I just learned that, today at 19:30 GMT, which is around 3:30pm EST, CNN’s "Inside Africa" program, hosted by Soni Methu, will travel to Kenya to discover how the Kenyan film industry is harnessing the seemingly universal awareness and appreciation of Lupita Nyong’o (who is Kenyan, in case you didn’t already know), to assist in continuing to build itself up.
I’ve actually never watched "Inside Africa" on my TV screen. I don’t think it even airs on CNN here in the USA – certainly not during daytime hours. I typically catch up on stories on the program’s website, which you can also do here, if it’s not a program that airs in whatever country you live.
There’s no preview, but I’m told host, Soni Methu, will, amongst other things, explore what has been deemed the "Lupita Effect," as she visits David Opondoe, managing director of Phoenix Players, a Kenya-based theater company where Nyong’o performed earlier in her career, and who said, after Lupita’s Oscar win, that her success will encourage many in Kenya to embrace the arts. He has even previously shared the stage with Lupita in an earlier production.
The program will also investigate reports that the South African TV channel M-Net has since commissioned more than 50 films from Kenya for its Africa Magic platform available on digital and satellite TV across the continent. According to the Kenyan Film Commission Chairman, Chris Foot, the commission is also working at harnessing the Lupita effect by building up the local film industry and local content and encouraging people to come and make movies in Kenya.
The show will visit the school where Lupita’s acting talent first revealed itself in drama lessons, as the host of the show meets and speaks with a new generation of students seeking to follow in her footsteps.
“You are the pride of Africa,” Kenya’s president posted on Twitter the day Lupita won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "12 Years a Slave."
She soon became the topic of the day/week/month/year on Kenya’s radio and TV stations. At a UN conference in Nairobi, more than 300 people broke out into applause after Wanjira Maathai – the daughter of the late Kenyan Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai – mentioned her mother and Nyong’o’s name in the same sentence. "We all had hoped, of course, that she would win. Everybody feels a sudden attachment to her, she’s a Kenyan woman," Maathai said in an interview later. "A lot of her work, a lot of her experience in film started in Kenya."
But as soon as the CNN "Inside Africa" special becomes available on the web, I’ll share it here.