Home Film/TV Glitz Africa Weekend Watchlist

Glitz Africa Weekend Watchlist

On Vanity Fair’s latest Hollywood issue, writer, producer, actress, Michaela Coel of Ghanaian descent shines bright like the star she truly is on the cover, alongside some of the hottest figures in Hollywood.

The plastered stars represent the visionary creatives who plumbed new emotional depths, and showed the world hope and humanity amidst a period of worldwide uncertainties and crisis. Coel’s inclusion is based on her surprising turn in ‘I May Destroy You’, which addresses the naked truth of sexual assault and its damaging effects. In as much as we value the lessons and brilliance of the show, the interesting side of the whole narrative is Arabella’s (Coel) identity as a Ghanaian. Amidst the disturbing events that accompanied her sexual assault experience, it was the one visit to her Ghanaian family in London that brought her intense peace and comfort. The scene was filled with much display of the Ghanaian culture in the area of hospitality, food (Jollof Rice) and language (Twi).

Similarly, in the Netflix sci-fi series ‘Away’, Ato Essandoh, born of Ghanaian parent stars as Kwesi Weisberg – Abban, one of the five Astronauts sent on a treacherous mission to Mars. Kwesi is portrayed as a Ghanaian, who in flashback scenes speaks Fanti with his late father. From the start to the finish of the show, Kwesi embodied every life lesson a Ghanaian Muslim child lives by.

To international audience, such attributes might appear as a shallow contribution to the plot, but to us as Ghanaians, it parades a sense of pride and importance to our heritage.

Locally, our film industry is at a disadvantage in the area of clunky scripts that beautifully transports the Ghanaian tradition to the global market. The industry has remained at a pause for close to a decade, making the industry thread on the fame of Hollywood actors born of Ghanaian parents.

As we approach Ghana month (March), we dedicate our weekend watchlist to highlight critically-acclaimed films and shows that feature some of our biggest exports in Hollywood.

FILMS

‘Fractured’

Cast: Adjoa Andoh.

Director: Brad Anderson

Synopsis: After his wife and injured daughter disappear from the emergency room, a man becomes convinced the hospital is hiding something.

Available to watch: Netflix

‘The Mountain Between Us’

Cast: Idris Elba.

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Synopsis: Ben and Alex are stranded in the Utah mountains after a plane crash. Together they must overcome the challenges of living in snow-covered mountains.

Available to watch: Amazon Prime Video

‘Been So Long’

Cast: Michaela Coel.

Director: Tinge Krishnan

Synopsis: During a night on the town, a dedicated single mother meets a charming yet troubled stranger.

Available to watch: Netflix

‘TV SHOWS’

‘CHEWING GUM’

Cast: Michaela Coel.

Program Creator: Michaela Coel

Synopsis: British writer and actress Michaela Coel plays 24-year-old Beyonce fanatic Tracey Gordon. The series is based on Coel’s lead character in the semi-autobiographical monologue `Chewing Gum Dreams’, which follows a young lady as she leaves behind adolescence and enters womanhood. Tracey deals with new adult challenges and her many conflicting interests, as she struggles with the strictness of her religious beliefs and her love of all things Beyonce. Tracey and her mates settle into a new phase in their lives while living in an estate in Tower Hamlets, east London.

Available to watch: HBO Max

‘Gangs of London’

Cast: Paapa Essiedu.

Program Creator: Gareth Evans

Synopsis: The city of London is being torn apart by the turbulent power struggles of the international gangs that control it and the sudden power vacuum that’s created when the head of London’s most powerful crime family is assassinated.

Available to watch: Sky TV

‘Away’

Cast: Ato Essandoh.

Synopsis: Emma Green embarks on a treacherous mission to Mars in command of an international crew, leaving behind her husband and teenage daughter.

Available to watch: Netflix

‘I May Destroy You’

Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu.

Program Creator: Michaela Coel

Synopsis: After being sexually assaulted in a nightclub, Arabella’s life changes irreversibly and she is forced to reassess everything, including her career, friends and family.

Available to watch: HBO Max

‘Ramy’

Cast: MaameYaa Boafo

Synopsis: Ramy Hassan is a first-generation Egyptian-American who is on a spiritual journey in his politically divided New Jersey neighborhood. He becomes caught between a Muslim community that thinks life is a moral test and a millennial generation that believes life has no consequences. Through it all, he’s still trying to do the things that most 20-somethings do, like date. He is essentially a guy who is torn between praying on Fridays and going to parties on Friday nights. Which side will win out in this seemingly endless internal battle?

Available to watch: Hulu

‘Queen Sugar’

Cast: Kofi Siriboe

Program Creator: Ava DuVernay

Synopsis: “Queen Sugar” tells the story of the estranged Bordelon siblings in Louisiana. At the center of the family are Nova, a journalist and activist; Charley, the wife and manager of an NBA player; and formerly incarcerated father Ralph Angel, who is searching for redemption. Following a tragedy in the family, the siblings must put their complicated lives aside so that they can come together to run the clan’s struggling sugar cane farm. Also involved in the farm are Aunt Violet and family friend Remy Newell.

Available to watch: OWN

‘New Amsterdam’

Cast: Freema Agyeman.

Synopsis: After becoming the medical director of one of the United States’s oldest public hospitals, Dr Max Godwin sets out to reform the institution’s neglected and outdated facilities to treat the patients.

Available to watch: Netflix

‘Station 19’

Cast: Boris Kodjoe.

Program Creator: Stacy McKee

Synopsis: Practically raised at Seattle’s Station 19, Andy Herrera is a confident firefighter who is also the daughter of Pruitt Herrera, the formidable head of the firehouse. Capt. Pruitt was Andy’s primary inspiration to become a firefighter and is a mentor to both her and Jack Gibson, the lieutenant at the station. Jack is as fearless as Andy is by-the-books, but when the two are together, sparks fly and opposites attract. The two are joined by Maya Bishop, Dean Miller, Travis Montgomery, Victoria Hughes, and the station’s newest addition, rookie Ben Warren. The team also works closely with Seattle PD, often running into Andy’s former flame Ryan Tanner.

Available to watch: ABC

‘Troy: The Fall of a City’

Cast: David Kwaku Asamoah Gyasi

Synopsis: From creator David Farr comes `Troy: Fall of a City’, an epic retelling of the 10-year siege of Troy. Told from the perspective of the Trojan Family, this series delves into the rich history of the Trojan War and the love, intrigue and betrayal of the people who lived through it. On a trip to Sparta as a guest of Menelaus, Paris, son of Troy, falls in love with Menelaus’ wife, Helen. After they leave Sparta together for Troy, Helen and Paris risk not only their lives, but the lives of their families and people as they trigger a chain of events that ultimately lead them all into an unending war.

Available to watch: Netflix

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