News

There’s A Nigerian-American Take On 'Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner'

'Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Naija Edition,' Nigerian-American filmmaker Fum Fum Ko’s diaspora-spun take on the classic film, is now streaming online.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Naija Edition is Nigerian-American independent filmmaker Fum Fum Ko’s diaspora-spun take on the classic film starring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier. Nearly five decades later, we are brought into the home of a Nigerian family on the evening of Thanksgiving in Houston, Texas.


The sixteen-minute short opens with Ade reading her own eulogy. In that moment, the prospect of dying is easier for her to grapple with than the thought of having to tell her Nigerian mother that she’s broken up with the perfect boyfriend who was expected to be her plus one for Thanksgiving. Ade is dating someone new—someone her mother wouldn’t exactly welcome with open arms—and she wavers in her attempts to share this news prior to the family dinner.

Meanwhile, to the dismay of her sons, the family’s animated matriarch counts the ways Ade’s boyfriend David will make a stellar husband. “Jealous boy!” she calls her eldest after kissing a portrait of her beloved David, the future surgeon. Little does she know that someone other than her dream son-in-law will be making an appearance at the table.

Fum Fum Ko uses this dark comedy to explore the complexities of modern love in the context of traditional Nigerian values. The film’s logline reads, “Bringing someone you love home is never an easy decision. For Ade, a young woman rooted in two distinct cultures, this decision could disrupt the dynamics shared between Ade and her mother.” This short tackles the familial issues that arise when cultures collide, but it does so with humor at its base.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Naija Edition was an official selection of the 23rd Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, the Capital City Black Film Festival in Austin, the Indep Arts and Film Festival in San Antonio, and the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival in Seattle. And now, after its successful run in the festival circuit, the short film has officially been released on YouTube.

Neyat Yohannes is an Eritrean-American freelancer who's from LA, but just moved to the Bay. When she's not writing or trying to be more formidable like Whitley Gilbert and Paris Geller, she massaging her scalp with coconut oil and trying to keep Drake lyrics from constantly spilling out of her mouth. You can follow her sad twitter @rhymeswithcat or check out her portfolio here.

Interview

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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