Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios partners with EbonyLife to tell African stories

Mo Abudu

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Nigerian media company EbonyLife Media are partnering on a multi-project scripted slate connected to Africa.

Under the partnership, the two studios will produce two series and one film project including an “Afropolitan” dramedy series Dada Safaris, which follows four friends who mke a go of running a safari lodge.

The second series project is The Gods, which follows a pair of married Cambridge professors who set out to find answers to a surge of natural disasters, but find seven long forgotten African gods instead.

The feature project, Are We Getting Married?, is a comedy set in the US that tells the story of the daughter of a wealthy Nigerian family who falls in love with a nerdy but charming Africa- American from Atlanta and their decision to get married.  While the couple hopes for an intimate ceremony, their parents have other ideas.

The deal follows EbonyLife’s recent exclusive two-year first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television, which similarly saw the two companies partner to develop scripted series focused on African culture.

EbonyLife Media encompasses EbonyLife TV, EbonyLife Films, and EbonyLife Studios and is focused on creating original content that “showcases a pioneering and progressive Africa” with the goal of becoming “the most influential storyteller of a new Africa.”

Westbrook Studios was meanwhile founded in 2019 by the Smiths alongside Miguel Melendez and Ko Yada, and is focused on “empowering artists to tell stories that connect the world.”

Its current TV projects include the recently announced Amend: The Fight for America and a two-season order of Bel-Air, a dramatic reboot of Will Smith’s 1990s comedy The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air for Peacock

“As we set out to focus our initial slate of international content for the studio business across a diversified set of key territories and regions, the creative energy and world class artistry coming out of Africa is absolutely undeniable,” said Westbrook Studios SVP, head of international TV & Film, Eli Shibley.

“Westbrook’s goal is to create and curate powerful and inclusive content,” added EbonyLife CEO Mo Abudu. “This is completely in line with our vision at EbonyLife – to tell global African stories from our perspective.”

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