Film
Nollywood actors Nkem Owoh and Genevieve Nnaji in 'Lionheart.' Photo via TIFF.

Netflix Plans To Produce More Original Series From Africa in 2019

This move is in line with the streaming service rapidly expanding local programming on major continents.

We'll be seeing more Netflix originals coming from the continent in 2019, Variety reports.

The streaming service recently announced at the Content London conference that its Europe team has been looking into opportunities in Africa. "It's definitely the case that we'll commission some series there in 2019," Erik Barmack, Netflix vice president of international originals, says.


This news also comes in lieu of the platform picking up Nollywood veteran Genevieve Nnaji's directorial debut, Lionheart, back in September. This film is set to be the first Netflix original to come out of Nigeria.

Revisit the trailer below.

LIONHEART by Genevieve Nnaji - trailer eng sub youtu.be

Barmack predicts that it will only take years for half of Netflix's top 10 most-watched shows to come from outside of the U.S. He notes that shows with multinational casts also will eventually become the norm.

Netflix users watching non-English language shows and films have been on the rise—and this increase will impact the talent and scope of the TV and film industry globally.

"The big message we want to communicate to talent is you don't have to leave home to get big audiences, and you don't have to choose Hollywood versus your own country," Barmack says at the conference. "You can do both, and that, we believe, will be able to carry their audiences to their shows regardless of the language they are speaking or where the production comes from."

As the streaming platform continues to shake up the industry, we'll keep an eye on how this move could potentially lead African filmmakers and actors to an alternative path to the global stage.

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Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)" music video.

Is Zanku Set to Be the New Dance Craze of 2019?

Breaking down what could become the year's new dance craze.

With last week's release of the video for "Zanku (Leg Work)," Zlatan Ibile has consecrated himself as the originator of the newest dance craze in afropop.

The specific origin of the name 'zanku' is uncertain but the dance itself, says Ibile in this interview from December, is one he noticed from his visits to The Shrine in Lagos and refashioned into a trend.

The best zanku, so far, works best in beats combining repeated foot tapping or pounding, with hands held aloft, and finished with a flourish—a stylised thrusting of one foot as if to knock down a door. Variations include a faster footwork, mimicry of slicing and screwing hand motions and the brandshing of a white kerchief, all of which is done with vigour and attitude.

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WurlD. Image courtesy of the artist.

WurlD: Nigeria's Most Inspired Star?

We talk to the Nigerian artist about creating a sound that connects to the quintessential Afropolitan mind.

WurlD, the blue-haired singer with a killer voice and deep songwriting, is a wonder. His music sits at the intersection between African vibes and Western delivery. 2018 has been a huge for him, with a deal with Universal Music ensuring that his art has received consistency in release.

Born Sadiq Onifade, the Afro-Fusion artist has had an inspiring journey, moving from the streets of Mushin in Lagos, to the US, from where much of his music has been conceived. The complete creative embrace of that cross-cultural influence has become his strongest point, with songs such as "Show You Off" and "Contagious" offering a unique angle to his sound.

"Moving to America for me gave me the opportunity to learn music and I fell in love with songwriting," WurlD says of his influence. "Atlanta (where I lived) is a creative hub when it comes to songwriting and producing, some of the biggest songs in the world were produced in Atlanta, people round the world go to Atlanta to go meet producers and songwriters in Atlanta. There, I fell in love with music and songwriting."

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Still from YouTube.

France Still Doesn't Know How Racism Works and the Vilification of Nick Conrad Proves It

The French rapper is currently on trial for his music video "Hang White People," which depicts what life might be like if the racial tables were turned.

When the music video "Pendez les Blancs" ("Hang White people") by French rapper Nick Conrad was released, the backlash was intense. The video shows what life would be if black people had enslaved white people. "Hang white people… arm them and let them kill each other" Conrad raps. He is not the first artist to think about a life where Black people would dominate white people. Todric Hall's music video "Forbidden" and Malorie Blackman's novels "Noughts and Crosses" did it before. But in France, a country that still tries to stop Black people from organising as a community, Nick Conrad had to pay the price.

First, he received countless death threats and lost his job at a prestigious French hotel. Everyone, from French personalities to the government called him out. And then, two anti-racist and anti-semitism organizations, the LICRA and L'AGRIF sued him. His trial happened last week. French journalist Sihame Assbague was there to witness it, and what she reports is baffling.

To the prosecution, Conrad is encouraging his audience to kill white people. They believe that anti white racism or "reverse racism" is just as bad as any type of racism and that Conrad is using a "black supremacist language" with words like "queen" "king" when he mentions Africa. In their mind, once Black people stop trying to integrate and start organising themselves, it's just as bad as white people being racist. Ethnocentrism is dangerous.

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