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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.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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