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Chadwick Boseman Tribute

The world came to a screeching halt on Friday 29th of August 2020 as the news of Chadwick Boseman’s death broke.

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Hazel Lifa

The world came to a screeching halt on Friday 29th of August 2020 as the news of Chadwick Boseman’s death broke. The actor passed away at his home in Los Angeles. He was 43. His publicist had confirmed the news, stating that the star’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward and his family were by his side in his final hours. 

Boseman received his diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, which he kept under wraps. The beloved actor carried on with his career starring in the marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” which he is best known for in 2017. The regal actor brought the long-awaited first-ever black superhero to life. Since attending Howard University, where he worked at an African bookstore as an undergraduate, Boseman had always admired the character T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther” comics. Boseman embraced the role’s symbolic significance with devotion; he lobbied for characters to speak in authentic African accents and led on-set cast discussions about ancient African symbolism and spirituality. His amazing work in “Black Panther” brought together black people from all over the world, uniting to celebrate history in the making.

Taylor Simone Ledward and her husband, Chadwick Boseman

A private figure who shied away from the Hollywood limelight, the star rarely revealed details about his personal life. Boseman’s talent gained recognition rather; he was 35 when he appeared in his first prominent role as Jackie Robinson in “42”. He quickly made up for lost time starring in a string of star-making performances in major biopics as James Brown in “Get On Up” and as Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall”. Boseman’s creative versatility, old-fashioned gravitas and modesty transformed him into one of his generation’s most sought-after leading men.

News of his passing enticed widespread shock and grief and many celebrities are paying tribute to the star. According to Martin Luther King III, a human-rights activist and the eldest son of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the actor had “brought history to life on the silver screen” in his portrayals of pioneering Black leaders.

Even the political world paid tribute; former vice president and current Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr. stated in a Twitter post, “Inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even superheroes.”

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton dedicated his win in the Belgian Grand Prix to Boseman and his family. After setting the fastest time during the qualifying session on Saturday, Hamilton stood atop his car and crossed his arms over his chest in a ‘Wakanda Forever’ salute.

Zimbabwean actress Danai Gurira also posted a moving tribute to Boseman on social media which began, “How do you honour a king?” Gurira played Dora Milaje member Okoye, special guard to Boseman’s character, King T’Challa in the Black Panther.

Danai Gurira and Chadwick Boseman attend the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 3, 2018 in Santa Monica, California.
Danai Gurira Tribute to Chadwick Boseman

Kenyan-Mexican actress, Lupita Nyong’o, wrote a touching tribute to her “Black Panther” co-star, saying the actor’s death from colon cancer “doesn’t make sense.” Nyong’o played Boseman’s King T’Challa’s love interest Nakia, and while she says she didn’t know her costar long, he will stay with her always.

The Walt Disney Company now faces the dilemma of how to continue the blockbuster franchise, “Black Panther” without Boseman, if at all. The sequel had been scheduled for release in 2022 although filming had yet to start. Fans have quickly taken to Twitter demanding that Disney not recast the role. The studio is yet to respond.

Chadwick Aaron Boseman will be remembered; a soaring figure in the black community. He came, he saw, he conquered; paving the way for more black stars in spaces unattainable before his audacity.

Rest well our King!

Wakanda Forever! 

Entertainment

What’s Trending In The Entertainment Industry – April Edition

Africa just can’t help itself this year as our artists continue to give the international scene a run for its money.

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Focalistic Spotify Ad on Times Square Billboard

Hazel Lifa


TV & MOVIES

Air Conditioner
The film is Angolan director/co-writer Fradique’s first fictional feature. It follows Matacedo and Zezinha, a security guard and housemaid, as they try to retrieve their employer’s air conditioner. The film was featured in the 31st Annual Cascade Festival of African Films that virtually ran from February 5th to March 10th of 2021.

air conditioner movie trailer

HERO: Inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Mr. Ulric Cross
The film documents not only the impressive life but the times in which Ulric Cross lived (1917- 2013). The historic drama highlights the forgotten role the World War II hero and lawyer played in the fight for Independence that occurred in Africa in the late 1950s to early 1960. The film was also featured in the 31st Annual Cascade Festival of African Films.

HERO: Inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Mr. Ulric Cross movie trailer

MUSIC

Africa Shines at 2021 Grammys

Image: WizKid and Burna Boy

2021 Grammys were definitely a huge nod to African talent. Despite the pandemic complicating things, the 63rd Grammy ceremony was definitely one for the books. We had, I believe, the first-ever African, Trevor Noah, host the ceremony.

Then, history was made as Burna Boy proved that the second time is a charm, as he won Best Global Music Album for ‘Twice as Tall’. WizKid kept the party going with his win for Best Music Video for his track, Brown Skin Girl alongside Beyoncé.

Moroccan Rapper El Grande Toto

Image: El Grande Toto

In a country that flat out disapproves of rapping, sparking controversy not only on a social scale but in academic spaces as well, Moroccan rapper El Grande Toto has managed to gain considerable traction and support for his work. El Grande Toto is probably the most streamed rapper on the Moroccan rap scene, with about 20 million people listening to his music across the globe on the streaming service Spotify.

