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(L-R) Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong'o speak onstage during the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California

Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira's 'Americanah' Series Axed Due to COVID-19

The 'Americanah' mini-series adaptation by Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira has been axed by HBO Max due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and scheduling conflicts.

According to Variety,the adaptation of the popular Americanah novel into a series has been cancelled entirely. The news comes after shooting for the production at the beginning of the year was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. HBO Max has decided that the project will no longer go forward after years of adaptation talks which secured a 10-part series with the television giant. Lupita Nyong'o and Dania Gurira were set to headline the project as both writers and executive producers.


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Written by famed Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah was set to be Adichie's first novel to be adapted into a series by an American television network. Nyong'o initially wanted to adapt the book into a film but in 2018, revealed that it would be turned into a series. Avid followers of Adichie's writing waited with anticipation for the Americanah series along with cinephiles hungry for more Black productions. Emmy award-winnerUzo Aduba and British-Nigerian actor Zackary Momo were set to join the cast and Nigerian-American director Chinonye Chukwu was set to helm the adaptation. The devastating news has dashed this stellar cast's dream of coming together and producing another potential cultural phenomenon.

Americanahis a 2013 Novel from award winning Adichie. It tells the story of Ifemelu, an opinionated young Nigerian woman who falls in love with her classmate, Obinze, when they're still in high school. As the military rule in Nigeria intensifies, Ifemelu heads to America to continue her studies. Obinze is set to follow but is denied entry following the 9/11 tragedy. He instead heads to London where he encounters the difficult life that comes with being an undocumented immigrant.

Nyong'o and Gurira met through Eclipse, a stage play written by Gurira and performed in 2016 in America. The duo, who are originally from Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively, have intimated on working on several passion projects that spotlight Black voices. Americanah is reportedly one of several female-led shows that have been cancelled. According to Vulture, Nyong'o apparently pulled out of the series due to scheduling conflicts early in the year before the coronavirus pandemic breakout.

Fans shared their views on the recent news on social media:





Sports
Photo by David Mesfin

Africans Are Taking Surfing Back

We sat down with Ethiopia-American director David Mesfin to discuss the importance of knowing where you come from, and his upcoming surf doc 'Wade In The Water'

For so long, Black and African communities have been made to believe that the water was our enemy, often citing the traumatic history of African slaves drowning at sea during the Atlantic Slave Trade. But, what certain people with certain agendas failed to add was the fact that the slaves had such a powerful understanding of the ocean that slave owners began to torture them into fearing the thought of it.

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8 Queer-Owned African Fashion Brands to Check Out For Pride

In honor of pride month, we highlight eight African queer fashion designers and brands putting queer stories on the global map through fashion.

In the last decade, there have been an emergent of fashion designers who aren’t just queer but have aligned their fashion vision with their identity, creating demystifying collections and criss-crossing their concepts and ideologies to represent the inscape of non-conformity, fluidity, queerness and androgyny — whilst maintaining a quick balance with their cultural roots. Despite the numerous fabric experimentations and collections, these designers never forget to tell stories that align with them, especially those that resonate with queer people in queer unfriendly countries.

In honor of pride month, OkayAfrica highlights 8 African queer fashion designers and brands putting queer stories on the global map through fashion.

Rich Mnisi

South African designer Rich Mnisi is part of a new wave of designers putting African stories on the global map. Founded in 2015, the brand Rich Mnisi is immersed at offering fluid expression to gender, celebrating youthful excellence and exploring extremist design elements with minimalist cultural tailoring. For pride month, the brand released a limited edition capsule titled “Out." The capsule visualizes a fine-line between elegance and fluidity whilst boldly emphasizing on the act of struggle and resilience as an outfit.

Udiahgebi

For a fashion brand like Udiahgebi, identity is very important. And offering that form of visibility to femme queer Nigerians is not just a form of visual activism but a detailed story of essence. The brand was founded by Emerie Udiahgebi, a gender non-forming fashion designer who wanted to give queer, non-binary and non-conforming individuals more options to express themselves fashionably. Udiahgebi’s fashion concept is extremely bold, fierce, and unconventional.

