Netflix’s international juggernaut Money Heist is returning for one last season. The upcoming fifth season will be its last, and production will begin Monday in Denmark before filming in Spain and Portugal.
When we last saw them, The Professor’s (Álvaro Morte) team was declaring war on the authorities during their job at the Bank of Spain as he was discovered by Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri), the inspector who’s been chasing him.
A heist began to save Rio (Miguel Herrán), but it cost them beloved team member Nairobi (Alba Flores). The show will be entering uncharted territory when it returns, going beyond the heist to avenge her death.
“We are moving from a chess game – a mere intellectual strategy – to a war strategy: attack and contention,” series creator Alex Pina tells EW of the gang avenging their fallen comrade. This new goal raises the stakes while keeping the story fresh and maintaining the adrenaline that has always run through Money Heist. The war they’ve been pushed to start results in “the most epic part of all the parts we’ve shot,” according to Pina.
The Professor and his team’s world will have some new faces in it next season. Actors Miguel Ángel Silvestre (above), known for playing Sense8’s Lito, and Patrick Criado (below) are joining the ensemble cast. While Pina didn’t reveal full details about the new faces and how they’ll fit into the story, he did tease what they’ll bring to the final season. “We always try that our opponents be charismatic, intelligent, shiny,” he explains. “In this case, in pure war film genre, we also look for characters whose intelligence can measure up against The Professor’s.”
Pina also says audiences will get to know Denver’s childhood friend Manila (Belén Cuesta) much better over the final 10 episodes, and teases a standoff between Sierra and The Professor.
“Adrenaline is within Money Heist’s DNA. Every thirty seconds things take place and disrupt the characters, a turn of the screw to the action. The adrenaline mixed with feelings arising from absolutely complex, magnetic, unforeseeable characters will continue until the end of the heist to the Bank of Spain,” Pina says. “However, the gang will now be pushed into irreversible situations, into a wild war: it is the most epic part of all the parts we’ve shot.”
Watching The Professor’s intricate plan come to life has grabbed the attention of tens of millions of Netflix subscribers. Not only is Money Heist one of Netflix’s most popular shows of all time, but it is also the most popular non-English series from the streamer; part 4 of the crime drama, which premiered in April 2020, was watched by 65 million accounts in the first four weeks of release — that’s a million more than Tiger King, which premiered a month earlier, and just two million less than Stranger Things 3, which debuted in summer 2019.
Pina points to the show’s constant movement between action and emotion, as well as its underlying messages, to its global appeal. From heists to standoffs, the series has always centered the gang and their stories. “It is action and feeling, it is black comedy and drama, romance and pathos,” he shares. As for the themes of the show, Pina says viewers relate to the political and socioeconomic stance of The Professor’s team. What makes the citizens on the show rally behind the gang has also worked in getting audiences on their side.
Money Heist Parts 1-4 are available to stream on Netflix.
Beyoncé has released a trailer for her new visual album, Black is King, which aims to promote “the beauty of tradition and black excellence”.
The film will premiere globally on Disney+ on 31 July and is a reimagining of the live-action remake of The Lion King with music from Beyoncé’s album The Lion King: The Gift, which was released last year.
Little is known about the narrative elements of the project but Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell and Pharrell Williams will all feature. It is described as a visual album that “reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns”.
Black is King was shot in South Africa, west Africa, Belgium, Los Angeles, New York and London over the course of a year, with Beyoncé serving as executive producer, alongside a creative team that included the Dutch-Ghanian film-maker Emmanuel Adjei, the Ghanaian pop star Blitz Bazawule and the Belgian visual artist Pierre Debusschere.
In 2016, Beyoncé released her sixth record, Lemonade, as a visual album with a premiere on HBO that featured poetry by the Somali-British poet Warsan Shire, with segments that were shot by a group of film-makers including the Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas and Kahlil Joseph.Advertisementhttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Lemonade was one of the first times that Beyoncé had openly expressed her political views, with scenes that depicted the mothers of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin holding photographs of their sons.
