Danai Gurira Namechecks Fela, Talks Making Broadway History With 'Eclipsed' On 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert'

Watch Danai Gurira talk 'Eclipsed' on Broadway, Fela Kuti's "Zombie" and more on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.'

Source: @colbertlateshow Twitter
Danai Gurira stopped by The Late Show this week to talk her play, Eclipsed, making Broadway history.

But first, Colbert had plenty of zombie-related questions for The Walking Dead star. Like, if she needed to survive a zombie apocalypse IRL, would she rather do it where she was born, in Iowa, or Zimbabwe, where she moved to when she was five? (Grinnell, Iowa, was the winner here)

As Colbert pointed out, the thing about The Walking Dead is it’s not really about a zombie apocalypse–it’s about the human condition, with a backdrop of a zombie apocalypse. The Late Show host wondered what that says about the human condition, the fact that “the idea that your friends can turn on you at any minute, and you have to kill them” is such a popular thing in our culture.

Gurira’s response was nothing short of brilliant, and even referenced the great Fela Kuti and one of our all-time favorite songs.

The term ‘zombie’ and what it means sometimes has to do with societal conditioning, are we zombies at times? Are we being conventional in how we respond to things? Are we using our own minds? Or are we being programmed in how we live? Like the song Fela wrote called ‘Zombie’ back in the day… The idea of that, of them seeing people actually lose their consciousness, their minds, but still functioning like human beings, I think it’s something that parallels how we can function in society at times, and so maybe that is something sparking an idea in people’s minds as they watch the show.

As of this week, the actor and playwright has two plays running concurrently on and off Broadway: the Liberian civil war drama Eclipsed, and Familiar, which although fictitious, was very much inspired by its writer's own family and experience as a Zimbabwean-American.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Gurira says about her New York theater district takeover. “Last night I was in [Familiar], I was in Eclipsed, and Familiar was running three streets away at the same time, and it hit me how special this moment is.”

It’s safe to say Danai Gurira is absolutely killing it right now. When Eclipsed debuts next month, it’ll make history as the first all-black, all-women Broadway show.

“There have been plays in the past with all women casts and playwrights, but not with a director as well. So the combination of Liesl Tommy helming it, and then myself writing it, that’s kind of thing that’s really special about it,” Gurira says.

Eclipsed opens March 6 at the Golden Theatre. Find out more about the show's 10,000 Girls Campaign here.

And in even more recent news...


9 Must-Hear Songs From Ghana's Buzzing Drill Scene

We give you the rundown on Ghana's drill movement, Asakaa, and the most popular songs birthed by it.

Red bandanas, streetwear, security dogs, and gang signs. If you've been paying any attention to the music scene in Ghana over the past few months, then by now you would have noticed the rise of a special hip-hop movement. The movement is called Asakaa, and it's the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born subgenre of hip-hop called drill music. It's fresh, it's hot, it's invigorating and it's nothing like anything you've seen before from this part of the world.

The pioneers of Asakaa are fondly referred to by the genre's patrons as the Kumerica boys, a set of budding young rappers based in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. They came into the limelight towards the end of 2020, and have been dropping banger after banger since then, topping several charts and racking up millions of views collectively. The rap is charismatic, the visuals are captivating, and their swag is urban. Characterized by Twi lyrics, infectious hooks, and sinister beats, the allure and appeal of both their art and their culture is overflowing.

"Sore," one of the benchmark songs of the movement, is a monster hit that exploded into the limelight, earning Kumerican rapper Yaw Tog a feature on Billboard Italy and a recent remix that featured Stormzy. "Ekorso" by Kofi Jamar is the song that took over Ghana's December 2020, with the video currently sitting at 1.3 million views on YouTube. "Off White Flow" is the song that earned rapper Kwaku DMC and his peers a feature on Virgil Abloh's Apple Music show Televised Radio. These are just a few examples of the numerous accolades that the songs birthed from the Asakaa movement have earned. Ghana's drill scene is the new cool, but it isn't just a trend. It's an entire movement, and it's here to stay.

Want to get familiar? Here we highlight the most prominent songs of the Asakaa movement that you need to know. Here's our rundown of Ghana's drill songs that are making waves right now. Check them out below.

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