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Talk Show Host/Producer Mo Abudu attends the premiere of 'Okafor's Law' during the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival at Isabel Bader Theatre on September 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

EbonyLife CEO Mo Abudu Inks Major Deal With Netflix

Mo Abudu is set to work on screen adaptations of Lola Shoneyin's novel 'The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives' and Nobel Prize Laureate Wole Soyinka's 'Death And The King's Horseman' play.

Talented Nigerian producer and CEO of EbonyLife Media, Mo Abudu, recently inked a major deal with Netflix. The prolific producer is set to develop two Netflix Original Series in addition to on-screen adaptations of British-Nigerian author Lola Shoneyin's acclaimed debut novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives and Nigerian Nobel Prize Laureate Wole Soyinka's Death And The King's Horseman play.

READ: EbonyLife CEO Mo Abudu Is the First African To Be Awarded the Cannes Médailles d'Honneur

In a press release, Abudu speaks about the new venture saying, "As a Nigerian storyteller, my biggest motivator has always been to tell authentic and untold stories that resonate with every person, regardless of where they're from in the world while showcasing our culture, heritage and creativity." Abudu goes on to add that, "This unprecedented partnership is testament to the Netflix's investment in African storytelling and we at EbonyLife are grateful and excited about the opportunity to work together with the Netflix teams led by Dorothy and Ben to deliver a slate of unique and riveting stories from Nigeria over the next few years for Netflix audiences around the world."

The deal comes just a few months after Netflix launched "Netflix Naija" and also announced that the first Nigerian Original Series is in the pipeline, although not giving away any details.

Shoneyin's The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives is an exquisite fictional exploration into the polygamous marriage of one Baba Segi and the varied dynamics between his several wives and their children. Describing the opportunity to have her novel adapted on-screen, Shoneyin says, "I was thrilled when Mo contacted me about making a show out of my novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives." She adds that, "I'd turned down so many offers but this one felt right."

Soyinka's 1975 Death And The King's Horseman play, on the other hand, is based on true events that took place in Nigeria during the British colonial era, and saw the horseman of a Yoruba King prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities. Commenting on the recent deal and Abudu's involvement, Soyinka says, "In a creative industry which, even in pioneering countries, is so male dominated, it is always a delight to see robust challenges offered by the female gender, and of attestable quality."

Abudu, who is arguably one of the most prolific producers on the continent, owns EbonyLife TV—Africa's first global black entertainment and lifestyle network.

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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