Black is King will focus on “the voyages of black families … [and] a tale about a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity,” according to a press release, which also says it is a celebration of “black resilience and culture”.
It adds: “His ancestors help guide him toward his destiny, and with his father’s teachings and guidance from his childhood love, he earns the virtues needed to reclaim his home and throne.”
She also wrote to the attorney general of Kentucky to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American woman killed by police officers while asleep in her home. Taylor’s death sparked Black Lives Matter protests.
Over the last 10 years, the award-winning musician has popularised “bongo flava” – a uniquely Tanzanian offering: romantic melodies with an urban beat influenced by traditional taarab music from the East African coast.
“Diamond Platnumz is very hard working and has great showmanship,” says DJ Edu, who hosts the weekly pan-African music show This Is Africa for the BBC World Service.
And with more than 43% of Tanzania’s 55 million people having access to the internet, mainly via mobile smartphones, there is a huge home-grown Swahili-speaking audience ready to lap up his love songs.
Other Tanzanian musicians like Harmonize are also huge on YouTube.
So how big is a billion views on YouTube?
It is difficult to assess the real significance of the one billion figure, given that Diamond Platnumz has more followers on Instagram than he does subscribers on YouTube – 9.7 million compared to 3.7 million.
DJ Edu says Instagram is more of an influencer of lifestyle and new platforms such as TikTok, which allows a 30-second copyright free use of songs, are a great way of getting younger fans.
“Some songs are becoming viral through TikTok, like Diamond Platnumz’ new one called Quarantine,” he says.
This can drive people to YouTube, where money can be made through adverts.
More importantly for musicians in Africa, over the last decade YouTube has allowed them direct access to an audience, rather than relying on TV stations.
How does he compare with other African stars?
Diamond Platnumz still languishes behind some North African stars, who have huge followings in the Middle East.
And then there are African artists based elsewhere such as Malian-born singer Aya Nakamura, who trumps the be-jewelled Tanzanian musician, with more than 1.7 billion YouTube views.
The 25-year-old, who moved to France when she was a young girl, is best known for her 2018 hit Djadja.
And Akon, the Senegalese-American rapper, smashes them both with 3.5 billion views.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Diamond Platnumz’s main competitors in the YouTube numbers game are Nigerian Afrobeats stars:
P Square – 810 million
Davido – 618 million
Flavour – 617 million
Tekno – 574 million
Burna Boy – 507 million
StarBoy TV (AKA Wizkid) – 480 million
Davido’s and Burna Boy’s numbers are particularly impressive given they only opened their YouTube channels in 2018. Diamond Platnumz has been on the platform since 2011.
And StarboyTV is Wizkid’s record label, so if you add the figures to his other channel, he has 802 million views.
Some stars opt to have their own channels to promote songs and cut bureaucracy as record labels take time to issue new releases.
Other notable mentions are Magic System from Ivory Coast – with more than 477 million views. The group is particularly popular in French-speaking West Africa and France.
“This following is literally built on their 2001 song Premier Gaou – it’s the one song that really connected the whole continent,” says DJ Edu.
While lower YouTube figures for South African musicians mask their popularity – they are able to make money through local labels, says DJ Edu.
And of course YouTube is not the only streaming service.
WizKid worked with Canadian rapper Drake on the 2016 hit One Dance – that alone has been streamed more than 1.8 billion times, but it was not officially released on YouTube.
What about globally?
Drake has more than seven billion views on YouTube and Beyoncé, who worked with African artists for last year’s Lion King album, has more than 12 billion.
To put that all into perspective, Justin Bieber, the 26-year-old Canadian singer who found fame in his teens, has a whopping 21.6 billion views.
K-pop stars can also gain huge YouTube audiences quickly – Blackpink, a girl group formed in 2016, has more than nine billion YouTube views.
And Africa’s female singers?
