News Brief

Netflix Has Picked Up an Animated Musical Inspired by Shona Mythology

"Tunga" is the brainchild of Zimbabwean-born screenwriter Godwin Jabangwe.

The latest African story to become a Netflix original will be an animated, family-friendly musical based on Zimbabwean culture, Deadline reports. The streaming service won a four-way bidding battle for Tunga, created by Zimbabwean-born screenwriter and newcomer to the film industry Godwin Jabangwe.


Inspired by the mythology from Jabangwe's Shona culture, the musical follows a young girl named Tunga, who embarks on an adventure to a mythical lost city after the death of her father. There, she must meet her spiritual elders who will teach her how to summon the rain and save her village from drought.

"Accompanying Tunga is her animal totem Zuze—a wooden figurine that comes to life as a trouble-making honey badger—who Tunga must learn to trust and work with in order to complete her journey," Deadline continues.

Jabangwe first discovered a knack for screenwriting while working long shifts at a community college library—eventually graduating from UCLA's screenwriting MFA program.

"I never dreamed that a story set in Zimbabwe, on the streets that I grew up playing soccer with a homemade ball, would get made," Jabangwe says to Deadline. "I'm thrilled to be working with Netflix to bring Tunga to life and grateful to Imagine Impact for helping me take the strand of an idea and weaving it into a tale that I truly hope the world will love."

Tunga is the first deal out of 22 projects developed in the Impact 1 program from Imagine Entertainment co-founders Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. The initiative seeks to fund new writers and champion new voices to develop film and TV projects that were pitched to the industry towards the end of 2018. The program pairs each creator with a mentor, or what they call a "shaper"—Jabangwe's was Kate Purdee, co-executive producer of Bojack Horseman. The next iteration of the program will begin this April.

Music
(Youtube)

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

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Every week, we highlight the top releases 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.

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Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

Meet Duro Arts, the Man Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Album Covers

We talk to the Lagos-based digital artist about his work with Olamide, Phyno, Falz and more.

Duro Arts has found himself illustrating the cover artwork for a new wave of Nigerian musicians. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oluwadurotimi Bolaji Idowu started digital art in 2010, at a time where afrobeats music was still grasping its feet. Now, 11 years later, he has made covers for heavyweight hitmakers like Peruzzi, Phyno, Olamide, Zlatan, Oxlade, and Davido.

We caught up with Duro Arts on a Sunday afternoon over Zoom. He took the call from Accra, Ghana, where he's currently working. We talked about his journey as a digital artist, his portfolio, creative process, and the changes he'd like to see in the creative industry.

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