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."

Interview
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.

Keep reading...

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.

Keep reading...
Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.