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Ghana’s Blitz Bazawule To Direct Warner Bros’ Black Samurai

blitzbazawule 081 REPORT AFRIQUE International Ghana’s Blitz Bazawule To Direct Warner Bros’ Black Samurai

Ghanaian rapper and filmmaker Blitz Bazawule, known for his work on Beyoncé’s Black Is King and the 2023 musical adaptation of The Color Purple, will direct Warner Bros’ Black Samurai movie after the studio acquired its rights.

The film, written and produced under Bazawule’s Inward Gaze banner, will depict the story of Yasuke, an African samurai who served under Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in the 1580s.

Despite sparse historical records, Yasuke’s popularity in fiction peaked with the 2021 Netflix anime series by the same name featuring Lakeith Stanfield. A live-action film project with Chadwick Boseman remains unfinished due to his death.

The news of Bazawule’s latest venture arrives on the heels of his big night at the 55th NAACP Image Awards last month. The Color Purple, which he directed for Warner Bros secured seven awards in the film category including Outstanding Motion Picture, with Bazawule himself receiving the Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture) award.

Bazawule, founder of the Africa Film Society and a recipient of the Vilcek Prize, boasts a portfolio that includes The Burial of Kojo, Ghana’s first Golden Globes entry in 2020 and winner of Best Narrative Feature at Urbanworld Film Festival in 2018, as well as a top prize at the 2019 Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt. He is also behind the short film Diasporadical Trilogia.

As a musician, performing as Blitz the Ambassador, he has released multiple EPs and four full-length albums including Stereotype (2009), Native Sun (2011), Afropolitan Dreams (2014) and Diasporadical (2016).

In 2022, he published his debut novel The Scent of Burnt Flowers under Random House imprint Ballantine Books. The work follows a black couple fleeing persecution in 1960s America and seeking asylum in Ghana after murdering someone in self-defence.

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