In such a globalized world, it’s no surprise that companies and brands from one country will spread their influence on another. The same works with concepts in general – especially when it comes to the 54 countries that comprise Africa. Are we seeing the growth of African influences across the worldwide entertainment industry?
The Nigerian film industry of Nollywood is one of the most prolific film industries throughout the world and produces around 1,500 films a year from the heart of Nigeria. The industry is growing and providing opportunities for many across the region, especially as it is noticed by foreign investors who help pump money into the local economy. This is, in part, down to the reliance on African settings across film and TV and how popular African stories are becoming.
The major blockbuster Black Panther, for instance, was shot at Uganda’s Mountain Rwenzori and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to take the place of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Black Mirror shot in South Africa for its fifth season, and an episode of Doctor Who’s 11th series was shot in Western Cape. Malawi was also the location for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s hit The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, while commercial projects for companies such as Coca-Cola, Intel, and Facebook were also shot in Africa.
Western music producers are focusing on Africa to create new sounds for the 21st Century. Warner, Sony, and Universal have all moved into the African market. Doing so not only takes advantage of the sounds unique to the afrobeat and African hip hop genres, but also invokes the vast myriad of African culture; from the top of the Nile to the Horn of Africa and down past the Sahara Desert.
Indeed, Nigerian Afrobeat artist Wizkid collaborated on Drake’s 2016 hit ‘One Dance’ which became the first song to achieve 1 billion Spotify streams. The influence of music spanning the continent of Africa has always been found in the Western charts, but, as the influx of other cultures and languages shows, there is a greater appetite for sounds that represent something different and new.
Online entertainment has a wider scope, and can frame games and entertainment titles around concepts based in and around Africa without having to actually go there. One of the most prolific of these is Egypt, from where many online games take their inspiration. For those playing casino online, there are a host of games that are themed around Ancient Egypt and Cleopatra – such as Power of Gods, Return of the Dead, Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead, and Book of Ra.
Ancient Egypt lends itself well to these themes, as diving back into a history that many people have some knowledge of but is still open to interpretation, provides fertile ground to create a game from. Elsewhere in entertainment, Assassin’s Creed: Origins also takes the Ancient Egyptian theme for its centuries-spanning assassin-based video game. Halo also set some of its gameplay in ‘New Mombasa’, which is heavily based on Mombasa, Kenya.
African influences have been felt in media throughout the world for centuries, but it seems that the increasing globalization means that they are increasingly coming to the fore. Whether this is through film and TV, through music, or through themes found in gaming and online entertainment – it’s clear that African influences are taking centre stage.
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