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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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What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - April Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
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

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - April Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
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

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - April Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
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

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - April Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
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

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - April Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
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

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - April Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
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

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - April Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
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

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - April Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
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 Untimely Loss Of Media Mogul, Shona Ferguson

Mr. Ferguson’s passing was due to Covid-19 related complications, and not a heart operation as reported in the media.”

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The Late Media Powerhouse, Shona Ferguson
10 / 100

Hazel Lifa

Actor, producer and media powerhouse, Shona Ferguson, has passed on. He was 47.

Ferguson Films released a statement confirming the news, and it read: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Mr. Shona Ferguson. He passed away at noon today (Friday, July 30th 2021). Mr. Ferguson’s passing was due to Covid-19 related complications, and not a heart operation as reported in the media.”

The Untimely Loss Of Media Mogul, Shona Ferguson Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Shona Ferguson

Fondly known as ‘Uncle Sho’ within the South African media industry, Ferguson and his wife, fellow actor and producer, Connie Ferguson, founded Ferguson Films in 2010.

The Untimely Loss Of Media Mogul, Shona Ferguson Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Shona Ferguson and wife, Connie
The Untimely Loss Of Media Mogul, Shona Ferguson Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Shona Ferguson

The ‘Kings of Joburg’ star was an African creative whose work not only blessed us with quality entertainment, but created opportunities for so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they deal with their loss.

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Entertainment

What’s Trending In The Entertainment Industry – July Edition

Zimbabwean multi-award winning author and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangarembga recently won the 2021 PEN Pinter annual literature award.

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Image: Tsitsi Dangarembga
17 / 100

Hazel Lifa

MUSIC

£4m Fund for Southern African Creative and Culture Organisations

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Sound Connects Fund Flyer

The German Goethe-Institut and Music in Africa Foundation have teamed up to start a Sound Connects Fund worth £4m. The fund is aimed at supporting the works of cultural and creative groups in the SADC region. According to Music in Africa Foundation’s director, Eddie Hatitye, qualifying applicants are from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The grant will be awarded annually from 2021 to 2024 with recipients receiving from £35,000 to £180,000. The first round of applications is open and will close midnight on the 25th of July 2021.

Another Win for Burna Boy

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Burna Boy BET Awards

Burna Boy is adding yet another accolade to his name. The Nigerian artist has bagged yet another BET award for Best International Act, making him the only African act to win the award three consecutive times. Burna Boy beat heavy hitters like Wizkid, Youssoupha and Young T & Bugsey to mention a few. It is definitely Burna Boy’s time, with his fifth studio album, ‘Twice as Tall’ earning over 5m streams worldwide within its first hour of release. ‘Twice as Tall’ debuted at number one on Billboard’s US World Album chart and has earned a Grammy Award for Best Global music Album, making history as the first Nigerian artist to get back to back nominations in a particular category.

MOVIES/TV

Miss South Africa pageant to allow transgender participants

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Lehlogonolo Machaba, the first transgender women to compete in a Miss SA pageant

The search is on for a new Miss South Africa and this time around the pageant organisers have announced that this year transgender participants will be allowed to enter. The development has earned the pageant much applause following former Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi (2019) winning the title as a black woman with a darker complexion and short natural hair; she went on to win Miss Universe. In order to be eligible for international competitions, any transgender participants need to have a valid South African national ID indicating their sex is female.

Animation Show Written in Africa by Africans

The series ‘Junior des idées en or’ follows the daily adventures of a group of African schoolchildren as they explore the world around them. According to Christophe Guignee, cartoonist, screenwriter and co-founder of Maison Junior, “In Season 1 it was French screenwriters who made this series, now we are turning it around: it is African screenwriters who will talk about the daily life of African children…”

“The training is interesting because it allows us to offer content that is modelled on our realities…” says Odilon Edjedji. According to Anais Kere a screenwriter, journalist and film critic, “In Africa, it is not easy to train in cinema. And as for scriptwriting, it is not easy, because training is rare.”

Atlantics

Atlantics is French-Senegalese director, Mati Diop’s debut feature. The film follows Ada and Souleiman’s love story as it dives into other important topics like the dire refugee situation, exploitation of the poor by the rich and the fetishization of the virgin girl and the institution of marriage. The film has been nominated for a slew of awards and won over ten awards. One can watch the film on Netflix.

BOOKS

Tsitsi Dangarembwa Scoops Esteemed Prize

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Tsitsi Dangarembga

Zimbabwean multi-award winning author and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangarembga won the 2021 PEN Pinter annual literature award last month. The coveted prize is awarded annually in memory of Nobel Laureate, Harold Pinter. The award honours her commendable literary works.

