News Brief
Nnedi Okorafor at TEDGlobal 2017. Courtesy of TED

Viola Davis Is Developing a Series Based on Octavia Butler's 'Wild Seed' With Nnedi Okorafor And Wanuri Kahiu

The series, based on Butler's 1980 novel, will tell the story of "two African immortals who travel the ages from pre-Colonial West Africa to the far, far future."

Oscar-winning actor Viola Davis will team up with Nigerian sci-fi author Nnedi Okorafor and Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu for an upcoming series adaptation of Octavia Butler's 1980 novel Wild Seed, which is being developed by Amazon under Davis' and Julius Tennon's JuVee Production company.

Okorafor and Kahiu, who are both OkayAfrica 100 Women 2019 honorees, will write the series together, and Kahiu is also slated to direct. The Rafiki filmmaker, took to Twitter to share her excitement over the news. "Dream project alert," she wrote. "See God!"


According to Deadline, which broke the news, Kahiu's rising visibility was the impetus for the project finally going into production. "JuVee had pursued the rights to the book for over two years, but it wasn't until they identified rising talent Kahiu, who was tapped to direct as well as write the pilot with her friend and colleague Okorafor, that the vision became clear on how to turn the beloved book into a TV show. With their idea for a TV series, and the Butler estate's blessings, the project was taken to the marketplace with multiple bids."

Wild Seed is the third novel in Butler's celebrated five-book series Patternmaster. Here's a summary via Deadline:

Wild Seed is a love (and hate) story of two African immortals who travel the ages from pre-Colonial West Africa to the far, far future. Doro, a killer who uses his power to breed people like livestock, encounters Anyanwu, a healer who forces him to reassess his millennia of cruel behavior: for centuries, their personal battles change the course of our world as they struggle against the backdrop of time — master vs slave, man vs woman, killer vs healer.

Both Okorafor and Kahiu told Deadline about the impact of the book on the shaping of their careers. "We love Octavia Butler and her work and have for decades. But Wild Seed is our favorite. It's expansive, disturbing, and unique, said the duo. "Wild Seed stays with you. It's a love/hate story of African immortals that connects people on the African continent to the Diaspora. It merges the mystical and the scientific seamlessly. You're going to see shape-shifting, body jumping, telepaths, people born with the ability to defy the laws of physics, all in the context of our past, present and future world."

Next, Kahiu will direct The Thing About Jellyfish with Universal. While, Okoafor's novel Who Fears Death is being developed into an HBO series with Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin.

We will keep you updated as new details about Wild Seed emerge.

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 — and in the US — 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 — 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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