Film

Ava DuVernay Is Developing Octavia Butler's 'Dawn' Into a Television Series

Octavia Butler's novel 'Dawn' is being adapted into a television series by Ava DuVernay.

With HBOs recent announcement of the controversial upcoming drama, Confederate, and Will Packer's upcoming Amazon series, Black America, there's no doubt that the genre of speculative fiction is experiencing a major resurgence.


But before all of them, there was the illustrious writer, Octavia Butler, who's sci-fi novels brilliantly reimagined both a past and future for black folks. Today, it's been announced that her 1987 novel Dawn will be developed into a series, produced by 13th director, Ava DuVernay.

Dawn tells the story of Lilith Iyapo, a black woman living in a post-apocalyptic universe, where aliens have taken over the human race. She is the first woman to awake after the nuclear apocalypse and is chosen to lead the quest for survival.

DuVernay is stepping in as executive producer on the show along with Charles D. King. The series will be penned by seasoned television writer Victoria Mahoney.

This is the first Butler book to be adapted into film.

Following the news of Confederate, some pointed out that Butler's seminal work, Kindred, erases the need for a fictional take on the Civil War-era Black experience through the eyes of white men, as Butler offered an exceptional take on that very subject almost 40 years ago.

There's no word yet as to when the series will premiere, but we're excited to hear that it's happening. This is the type of fiction we can get behind.

For more on the impact of Butler's work, read our piece The Butler Effect: How Octavia Butler Changed My Life.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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