Film
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Idris Elba Wants to Build a Film Studio In Tanzania

Renowned British actor Idris Elba is planning to open up a film studio in Tanzania, reports say.

Celebrated British actor Idris Elba is planning to open a film studio in Tanzania. The news was revealed by Tanzania's Director of Presidential Communications, Zuhura Yunus, during a press conference. According to Yunus, the plan for the studio was set in motion during Elba's meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


“Discussions on the project have just begun, and if successful, the project will help not only Tanzania but also Eastern and Central Africa,” said Yunus.

In the past, Elba, who is also an award-winning actor, filmmaker and musician, has made concerted efforts to be involved in, and contribute to the African entertainment industry. In the past, he has featured on songs with prominent African artists like D'banj, Drizilik, and Phyno, among others. Although he is a celebrated Hollywood actor, Elba has always stayed connected to the motherland and has made several efforts to represent his own Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian roots.

In an interview with South Africa's SA People News in 2022, the British movie star mentioned that he wants to shoot more films in Africa, as well as contribute in building and developing the future of the African film industry.

“Young Africans view me as a leader or a beacon. And I feel like I could bring something. So I’m keen to bring what I’ve learned in media and amplify it in Africa,” the Beast actor said at the time.

During the interview, the actor also mentioned that the continent deserved "real tender care."

“I’m really keen on the development of Africa. My parents come from Africa and more than anywhere in the world, I feel like that continent deserves some real tender care and love and thought.

Elba has historically represented Africa in powerful rooms that he has walked into

During the US-Africa Leaders Summit’s; Africa Digital Innovation Competitors event, he did not hesitate to place the importance of the African entertainment market at the forefront of his conversation.

“If there are any investors listening or watching today if you do not consider Africa as a viable investment, you’re not considering yourself or your future. Africa’s future is your own future and vice versa,” said Elba at the time.“We do not need aid anymore, we need innovation. We need partnership,” he added.

While there are no new updates on the move to build the studio in Tanzania, it seems as though the process is underway.

Music
Photo courtesy of Drizilik.

Drizilik Is Carving Out a Space For Sierra Leone In the Afrobeats Scene

We speak with Sierra Leonean star Drizilik whose sophomore album, Ashobi, tells the story of Sierra Leone’s unique musical relationship with Africa and includes an appearance from Idris Elba.

I first came across Drizilk in 2019 when he released his "This is Sierra Leone" music video on YouTube—a cover of Donald Glover’s “This is America,” which was also included on his debut album, Shukubly.

Since then, he’s emerged as one of the country’s most exciting new musical talents, earning the moniker of Sierra Leone’s ‘king of new school music.’ The 2021 MTV Africa Music Award 'Listener's Choice' nominee has rocked stages from Freetown to Lagos to London in hopes of capturing the changing narratives around Africa’s music industry, with a Sierra Leonean twist.

Benjamin Menelik George was born in 1994 to a Krio family in the capital, Freetown. For the first ten years of his life, the city experienced many upheavals from the influx of internally displaced people escaping Sierra Leone’s devastating rebel violence in the country’s rural areas. Against all this, Drizilik tells me that music was always in his blood, and that he was inspired to start writing raps following the release of Drake’s 2010 album, Thank Me Later, but the thought of taking music professionally had never come to mind.

“I used my holiday money to buy cassettes just to know what was going on in the music scene outside. Back then I didn’t know I wanted to become a musician, I just enjoyed the music. But one holiday in 2011, my friend won a computer from a lottery and he downloaded the version of a DJ program. Normally we would just play football but that year, I made my first freestyle recording on an instrumental by Fat Joe and J. Holiday. We would record the audio on Windows sound recorder and sync it with the beat to get the record. It felt like something I could perfect.”

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