Dangarembga’s work advocating for social, political and economic change in Zimbabwe earned her the description of a, “voice of hope” by the panel that selected her. The panel included Andrew McMillain, Ellah Wakatama and English Pen trustee, Clair Armistead.

“It is an honour to join my colleagues in raising up the voice of a woman whose words have written the story of my country of birth with clarity, bravery and honesty that is a rare and precious gift” says Ellah Wakatama.

The woman of the hour stated, “I believe that the positive reception of literary works like mine helps to prove that we can unite around that which is positively human.”

David Diop’s Book, ‘At Night All Blood is Black’ wins award

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: David Diop’s book, At Night All Blood is Black

French-Senegalese writer, David Diop’s book, ‘At Night All Blood is Black’ a great read which we suggested a few months back has won the international Booker Prize. Diop and Anna Moschovakis, who translated the novel from French to English, will each receive £50,000.

“I am flattered and sort of feel as though I am living in a dream – a waking dream”, states Diop. Diop is the first French and African writer to win this prestigious prize.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

The book follows the life of Ghanaian-American neuroscientist, Gift as she navigates her professional life that in a sense is entwined with her complex family dynamic. Gyasi beautifully weaves a tale that brings together faith and science in an unlikely relationship in a story that looks at issues from childhood trauma to the effects or racism to mental illness amongst an array of topics.

PODCASTS

Girl in Skies Podcast

Hosted by two Zimbabweans far from home talking life, hot topics & everything in between, #GirlInSkies is your podcast by Nat & Xolie discussing being Africans away from home and more. Keep the conversation going on @girlinskies on twitter & Instagram and be sure to add #GirlInSkies.

Feministing While Malawian

A podcast by @lusukalanga & @_nanzunga_ exploring all issues Malawian from a feminist perspective. Follow them on Twitter, @FeministingWM.

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Entertainment

What’s Trending In The Entertainment Industry – May Edition

South African Actress, Thuso Mbedu dripped in praise for performance in Underground Railroad.

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What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: South African Actress Thuso Mbedu

Hazel Lifa

MUSIC

Grammys does away with mysterious nominating groups

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Grammy Awards

The governing board of what can be called the biggest music awards show, the Grammy Awards, is doing away with their mysterious expert committees. These so-called experts were deciding which acts made it through to the final nomination lists of most of the categories the Grammys offer awards for. These committees were started in 1989, and in recent years have been coming under fire from artists like The Weekend who has boycotted the ceremony.

In the past years the secret committees’ selection process has been questioned by Black artists in particular in the categories of Hip-Hop and R&B. These same artists tend to be overlooked for the four biggest categories; Best New Artist, Album, Song, and Record of the Year. The committee process was also called out last year by Deborah Dugan, former chief of the Grammys when she made a number of allegations against the institution.

According to Dugan, an artist up for Song of the Year was allowed onto the committee for the category. Although The Weekend commends this action, he has made it clear his boycott still stands.

Jwompa deal taking the face of African music to new levels

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Jwompa Logo

Jwompa is taking their platform to greater heights with a new partnership with 12 African brands. The playlist partnership which was launched this May, will further highlight the efforts the music app and its new partners have put towards showcasing what Africa has to offer.

The streaming app Jwompa is changing the streaming game and giving the huge African music market a platform where all African music can shine. When one goes into mainstream streaming sites you are sure to find the latest Wizkid or Casper Nyovest banger, but what about the many other African acts that are yet to grab your attention or get recommended? Jwompa’s partners include Afrochell, Daily Paper and Face2Face Africa.

SAMRO to collect royalties for artists

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: SAMRO Logo

In the past years the evolution of technology has had its effects on the music industry both positive and negative. These changes have posed huge implications on how artists profit from their music or in other cases don’t. The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has made a considerable stride towards adapting its licensing and royalty policies to the current technological times. SAMRO has started gathering royalties for its artists from big platforms Netflix, Facebook and Tik Tok. Artists will now financially benefit from any use of copyright-protected content on these platforms.

According to SAMRO Chairperson, Nicholoas Maweni, the new agreement will not only benefit the organisation’s members, but also the users of platforms like Facebook that didn’t allow the use of copyright-protected material.

MOVIES/TV

South African Documentary wins Oscar

South African documentary ‘My Octopus Teacher’ has won an Oscar. The Netflix documentary follows the peculiar but captivating relationship between Craig Foster and an octopus in the Atlantic Ocean. To create this masterpiece, Foster followed the octopus for close to a year, dedication that won the doccie 20 international awards before winning the coveted Oscar.

