News Brief

'Eclipsed' Playwright Danai Gurira and Producers Honored for Their Groundbreaking Work

'Eclipsed' playwright Danai Gurira and producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey continue to make Broadway history.

Eclipsed made history when it debuted on Broadway earlier this year for bringing some much-needed diversity to the “Great White Way.” Written by Zimbabwean-American actor, playwright and star of The Walking Dead, Danai Gurira, the powerful drama tells the story of five women during the Second Liberian Civil War.


When the play originally ran at the Yale Repertory Theater in 2009, a little-known Yale School of Drama student understudied for the principle role of the “Girl.” That same Yale School of Drama student would return to the stage—this time as the lead and with a few more accolades to her name—when New York’s Public Theater staged a sold-out production of Eclipsed last September under the helm of South African-born director Liesl Tommy.

The student was Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. She and her co-stars, Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia, Zainab Jah and Saycon Sengbloh (who is herself Liberian), would reprise their roles when producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey of Front Row Productions brought Eclipsed to Broadway this past March, also under Tommy’s direction. (Byrd and Jones-Harvey, it’s important to note, are the only African-American lead producers on Broadway.)

La La Anthony (left), the cast of Eclipsed (left to right: Saycon Sengbloh, Akosua Busia, Lupita Nyong’o, Zainab Jah and Pascale Armand), director (top left: Liesl Tommy), writer (top right: Danai Gurira), and producer Stephen Byrd (right)

The show was a smashing success and resulted in six nominations at the 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Play (Gurira was the only woman writer nominated in the category this year), Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, Best Costume Design of a Play and Best Direction of a Play.

Five months since Eclipsed played its final performance, the show’s mark on Broadway remains clear.

Tonight, Gurira and producers Byrd and Jones-Harvey are being honored at the annual Theatre Communications Group (TCG) gala in New York City.

“We're thrilled to honor both the visionary artistry and activism of Danai Gurira as well as the groundbreaking work of producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia M. Jones-Harvey,” said TCG’s executive director, Teresa Eyring. “By bringing the voices of women from Liberia’s civil war to the Broadway stage through their acclaimed production of Eclipsed, they’ve reaffirmed theatre’s power to humanize and connect us across borders.”

The gala is being held at the Edison Ballroom. For information on tickets and sponsorship contact gala@tcg.org or (212) 609-5931.

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(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Chinonye Chukwu Will Direct the First Two Episodes of HBO Max's Upcoming 'Americanah' Series

Here's the latest news surrounding the highly-anticipated limited series, starring Lupita Nyong'o, Uzo Aduba and more.

Nigerian-American director Chinonye Chukwu is set to helm the first two episodes of the upcoming limited series Americanah, starring Lupita Nyong'o.

Chukwu is the award-winning filmmaker, behind the critically-acclaimed film Clemency, which won the 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, making her the first Black woman to win the award.

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Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Glamour

Watch Trevor Noah Talk About the Lack of Diversity in the 2020 Oscar Nominations

In a segment of 'The Daily Show', the South African comedian shares his views about the glaringly White and male nominations for this year's Oscars.

Following the release of the Oscar nominations recently, there's been widespread outrage with the glaring lack of diversity among this year's nominees.

Recently, South African comedian and host of the The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, gave his views on the matter. As always, he held nothing back.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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