By Yetunde Adeyeri
HBO Max has ordered a limited series based on the 2013 book, and celebrated actress Danai Gurira (Okoye from Black Panther), who has written the series pilot, will serve as showrunner of the 10-episode series, according to Variety.
Americanah is a postmodernist story that shows the struggle of fitting into a world that demands so much of us in all areas. In the book, Ifemelu leaves Nigerian and migrated to the US after the Nigerian education system failed her. Leaving the country is not so easy for her as she had to leave not just life and reinvent a new one, but also the love of her life, Obinze. That leaving would later come to hurt her and her teenage lover in many ways than one in the future. When she gets to America, like many migrants like her, she battles with different cultural shocks and the racism that black people struggle with overseas. However, the protagonist, with the use of technology and blogging, finds her voice and the reinvention that she seeks seems to have been achieved. In no distant time, emotions come running again, and the half-lived teenage love life, the longing of things never fully eaten, the need for self-validation and the nostalgia of one long gone from home become the strong force that she contends with.
It is no wonder therefore that this impressive book will be coming on the screen as its plot, characterization, and themes have sparked many cultural discourses about race, immigration, technology, humanity, feminism, relationship, and most especially the politics of hair.
But the most controversial issue presently is that popular Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyongo, will be playing the role of Ifemelu, the protagonist that the coming-of-age and transatlantic Nigerian-American story revolves around. Although Lupita who won an Oscar for her performance in ’12 Years a Slave’ bought rights to the book since 2014 and has been open about her hopes that it gets picked up by a big network, some Nigerians still have reservations about her ability to play an Igbo character.
Quite a number of Nigerians have expressed mixed reactions to the news that Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o will be playing a Nigerian character in her passion project Americanah, based on the best-selling novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
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