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The Legend of the Underground

In 2013, Nigeria enacted the anti-LGBTQ law — the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill (SSMPA) — and in the years since, it has been used to harass, imprison, extort, and commit violence against anyone seen as not conforming to Nigerian societal and cultural norms. The Legend of the Underground is a look at the struggle against rampant discrimination in Nigeria today, as seen through the lens of several bold and charismatic, non-conformist youth who fight to live out loud.

The documentary follows two tight-knit groups of chosen families: In New York, a man named Micheal Ighodaro lives with his friends who are part of the Nigerian diaspora and works to advocate for the people and communities he left behind in Nigeria after having been attacked for his identity. Meanwhile in Nigeria, a circle of friends struggle with the option to either search for a safe haven abroad, or to stay and fight a system that seeks to silence them. 

The Legend of the Underground paints a portrait of a new generation that uses social media, underground radio, and any other resources at their disposal to fight for their rights of personal expression. Through bold creativity they work to spark a cultural revolution that would challenge the ideals of gender, conformity, and civil rights in Nigeria.

The film is directed by Nneka Onuorah and Giselle Bailey, executive produced by Mike Jackson, John Legend, Ty Stiklorius and Austyn Biggers of Get Lifted Film Co.

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The Legend of the Underground:
Official Playlist

Music you can’t stop yourself from dancing to, curated by filmmakers Nneka Onuorah and Giselle Bailey.


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