Disney Announces ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Collaboration with African Entertainment Company

Non-Africans can never tell African stories like Africans. Tired of half-baked stories of Africa and Africans, three friends from Nigeria and Uganda created Kugali Media in 2017 to tell stories out of the continent.
Through the entertainment company, the friends — Tolu Olowofoyeku, Hamid Ibrahim, and Fikayo Adeola — created a comic book collection called “Iwaju”, set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria’s capital city.
Now, “Iwaju” — which roughly translates to “the future” in the Yoruba language spoken in West Africa — has been picked up as a new TV series by Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Disney is launching an animated African comic book series that it describes as a “first of its kind collaboration”. Disney announced yesterday that the animated series will premiere on its Disney+ streaming platform in 2022, calling it a “first-of-its-kind collaboration.”

“In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, @DisneyAnimation and Pan-African entertainment company Kugali will team up to create an all-new, science fiction series coming to @DisneyPlus in 2022: Iwájú. Check out a first look at visual development art from the series.”
While more specific details about the show are not yet available, Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer, Jennifer Lee, said it will explore themes of “class, innocence and challenging the status quo.”. He also said that the show is set in Lagos .

Speaking about Kugali, Lee added “their talents as storytellers blew us away.”
This is not the first time Disney has partnered with African entertainment companies. In September, the studio teamed up with Nigeria’s FilmOne entertainment to distribute Disney-owned films in English-speaking West Africa.

Kugali is an entertainment company that focuses on telling stories inspired by African Culture using comic books, art, and augmented reality. They tell stories that respect the history, embrace the present, and imagine the future of Africa.

Here are some reactions to this new partnership:

“Congrats! Thanks Disney for supporting black content! I would like to see more black STEM creators supported as well! My daughter is a computer science major! Let’s give more scholarships for STEM Disney! She wants to do animation. Way to go Disney! 👍🏾”

“The way they are gonna make this without any Africans seeing it because we don’t have Disney+ here”

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