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Photo still via 'Crown Heights' trailer on YouTube.

NFL Star-Turned-Actor Nnamdi Asomugha Snags Lead Role Alongside Tessa Thompson in Jazz Drama, 'Sylvie'

The Nigerian-American actor will also produce the project through his production company, iAm21 Entertainment.

Nnamdi Asomugha is certainly a silent move-maker in Hollywood. The spouse of Kerry Washington and former NFL defensive back is due to hit the big screen (again) alongside Tessa Thompson in a jazz era drama, Sylvie.


As The Hollywood Reporter describes the film:

Set in '50s and '60s New York City, the story follows Sylvie (Thompson) as she meets aspiring saxophonist Robert (Asomugha) when he takes a job at her father's record store in Harlem. After a summer romance that comes to an end, the two fatefully reconnect several years later and find that their feelings for each other have never disappeared.

Production on the project is underway in Los Angeles, as Sylvie will be produced under the Nigerian-American's production company, iAm21 Entertainment. Thompson is credited as the executive producer.

The film will be directed by Eugene Ashe, who also wrote the script. Declan Quinn of Rachel Getting Married and Leaving Las Vegas has been tapped as cinematographer.

For those unfamiliar with Asomugha's strides thus far in the film world, he produced and starred in Amazon's 2017 film Crown Heightsβ€”which also starred Lakeith Stanfield. The film was based on a podcast episode from This American Life that followed the story of Colin Warner, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and eventually was released due to his best friend Carl King dedicating his life to proving Warner's innocence.

You can also find Asomugha credited as the executive producer for documentary short Waiting for Hassana, as well as the executive producer of upcoming Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet, starring Cynthia Erivo.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple β€” and in the US β€” and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists β€” from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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