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Netflix Launches 'Netflix Naija' and Announces First Nigerian Original Series

Netflix is stepping up its game in Nigeria.

After much anticipation, Netflix has announced its presence in Nigeria.

Yesterday, the streaming giant, which had been procuring Nigerian content throughout much of last year after acquiring Genevieve Nnaji's Lionheart in 2018, announced the arrival of Netflix Naija with a new Twitter account.

"N is for Naija. N is for Nollywood,"read the account's announcement tweet. "N is the 14th alphabet. 14 is also how many great talents you're looking at. N is for Netflix. But most importantly...hello, Nigeria!"

The tweet was shared along with a photo of some of the Nigerian film industry's most notable actors and filmmakers, including Banky W, Adesua Etomi, Kunle Folayan, Kemi Adetiba, Omoni Oboli as well as veteran actors Ramsey Nouah and Richard Mofe-Damijo and several others.


According to Business Insider, Netflix is currently developing two unnamed original series from Nigeria as well. Details about one of the series were shared at an event following the launch on Monday, according to Business Insider. One of the shows will be a six-part series "set in modern-day Nigeria and shot in Lagos."

"This drama tells the story of Kemi, a goddess reincarnated as a human to avenge her sister's death," reads the series' press release.

The show is from Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotosho and is inspired by her childhood. The cast includes Kate Henshaw and Ade Laoye, Ireti Doyle, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, and Kehinde Bankole.

While details around the shows and the launch of Netflix Naija still remain mostly under wraps, many have responded with excitement about what's to come. This development will likely mean more local content for Nigerian subscribers.

"Our continent has a wealth of diversity, multiplicity and beauty in stories that have yet to be told," said Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix's head of African Originals. "And we want to be top of mind for creators in Nigeria, especially when it comes to stories they haven't had a chance to tell yet."

There's plenty more content from the continent to look forward to. Netflix's first "African original," South Africa's Queen Sono starring, Pearl Thusi, is set to premiere on Netflix on February 28. Netflix has also given the green light to an upcoming Zambian children's animated Mama K's Team 4.

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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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