Surprisingly female Afrobeats stars Yemi Alade and Tiwa Savage have far fewer views than their male counterparts, with 434 million and 239 million YouTube views respectively.
This may be because it has been harder for women to break through in Africa, where the music industry is so male-dominated – they have to spend time fighting their corner, concentrating on their image and less time churning out tracks, says DJ Edu.
“And until very recently they weren’t booking female artists for big shows – and if you’re in front of big audiences you can generate a following,” he says.
I find gospel singers have an unfair advantage – lyrically they just pick a few verses from the Bible and the following is already there”
Ahead of both Alade and Savage is phenomenally popular female Nigerian gospel singer Sinach, with more than 472 million views – no doubt boosted by her international tours and her following at the Christ Embassy mega church where she is a worship leader.
“I find gospel singers have an unfair advantage – lyrically they just pick a few verses from the Bible and the following is already there. They don’t have to fight for their followers,” says DJ Edu.
Which is better – online or live shows?
Some musicians, like Uganda’s Eddie Kenzo, with 388 million YouTube views, focus on building an online audience.
For others, like Angola’s C4 Pedro, it is more about touring. The Kizomba star can pack stadiums around the world – Diamond Platnumz’s appeal is less global.
Generally YouTube is where new and younger artists in Africa thrive and strive to make their name.
Take Zimbabwe, where 32-year-old musician Jah Prayzah has 99 million YouTube views, while Afro-jazz legend Oliver Mtukudzi, who was on tour until a few weeks before he died last year, did not even have an official YouTube page.
“Oliver was too busy touring to be bothered with YouTube. If you looked at his tour dates, he was touring the whole year round – and sometimes it’s better to do 50 shows than to have 100 million views,” says DJ Edu.
“For one million views [you earn] about $3,000 [£2,400] – if you were to do a show you’d make 10 times that.
“It’s not so say that Diamond Platnumz doesn’t perform, but you pick your poison.”
Executive Jet Services Limited, an aviation company, has tendered an apology for flying Naira Marley, a singer, to Abuja for a concert.
Criticisms trailed the event, with many Nigerians calling for disciplinary measures against the singer and the organisers.
The federal capital territory administration (FCTA) had sealed off the Jabi Lake mall, which hosted the singer, for violating restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking during the briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Hadi Sirika, minister for aviation, said the Executive Jet flight that conveyed Naira Marley for the concert was approved for a different purpose.
He announced that the flight company had been suspended indefinitely, adding that the flight captain would be sanctioned for providing false information.
But in a letter addressed to Sirika on Monday, Sam Iwu, the company’s chief executive officer, apologised over the incident.
He admitted that the flight was approved to convey a judge to Abuja but said the intended passenger had found his way to Abuja with the help of another flight.
Iwu said his team later got an offer to convey another set of passengers to Abuja but added that he was confused when he saw the name Fashola Babatunde.
The company’s chairman said he thought it was the minister of works and housing not knowing that “it was a bunch of useless people”.
“We hereby apologize for the above flight, with your permit ref: PMA/ATMD/0175/V/V/1268 dated 11th June, 2020,” the letter read.
“Please the flight was to carry a Judge to Abuja on Sunday 14th, 2020 as requested and permit was granted based on the application, but unfortunately when I called the Judge on Saturday morning to inform him that we have the permit, he then said that he has reached Abuja already with a different flight that someone gave him a lift to Abuja.
“So on Saturday morning 13th June, 2020 my staff called me that they have a charter flight to Abuja and that the passengers are already in the lounge as a rule passenger manifest is always sent to me before any departure, when I went through the manifest and I saw FASHOLA BABATUNDE I thought it was the Honorable Minister of Works going to Abuja with his men, so we decided to do the flight since (he) is a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I didn’t know that it was a bunch of useless people.
“We are very sorry for this mistake and we promise that this would not happen again.”
