Shonaiya to release Afrobeats Documentary on Netflix
As the Afrobeats music scene continues to attract global spotlight, renowned filmmaker and talent manager, Ayo Shonaiya, is looking to preserve the origins and growth of this music scene, in his 12-part documentary series dubbed, Afrobeats: The Backstory. The film, which premiered in April 2021 at the Filmhouse Cinema in Lagos, will be released on the global streaming giant, Netflix, on May 27.
Collaged from footage recorded over the past 20 years, Afrobeats: The backstory is a historical art piece that chronicles the origin and development of the genre through the perspectives of key industry players.
“When I was called into music in 1999, I took my camera along with me for the journey, not knowing that I was documenting the birth of what we call Afrobeats today,” Shonaiya said in a previous interview.
“This is a story of my work in the music industry and business over 20 years, with never-before-seen footage of how we built this genre and industry into what it is today.”
Last year, the filmmaker, who has managed Afrobeats musicians like D’banj, eLDee and Don Jazzy, noted that this documentary would explore the link between the pioneering Afrobeat sound and the offshoot Afrobeats sound.
“This project, although 20 years in the making, took me two years to complete. It is coming out at a time when we are now winning Grammys. I must say this though, making a documentary instead of a feature film was also a strategy for me, as we do more entertaining than educating in Nigeria nowadays, so this is a mixture of both. It is like a history lesson with a musical soundtrack.”
With the likes of Ckay, Burna Boy and Wizkid, among others, garnering multiple billion streams across European, American and other major music markets, Afrobeats continues to enjoy a blissful dance in the limelight. Recall that, in March, renowned Afrobeats festival brand Afro Nation partnered with Billboard to launch the Billboard US Afrobeats Songs chart, which ranks the top 50 songs in the genre in the US.