How Chidera Adiele bought Nollywood popularity

Olumide Iyanda

Buzz by Olumide Iyanda

Email: Twitter: @mightyng

Like many Nigerian social media junkies, I stumbled on pictures of a pregnant woman identified as Dior Chidera Adiele letting it all hang out all over the internet on Sunday, July 5. I will not join the band of those crucifying her on moral ground. But you have to forgive me for not having a mental orgasm. The cause of my psychological coitus interruptus was the “popular Nollywood diva” tag given to her by some “journalists” who, like me, can’t even count the number of movies she has appeared in on the fingers of a mutilated hand.

A quick Google search on the day the Demi Moore-inspired pictures “broke the internet” revealed precious little about Chidera as an actress. Let alone a popular one. My curiosity was actually fired by Shaibu Hussein’s Facebook post that “I don’t know her and I should know”. And if Hussein (Dance Guild of Nigeria chieftain, National Troupe of Nigeria member, respected film journalist and Africa Movie Academy Award juror among other titles) does not know you, then you need to do something about your acting CV.

It soon turned out that Hussein was not the only Nollywood insider who didn’t have a nodding acquaintance with her. “She is unknown to me and I can only call her a wannabe Nollywood diva who is simply seeking attention,” wrote former President of the Director Guild of Nigeria (DGN) and founder of the Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF), Fidelis Duker. “I have no information on her except to say she is one of those who have invaded Nollywood claiming to be divas and vixens. I actually see desperation in most of these guys who oftentimes lack talent. Their only launch pad to stardom and celebrity status is nudity for the females and baby mama scandals for the guys.” Reminded that Chidera did appear in a 2014 rape drama rated 18 by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Duker queried, “just one obscure movie and you are a Nollywood diva?”

In this era of selfie-crazy celebrities, who appear more on Instagram and Facebook than on movie location, it is a rare feat that this “popular Nollywood diva” had no recognisable filmography, Wikipedia page, YouTube account, IMDB mention and Twitter presence. How then do you become a Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Rita Dominic or Kate Henshaw overnight? You simply throw out some racy pictures on social media. Hugging a pregnancy in her birthday suit was added advantage for Chidera.

As far as PR stunts go, this ticks all the boxes on the attention-grabbing list. Her pictures dared you not to look at them. Those who, like me, questioned the claim that she was a popular Nollywood actress when the pictures were released now know her in toto (pun unintended). She managed within 24 hours to achieve more fame than some celebrities with verified social media accounts. Questions may be asked about the moral dimension of the exhibition, but some people believe it is a work of art. Leading that chorus is marketing communication guru, Akin Adeoya, who argues that the pictures are tasteful; “that it has gone so viral is proof of its efficacy. Right now it’s the hottest thing online. What else do you guys call creativity?”

If Demi Moore and other U.S. celebrities like Mariah Carey, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Monica Belluci, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland and Kourtney Kardashian did their pregnant photo shoots to boost their superstar status, ours did hers to become a star. And with the many shares and likes her images have generated online, there should not be a shortage of postpartum job offers. At least Hussein, Duker and other Nollywood insiders know her now.

It’s just that Nollywood being Nollywood, you won’t blame directors if they typecast her as a belly-baring diva for the rest of her career. That is something Genevieve, Omotola, Rita, Kate and others who chose to keep their clothes on do not have to worry about.