Home to over 14 million black people of diverse ethnicities, Lagos is quickly cementing its position as Africa’s citadel of entertainment, headquartering Nigeria’s meteorically rising art and creative industry including music, film, and TV. Thanks to the internet, many talented young Nigerians, have been able to showcase the rich cultural heritage of a place that once was the “Giant of Africa,” with the hope of carving out a career and means of livelihood in an era of limited opportunities and hardship.
Such is the case of siblings Babatunde, Muiz and Malik Sanni, and their cousin, Fawas Aina, popularly referred to as the “Ikorodu Bois.” Ikorodu is the largest local government area in Lagos state and is majorly occupied by low and middle-class Lagosians, many of whom are farmers, traders, and factory workers. However, it is the same place that high-class Lagosians loathe for being adamantly remote that the Sanni’s are putting on the global map.
The general notion that recreating people’s work is not such a difficult task, would have been the Bois’ biggest undoing. However, it is within the process of their work that they have eliminated that bias, showing that the beauty of every creation lies within the process, and that is the pride of every creative person.
To shoot a skit based on available materials is difficult, how much more having to adapt, think outside the box in order to find a material relatable to the original source. All these wouldn’t happen if there ever is an absence of belief, desire, determination, and passion. What the Bois lack in riches, they have made up for in sheer brilliance, displaying remarkable, admirable, and consistent levels of ingenuity all through their work.
“How did you get the dog to bark?” The question renowned Hollywood director, Zack Snyder, asked after watching their remake of his Army of The Dead trailer, perhaps hoping to get one of those Hollywood textbook answers. But there is nothing conventional about this group. “We were actually planning on using a cat. They couldn’t give us the expression we wanted,” was their response, with tinges of shyness and excitement all over their tone. That didn’t exactly explain how they made the dog bark but, to have the Justice League director gush over their work, who could blame them!
In an Interview with CNN, Babatunde Sanni said, “I felt like ‘these things we are doing in our house, why don’t we start putting them online?” He added that, “our house is like a comedy house, we play too much.” At 23, he may be the leader of the group but it is obvious he’s just another senior brother having fun with his siblings.
The Bois have achieved so much in such a short time, including an invite to the movie premiere of “Extraction II”, of which they recreated the trailer of the first one. Added to that is recognition from Netflix, whom sent them production gears to aid their work. In April 2020, “Money Heist” star, Alvaro Morte who portrayed the role of Professor and leader of the heisters, commented on their recreated trailer of Season 4 of the mega TV show saying they did an amazing job. Not forgetting their meteoric rise in followership on social media, a feature on Time Square Billboard, and their recent visit to the Lagos State Government House where they were hosted by Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu, to name but a few.
Nonetheless, the future is bright for Babatunde and his siblings. Their comical ideas and what was once considered ‘just fun’ to them may well become the saviour of Nollywood, and their gate pass to living the Nigerian dream of owning a fine house, a car and a steady source of income. It’s not just Nigeria that is watching now, it’s the entire world. And whatever next big move they decide to make, there is evidence that support will not be far-fetched.