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ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 16: Yvonne Orji performs onstage during her "Lagos to Laurel" tour at Buckhead Theatre on February 16, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Yvonne Orji's First Comedy Special Is Headed to HBO

The special is being tapped at Howard University this month.

Yvonee Orji is bringing her comedic chops center stage with the premiere of her first-ever comedy special on HBO.

The comedian and Insecure star who is currently embarking on her "Lagos to Laurel" comedy tour, will shoot the hour-long special in front of a live audience at Howard University this month, reports Deadline. It looks like Orji's Nigerian heritage will be a central point during the show, as the special will also include footage shot in Lagos last month.


The special is directed by Chris Robinson, with Orji acting as both writer and executive producer. Michelle Caputo and Shannon Hartman are also executive producers on the project.

The actor shared the news on Instagram on Tuesday, highlighting what she called a "full circle moment" in her career:

"Before ever stepping on a stage to tell my first joke, my only point of reference for comedy was sneaking into my parents bedroom (they had a cable box—remember those) to watch Def Comedy Jam on HBO," wrote Orji. "CUT TO: years later... I'm gonna have my very first comedy special air on @hbo! DC, PG, I'm coming home, FEB 29th to tape TWO SOLD OUT SHOWS at the Howard Theater to honor my mom, who was a nurse at HU for 27 years."

Orji, who plays Molly on the hit HBO series Insecure, was also seen in last year's Night School and is set to star in the upcoming film Vacation With Friends alongside Lil Rel and John Cena.

The special is set to be tapped at Howard Theater on February 29. Tickets to the tapping are free. The special, will premiere on HBO this summer.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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