Koppo and Lady B is an urban meditation on change. It's Africa, authentic, today. If anything, it's an entertaining ride.

But we also hope that it will contribute to a larger discussion about urgent global issues: urbanization, social exclusion, and global poverty. In the United States, this film will be a first -- an equal Cameroon-US documentary co-production with an African female director. Ms. Mbango's perspective on contemporary urban Africa should prove an entertaining yet alarming wake-up call to policymakers and the Africa diaspora alike.

The need for such a story is urgent. Producers Louise Mbango and Steve Dorst met in 1994 and became fast friends. But in the intervening years, life in Cameroon has transformed considerably -- both main cities, Yaounde and Douala have added more than a million people each. And with such urbanization has come massive social transformation.

Americans don't know much about contemporary urban Africans. And what we have been exposed to centers on African refugees, war, famine, or AIDS. Koppo and Lady B, by contrast, centers on everyday urban life. The producers expect many viewers may come to realize that despite their poverty and different accents, Cameroon’s urban youth are actually a lot like Americans. The lyrics of Cameroon’s most popular rap songs, for example, are not unlike popular American music. And Cameroonians’ youthful dreams also revolve around employment, security, and relationships.

Through a comprehensive distribution strategy, the producers aim to stoke dialogue about the issues raised by the film (urbanization, identity, immigration, poverty, etc). Such dialogue may be a small but important foundation for more inclusive globalization. Bottom line: when typical Americans can empathize better with the developing world’s urban poor, then issues of international security and equity will be a little easier to negotiate. And perhaps these days, facilitating such dialogue with a documentary film featuring a feminist radio journalist and feminist rap artists is not all that radical an idea.

So, whether you are a musician, scholar, researcher, linguist, ethnomusicologist, historian, organizational representative, or interested visitor, we invite you to contribute your knowledge and input. Help us get this film made. However you feel inspired, we could use your support. Spread the word: send an e-postcard to a friend.

For questions and comments, please contact the producer of your choice: Louise Mbango in Cameroon, or Steve Dorst in the Washington DC, USA. To join our mailing list, click here.

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