Premiering last year on HBO to overwhelmingly positive reviews, The Legend of the Underground (Giselle Bailey, Nneka Onuorah, 2021) captures the violent discrimination against LGTBIQ+ individuals in Nigeria. Directors Bailey and Onuorah follow the lives of several young men who must choose to either live a life of fear and secrecy in Lagos, Nigeria, where homosexuality is still condemned, or flee to the U.S., where they can more freely express their sexual identity. Even as the documentary portrays heartbreaking moments of police brutality, there are also scenes of lighthearted humor, joy, and communal bonding. The Legend of the Underground foregrounds an underrepresented community and subculture in a beautifully authentic and heartfelt way. In their fight to live out loud in Nigeria, the subjects of this evocative documentary represent the youth taking a stand for change in a way that both celebrates Blackness and Queerness.
The screening is part of ACS’s Dreamland Film Series, celebrating Black voices in cinema, and the WMA’s ongoing programming in film.
producer and cinematographer Stephen Bailey.