Genevieve Nnaji is a Nigerian actress, producer, and director who was born on May 3, 1979. She was the first actor to win the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005. The Nigerian government appointed her as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic in 2011 for her contributions to Nollywood. Lionheart, her directorial debut film, is the first Netflix Original from Nigeria and the first Nigerian Oscar submission.
The film was disqualified because the majority of its dialogue was in English. After decades in the film industry, she was profiled alongside other celebrities and business executives in two new books published in 2020 by Azuh Arinze, publisher, and Editor in Chief of ‘Yes International!’ magazine.
Profile Summary of Genevieve Nnaji
|Born||3 May 1979
Mbaise, Imo, Nigeria
|Alma mater||University of Lagos|
Genevieve grew up in Lagos after being born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria. She grew up in a middle-class family as the fourth of eight children, with her father working as an engineer and her mother as a nursery school teacher.
She attended Methodist Girls College in Yaba, Lagos, before continuing on to the University of Lagos, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in creative arts. She began auditioning for Nollywood roles while still in college.
Nnaji began her acting career at the age of eight as a child actor in the then-popular television soap opera Ripples. She debuted in the Nigerian film industry at the age of 19 in 1998, with the film Most Wanted. Last Party, Mark of the Beast, and Ijele are among her subsequent films. She appeared in the award-winning film Ijé: The Journey in 2010. She has appeared in over 200 Nollywood films.
Nnaji signed a recording contract with EKB Records, a Ghanaian record label, in 2004, and released her debut album One Logologo Line the following year. It combines R&B, Hip-Hop, and Urban music. After competing with other celebrities for the search for the face of Lux in 2004, Genevieve Nnaji received the most votes.
She became the first actor to win the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005.
Nnaji was one of Nollywood’s highest-paid female actors in 2009. Because of her contributions to the Nigerian film industry, she was the first actor to be named Best Actress at the 2001 City Peoples Awards, which previously only recognized politicians and business conglomerates. She was also the first actor to be named Best Actress by the Nigerian Censors Board in 2003. Oprah Winfrey dubbed her the “Julia Roberts of Africa” in 2009.
Nnaji produced her first film, Road to Yesterday, in November 2015, and went on to win Best Movie, Overall-West Africa, at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
Genevieve was announced as a replacement for Funke Akindele as a member of the Dora Milaje in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War in January 2018. This was later revealed to be an internet hoax, and the actor did not appear in the film.
Lionheart, her directorial debut, was acquired by Netflix on September 7, 2018, making it the first Netflix original film from Nigeria. The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival alongside Farming, Adewale Akinnuoye-autobiographical Agbaje’s directorial debut in which she co-starred with Kate Beckinsale, Damson Idris, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
On May 6, 2021, Genevieve Nnaji appeared on Ofego’s YouTube channel in a skit titled “Say It And Quench.”
Genevieve Nnaji is a feminist activist. She advocates for Nigerian girls to be able to choose who they marry. She is opposed to early marriages for girls. She is vehemently opposed to women’s abuse in society. Genevieve describes herself as a staunch supporter of social justice. Genevieve Nnaji is also a strong feminist. She defines her brand of feminism as the woman’s right to make her own decisions and do whatever she wants.
Genevieve as a Fashion Model
Nnaji has appeared in a number of commercials, including those for Pronto (beverage) and Omo detergent. In 2004, she was appointed the “Face of Lux” in Nigeria as part of a lucrative sponsorship deal. Nnaji launched the clothing line “St. Genevieve” in 2008, with all proceeds going to charity. She was named the official “Face of MUD” in Nigeria in May 2010.
Genevieve Nnaji is the wealthiest actress in Nigeria. Her net worth is expected to be $10 million US dollars in 2021. (around two billion Naira). She earned the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005. She is not only an actress but also a producer and a director. Ibinabo Fiberesima is Nollywood’s second richest actress, with a net worth of $8 million USD (about 1.9 billion Naira).
Nominations and awards
Nnaji’s work has earned her several awards and nominations, including Best Actress of the Year at the 2001 City People Awards and Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 2005 Africa Movie Academy Awards.
Lionheart (2018 film) was chosen as Nigeria’s submission to the Best International Feature Film Category of the 2020 Oscars by the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) in 2019. It was Nigeria’s first submission to the Academy Awards.
As a result, the Oscar submission was canceled because it did not meet the language criteria. The majority of the dialogue in the film is in English. However, since 2006, the Oscar rules have required that eligible films have a “Predominantly non-English Dialogue Track.” This move was made in an attempt to provide more opportunities for films from various cultures.
In a viral tweet on November 4, 2019, award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay questioned the Academy’s decision to drop the Lionheart Oscar race due to its use of the Academy’s official language—English. In response to Ava DuVernay’s Tweet, Genevieve took to Twitter to explain that Nigeria, as it is currently constituted, boasts over 500 languages, making it so ethnically diverse than English, as the official language, can only be used to make the film widely acceptable to the diverse audience across the country, and even beyond the continent of Africa.
Kovie Biakolo, a culture writer and multiculturalism scholar, published an article titled “One cannot help but feel that Nigeria is ultimately being penalized for being a former British colony in using the very language that was imposed on its people, to communicate between them, and especially for art,” Kovie wrote on CNN’s opinion website; Kovie opined that “one cannot help but feel that Nigeria is ultimately being penalized for being a former British colony in using the very language that was imposed on its people, to communicate between them, and especially for art.” This is not a problem in former French, Spanish, or Portuguese colonies. In reality, the Academy may be demonstrating a naive or superficial understanding of its ostensible inclusivity in this category “.
She went on to criticize the Academy for allowing nominations for British films that were not done in English, which is invariably the country’s main language but did so in the case of Nigeria, whose cultural diversity is perplexing yet true.
- Road to Yesterday
- Half of a Yellow Sun
- Doctor Bello
- Sacred Lies
- The Mirror Boy
- Bursting Out
- Tango with Me
- Ijé: The Journey
- Silent Scandal
- Silent Scandal 2
- Beautiful Soul
- Beautiful Soul 2
- Broken Tears
- Broken Tears 2
- Critical Condition
- Critical Condition 2
- Love My Way
- Love My Way 2
- My Idol
- My Idol 2
- River of Tears
- River of Tears 2
- Sister’s Love
- Keep My Will
- Letters to a Stranger
- Unfinished Business
- Warrior’s Heart
- Wind of Glory
- Girls Cot
- 30 Days
- Darkest Night
- Games Women Play
- Bumper to Bumper
- Critical Decision
- Dangerous Sisters
- Goodbye New York
- He Lives in Me
- Into Temptation
- My First Love
- Never Die for Love
- Promise Me Forever
- Stand by Me