Last year, Lupita Nyong’o signed on to narrate Discovery Channels’s six-part wildlife docuseries Serengeti. Directed and produced by American Idol creator Simon Fuller and John Downer, Serengeti tells stories of daily life on the African plains, following the animals for one year. The narrating role appealed to Lupita because she had never heard a female or African narrator on wildlife docuseries set in Africa.
Last year, also, Lupita was honoured by the global conservation organization WildAid for her advocacy in preserving wild African elephants.
“When Simon approached me to do this, I realized I have never, ever heard a nature documentary narrated by a woman,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview. “And I certainly have never heard a nature documentary narrated by an African. For those two reasons I thought, ‘Wow, this is actually quite novel for me to take this on.’ I was very excited by that, to be the one responsible for telling this African story. It was one small way to contribute to diversifying the genre.”
“One of the things they asked is that I use my natural voice and my natural accent, which is all over the place,” she explained. “That was really exciting because my accent right now has been influenced by all my global experiences, so just to be able to have the freedom to do that, to bring myself to it, was great.”
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, editor, journalist, and curator. He is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture, art, photography, business, activism, and health. He has vast experience working in literature. He has sat on the judging panels of The Gerald Kraak Prize and of The Morland Writing Scholarship. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria's first queer art collective, and Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. For three years, Nov. 2016 to Apr. 2020, he led the transformation of the literary blog Brittle Paper into a continental powerhouse, ideating and administering The Brittle Paper Awards, the first by an African publication. His work in queer advocacy has been profiled in Literary Hub. In 2019, he won The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians." He completed a collection of short stories in 2016 and his novel in 2020. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.