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Starz and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson are continuing their partnership with a drama project about a 17th century African warrior queen.
The premium cable outlet and Lionsagte TV are developing Queen Nzinga, which tells the story of an innocent princess in 17th century Angola who transforms into a fearless warrior queen and wages a ferocious 40-year guerrilla war against the kingdom’s formidable enemies and the cruel subjugation of her people by Portuguese slavers. Nzinga would come to sacrifice everything to defend her people’s dignity, liberty and freedom. On seizing the crown, Nzinga, the first-ever female ruler, decreed “Call me king.”
Yetide Badaki (Starz’s American Gods) will star as Nzinga and executive produce alongside Mo Abudu (The Wedding Party), Jackson (Starz’s Power franchise, BMF) and Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil). A search for a showrunner is underway.
“It has been a long held dream of mine to bring the story of Nzinga to the screen. Her courage, determination and passion resonated from the moment I laid eyes on historical depictions of the legendary queen,” said Badaki. “I am thrilled by Starz’s continued commitment to much needed stories about and by historically excluded voices and the deeply talented team being built to share this epic narrative with the world.”
Said Adubu, “The continent of Africa has a treasure trove of stories that are yet to be told. Queen Nzinga is a story that I have wanted to tell for a long time, so when EbonyLife Studios finally found a home for this project at Starz and Lionsgate, it was a dream come true. We are happy to be at the forefront of forging these new partnerships with such an incredible team of creatives, because it is truly about sharing our local stories with a global audience — stories that are historical, authentic and progressive.”
Jackson will executive produce Queen Nzinga via his G-Unit Film & Television. Adubu exec produces via EbonyLife Media. Starz executive vp original programming Karen Bailey will oversee the project for the premuim cabler.
“As G-Unit Film & Television launches more premium, international productions, I couldn’t have found better partners than Mo, Yetide and Steven to help tell the incredible story of Queen Nzinga,” said Jackson.
Badaki is repped by Innovative Artists. Jackson is repped by APA and attorneys Eric Feig and Steven Savva.
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