Popular Posts

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Reconceptualizing ‘Afrollywood’ Creative Landscape-Samuel Samiai Andrews*

Reconceptualizing ‘Afrollywood’ Creative Landscape

            [1] Background
The international creative communities led by the United Nations have initiated several treaties to regulate the use and compensation systems of cultural materials.[1] Earlier this Chapter, examined some of the efforts of the UNESCO and WIPO in adopting a legal regime that is globally acceptable for protecting proprietary rights of indigenous peoples or traditional societies’ creative products and contents.[2] The recent Marvel and Walt Disney Studio’s production of ‘Black Panther’ elicits a continued  debate for the proper value or compensation that African communities deserve, for the use of its folklore, art craft, fashion designs, songs and sacred creation in a derivative cinematographic work.[3] I propose the reconceptualization of intellectual property laws, especially copyright  laws, to protect and compensate African and cultural communities for the use of their creative products in commercial cinematographic works made by creators outside the source communities.
[2] ‘Wakanda’: Cultural Anachronism & Cinematographic Appropriations
Professor Olufunmilayo Arewa contends that certain ‘borrowing’ of African cultural works in the context of a commercial song like in the example of the “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” may cross a line into appropriation of creative culture.[4] Extending Professor Arewa’s argument further, this chapter contends that in the light of the history of colonial exploitative adventures of the Western colonist on Africa and the digital era technological advantages of the developed economies. The international communities of nations should renegotiate an intellectual property regime with traditional communities in Africa and other continents, that recognize the exploitative intersections of a ‘borrowed’ African creative culture, folklore, artwork, song, sacred institution and fashion design.
The movie ‘Black Panther’ depicts and uses both fictional and African creative contents.[5] For example, the fictional African nation in the movie, Wakanda’s elite female guard draws on the traditions from Kenya, South Africa and Namibia.  Another example for purposes of intellectual property law intervention is King T’Challa of Wakanda wearing a tunic with an embroidered collar like those worn by Yoruba men in Nigeria.[6] The producers of ‘Black Panther, perhaps for legal and artistic reasons attempted to create a derivative art form by combining cultures of different African ethic peoples which may create a new form of culture or art form not in existence.[7] The cultural anachronism, however does little to shield the appropriation of the inherent cultures that forms the basis of the screenplay.[8]
The default defense for appropriation of cultural creative works swings between fair use and public domain uses.[9] However, when a cultural work is use like in the case in point with ‘Black Panther’ and the movie has earned huge income for the ‘borrower,’ equity, law and fairness demands a fair compensation for the owners of the culture.[10] This Chapter argues that a starting point for legal and equitable compensation of African creative culture is the renegotiation of current intellectual property jurisprudence and treaties.
           [3] ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Wakanda’ & African Folklore: Instances of Cultural Appropriation
  The movie appropriated real life African tribes (not fictionally derivative); the ‘Maasai’ tribe  lives in kenya, the eastern part of Africa and the ‘Dogon’ tribe lives in mountains of  East Africa (inspiration for ‘Jabari’ tribe in the movie).[11] The producers of the movie appropriated the photo of a known Nigerian  chief in traditional  Yoruba royal regalia and fashion design  for its  advertisement and marketing pitch.[12]  The appropriation of the Dogon tribe of East Africa’s, sculpture, sacred rituals of astronomy, and traditional fashion designs associated with the indigenous performances.[13] The appropriation of the traditional fashion designs of the Ndebele people of South Africa.[14]
*Except from draft work of SJD dissertation.© All Rights Reserved, Samuel Samiai Andrews, 2018. Comments are welcome to author @  samiandrews40@gmail.com.

[1] See, Olufunmilayo Arewa, Cultural Appropriation: When ‘Borrowing’ Become Exploitation, The Conversation (June 20, 2016) available at https://theconversation.com/cultural-appropriation-when-borrowing-becomes-exploitation-57411, also available at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-conversation-africa/cultural-appropriation-wh_b_10585184.html
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] See, Arewa, supra, note 1.
[5] See, Mallory Yu, ‘Black Panther, Costume Designer Draws On ‘The Sacred Geometry of Africa,’ NPR.org (Feb. 16, 2016) available at  https://www.npr.org/2018/02/16/586513016/black-panther-costume-designer-draws-on-the-sacred-geometry-of-africa
[6] See, Zeba Blay, From Zamunda to Wakanda: How ‘Black Panther’ Reimagined African Style, Huffington Post (Feb. 16, 2018) available at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-black-panther-reimagined-african-style_us_5a7730e0e4b01ce33eb3e6d5
[7] Id.
[8] See, Jelani Cobb, “Black Panther” and The Invention of “Africa,” The New Yorker (February 18, 2018) available at https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/black-panther-and-the-invention-of-africa
[9] See, § 3.4 [C], supra at ___- ____.; See also, § 5.3 [E], infra at___-___; See e.g., §5.8 [C], infra, __- __.* (citation omitted)*
[10] See, Arewa, supra note 1.
[11] See, Zeba Blay, supra note 6.
[12] Id.
[13] Id.
[14] Id.

No comments:

Post a Comment