News Brief

Sophie Okonedo Looks Absolutely Boss as Queen Margaret in 'The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses'

Sophie Okonedo stars as Queen Margaret of Anjou in the Shakespearean miniseries adaptation, airing December on PBS' Great Performances.

Sophie Okonedo, aka Sophie Okonedo OBE, is a boss. Nothing new there. But in the trailer and stills for The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, the 48-year-old English actor is bosshood personified.


The self-described “Jewish-Nigerian-Brit” from London, who won a 2014 Tony Award for her portrayal of Ruth Younger in the Broadway revival of A Raisin In The Sun, stars as Queen Margaret of Anjou in the three-part follow-up to the 2013 BAFTA-winning Shakespearean miniseries adaptation, The Hollow Crown.

While the first Hollow Crown covered Shakespeare's second historical tetralogy, or “Henriad” (encompassing "Richard II," "Henry IV, Parts I and II" and "Henry V"), this one picks up with film versions of "Henry VI" (in two parts) and "Richard III."

Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret in The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses

Okonedo appears in all three films as Margaret, a role that, as with too much of the film and television industry, has historically gone to white women.

Perhaps anticipating the racist P.O.S. that always seem to come out of the woodwork (see: the racist P.O.S. that threw a hissy fit over a black Hermione Granger), Hollow Crown director Dominic Cooke made it very clear that Okonedo was “the best person in the country” to play the part. “Her visceral power and range is so extraordinary - that’s what I was really looking for,” he told Express.co.uk back in May.

"I don’t think that you can do a piece of work that is about who we are as a society and just have white people doing it," Cooke added.

The series, which also stars Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Keeley Hawes and Tom Sturridge, aired on BBC this past May. It broadcasts in the U.S. over three consecutive Sundays beginning December 11 at 9pm on PBS' Great Performances.

Check out the trailer and some pretty badass images of Okonedo below.

Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret in The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses

Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret in The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses

H/T Shadow & Act

Interview

Interview: Bizzle Osikoya Is the A&R Shaping the Voice of a New Generation

We caught up with the A&R expert and co-founder of The Plug Management to talk about the fast-rising demand for Nigerian music and what it takes to break out as an artist.

The meteoric rise of Nigeria's burgeoning music industry over the last few years is definitely one for the books. From high profile collaborations that have graced international charts to appearances on American late night TV and a Grammy nomination, the Nigerian sound is sitting at the epicenter of a global conversation that the world—including Queen Bey herself —seem to scrabbling to get a piece of the action.

However, way before this global infiltration and westernized conflation of Africa's assortment of genres into one Afrobeats, Bizzle Osikoya was studying Music Business in England and plotting for a way to be a part of what he knew was inevitable. "I remember going to clubs in school and they would always play Jamaican music but rarely Nigerian songs. I knew we made good music here but I knew I couldn't sing. So I was motivated to come back, go behind the scenes, and see how we can make that crossover possible," he tells OkayAfrica.

More than a decade after making the intrepid decision to venture into A&R, helping artists find and develop their sound, Bizzle's creative genius has cascaded across different musical generations, from the piracy rife CD mix era with artists like Naeto C, Wande Coal and Dr. Sid to a streaming era populated with hits from Reekado Banks, Tiwa Savage and Davido.

Following the success of his latest project, Oxlade's Oxygene, we caught up with the A&R expert and co-founder of the Plug Management—a talent management company that has managed Davido, Peruzzi and DJ Obi—to talk about what it takes to break out as an artist, the fast-rising demand for Nigerian music, and how "alté" is not the same thing as alternative music.

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