Controversial Kenyan Movie Star Lands Hollywood Gig

  • Controversial Kenyan movie producer, Wanuri Kahiu, who was behind the locally banned Rafiki, was selected to direct an upcoming movie in the United States based on the novel The Black Kids.

    In a Twitter post on Tuesday, January 28, Wanuri shared the new project alert, expressing her excitement for the major upcoming task.

    The novel will be published September 1, 2020, from when Wanuri will fully the role of a director in the movie. 

    The novel is a coming-of-age story featuring a wealthy African-American teenager whose family is involved in the emergence of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

    Rafiki film cast at the 71st Cannes Film Festivals in May 2018

    Wanuri came into the limelight in 2018, when she produced Rafiki which explored issued faced by lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and transgender people in Kenya.

    However, the film sparked mixed reactions from Kenyans based on the country’s stand on the emotive issue of same-sex content.

    In April 2018, Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua issued a ban on the movie over its content. 

    “Rafiki contains homosexual scenes that are against the law, the culture and the moral values of the Kenyan people. The film seeks to overtly promote lesbianism.

    “We will not allow the creation, distribution, broadcast, exhibition or possession of any film that offends the sensibilities of the Kenyan people,” remarked Mutua as quoted by Daily Nation.

    Mutua also accused Wanuri plotting to erode morals in entrenched in the youth.

    “The objective is clearly to normalise homosexuality in Kenya and the message in the story is to celebrate the resilience of youngsters involved in lesbianism. These are material alterations without full disclosure on the nature of the film,” added Mutua.

    The Rafiki film told the story of two young women who fell in love, making it a pioneer in such content to be done in Kenya and the East African region.

    Popular actor Lupita Nyong'o and Wanuri Kahiu during the 71st Cannes Film Festivals in May 2018

    The film also became the first Kenyan feature film to receive an invitation at the 71st Cannes Film Festival, which is considered the biggest and most prestigious film festival in the world.

    In September 2018, the High Court temporarily lifted the ban imposed on the film to allow it to be considered for an award at the Oscars.