Homegrown Nigerian actors have yet to break into Hollywood as we hope they would, but homegrown Nigerian music has managed just that. We curate five Hollywood movies that feature Nigerian music.
Davido in Coming 2 America
A frisson of excitement seized movie lovers the world over when it was announced late 2020 that the sequel of Coming to America (1988) would be released in March 2021. John Landis directed the movie’s first iteration; Craig Bower, the sequel. Eddie Murphy played the central character in the first movie; in the sequel, he surrendered that position to Jermaine Fowler who plays Lavelle Junson. But of the franchise’s latest changes, it was Davido’s cameo that mattered to and excited many Nigerians. Like the movie’s first version, the sequel ends in a wedding ceremony, with Davido on stage performing Assurance, a hit love song at the time of its release and also a part of his second studio album, A Good Time (2019).
Fela Kuti in The Harder They Fall
Directed by Jeymes Samuel, this 2021 American Western movie stars, among others, Idris Elba, Regina King, and Jonathan Majors. Out of the songs soundtracking this action movie of daring gunslingers in rakish cowboy hats, Fela Kuti’s Let’s Start (1971) is one of the movie’s high points. The song features the British drummer, Ginger Baker, and was part of Fela’s Live! album. While at the London screening of the movie, Jay Z, who produced the movie’s score, said “just that juxtaposition of how art influences life and life influences culture was just interesting to us, and Fela Kuti was so hard it was just the best trailer, music of all time.”
2Face’s African Queen in Phat Girlz
This romantic comedy directed by Nnegest Likké tells the story of two plus-sized women who, while ridden with body dysmorphia, try to find love. A romance movie, it used as a part of its score one of the most popular Nigerian love songs, 2Baba’s African Queen (2004). The movie stars Mo’Nique, Kendra Johnson, Jimmy Jean-Louis, among others.
King Sunny Ade in Breathless
The Nigerian juju music icon was part of the soundscape of the neo-noir romantic thriller movie Breathless (1983), contributing the song 365 Is My Number. The movie is directed by Jim McBride, and stars Richard Gere and Valerie Kapisky.
Davido, Mc Galaxy and P-Square in Queen of Katwe
This 2016 biological sports movie was directed by Mira Nair and adapted from Tim Crothers’ ESPN magazine article and book. It depicts the true-life story of Phiona Mutesi, the famous Ugandan chess player, following her rise from Katwe, a slum in Kampala, to becoming a Woman Candidate Master after her success at the World Chess Olympiads. Among the movie’s track listing are two Nigerian songs that were hit records in the year the movie was released: Davido’s Skelewu and MC Galaxy’s Sekem. Also soundtracking the movie is Shekini from P-Square’s sixth studio album, Double Trouble.