Daniel Craig has taken us to some brave new places during his time as James Bond. We’ve seen him destroy his ancestral home. We’ve watched the death of one of his quasi-parental figures. We’ve seen him get his knackers smashed up with some rope. However, if reports are to be believed, then No Time to Die is going to push 007 into his most terrifying predicament yet: parenthood.
Thanks to some call sheets that have inexplicably been put up for sale on eBay, we know that one scene shot in Italy last year features a five-year-old girl named Mathilde. The film is set five years after Spectre, and opens with Bond in retirement with Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann. Put that all together and the facts become plain – James Bond will have a five-year-old daughter in No Time to Die.
And now suddenly everything makes sense. Of course, James Bond doesn’t have any time to die. He has a five-year-old. He hasn’t got time for anything any more. I am also the father of a five-year-old, so I can confidently state that the film could have just as easily been called No Time to Sleep or No Time to Shower or No Time to Eat Breakfast Sitting Down or No Time to Watch Anything Good on TV Because Every Waking Moment is Now Soundtracked by Godawful Fan-Made Sonic the Hedgehog Videos on YouTube.
Everything is so clear now. Of course, James Bond wears a sweater on the poster. He’s not going to risk wearing a nice suit any more, not now he knows that it’ll end up covered in little tiny Nutella handprints the instant he puts it on. Seriously, it’s a wonder that he even found the time to coordinate his jumper so nicely. I guarantee that somewhere there is a poster draft where 007 stands around barefoot in some baggy dungarees, offset with an old band T-shirt he bought at a concert back when concerts were a fun thing he could attend and not a nightmarish palaver of screamingly expensive logistics that have to be arranged a full month in advance.
So far, in the entire history of 007, we have only ever seen a very small number of scenes set in his home. In Spectre we saw a bare apartment, with piles of books and pictures yet to be hung. At the time it looked like the glum abode of a man whose entire identity was wrapped up in his work. Now, though, it looks like an absolute wonderland. Because now the floor is bound to be scattered with stray Lego bricks, and toys that were picked up for a millisecond and then discarded, and juice stains, and Nutella smears, and cups of tea that were made in the insane hope that they might actually be drunk before they go cold, and half-finished drawings of Sonic the Hedgehog.
And, perhaps most importantly, it goes without saying that James Bond is a crap spy now. He was never particularly good, given his alcoholism and capacity for sexual violence, but now he’s awful. He can’t drive any tricked-out cars any more, because every button he presses just somehow makes the Twirlywoos theme tune blare out of his speakers at full volume. He can’t travel to far-flung destinations any more, because Madeleine Swann also has a job and sometimes it’s just impossible to line up their schedules. He can’t womanise, because all his deepest fantasies now involve him checking into a hotel and immediately enjoying a full night of unbroken sleep. He doesn’t drink any more, because he knows that his daughter will wake him up at 5.30 regardless of the state of his hangover. And he can’t put himself in any sort of physical jeopardy, because he keeps imagining all the horrible ways that his premature death will affect the future of his child.
What I’m saying is this – No Time to Die is going to be a film about a very tired man filling in paperwork and then rushing back for bedtime. It’s going to be brilliant. Unrelated: I really can’t wait until the schools open again.
Regina Daniels and her hubby Ned Nwoko who just announced that they are expecting their 1st child together.
Ned Nwoko shared a photo of the actress who is heavily pregnant, making the big reveal on his Instagram with the sweetest caption.
It is now official. I am excited to announce that my baby is having a baby @regina.daniels
Regina also a video of herself to share to the good news. She wrote:
I have never been this happy before , This feeling of becoming a mum is the most amazing journey of my life …I see myself speaking to my tummy all day , staring at the mirror and still can’t believe it .This child is about to change my entire life Oh! How much I can’t wait.
Still in celebration of the exciting news for them, Regina Daniels has shared some more maternity photos.
Featuring Simi, Terri, Adekunle Gold, Omah Lay, Davido, Dremo and many more the coronavirus pandemic has gotten everyone worked up and it hasn’t gotten any better with the increase in the number of cases daily.
