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Photo courtesy of Netflix


Back row (From L-R): Banky W, Ted Sarandos (Netflix Chief Content Officer), Kate Henshaw, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Felipe Tewes (Netflix Italian & African Originals Director), Omoni Oboli, Ben Amadasun (Netflix Africa Licensing Director) and Akin Omotoso. Front Row (L-R) Mo Abudu, Adesua Etomi, Dorothy Ghettuba (Netflix African Originals lead) , Kunle Afolayan, Kemi Adetiba and Ramsey Noah.

Netflix's First Nigerian Original Is Coming—Here's What We Know About It So Far

The six-part drama, directed by Akin Omotoso, is about 'a goddess reincarnated as a human to avenge her sister's death.'

Last week, streaming giant Netflix, announced that it would be expanding its presence in Nigeria's creative scene with the newly launched Netflix Naija.

News around the release of an upcoming Nigerian original also surfaced. Now, more details around Netlfix's first-ever Nigerian original, which is currently unnamed, have emerged.

The show, currently being referred to as the "Akin Omotoso Project," after its director and writer, is a six-part series "Set in modern-day Nigeria and shot in Lagos," according to a press release. Omotoso, who is also an actor, has directed several films and also starred in 2017's Catching Feelings. "This drama tells the story of Kemi, a goddess reincarnated as a human to avenge her sister's death. But first, she must learn how to use and harness her super powers to defeat her enemies and save her family from destruction."


The show is being directed alongside fellow Nigerian filmmakers Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi. It boasts an extensive cast of Nollywood stars, including Kate Henshaw and Ade Laoye. As well as Richard Mofe Damijo, Joke Silva, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Kehinde Bankole, Ayoola Ayolola, Toyin Oshinaike, Goodness Emmanuel, Ireti Doyle, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Bimbo Akintola, Tope Tedela and Ijeoma Grace Agu. A premiere date is yet to be announced.

Netflix acquired several Nigerian films throughout last year, including Merry Men, The Real Yoruba Demons, The Wedding Party 2, and King of Boys to name a few. In 2018 it picked up Genevieve Nnaji's directorial debut Lionheart.

Last month it enabled Nigerian users to be able to pay for its services in Naira, which will reportedly make access to the platform easier for Nigerian subscribers.

Speaking on the success of such content, "Movies like King of Boys, Merry Men and The Bling Lagosian have shown how much our members love Nigerian movies. So we're incredibly excited to be investing in Made in Nigeria stories - bringing them to audiences all around the world."

Netflix premiered its "first African original" this past Friday, with the release of South Africa's Queen Sono, starring Pearl Thusi, which has been described as an action-packed spy thriller that challenges stereotypes about African womanhood. Other African originals set to be released this year include Blood & Water and the Zambia's animated series Mama K's Team 4.

Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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