A Nigerian film star found herself on the defensive on Tuesday after her country’s motion picture association banned her for supposedly “immoral” behavior in a music video that included “hugging and cuddling.”
Rahama Sadau is a popular actress in the Hausa-language film industry, which predominates in Nigeria’s conservative north, where the population is mostly Muslim.
She and a pop sensation who goes by the name ClassiQ recently produced a music video for his song “I Love You.” In the video, ClassiQ falls for the character played by Sadau, who is a vegetable vendor in an open-air market. At first, refusing his advances, she bats him away with a bushel of leafy greens. But soon she succumbs to his charm and joins him by the railroad tracks.
You can watch the video below and judge for yourself whether their interaction amounts to hugging and cuddling.
Sadau, who is on vacation in India, issued a public apology via Twitter, in which she said, “It was a job and I was carrying out my role in my profession, as I would in any other production, be it a Hausa language film or a Nollywood production,” referring to the Nigerian film industry at large. The Hausa-language industry is known as Kannywood.
“However, innocuous touching with other people in my line of work is inevitable,” she wrote.
ClassiQ also expressed despair at the decision made by the Motion Pictures Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria.
“I actually asked and begged Rahama Sadau to be part of the video because she is a popular figure in the entertainment industry and that is all. I wanted a popular face in the video,” he told local media. “When the whole thing blew [up] because of her appearance in the video, I got shocked. In fact I am still not myself till now.”
Kannywood perennially comes under fire from Muslim clerics, who see it as a corrupting influence. Sadau made an indirect appeal to them in her apology, saying people should “be more tolerant and forgiving towards one another and to cease all the senseless abuse, name calling and backbiting.”