Netflix and Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu’s (The Wedding Party, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel) EbonyLife has signed a multi-title deal to create two original series, Variety confirms. Several branded films and a series have also been licensed to the streaming service.
Included in the deal will be a film adaptation based on a play by Nobel Prize winning filmmaker and essayist, Wole Soyinka (A Dance of the Forest, The Eagle), Death and the King’s Horeseman. The mentioned series will construct its plot around Lola Shoneyin’s (Mayowa and the Masquearades, So All the Time I Was Sitting on an Egg) best-selling debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.
Since hosting her own daytime talk show, Moments With Mo, in the early 2000’s, Abudu has become a household name in Nigerian entertainment. With the acclaimed success of launching EbonyLife in 2012, Abudu explains what the muse for her invigorating stories entail.
“As a Nigerian storyteller,” Abudu began on Variety, “my biggest motivator has always been to tell authentic and untold stories that resonate with every person, regardless of where they’re from in the world while showcasing our culture, heritage and creativity.” She believes that “this unprecedented partnership is testament to Netflix’s investment in African storytelling.”
Netflix’s head of African originals, Dorothy Ghettuba, believes that Abudu’s talent for visceral storytelling is quite impressionable. “Her passion for creating high-quality, riveting multi-genre films and TV shows that capture the imagination while showcasing the diversity and richness of Nigerian culture is evident in her impressive body of work,” Ghettuba mentioned on Variety.
In tandem with their deal with EbonyLife, Netflix released its first African original series, Queen Sono and Blood & Water. The streaming giant also announced its first Nigerian original, which, according to Variety, is an untitled sci-fi drama series created by renowned director, Akin Omotoso (Tell Me Sweet Something, Vaya).
Though Netflix has done substantial and inclusive work in providing diverse content, the company’s director of licensing and co-productions for Africa, Ben Amadasun, believes “that more people deserve to see their lives reflected on screen,” he mentioned on Variety. “And for that to happen, we need to make sure there’s a wide variety of content that caters to our members’ diverse tastes.”
Variety claims that one of the unnamed projects will premiere on EbonyLife’s platform in 2020 and details regarding the rest of the EbonyLife slate is said to be revealed later.