We often hear about successful Africans like Lupita Nyong’o and Edi Gathegi that came to the U.S. and made big names of themselves. But what about Africans that come to the land of opportunity and commit crimes? What about the rotten apples?
Nairobi-born actor, writer and producer Irungu Mutu asked himself those questions and came up with a groundbreaking answer: True Crime Diaspora, a docu-drama series that investigate crimes committed by Africans in the U.S.
Mutu, who lives in Brooklyn, teamed up with fellow New York-based creatives Jakki Kerubo and Loui Terrier and is now running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of a pilot episode.
“Do we just want to show Africans killing each other? No, that’s really not what we want to do,” Mutu told KenyanVibe recently. “That’s just a show that has no value.”
Instead, Mutu wants to delve deeper and explore the psychology behind gruesome crimes. This, he says, will differentiate True Crime Diaspora from your generic true crime series.
“We’re going to have a psychologist in each episode,” Mutu said. “The psychologist is going to give us insight on where the [criminals] in the show came from and why that made them likely to commit this crime and how it could have been prevented.”
Mutu, who moved to the U.S. when he was 16, said that he feels a particularly personal connection with the topic matter of the show. With a somber voice, he spoke of a family member who moved to Canada and eventually ended up in serious trouble.
“[She] came to Canada two decades ago to study and she wasn’t in a good mental state,” he said. “She fell into a lot of trouble here and things didn’t end up well for her, let’s just say that.”
Mutu and his production team were initially only going to focus on Kenyans that come to the U.S. and commit serious crimes. But after talking to several TV network representatives, producers and people in the film industry, they changed their mind.
“There’s a lot of African countries where people love these sort of shows,” Mutu said, pointing out that he has been in talks with Netflix and Hulu representatives, who have both shown interest in True Crime Diaspora.
But as with any creative project, extensive funding is demanded and the project has not yet received any official backing from networks. Mutu and his team have calculated that they need roughly $31,000 to produce a pilot episode and their Kickstarter campaign expires on Nov. 10.
The pilot episode, entitled “Dream Killer,” will cover the story of a Kenyan man who moved to Minnesota with his wife and two children. Driven by jealousy and the pressures of adjusting to a radically new culture, the man ended up murdering his wife and children after he suspected that his wife was cheating on him.
“We wanted to start with Kenya because we are connected to the first story and have commission from the family, very graciously, to tell that story,” Mutu said.
If you can contribute any amount of money to this terrifyingly unique docu-drama, Mutu and his team will greatly appreciate it. If the Kickstarter campaign goes well, auditioning will begin in the spring and your humble donation will pay off in episode after episode of nail-biting murder mysteries.