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Banijay Buys Stake in Immovable Studios, Production Firm of U.K. Hip-Hop Artist and Author Akala

Production powerhouse Banijay‘s Banijay U.K. unit has acquired a minority stake in Immovable Studios, co-founded by British hip-hop artist, author and social entrepreneur Akala and his business partner and talent manager Chanelle Newman. 

Financial details of the investment weren’t disclosed. 

The investment was made by Banijay U.K. Growth Fund and is designed “to support the business as it builds its premium television and content portfolio,” the company said. The agreement includes a first-look deal with the company’s distribution arm Banijay Rights.

Newman has led the Immovable Studios, which is focused on growing its slate of premium scripted and non-scripted content, and has been involved in the production of such Akala-fronted TV projects as Poetry: Between the Lines for the BBC, Akala’s Odyssey for BBC Four, and Akala Presents: The Ruins of Empires for BBC Two. An untitled docu-series inspired by Akala’s best-selling book Natives, which is part biography and part polemic on race and class, has also been commissioned by BBC Documentaries. Banijay also said that “another major scripted series is in funded development.” 

Among his other work, Akala also launched The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company, a music theater production company aimed at exploring the social, cultural and linguistic parallels between the works of William Shakespeare and that of modern-day hip-hop artists.

“Akala is an extraordinary talent, a creative force whose books Nativesand The Dark Lady have reimagined stories from our shared histories,” said Patrick Holland, executive chair and CEO of Banijay U.K.

“I think television is a place where some of the best art in the world is being made today, where some of our favorite modern epics have been created, and I am extremely excited to delve further into this medium to do what I love: storytelling,” said Akala.

Added Newman: “Championing artists and their creativity is my passion, and it is great to have the support and infrastructure from Patrick and his incredible team to continue building our vision to produce impactful content for a global audience.”


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