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
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.