whole industry and to confirm pre-existing stereotypes that associate the film industry with the world of karuwanci (prostitution) and iskanci (immorality, drinking, etc.--unIslamic behaviour). This makes it almost impossible for a woman to become an actress and still be considered "respectable." She could be a saint in real life and still be labled as a karuwa because of her involvement with the film industry.
Kaico! C'est dommage. It's a shame, and it has been the one thing that has been making me sad this week (in a week when I am otherwise very happy).
I thought of posting a video clip with the said actress but have decided against it.
For more information Ibrahim Sheme has posted the details, in English and Hausa, on his blog Bahaushe Mai Ban Haushi! Here are other articles at Nigeria Exchange, This Day, Leadership, the Tribune [and another article from the Tribune], Reuters, and Gateway Pundit. Also see http://www.hausamovies.com/.