Documentary The Legend of the Underground, which highlights the struggle against rampant discrimination in Nigeria, is set to debut on entertainment platform HBO.
Directed by award-winning Nigerian-American filmmaker Nneka Onuorah and Giselle Bailey, the film celebrates gender non-conformity and freedom of self-expression in the country, as seen through the lens of several “bold and charismatic, non-conformist youth who fight to live life out loud,” according to the producers.
The anti-LGBTQ Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, enacted in 2013 in Nigeria, has been used to oppress, harass and imprison people for not conforming to Nigerian societal and cultural norms.
The film features a man who suffered police brutality for attending a party in Lagos with other men, and another who had to leave Nigeria for New York after being attacked. Both are fighting a system that seeks to silence them as well as advocating for a safe haven abroad.
The film follows the fight for the right to personal expression, with the help of social media, underground radio and other resources, following tight-knit groups trying to spark a cultural revolution that would challenge the ideals of gender, conformity and civil rights in Nigeria.
The Legend of the Underground, which debuts on June 29 at 21.00 ET/PT, is a collaboration between HBO and Get Lifted Film, executive produced by Mike Jackson, John Legend, Ty Stiklorius and Austyn Biggers of Get Lifted Film. For HBO, the senior producer is Sara Rodriguez and executive producers are Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.