Film

You’ll Want to See This Revenge Thriller Based on the Legend of Yoruba Orisha Mami Wata

She’s a force of nature.

If you’ve seen obsessed over Beyoncé’s hour-long Lemonade, then you’re acquainted with Mami Wata’s (Mother Water) sister spirit or orisha, Oshun.


Beyonce in HBO visual "Lemonade" via Giphy

The Mami Wata ancient deity, who appears in Yoruba, Cuban, Dominican, Haitian and Brazilian mythologies, is often described as a force of nature, possessing traits much like the duality of water—at times beautiful and healing, and at others, wrathful and violent. The water spirit’s appearance in dreams or visions is typically considered a portent of the changing tides of fortune.

So the mermaid goddess makes for excellent subject matter for producers of internationally acclaimed and award-winning films Ojuju and O-Town to depict in their next project, a collab with DJ Tee Films, entitled Mami Wati.

Fiery Film via Shadow & Act

The Oge Basi production that will star Bolaji Ogunmola (Mami Wata) as well as Lucy Ameh, Nita Byack-George, Paul Utomi, Kolade Shashi and Brutus Richard has been described as a genre mashup and revenge thriller, according to Shadow & Act.

C.J. “Fiery” Obasi will direct from his script and legendary music video pioneer Adetokundo “DJ Tee” Odubawo will co-executive produce as well as handle cinematography. Obijie “Byge” Oru, an AMVCA award-winning costume designer as well as Adefunke Olowu (“Ojuju”), an AMVCA-nominated & BON award-winning make-up artist, have also signed onto the project that is slated to start filming principal photography in Lagos, Nigeria next month.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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