BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — One filmmaker is hoping to spark international conversation and action with a new web series showcasing Nigerian life in Brooklyn.
“Assorted Meat,” a scripted YouTube series set to debut in March, follows five Nigerian roommates living in Bed-Stuy and their cultural journeys through the city.
Filmmaker Oluseyi Olatujoye said he wanted the series to raise awareness about the widespread massacres of Nigerians at the hands of Boko Haram and the tensions rising before the country’s upcoming elections.
“I’ve been wanting to do a web series that really matters and to talk about what it feels like being an African living in Bed-Stuy,” Olatujoye said. “I want those in Nigeria and in the diaspora to act and start thinking intellectually about certain things, because I really want a change in the country.”
Each part of the 10-episode series will use satire and comedy to address issues affecting Nigerians and Nigerian-Americans, including the extreme wealth displayed by faith leaders in the country, the balance of adapting to western culture, and racism in America, Olatujoye said.
In one episode, the group receives poor service at a Brooklyn restaurant and was inspired by Olatujoye’s real-life experience with what he calls “indirect racism" when he and some friends were ignored by serves at a Thai restaurant.
Olatujoye left Nigeria in 2005 and moved to New York in 2013 after studying law and living in the United Kingdom and Dubai. Leaving his homeland opened his eyes to a passion for filmmaking and encouraged him to put a spotlight on the diaspora experience.
“When people come to New York, they want to go to Manhattan. But they don’t understand that Brooklyn is actually the place to be,” Olatujoye said. “That’s what we’re trying to show too, that this is a cool place and very artistic.”
The characters in “Assorted Meat” represent different perspectives and tribes from Nigeria, cast members said. Conversations in the series address the country’s diversity in languages and religion, with actors illustrating viewpoints from Islam, Christianity, and atheism.
Without shoving it down viewers’ throats, politics will play a big role, according to actor and musician Laolu Senbanjo.
“Politics is something we can never take away,” Senbajo said. “I think every Nigerian is political to some extent because everybody has an idea of what is wrong with Nigeria, how we should be, who should be president, who should not be president.
“We have very strong views and that’s some of the things people will see on this show.”