News Brief

Issa Rae's ColorCreative Lands Deal with Columbia Pictures To Boost Diverse Screenwriters

This unique opportunity contributes to the entertainment industry shifting to develop more projects that give emerging talent the platform they deserve.

Issa Rae is making serious year-end moves with her production company, ColorCreative.

Her platform has locked in a multi-picture production deal with Columbia Pictures, Variety reports. Under the agreement, ColorCreative will be backing projects from emerging and diverse screenwriters.


This is a unique opportunity and it comes as no surprise that Rae will be one of many in the entertainment industry helming its shift to develop and back more films and shows that give diverse talent the platform they deserve—in front of and behind the camera.

Variety notes that despite Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians' success at the box office this year, a recent report from USC says that only 29.3 percent of characters in the top 100 grossing movies of 2017 were from communities of color. This deal with Rae's ColorCreative to amplify authentic voices will not just be an anomaly—hopefully.

Participants will be announced in 2019 and will work with Rae and the production company to develop and write features based on the participants' original concepts.

Bryan Smiley, VP of production at Columbia Pictures, spearheaded the deal and will oversee production and development with ColorCreative. Sara Rastogi, ColorCreative's new VP of production will also help shepherd the deal for the company with ColorCreative's COO, Deniese Davis.

"Working with Bryan Smiley and Columbia Pictures to further the mission ColorCreative set out to achieve four years ago in creating access for underrepresented writers, has been a dream come true," Rae says in a statement. "All of the projects we are working on are fresh and promising and we can't wait to continue the work. We hope to set a precedent and inspire the industry at large to invest in undiscovered talent, original IP, and fresh stories and perspectives."

She continues:

"Sara's commitment to discovering and elevating budding voices along with her out-of-the-box thinking has made her a perfect and insightful addition to our team."

Photo courtesy of Doble Seis Entertainment

Burna Boy, Teni, AKA, Sho Madjozi, Mr Eazi & More Earn 2019 BET Award Nominations

This year's "Best International Act" categories are stacked with some of the biggest names in African pop.

The nominees for this year's BET Awards have been announced, and one again, some of the biggest names in African pop have been named in the " International Act" categories.

This year, Nigerian acts Burna Boy, Mr Eazi have been nominated in the "Best International Act" category. They've each had standout years, with both artists performing at the Coachella Music Festival this year.

They're nominated alongside South African star rapper AKA, who won a Kids' Choice Award earlier this year for "Favorite South African Star," and the French-Malian pop singer and one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women Aya Nakamura. French-Cameroonian and Togolese rapper Dosseh and UK rappers Dave, and Giggs round out the heavily-stacked category.

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Photo still courtesy of Chika Okoli.

This New Documentary Sheds Light On the History of a Beloved Nigerian Staple—Agege Bread

'Fresh Agege Bread' by Chika Okoli's FABA gives us a much-needed insight into the popularity of Nigeria's coveted Agege Bread.

This new documentary following Nigeria's own Agege Bread contributes to the need of preserving and documenting food culture on the continent.

In Fresh Agege Bread, directed and produced by filmmaker Chika Okoli of FABA (For Africans By Africans), we follow food researcher Ozoz Sokoh as she traces the history and popularity of Agege Bread featuring its pioneering bakers, community figureheads and locals. The documentary touches on the rise of the booming product as well as addresses some of the controversies around the health and safety measures applied in the production of this staple.

For Okoli, the inability to find such insights about this significant food in Nigerian culture is what inspired her to develop this documentary.

"Agege Bread is so popular in Lagos but shockingly, there is very little information about it online and the same can be said about other cultural elements that are significant to our way of life," she shares with us.

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amA picture taken on May 17, 2019 in Berlin shows a Stone Cross, a key 15th-century navigation landmark erected by Portuguese explorers, seen at the History Museum in Berlin. (Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Germany to Return Stolen 15th Century Stone Cross to Namibia

Germany's Culture Minister says the move is a "clear sign" that the country is committed to coming to terms with its colonial past.

In the latest development in the movement towards African art repatriation, the German government will return a 15th-century Portuguese stone cross that has been in its possession since the colonial era, back to its original home in Namibia.

The cross was a navigation landmark placed on the coastline of present-day Namibia in 1496, before it was taken in the late 17th century under German colonial rule, BBC Africa reports.

The Namibian government put out a request for its return back in 2017, and the request was formally approved today by the Berlin Museum. The cross is set to be returned in August, according to a statement from the museum.

READ: Taking Back Our History: Understanding African Art Repatriation

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