South African Actress, Thuso Mbedu dripped in praise for performance in Underground Railroad

Thuso Mbedu is receiving much praise for her portrayal of Cora Randall in the series adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s classic, The Underground Railroad. The series directed by Barry Jenkins is now available on Amazon Prime Video. Mbedu, 29 years old, gives a moving performance as the audacious slave who escapes slavery in Georgia through the underground railroad.

According to Oprah Winfrey on Instagram, “Thuso Mbedu gives the performance of a lifetime. Great things are coming for her, and everyone will be saying her name after watching her as the superhero that is Cora.”

We can expect more to come from the African native as she confirmed a project (a movie called The Woman King) in the works with Viola Davis in an interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Social Distancing Show. Mbedu stated the project will be shot in South Africa.

Golden Globes under diversity fire

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: A Golden Globe Award

Many institutions of late are getting their day in court as the public is calling them out for their failings. Latest in the hot seat is The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The association is responsible for the Golden Globe awards. It all started with the LA Times article at the beginning of the year that highlighted the HFPA for a lack of black members on their committee of 87 that controls the awards.
Many have threatened to cut ties with HFPA until the problem has been rectified. Adding fuel to the fire is an email sent by long-time member, Philip Berk, where he shared a post that basically called the Black Lives Matter “a racist hate group”.

Big studios like Netflix and WarnerMedia have cut ties with the Golden Globes along with stars like Mark Fuffalo, Scarlet Johansson and Tom Cruise, who has given back his three golden globes in protest. The biggest blow HFPA has received though has to be NBC refusing to air the Golden Globes next year.
In a statement, NBC stated, “We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work… As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organisation executes on its plans, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023”.

Now we wait and see if HFPA will implement any of the changes it claims to be working on, like the recruitment of more black journalists.

BOOKS

I Have Brown Skin and Curly Hair by Karen Theunissen

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: I Have Brown Skin and Curly Hair by Karen Theunissen

Definitely the first children’s book of its kind and very necessary. Theunissen addresses the heavy topic of identity that is plaguing more and more young children. The rhyming picture book is written in a manner that makes it so the intended audience is entertained as it grasps this heavy topic. The book talks about a family that didn’t look anything alike, this fact was the source of scrutiny for the unit. After learning about their heritage, one of the children decides to speak up about why the family looks the way it does.

The writer presents the unique history of South Africa’s mixed-race in a manner that garnishes pride not only in the South African past but applies to the story of diversity for any race or group of people. A must-have for any parent or even educator looking to introduce the massive topic of diversity with young children.

An Act of Defiance by Irene Sabatini

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: An Act of Defiance by Irene Sabatini

A political drama that takes us through the realities of political violence and its effects of the ordinary person. The book is set in 2000; it focuses on lawyer, Gabrielle, seeking justice and her love affair with American diplomat Ben. The author, Sabatini paints a vivid picture of the political environment of Zimbabwe and keeps the audience glued from start to finish. Sabatini is the winner of the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers. According to Helen Benedict, writer of Wolf Season, “A brave novel about conscience and trauma, justice and fear, and the struggle to regain strength after the near destruction of the soul.”

Addis Ababa Noir by Maaza Mengiste

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Addis Ababa Noir by Maaza Mengiste

A collection of 14 short stories that tell the unsettling crime dynamic in one of Africa’s oldest cities, Addis Ababa. Maaza Mengiste, a Booker Prize shortlistee, edits the collection in a way that presents the city’s mixture of rich and poor, and the results of that dynamic at its best.

PODCASTS

African Developers Podcast
What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: African Developers Podcast Logo

A podcast where African software developers share their stories. Hosted by Kessir Adjaho, the platform interviews African Software Developers about their journey and the cool stuff they are working on, with the latest interviewee being Rasheeda Yehuza, Senior Software Engineer at Wayfair, Berlin.

https://afrodevpodcast.com/

Tea Time with Twaambo

Tea time with Twaambo is a podcast hosted by Twaambo and brings you a breath of fresh air while making you feel refreshed, reconnected with yourself and feeling validated. With today’s society where we are not listened to or validated for our feelings, how do we know whether our feelings are normal, let alone justifiable? The solution is that sometimes we just need to talk. Listen to this podcast and get all of your feelings out in the open. You don’t need an appointment – just some lollies, and a cup of tea.

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