Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o will not grace the premiere of the movie ‘Black Panther’, which is expected to screen at the Mega City Mall in Kisumu at 7pm Tuesday, February 13.
Kisumu County Executive for Tourism, Sports and Arts Achie Ojany Alai says Lupita’s diary could not allow her to grace today’s event.
Ms Nyong’o had taken to her Facebook page late January to reveal that ‘Black Panther’ would premiere in Kisumu on February 13, however she did not assure her followers of her presence.
“Lupita did not say that she was coming for the premiere. I think we would have all wanted her to come, but her diary is not controlled by the Kisumu County Government; it is her schedule with her producers. However, she has sent all her love and her best wishes. The most important thing is that she has gifted us the movie and Kenya gets to host it. Kenya being the first African nation to have this event, is a great privilege,” said Ms Ojany.
The Tourism CEC further stated that all was not lost, given the number of interested foreign and local visitors arriving in Kisumu for the premiere.
“In terms of her not being here, that is not all lost. In terms of numbers coming to Kisumu, it has been an amazing flood of people coming in, including the international media. All the international communities around the lake region have also come into the region; the hotels are reporting great bookings, the airlines are full. That is a good indication that the movie is receiving its due attention. But most certainly that Lupita comes from Kisumu County is an amazing opportunity and that Kenya gets to showcase her talent and we get to be the first to see it!” she said.
Ms Ojany says effort, heavy investments have gone into preparing for the premiere of ‘Black Panther’.
“The County has focused on this over the last one week. We are working in partnership with iMax and other sponsors. The residents are also ready; we have done the set-up to a beautiful African standard, the guests are all coming in. We want to celebrate where Lupita is coming from,” she stated.
In Lupita’s absence, Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathew Owili will be the chief guest at the premiere.
Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, who has been in the U.S. for treatment, will be jetting back mid Tuesday, February 13.
“Prof. Nyong’o returns to the country today, though he will not make it for the premiere. The rest of the Kisumu County Government is present to represent him, under Deputy Governor Mathew Owili,” said Ms Ojany.
Ms Ojany urged those who traveled far and wide for premiere of the ‘Black Panther’ not to feel disappointed.
“She is one of our own, she is going nowhere; she belongs to our country. Yes, she is not going to be there for the premiere, but this is her home. She will be in and out as she always does. But that does not mean that since she is not here, we have lost out; that means that we will represent her really well as Kenyans in her absence,” she said.
“Lupita has invited 1, 200 students from the seven sub-counties of Kisumu to watch ‘Black Panther’. They will watch the movie next Tuesday,” said Ms Ojany.
The ‘Black Panther’ premiere will take place from 7pm to 9pm at the Mega City Mall in Kisumu.
A worldwide premiere will, thereafter, follow on February 16.
Prior to the Kisumu event, ‘Black Panther’ premiered in London and Seoul in South Korea.
The film tells the story of T’Challa aka Black Panther, the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. His super powers include enhanced speed, strength, night vision, and healing.
Lupita stars as Nakia, T’Challa’s former lover and an operative of the all female special forces of Wakanda.
“I can say that Nakia, when we meet her, is a war dog, which means she’s one of Wakanda’s CIA agents,’ she told Slashfilm.
“Her job is to spy around the world and report back to Wakanda to keep Wakanda safe and keep Wakanda informed.”