Formally known as Taha Fahssi, El Grande Toto has managed to grab fans’ hearts on such a scale mainly due to social media, as the rap scene in Morocco is still on the rise. “Moroccan rappers are working hard, Moroccan producers are working hard, Moroccan engineers are working hard, everyone here is working, we work like crazy. We don’t have the adequate industry; things are starting to grow now,” El Grande Toto states.

While he raps in his native tongue and no one at Asante could understand his lyrics, the rhythm and flow are impressive. One of his most popular songs Pablo and HORS SÉRIE are a good place to start for new fans.

Africa in Times Square Billboard

Image: Sho Madjozi Youtube Ad on Times Square Billboard

Africa just can’t help itself this year as our artists continue to give the international scene a run for its money. Having a billboard in Times Square is a big deal hands down for anyone; on average, Times Square gets about 300 000 visitors a day, talk about ‘all eyes on you’!

African acts like Sho Madjozi, Lady Du and Focalistic have appeared on billboards in Times Square this year, shining bright and representing. Lady Du and Focalistic’s billboards were for a Spotify ad showcasing hottest African talent. Sho Madjozi and her dance crew are on a YouTube Music’s Black Voices billboard.

BOOKS

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Emezi gives us a unique book that offers us the experience of the protagonist, as we see him through the people around him as they deal with his death and look back at his life. Once in a while, the author gives us a glimpse of Vivek from the grave as he deals with how people misunderstood him. Through Vivek’s story, the novel deals with topics like culture, identity and family to name a few.

Imperfect Arrangements by Frances Mensah-Williams

Imperfect Arrangements by Frances Mensah-Williams

The novel looks at the trials and tribulations of three best friends in Ghana. The author gives us a front-row seat to the obstacles that come with friendship, relationships and love.

A Girl is A Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

A Girl is A Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

A coming of age story that centres around Kirabo, a girl growing up in Uganda during Idi Amin’s dictatorship. The novel follows Kirabo as she finds herself without her mother; simultaneously looking at folktales and traditions, and how they affect women in a patriarchal society.

PODCASTS

Chicken and Jollof Rice
The show gives us the perception of first-generation African-Americans who are a blend of African and African-American experiences. The podcast strikes a balance of serious and light-hearted tone as social issues of all kinds are addressed.

Knowledge Bandits

A podcast that aims at giving a spotlight to the successful, game-changing entrepreneurs of Africa. Arum Galadime, the host and producer of the podcast states, “…with the right mentorship, advice, work ethic and motivation, anyone can achieve a certain level of greatness.”

Good Things Guy

Image: Good Things Guy Podcast


A show with a difference that aims at only spreading good vibes. The podcast grew from a blog with the same premises to what it is today. Brent Lindeque focuses on bringing only good positive news to his listeners in a world where the bad seems to be taking centre stage. A podcast that uplifts as it reminds listeners it’s not all bad.

https://player.fm/series/good-things-guy-2333133

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Entertainment

The Senseless Loss of Zimbabwean Actress, Anne Nhira

Anne was attacked while descending a mountain where she had gone for morning prayers with her brother Juan.

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The Late Anne Nhira

Hazel Lifa


2021 claims yet another African talent that was Anne Nhira. Nhira was an actress, model, talent manager and film producer who found success in the early 90s through her role as Vimbai on the Zimbabwean hit soapie, Studio 263. Nhira succumbed to injuries sustained during a robbery in Bedford View, South Africa on the 11th of March 2021.

According to Nhira’s brother, Juan Nhira, “She sustained injuries on her chest area, rib cage and back during a robbery on Monday afternoon (8th March) in Bedford View, South Africa. She was only 38years of age.” Anne was attacked while descending a mountain where she had gone for morning prayers with her brother Juan.

Nhira featured in projects like South African film, ‘The Rapist’, popular soapie, ‘Zabalaza’ and soapie, “Ndafunga Dande” where she got to take part in the behind-the-camera aspect of production. Staying true to her musical upbringing, Nhira tried her hand at music in 2013 with her single, ‘The One’.

She worked up a storm in 2017 when she publically criticized the Zimbabwean Ministry of Tourism for hiring Zodwa Wabantu to perform at the Harare International Carnival. Nhira managed to get the respective authority’s attention, which led to Zodwa losing the job. Nhira also launched Anne Studios International, a company that specialises in talent scouting and management.

The Government of Zimbabwe has granted Anne a state-assisted funeral because of her immense contributions in the arts industry.

Nhira’s death is one of those acts of senseless violence that didn’t need to end in death. Go well Anne, we appreciate all the fond memories you afforded us through your work, particularly on Studio 263.

#RIPAnneNhira

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Entertainment

What’s #Trending In The Entertainment Industry – March Edition

Sha Sha has landed a feature on the soundtrack album of the highly anticipated sequel to Coming to America, dropping on the 5th of March 2021 when Coming 2 America premieres on Amazon Prime.

