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Rapman Discusses ‘Supacell,’ Netflix’s Innovative All-Black Sci-Fi Series

In early 2020, Andrew Onwubolu, known by his stage name Rapman, was gearing up for the U.S. release of his feature directorial debut, “Blue Story.” The film, based on his experiences in South London, revolves around two friends caught up in gang conflicts. Despite its success in the UK, grossing £4.7 million from a modest budget, the movie faced setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a digital release.

Following the disruption, another project of Rapman’s, “American Son,” a remake of the French film “A Prophet,” was also shelved. However, Rapman swiftly shifted his focus to a new endeavor, “Supacell,” a groundbreaking British sci-fi series for Netflix. Set in South London, the show features an all-Black cast discovering superpowers, a departure from Rapman’s previous work.

Rapman shared his excitement about the show, noting the lack of representation for ethnic superheroes outside major franchises. He emphasized the significance of showcasing the Black community in the sci-fi genre, a realm largely unexplored. The inspiration for “Supacell” stemmed from Rapman’s desire to portray ordinary Londoners with extraordinary abilities, influenced by the realism of shows like “Heroes.”

While “Supacell” touches on themes of gang culture and knife crime akin to “Blue Story,” Rapman underscores the importance of reflecting South London’s reality. He aims to present diverse perspectives authentically, shedding light on the experiences of Black residents in the region. The show’s unique premise and all-Black cast mark a significant milestone in British television, potentially paving the way for more inclusive storytelling.

Anticipation for “Supacell” extends beyond the UK, with Rapman receiving positive feedback from American viewers and industry professionals. The show’s innovative approach resonates with audiences, hinting at a promising reception in the US. Despite historical challenges in on-screen representation, Rapman’s creation represents a step towards greater diversity and inclusivity in storytelling.

The response to “Supacell” underscores a shift in the entertainment landscape, with the show challenging traditional norms and setting a new standard for representation. As the series prepares for its premiere, Rapman’s vision of a superhero narrative with an all-ethnic cast offers a fresh perspective on familiar genres, sparking conversations about diversity and inclusion in media.