WarnerMedia has decided a healthy dose of Black Girl Magic, and Black Panther Magic, is how they’ll make streaming service HBO Max stand out from the rest. Yesterday it was announced that a straight-to-series order was made for a 10-episode adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling novel Americanah, which will boast Danai Gurira as writer and showrunner, and starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.
If this all sounds vaguely familiar, Americanah was originally poised as a movie with Nyong’o and David Oyelowo starring. Brad Pitt’s Plan B banner has been involved since the beginning, with Nyong’o and Gurira also set as producers. Gurira will write the series pilot. It’s unclear if Oyelowo will return, but given his past work with Nyong’o on Queen of Katwe, I wouldn’t put it past him.
SYNOPSIS: “Americanah” tells the story of Ifemelu (Nyong’o), a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze. Living in a military-ruled country, they each depart for the west, with Ifemelu heading for America, where, despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be black. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous undocumented life in London. A highly lauded tale that has become a leader in the cultural conversation, “Americanah” is an incredible exploration of the human experience that crosses three continents to give an empathetic, compelling view of the complex realities of race, politics, immigration and identity.
Gurira said in a statement, “Through ‘Americanah,’ Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way. It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humor, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific. I am honored to bring her incredible novel to life on the screen. I’m thrilled to collaborate once again with Lupita, who brings her astounding ability as a performer and producer shepherding this project, along with HBO MAX’s unbridled enthusiasm to bring this groundbreaking narrative to the TV audience.”
HBO Max doesn’t launch until next year, and you can bet they’ll want to have Americanah ready to be part of it.