Lagos Space Programme

Designer Adeju Thompson fuses traditionalist concepts with genderless possibilities. Founded in 2018, Lagos Space Programme is a gender-neutral fashion brand that enveloped aesthetic designs using local craftsmanship. The brand appreciates West African unique fabric and communicates compelling stories of identity, gender and queerness — a ideology that has garnered them not just audience but earned them a spot at the LVMH prize.

Muyishime

Patrick Muyishime is a fashion innovator. Not only does he know how to source excellent fabrics but his designs are authentically vibrant. Founded in 2016, Muyishime is a Kenyan fashion label that introduces conversations surrounding androgynous and explores aesthetically fabric inventions that commands fluidity, feminine wiles and constructive elegance.

Bola Yahaya

Founded in 2019, Bola Taofeek Yahaya's fashion label aligns thought provoking pieces that elevate the discusses around queer representation, sexuality and feminity. The brands merges sustainability and explore eccentric fabric experimentations.

Nao Serati

Founded by South African designer Nao Serati Mofammere in 2014, the fashion brand Nao Serati explores the versatility of gender and the fine margin of sexuality whilst finding its balance with their South African heritage. Mofammere wants his brand to explore masculinity and the different ways it takes to wear a fragile look.

Vangei

Lolu Vangei has different recipes to gender fluidity and she has used fashion to express that. Founded in 2018, Vangei is a fashion label that unites modern ideology of afro-centricism to produce pieces that dismantle cliched ideas about gender.

Mayetobs

There is no explaining the sort of talent Emmanuel Tobiloba possesses. Founded in 2020, Mayetobs' eccentric approach in reinstating androgynous norms is interesting. From oversized pants that speaks of fabric maximalism to fast flowing robes, the fashion brand is an ode to redefining modern masculinity.

Music
(Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Coachella)

Black Coffee & Tresor’s Work On Drake’s New Album Speaks to the Rise of South African Music

Unlike the Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther: The Album or Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift album which had hints of South African flavours on them, Honestly, Nevermind is imbued with them.

On the 16th of June, news that rap superstar Drakewas dropping a surprise album first hit the internet. As with any of his releases, the announcement sent people into a frenzy. Leading up to the drop, the OVO camp, as part of a subtle and timely album rollout, put out a track list. Included in it as one of the album’s executive producers was South African super producer, DJ and artist Black Coffee. His name was listed amongst Drake’s regular collaborators and business partners, Noah 40 Shebib, Oliver El-Khatib and Noel Cadastre.

The two artists have previously collaborated on the remake of Black Coffee’s seminal 2009 hit “Superman.” Drake’s take on the instrumental and composition, “Get It Together,” was released almost a decade later on his 2017 playlist More Life. When the song dropped, the reviews and public reactions were split because of the original vocalist Bucie being replaced by then-burgeoning British singer Jorja Smith.

Fast forward to 2022, Black Coffee has a ‘Best Dance/Electronic’ Grammy award for his 2021 album Subconsciously, and has played at the biggest stages across the globe. It then shouldn’t come as a surprise that when putting together his experimental dance album, Drake tapped the South African producer to oversee and shape the sonic and creative direction of the album.

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Politics
Photo by Ovidio Gonzalez/Getty Images

Afro-Colombian Francia Marquez's Ascendance Is Historic

The single mother and former cleaner captured many as they voted her and President-elect Gustavo Petro in to redirect the South American nation's path.

In what could arguably be the greatest rags to freedom story in some time, Colombia has voted in their first-ever Black woman Vice President. The historic vote saw leftist Afro-Colombian lawyer and activist Francia Márquez win alongside President-elect Gustavo Petro in Sunday's election. The pair won by 50.4%, just making it as Colombia's first elected government to follow leftist ideologies. Naturally, racists are upset, but for so many Colombians, seeing a Black woman in power was considered a thing of fantasy.

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Watch: Kendrick Lamar Celebrates His Birthday With A Love Letter To Ghana

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The 10 Best African LGBTQ+ Films to Watch This Pride Month

From lesbian love stories to documentaries about South African queer love, here is a list of LGBTQ+ films to watch for Pride month.