As the global pandemic continue to affect the way we live and keeps limits to what we could do, we have selected songs we feel would lighten up the tense mood. Here’s our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks
Unless your living under a rock, there’s no way you wouldn’t have heard Simi’s melodious voice on “Duduke” produced by Oscar. The song being the number one song in the country at the moment seemed like a unique love song at the time of its release, turned out to something much deeper. It’s accompanying visuals gave listeners a deep understanding of the message Simi is trying to pass across.
The song which has beautifully written lyrics speaks about the bond between a mother and her unborn child; it shows that a mother’s love is unconditional and unwavering. Notwithstanding, the song can also be enjoyed by everyone including lovers so you don’t have to be a preggo or a mother to vibe to the song.
Adekunle Gold “Something Different”
Everyone’s baby, Adekunle Gold switched genres again with the release of “Something Different” which was produced by Blaize Beats. The track sees Adekunle woo his lover in a more gentle and sexy manner. The tune is a blend of highlife and Afropop with a dash of highlife and jazz. The beat accompanied by trumpets and Saxophones is one sound that the eastern folks can relate to and can also be enjoyed by all.
Starboy Terri – “Ojoro”
The Starboy act dropped his first single “Ojoro” off his “Afroseries” album as well as the accompanying visuals for the addictive afrobeat track. In the video, we see an innocent and bashful Terri fall victim to his lover’s shady schemes. She absconds with his cash on serval occasions and leaves him to find any means to pay bills for their dates. The video’s superb storytelling makes it exciting to watch without ever getting bored. The young star proves to be a force to be reckoned with and it is evident that he is taking steps to be the next big thing after his boss, Wizkid.
DMW – “Mafa Mafa” featuring Davido, The Flowolf, Peruzzi and Dremo
Davido Music Worldwide recently dropped the visuals to this trending street pop anthem and it’s back to been the sound of the Town once again. “Mafa Mafa” is the perfect song that would give you both the street and posh vibe. A record that would bring out hidden dancing style and that leg work you have been playing in your head. The DMW/30BG guyz did justice to this one here, A must listen for self turn ups.
Dremo – “Mabel” featuring Davido
DMW rapper, Dremo took this track from his newly released project, ‘Codename Vol.2’. The track ‘Mabel’ which had the Boss – Davido on it is most fans favourite off the album. With high demand for the visuals Dremo Drizzy served us with the official music video just last week. The crispy video directed by Director Q brought the Afropop / Rap record into the heart of so many.
SOURCE: List compiled and first Published by TooXcusive. Read original publication here
Yesterday, Jude Okoye addressed the claims by Cynthia Morgan on popular social media influencer, Tunde Ednut’s Live. He states that he had no right to hold on to Cynthia’s name against the claims by the female rapper.
He further stated that Cynthia’s contract expired in 2017, hence, he has nothing to do with her anymore. He also confirmed that Morgan indeed owed him over 40 million dollars.
However, things have taken a new turn today as Cynthia Morgan’s former manager, Joy Tongo, on her social media accounts states that the contract that has been the bone of contention was drafted by both Cynthia Morgan and her.
On Label Signing and Management Issues
Joy Tongo explained that Cynthia Morgan was signed in 2011, not because she reached out to Morgan but because many of Cynthia Morgan’s associates persistently ask that she should be Cynthia’s manager.
Giving more insight, Tongo writes on how she got a US work permit for Morgan so she can get a bigger platform in New York. This was unsuccessful because of the contract given to them. It was then she took her to Jude Okoye in Atlanta who stated his reluctancy in signing any artist to his label, hence, he did not consider Morgan.
However, after a successful recording of Kuchi Kuchi, the audio was sent to Jude which after a while, changed his mind and made him agree to sign Cynthia Morgan to the record label, Northside.
