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.

News Brief

Mati Diop's 'Atlantiques' Will Be Making Its U.S. Debut at the 57th New York Film Festival

The critically acclaimed film from the Senegalese-French filmmaker will be heading to the big screen stateside very soon.

The main slate has been announced for the 57th New York Film Festival, presented by Film at Lincoln Center—holding from September 27 to October 13, Deadline reports.

This year's main slate presents films from 17 countries, highlighting both newcomers and celebrated filmmakers who made a statement at acclaimed international film festivals this year.

One of which is Mati Diop's Atlantiques. The Senegalese-French filmmaker was the one to watch this year at Cannes and took home the Grand Prix Award and a Netflix acquisition.

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Film
Image via Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Chadwick Boseman to Star as First Black Samurai in Upcoming Historical Action Film

After much speculation, it's been announced that Boseman will play Yasuke, Japan's first African samurai.

Back in 2017, it was announced that a film on Yasuke, the world's first black samurai would be going into production. After much speculation, we finally learn that none other than Chadwick Boseman will play the role of the historical warrior.

Yasuke is believed to have lived during the 1500s, and historical accounts state that he could have been from Angola, Ethiopia or Mozambique, though many details about his life remain a mystery. It is known, however, that he worked under the Japanese ruler Oda Nobunaga, who gave him the name "Yasuke" according to Shadow and Act. There is no account of his birth name.

It is said that upon arriving in Japan in the late 14th century, Yasuke was met with astonishment, as he was the first black person that most Japanese had ever seen. He quickly became Nobunga's body guard before climbing the ranks to become one of Japan's most celebrated warriors.

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Audio
Darkovibes

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sarkodie, Cassper Nyovest, Elaine, Darkovibes, Stogie T, Phyno, C Natty, and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music 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.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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popular
Photo courtesy of CNOA

These Colombian Civil Rights Activists Are Fighting to Make Sure Afro-Colombians are Counted in the Census

When 30 percent of Colombia's Black citizens disappeared from the data overnight, a group of Afro-Colombian activists demanded an explanation.

It was the end of 2019 when various Black organizations protested in front of the census bureau—The National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (DANE)—in Bogotá, Colombia to show their dissatisfaction about what they called a "statistical genocide" of the black population. The census data, published that year, showed 2.9 million people, only 6 percent of the total population of the country, was counted as "Afro-Colombian," "Raizal," and "Palenquero"—the various terms identifying black Colombians.

For many years, Afro-Colombians have been considered the second largest ethno-racial group in the country. Regionally, Colombia has long been considered the country with the second highest number of Afro-descendants after Brazil, according to a civil society report.

Why did the population of Afro-Colombians drop so drastically?

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists protesting erasure of Afro-descendants in front of the census bureau.

Last year, a crowd of activists gathered in Bogota to protest what they saw as erasure of Black communities in the Colombian census.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

In the latest national census report from 2018/2019, there appeared to be a 30.8 percent reduction of the overall group of people that identified as Black, Afro-Colombian, Raizal, and Palenquero, as compared to the 2005. After this controversial report, an Afro-Colombian civil rights organization known as the National Conference of Afro Colombian Organizations (CNOA), officially urged DANE to explain the big undercounting of the black population.

This wasn't a small fight. Representatives who hold the special seats of Afro-Colombians in Colombia's congress asked the census bureau to attend a political control debate at the House of Representatives in November 2019 to deliver an accountability report. "The main goal of doing a political debate was to demand DANE to give us a strong reason about the mistaken data in the last census in regard to the Afro population," said Ariel Palacios, an activist and a member of CNOA.

At the debate, the state released an updated census data report saying that, almost 10 percent of the Colombian population—4.6 million people out of 50.3 million—considers themselves Afro-Colombians or other ethnicities (like Raizal, and Palenquero). But despite DANE trying to confirm the accuracy and reliability on the latest census report it was clear that, for a variety of reasons, Black people were missed by the census. The state argued that their main obstacles with data collection were related to the difficulties of the self-recognition question, as well as security reasons that didn't allow them to access certain regions. They also admitted to a lack of training, logistics and an overall lack of success in the way the data collectors conducted the census.

How could they have counted Black populations better?

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists playing drums in front of the census bureau.

Drummers performing during a protest against the Colombian census bureau's erasure of Afro-Colombians from the 2018 census.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

These arguments were not reasonable for the civil rights activists, partially because the state failed to properly partner with Afro-organizations like CNOA to conduct or facilitate extensive informational campaigns about the self-identification questions.

"CNOA has worked on self-recognition and visibility campaigns among the Afro community and this census ignored our work," says priest Emigdio Cuesta-Pino, the executive secretary of CNOA. Palacios also thinks that the majority of Afro-Colombians are aware of their identity "we self-identify because we know there is a public political debate and we know that there is a lack of investment on public policies."

That's why it is not enough to leave the statistical data to the official census bureau to ensure that Afro-Colombian communities are fully counted in the country. And the civil rights activists knows that. They made a big splash in the national media and achieved visibility in the international community.

Thanks to The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a human rights organization, Palacios traveled to D.C to meet with Race and Equality institution and a Democratic Congressman. "We called for a meeting with representative Hank Johnson to talk about the implementation of Colombia's peace accords from an Afro-Colombian perspective but also to address the gross undercounts of its black population," says Palacios.

For the activists at CNOA, the statistical visibility of the Black population is one of their battles. They have fought for Afro population recognition for almost two decades. "Since the very beginning CNOA has worked on the census issue as one of our main commitments within the statistical visibility of the Afro-Colombian people," says priest Cuesta-Pina. Behind this civil organization are 270 local associations, who work for their rights and collective interests.

The activists want to raise awareness on identity. Because according to Palacios, "In Colombia, there is missing an identity debate—we don't know what we are. They [the census bureau] ask if we are black, or if we are Afro-Colombians. But what are the others being asked? If they are white, mestizo or indigenous?" Palacios believes that for "CNOA this debate is pending, and also it is relevant to know which is the character of this nation."

Afro-Colombian Populations and the Coronavirus

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists use mock coffins and statistics to protest erasure of Afro-descendants

Colombian civil-rights activist insist that undercounting Afro-descendants can have a real impact on the health of Afro-Colombian communities, especially during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

Even though the state recently "agreed with to give us a detailed census report" and make a different projection with the micro data, says Palacios, now with the Covid-19 emergency, CNOA and the government has suspended all meetings with them, including cancelling a second congressional debate and the expert round table meeting to analyze the data.

Unfortunately, it is exactly in situations like the Covid-19 emergency where data analysis and an accurate census report would have been useful. According to the professor and PhD in Sociology Edgar Benítez from Center for Afro Diasporic Studies—CEAF, "Now it is required to provide a reliable and timely information on how the contagion pattern will spread in those predominantly Afro regions in the country and what is the institutional capacity in those places to face it," says Benítez.

He adds that this information is "critical at the moment because the institutional capacity is not up to provide it at the current situation". That's why the Center for Afro Diasporic Studies plans to work with DANE information from the last census. According to Benítez, "We are thinking of making comparisons at the municipal level with the information reported in the 2018 Quality of Life Survey, in order to have a robust and extensive database as possible on the demographic, economic and social conditions of the black, afro, Raizal and Palenquera population in Colombia."









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