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John Boyega announced he is stepping down as a brand ambassador for the British cologne company Jo Malone after he was cut out of the Chinese version of a commercial he originally conceived, directed and starred in.

“I have decided to step down as Jo Malone’s global ambassador. When I joined the brand as their first male global ambassador last year, I created the short film we used to launch the campaign. It won the Fragrance Foundation Virtual awards 2020 for Best Media Campaign,’ he tweeted on Monday.

The original commercial, titled “London Gent,” showed Boyega walking around the Peckham neighborhood in London and featured a predominantly Black cast.

“Their decision to replace my campaign in China by using my concepts and substituting a local brand ambassador for me, without either my consent or prior notice, was wrong. The film celebrated by personal story — showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family,” Boyega wrote.

John Boyega has sign a deal with Netflix to produce a slate of non-English language films focusing on West and East Africa

“While many brands understandably use a variety of global and local ambassadors , dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone,” Boyega’s statement continued. “It’s back to back but I assure you this will be dealt with swiftly. I don’t have time for nonsense. We press on and strong. Stay blessed people.”

Jo Malone issued a public apology to Boyega after reshooting his commercial and recasting him with Chinese actor Liu Haoran in the new version.

“John is a tremendous artist with great personal vision and direction. The concept for the film was based on John’s personal experiences and should not have been replicated,” the brand toldThe Hollywood Reporter.

The Jo Malone debacle was not the first time Boyega has been removed for promotional material in China. Back in 2015, a Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster for China left out the actor and co-star Oscar Isaac.

 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, John Boyega and his UpperRoom Productions have signed a deal with Netflix to develop non- English films focusing on West and East Africa.

Netflix says that UpperRoom “will develop film projects based on stories, cast, characters, crew, literary properties, mythology, screenplays and or other elements in or around African Countries.

Boyega, whose family is from Nigeria, Said in a statement that he’s thrilled to be working with Netflix on this, especially with the idea of making non-English films that adapt African stories and original material.

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Recently, Netflix has made an effort to prioritise original content from Africa. Netflix shared its plans to offer more African shows back in 2018. Its latest African original, Queen Sono, dropped worldwide at the end of February, while another as-yet unnamed series set in Nigeria was announced at the same time. Meanwhile, two further originals, South African teen drama Blood & Water and animated series Mama K’s Team 4 are set to land later this year.

Speaking to Variety, vice president of international film at Netflix, David Kosse, said, “Africa has a rich history in storytelling, and for Netflix, this partnership with John and UpperRoom presents an opportunity to further our investment in the continent while bringing unique African stories to our members both in Africa and around the world.” Estimates suggest that subscriber figures for Africa are currently low, but Nollywood is a multi-billion dollar industry, so the potential for Netflix’s growth in Africa as a whole is huge.