Film
Image via OkayAfrica's 100 Women campaign.

Kenyan Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu Is Set to Direct Universal's 'The Thing About Jellyfish'

Kahiu, one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women, will direct the film adaptation of the young adult novel, starring Millie Bobby Brown.

African women are making serious waves in Hollywood, and not only in front of the camera, but behind it as well.

A bright example of this is Kenyan filmmaker, Wanuri Kahiu, the creator behind the groundbreaking Rafiki—and one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2019who has just snagged another major movie-making gig. She's signed on to direct the film adaptation of 'The Thing About Jellyfish" at Universal which will star Stranger Things actor Millie Bobby Brown.

READ: Wanuri Kahiu Speaks on the Overwhelming Response to 'Rafiki' at Cannes

The film is about a young girl who discovers the power of her imagination after her friend dies in an accident. Here's the full synopsis, written by Ali Brown, via Shadow & Act:

Everyone says that it was an accident... that sometimes things "just happen". But Suzy won't believe it. Ever. After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.

This isn't the only project the director is working on for Universal either, she is also slated to direct Covers, a love story set in Los Angeles.

Kahiu broke barriers with her second feature film Rafiki, which told the story of a young lesbian couple in Kenya. The film, was banned in the country, but has gone on to earn international acclaim for both Kaihu and the film's actors. "What's incredible about the response is that people are so excited about watching 'happy Africa,' Kahiu told OkayAfrica last year. "That's been the most curious thing. I haven't been reading reviews because I tend not to, good or bad, but somebody said there is a French journalist who wrote an article which said, 'How do Kenyans fall in love? The exact same way we do.' And that was exactly what I was trying to communicate with this film. It doesn't matter where in the world you are, we all kind of fall in love in the same way. We all kind of have joy in the same way."

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Photo courtesy of Cimarrón Productions.

Cimarrón Is the Women-Led Film Production Company Empowering Afro-Colombians to Tell Their Own Stories

The "first Afro-Colombian film production company," is teaching filmmaking in Colombia's black communities in order to combat the lack of representation.

When filmmaker, activist, and cultural agent Heny Cuesta first started her career in Colombia, she noticed a severe lack of black creators in the industry. Cuesta, an Afro-Colombian originally from Cali, was the only Black woman in a room full of mestizo directors at a panel discussion at the International Film Festival in Cartagena de Indias (FICCI) in 2013.

"None of the filmmakers were black, but they were talking about ethnic content despite the fact that they didn't know the territory," says Cuesta. That scene shocked her, but it reflected the low number of movies directed by black directors in Colombia. In 2018, Colombia's film industry premiered 37 feature films and only one of them –Candelaria– was directed by a black director. It received many international awards.

The lack of blackness in Colombia's film industry goes far beyond studios, film festivals and production companies. Afro-Colombians make up almost 20 percent of the population but historically have had few opportunities to access education. Most black Colombians, who come from cities and towns along the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts, have been neglected and isolated due to a lack of infrastructure, as well as a lack of education and job opportunities.

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'Sulwe' Book Cover

Lupita Nyong'o Releases Debut Children's Book 'Sulwe,' an Ode to Dark-Skinned Kids

The actress says she wrote the book to help children learn to "love the skin they're in," pulling from her own childhood experiences with colorism.

Lupita Nyong'o's highly-anticiapted debut children's book, Sulwe is finally here.

Sulwe is all about self-love, the protagonsit is inspired by the actress herself (and even wears a dress the same that's the same shade of "Nairobi Blue" as the one she wore to the 2014 Oscars).

The book was illustrated by Vashti Harrison, who colors its pages with whimsical drawings of young Sulwe. Here's an official description of the book:

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

The actress has been promoting the new book with several interviews and appearances. Last week, she appeared on BBC Newsnight where she spoke openly about her experience growing up in a world that places more value on lighter skin and Eurocentric features. "Colorism is the daughter of racism," said Nyong'o.

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Video: Mr Eazi On How He's Helping Young African Artists Grow

In 'Moments With: Mr Eazi,' the buzzing Nigerian star tells us about Banku music, being a serial entrepreneur, and how he's been pushing young African artists through his emPawa initiative.

Mr Eazi stopped by our offices in New York City during a packed round of promo around his new emPawa platform.

The Nigerian star sat down with OkayAfrica and spoke in-depth about his early days, how his friends all pooled money to help him get started, how his famous 'hat' look came about, the blend of Ghanaian & Nigerian sounds that make up Banku music and more recent things like collaboration with J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Watch our Moments With video with Mr Eazi below.

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Asa 'Lucid' cover.

The 14 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Asa, Patoranking x Busiswa, $pacely, Vagabon, Shane Eagle and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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