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John Boyega Set to Produce a Number of African Films for Netflix

The British-Nigerian actor has partnered up with Netflix to produce a number of non-English films focusing on East and West Africa.

John Boyega has recently teamed up with Netflix to produce a number of African films under his production company UpperRoom, according to Hollywood Reporter.

The films will be in non-English languages and focus particularly on East and West African countries.


Commenting on the recent development, Boyega said, "I am thrilled to partner with Netflix to develop a slate of non-English language feature films focused on African stories, and my team and I are excited to develop original material." He added that, "We are proud to grow this arm of our business with a company that shares our vision."

Boyega founded UpperRoom back in 2016 with his debut production titled Pacific: Uprising. The company has since been involved in productions across film and TV as well as unscripted content.

Describing the new venture, VP of International Film at Netflix David Kosse said, "Africa has a rich history in storytelling, and for Netflix, this partnership with John and UpperRoom presents an opportunity to further our investment in the continent while bringing unique African stories to our members both in Africa and around the world."

Last year, Netflix announced that it was planning to produce more original series and films from Africa.

Following that announcement, the streaming giant has since picked up Genevieve Nnaji's Lionheart as well as Queen Sono, the first African Original Series starring South African actress Pearl Thusi as the lead. The six-part spy thriller premiered on the platform at the end of last month.

Plans to launch South Africa's second original series Blood and Bone, directed by Nosipho Dumisa, are well underway.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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