Disney’s Deal with African Production Company Kugali

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Liron Brunner, Staff Writer

For the first time in history, Disney is partnering with an African creative company called Kugali. Over time, Disney has made more attempts to increase the amount of diversity within its characters and stories.

Within Disney’s vast catalog, there are a very select number of movies that represent African culture, but that is about to change with a new TV series coming out in 2022 called Iwájú. Solely taking place in Africa, Iwájú loosely translated means “the future” in Yoruba, a language spoken in West Africa. 

While not much is known about the plot of Iwájú, the founders of Kugali are comic book artists who aim to tell authentic African stories through their comics. It will be modern and authentic to Africa and the African story.

Disney is also partnering with the distribution company FilmOne Entertainment in Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana. Many movies are being created under this partnership such as Death on the Nile, Black Widow, Soul, The New Mutants, Eternals, The Last Duel, The King’s Man, and several more.

This is a new chapter for both companies, partnering with companies that are out of the usual. Disney has had many different cultures represented throughout its history like in Moana, Aladdin, Mulan, and Saldus Amigos, but when you think of classic Disney classics, they are often very white.

With these new deals, representation seems to be at the forefront of Disney’s agenda, and it is hoped the media giant will inspire other film companies to have more diverse movies. 

“This deal is huge because it means that Disney is paying attention. Their presence can open doors for movie collaborations,” said Shola Thompson, a Nigeria-based film consultant.

As well as the representation, the deal is getting higher quality movies into the cinemas for the consumers. 

With larger corporations partnering with African companies, there will be a greater Hollywood influence in Africa. Kugali was especially inspired to work with Disney because they were fed up with non-African people telling African stories and the founders took it upon themselves to change that.

With this partnership, a new era of filmmaking and storytelling will be brought to Disney, and possibly even the entertainment industry as a whole.