LGBT is a sensitive topic in Nigeria and making a film with LGBT coloration is indeed a courageous act in a country where same-sex relationships are outlawed. In most Nigerian films, stories that actually explore the experiences of the LGBT community are not told for reasons such as moral and cultural beliefs.
In Breakout, a dance drama TV series produced and directed by Benneth Nwankwo, I saw a little but significant LGBT coloration. For clarity, let me start by saying that the 6 episode show is not an LGBT-themed film. It is in fact, by every right, an amazing dance-themed movie. I was particularly thrilled by the Amapiano-inspired dance moves and the whole youthful energy and vibes.
Written by Maryann Ilebaye Matthew and co-produced by Michael Chineme Ike, with John Okonkwo Chukwu and Victor Chukwuka Oramali as Directors of Photography; the series hailed as Nigeria’s first dance series, follows a group of dancers in a University as they find themselves thrust into a world where every move is a test.
One of such moves is sexuality. Smasha Fierce deserves a special mention here for her thrilling portrayal of Zuri, a bisexual young dancer who is in love with Alex (a male played by Dancephilus) the leader of a rival dance crew and Olive (a female, played by Anabel Chigbo) a member of same rival dance crew.
After confessing her love for Olivie, and disclosing her sexuality to her best friend, Nora, things take a different turn for Zuri when she has to confront the rejection she received from Olivie and a possible breakup with Alex – an act that breaks her emotionally and psychologically.
Beyond, LGBT matters, Breakout is an interesting series, boasting talented Actors Abayomi Alvin and talented dancers like Melvin Dafatone, Jiggy Rickky, Badgirl Ella, Mas Lucado, Oma Mibel, Sophie Alexander and others.
More importantly, I do not feel that Breakout justifies, supports or condemns the LGBT community in Nigeria; It simply starts a necessary conversation on the subject.
You should watch it. Check out the trailer here.
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