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Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in the HBO Max Series Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah'

Danai Gurira will executive produce the series.

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o is set to take on the lead role in the HBO Max series based on Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel, Americanah. The 10-episode series will be executive produced by Tony Award-winning actress, Danai Gurira.


According to the Warner Media Pressroom, head of HBO Max original content, Sarah Aubrey said that, "Americanah has sparked a cultural phenomenon and is revered by fans around the world. It has affected me deeply as one of the most moving, socially relevant and romantic stories of our time." Aubrey added that, "With exceptional talent like Lupita and Danai in front of and behind the camera, this series will give viewers a uniquely heartfelt and unforgettable experience."

Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu, an opinionated young Nigerian woman who falls in love with her classmate, Obinze, when they're still in high school. As the military rule in Nigeria intensifies, Ifemelu heads to America to continue her studies. Obinze is set to follow but is denied entry following the 9/11 tragedy. He instead heads to London where he lives the difficult life that comes with being undocumented.

While fans of Americanah are excited by the prospect of it coming to their screens, a social media war recently erupted between Kenyans and Nigerians on Twitter with the latter criticizing Nyongo's appointment as Ifemelu⁠—a Nigerian character. One of the major concerns has been whether the Kenyan-Mexican actress will be able to convincingly perform the roles using an "authentic" Nigerian accent. While some have emphasized that the series should have just cast a capable Nigerian actress, others have dismissed the argument entirely citing that Nyong'o is a good fit for the role.

HBO Max has not yet announced when the series will begin with production or when it will eventually air.

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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