News Brief

Cynthia Erivo to Star In Upcoming 'Rip Van Winkle' Film Musical by Nigerian Writer Amanda Idoko

The film, based on the colonial-era short story will also star Josh Gad.

Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo has signed on for yet another exciting film project.

The British-Nigerian actress is set to star in an upcoming musical film inspired by the popular colonial American short story Rip van Winkle.

The script will be helmed by Nigerian writer Amanda Idoko—the writer behind the upcoming DC film Plastic Man, with original songs by Kate Anderson and Elissa Samse.


Actor Josh Gad who will also star in and executive produce the upcoming film, which tells the story of "a villager who falls asleep only to wake up decades later, missing the American Revolution," and is a cautionary tale about the dangers of sleeping one's life away, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Erivo will play Harriet Tubman in a highly-anticipated biopic about the abolitionist hero, set to drop later this year which will also star Janelle Monae, Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles, Leslie Odom Jr. and Antonio J. Bell.

She'll also star in the upcoming HBO series The Outsider, by acclaimed sci-fi author Stephen King.



Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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