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Image: Coming 2 America Soundtrack Cover

MUSIC

Spotify coming to Africa

Image: Spotify Logo

Spotify announced it would be expanding into over 80 countries, and over 30 of those countries are in Africa. The company said it would be launching content and features that will grow over time, as part of its on-going commitment to create a borderless audio ecosystem. The markets include Burundi, Lesotho, Rwanda, Madagascar and Zimbabwe among others. The expansion will put Spotify’s reach at around 173 countries, and will come with the addition of 36 languages to the platform.

Spotify’s announcement comes a year after Apple music announced a similar move of expansion, a focus on the African markets was also expressed. Whatever the story is we love the usually ignored African demographic is finally getting the attention it deserves.

SAMA 2021 Entries Breaking Records

Image Source: East Coast Radio

The South African Music Awards (SAMAs) has seen a substantial increase in entries for its 27th edition. Reaching well over 1,000 entries, the call for submissions started in November 2020 and closed on January 31st, 2021. A notable increase in entries can be seen over the years with this year’s 1,163 a world away from last year’s 802. The Best Collaboration category received the most submissions at 170 entries. The vetting and judging processes are underway; we will hear those who made the shortlist in April.

“We are humbled that the industry has voted in overwhelmingly great numbers that they believe the SAMA has a place in their careers and the industry they operate in” stated Nhlanhla Sibisi, CEO of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA).

Sha Sha to Feature on Coming 2 America Soundtrack Album

Image: Zimbabwean musician, Sha Sha

The Queen of Amapiano has landed a feature on the soundtrack album of the highly anticipated sequel to Coming to America. Sha Sha is to feature on one of the soundtracks with South Africa’s Tellaman and Nigeria’s Oxlade. The album is titled, Rhythms of Zamunda: Music Inspired by Coming 2 America, and will feature other African artists like Tekno, Prince Kaybee, Tiwa Savage and Fally Ipupa. The album will drop on the 5th of March 2021 when Coming 2 America premieres on Amazon Prime.

MOVIES/TV

Loads of African Acts Nominated for Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards

Image: Nigerian Comedian, Emanuella

Comedienne, Emmanuella and the Ikorudu Bois have been nominated for the 2021 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards. The Nigerian acts are under the African social media star category. A huge deal for these kids as they have been nominated alongside heavy hitters like South Africa’s Bonang and Kenya’s Elsa Majimbo.

The virtual awards ceremony will air on the 14th of March and hosted by Nickelodeon veteran, Kenan Thompson. Voting is on-going on Nickelodeon worldwide, good luck guys!

Judas and the Black Messiah

Image: Judas and the Black Messiah

The film is an American biographical drama that looks at the story of Fed Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 60s. The biopic is centred on William O’Neal’s disloyalty to Hampton. The film has been praised by critics for the acting and directing, and it’s available to watch on HBO Max.

You Will Die at Twenty

Image: You will die at twenty

You will die at 20 is a Sudanese drama that follows the existence of a boy who was told he would die when he reached the age of 20 by a holy man in a remote village. Directed by Amjad Abu Alalal, the film was selected as the Sudanese entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. It was the first time Sudan had made a submission in the category. It was initially released on January 8th, 2020 in France.

BOOKS

At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

The book looks at the experience of Alfa Ndiaye, one of the many Senegalese men that fought in WW1 for the French. The novel details Alfa’s quest for German blood triggered by witnessing his friends die horrific deaths during the war. The story explicitly conveys the horrors and consequences that many African soldiers faced fighting for colonial powers.

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah

The novel reiterates the experience of colonialism on not only nations but individuals. The book explores the effect of colonialism from; the African characters who kill their own in the colonizer’s name, to the Africans who are punished for the colonizers’ education like Afiya. The novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

Set during Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia. At the heart of the story is a house girl named Hirut who is on the verge of joining the war. Her interactions with other characters in the book give the reader an understanding of the height of the brutality, from rape to violence. The book shines a light on the forgotten female soldiers of Ethiopia.

PODCASTS

Talking Heads

Based in Cape Town, this podcast is a platform to identify, showcase and create opportunities for African thought leaders. The show focuses on giving centre stage to everyday impressive Africans making a difference whether in their communities or on a global scale. An interesting podcast if you are into the future of Africa as we navigate the global environment.

Afropop Worldwide

An award-winning podcast dedicated to music from Africa and the African dispora. It is hosted by African personality, Georges Collinet. The show offers African flavour from South Africa to Senegal to Cuba, and around the world some more. The podcast goes an extra mile further giving its listeners live concert recording of greats like Kanda Bongo Man, and an opportunity to meet starts and newcomers on the African music scene. Looking to get lost in African music? This show is the best place to start.

Bad Missonary Podcast

Hosts, Gret Glyer and Prince Inglis bring together their wildly different pasts to answer questions about life in Africa and the biggest news in Malawi and the US. With one coming from a privileged upbringing and the other poverty, you can be sure opinions and perspective dissimilarities will make for an interesting listen.

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