Popular
Photo still via Amazon.

Here's How Africa and the Diaspora Inspired Donald Glover's 'Guava Island'

The Cuba-shot tropical thriller, starring Donald Glover and Rihanna, recently premiered on Amazon Prime.

Donald Glover premiered his highly-anticipated film Guava Island ahead of his Coachella performance this past weekend. An Amazon exclusive, the film was available to stream for free and is now still available for viewing via Amazon Prime.

The Cuba-shot film stars Glover, who plays Deni Maroon and the illustrious Rihanna, who plays his girlfriend Kofi Novia. What Amazon coins as a "tropical thriller," we follow Glover's character, local musician, and his determination to throw a festival for everyone to enjoy.


Guava Island is full of influences and notables from Africa and the Diaspora and we're here for it. It's also evident that Glover enlisted his close-knit crew of collaborators to pull this project off. The film was directed by Hiro Murai, who also directed his music video for "This Is America," was executive produced by Grammy-award winner Ibra Ake, who is of Nigerian descent, and was written by Glover's brother Stephen. Mobolaji Dawodu, GQ fashion director and Nigerian native, led the styling and costume designing of the film.

Guava Island - Clip: Deni and Kofi | Prime Video youtu.be

According to Vulture, Stephen was inspired by global (and black) cult classics, including Prince's Purple Rain, City of God, Black Orpheus and Touki Bouki, a 1973 film by Senegal's own Djibril Diop Mambéty.

Ake explains to Vogue that the styling and costuming in Guava Island is also inspired by the Diaspora to create the film's fictional, all-black world with Africa as the anchor. "The clothing was a huge palette for us to express ourselves and tell stories," he says.

For Dawodu, having Rihanna don a gele with her blue ensemble in the final scene of the film was a nod to his Nigerian aunties. "I saw a lot of women in my family in the head tie," he shares with Vogue, "so for Rihanna, a pop icon around the world, to wear a Nigerian gele, that's just amazing. It just pushes her whole outfit over the top. It's very powerful."

And now to the rest of the cast. We see Guyanese-British Black Panther star Letitia Wright play Yara, Kofi's best friend, who's pushes Rihanna's character to lighten up in the film. Nigerian-British actor Nonso Anozie plays Red Cargo, the eerie character whose family essentially runs Guava Island through fear and violence. Anozie may be a familiar face as he plated Xaro Xhoan Daxos in Game of Thrones.

Here's a clip featuring Glover and Anozie below.

Guava Island - Clip: Deni and Red I Prime Video youtu.be

Watch Guava Island here.

News Brief
Photo: Single cover art courtesy of Emerald East

Rema Welcomes 2021 With New Single 'Bounce'

The Don Jazzy produced track reminds us of why the Nigerian singer-songwriter is topping charts.

Nigerian golden boy Rema took his time on deciding how to start of 2021—and we're glad he did.

The afropop hitmaker is out with his first project of the year, "Bounce", after stunning fans with word of an upcoming album, and the cooks in this kitchen have not disappointed.

Keeping it in the Mavin Records family, legendary producer Don Jazzy sprinkles his magic on the track, while undoubtedly motivating the young singer-songwriter to be his best self. And with this track being like nothing we've heard from Rema before, one could say Jazzy succeeded. "Bounce", fast-paced and fierce, is a love song dedicated to bewitchingly beautiful and blessed bottoms. The candid declaration and hip shaking beat are a force duo and we can't help but love it.

Of the single and collaboration with head honcho Don Jazzy, Rema says, "This record was inspired by the luscious and magnificent body of the African woman. Furthermore, I'm really excited about this tune because it's my first single with the legendary Don Jazzy."

Honestly, when you start the year off with a banger, you get to make songs about butts.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Sincerely Ria Is Giving Guinean Fashion Its Flowers

And designer Mariama Diallo's NYFW debut celebrates the vibrancy and uniqueness of Guinea and its Fulani culture.