It is no longer news that what may be the biggest, far-reaching and detailed timeline on the blossoming of the Afrobeats music genre is set to hit global streaming platform Netflix this Wednesday June 29, 2022.
Recall that TCN had reported that the landmark documentary film on the evolution of Nigeria’s contemporary hip music genre premiered on April 2, 2021 at the Filmhouse Cinemas, Imax Theatre in Lekki, Lagos.
It was earlier slated for a Netflix debut on May 27th but had to be postponed by a month for a tighter outing.
Produced by Ayo Shonaiya, a lawyer, filmmaker and an authority in the music business with many years of experience, particularly in artistes’ management, the documentary is a 12-part series chronicling the history and the leading names of one of the most dynamic, Grammy award-winning music genres to emerge from Africa.
The film follows the journey of Afrobeats from its earliest form in the late 80s to the global phenomenon it has now become, using Shonaiya’s personal collection of rare footage of concerts, shows, encounters and extensive interviews to tell the story.
Trained as a filmmaker in the United States and qualified as a lawyer in the UK and Nigeria, Shonaiya started out in the music business as the international manager to Fuji music maestro, Wasiu Ayinde (K1) and went on to nurture and manage the careers of some of the biggest names in the Nigerian music industry, including D’banj, Don Jazzy, Eldee the Don and Sarz.
Now set to premiere on Netflix tomorrow June 29th, TCN has compiled 10 things that make ‘Afrobeats: The Backstory’ a compelling watch for viewers:
- It is the first Nigerian and African documentary film on Afrobeats to make it to Netflix.
- It will come in 12 episodes of 40 minutes each, thereby giving viewers a rare and extensive collection of interviews and performances.
- The rights on musical work used in the film are fully paid before the Netflix debut.
- The film makes the most robust case for Afrobeats as the ideal identity for the new Nigerian pop music.
- It took Ayo Shonaiya almost four years to sieve through long hours of footage, edit and package the series for broadcast.
- It relies mostly on Shonaiya’s rare footage of his encounters with artistes and the music industry as a whole from 1999 till date.
- It took him across four continents and more than 20 countries in conducting interviews with leading musicians and industry experts who are featured in the film.
- This is Shonaiya’s first major documentary work, but his fourth film after three other feature films – More Blessing, King of my Country and Spin in the late 1990s.
- The documentary is similar in a way to the Netflix Original documentary Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, with footage of Sonaiya and his team’s encounter with Kanye West. It also contains insightful interviews with the likes of Benson Idonije (Burna Boy’s grandfather), Obi Asika, Weird MC, Kaffy, JJC Skillz, Eldee, OJB Jezrel, Banky W, Tiwa Savage, Sound Sultan, Ayo Animasaun, Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, DJ Abass and DJ Abrantee among other notable music personalities.
- The producer/director has been part of the evolution of contemporary Nigerian music scene since 1999, documenting and compiling hundreds of hours of what has now metamorphorsed into a global brand. These 12 episodes also serve as Season 1 of an ongoing project From Shonaiya’s R70 production company.