Trailer Watch: “The Legend of the Underground” Tackles LGBTQ Discrimination in Nigeria

“I want to encourage billions and zillions of people, telling them that you have rights. You know why? Because you’re human,” says one of the characters featured in “The Legend of the Underground.” A new trailer for Giselle Bailey and Nneka Onuorah’s documentary sees gender-fluid youth working to address discrimination and expand awareness about gender identity, sexual orientation, and civil rights in Nigeria.

“It is punishable, 14 years imprisonment to be gay,” we’re told. As one character explains, “It’s annoying. Every Nigerian has the right to party. So why should these guys be arrested because of a perceived sexuality?”

We hear from Nigerians who have moved to the U.S. and struggle with guilt about the freedoms they enjoy stateside. “I have people back home who cannot have this,” an interviewee explains. Their friend is quick to add, “That country is a waste of time. Just leave it behind.”

In a soon-to-be published interview with us, Bailey described “The Legend of the Underground” as “a story about human revolution — people fighting to be free of social and internalized stigma create a cultural revolution that not only frees themselves but their society.” Onuorah added, “This film is about choosing to find freedom within yourself. Underneath each of us is a hidden uninhibited happiness where we all fluidly express the multi-faceted beauty that mirrors all different spirits of the world,” she emphasized.

“The Legend of the Underground” is screening at Tribeca Film Festival later this month. The doc hits HBO and HBO Max June 29.


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