Against the artist’s claims that she did not read the contract, her ex-manager, Joy Tongo, claims that she and Cynthia Morgan drafted the contract and forwarded it to Jude Okoye. She states that the contract was drafted by her while Morgan reviewed and approved it before sending it to Jude Okoye.
She further stated that nothing in the contract states that Jude Okoye or Northside Label would take ownership of her name, royalties, or social media handles.
She went on to debunk the claim made by Morgan that her image and brand were forced on her by her management as untrue. She explains Cynthia Morgan never complained about her image and expressed satisfaction at the popularity the image gave her. The image became a brand for Cynthia Morgan.
On Music Promotion And Personal Growths
Cynthia Morgan claimed that her music was not promoted, however, Joy Tongo in her release states that promotion was not an easy walk for them as it is difficult pushing female artistes in the entertainment industry. Because of Jude’s and Tongo’s connections, they were able to strategise and negotiate until her music became mainstream.
She further stated that Cynthia Morgan never paid any house rent throughout the time she was with her. She lived with Tongo for over three years till the latter part of 2015 when Jude paid her to secure her own apartment and got her a range rover, then gave her some money to purchase land for her mother in Benin upon her request.
However, after the big success of German Juice and I’m Taken, Cynthia Morgan became difficult to manage as she constantly performed in different shows without her management’s knowledge. Joy Tongo parted ways with her in June 2016 because of these issues, while, Cynthia Morgan also left Northside Label before the end of her contract in 2017.
She went on to release 2 songs with her new label and neither Jude nor Tongo questioned her over this. She emphatically stated again that Cynthia Morgan has rights to her legal name, brand, and everything that was created for her.
Jude Okoye, a senior brother and former manager to the now-defunct music duo P-Square, says he’ll never go trying to mend the cracks between the two brothers again.
The showbiz mogul was speaking in an interview with Tunde Ednut, a media personality, on the facts surrounding his fallout with Cynthia Morgan, a former signee under Northside Records.
Jude said he can’t bring the duo, who had split in 2017, together because, unlike what people heard, he’s the one Peter Okoye — who had initiated the split — was having problems with and not Paul Okoye.
He said things had first gone awry when Peter called for his (Jude’s) removal from P-Square in a suggestion that didn’t go down well with Paul, who was said to have quizzed his twin brother on it.
“I think I’m to blame for my being silent all this while. This problem has nothing to do with Peter and Paul. Peter and Paul are not quarrelling. Peter was fighting me to be out from P-Square all because Usher, Beyonce, and every other person did it,” Jude said.
“Paul was like, ‘Give me a reason why Jude has to go. If I don’t get a reason, Jude isn’t going anywhere.’ Now Paul has to be punished for supporting me. What I’m trying to say is that I’m done keeping quiet. What I see anytime I google my name is not impressive to me.”
Jude said he had tried everything humanly possible to bring back the music group but his efforts proved abortive.
“If two are fighting and the referee supposed to separate the fight is also being fought, how then do you want to end the fight? Peter and Paul don’t have problems with each other,” he added.
“Peter has a problem with me. I have asked him several times what the problem is but he refused to say. How can I bring P-Square back when I’m the one they don’t want in the picture?
“There is nothing humanly possible that someone can do that I haven’t done. I came to a point when I said even if it means sacrificing myself from the picture. No problem, let the bond be.
“I left. I was told until I go apologise to someone’s wife, I did that but the problem persisted. They said I must tweet something. Nigga, I have my own life to live. There was life before Psquare!
“There would definitely be life after P-Square. So let’s leave that issue. Let them do Psquare when they’re ready. Me, I’m off. They’re the Psquare, I’m the attachment, according to what they say.
“Whether or not they come back should not be my business anymore. I was wanted out of the picture. I’m now out.”
Movie star Idris Elba will on Monday evening host a star-studded virtual concert to mark Africa Day and raise funds to feed the continent’s hungry.
The MTV Base Africa Day Benefit Concert at Home will host the continent’s top music stars including Angélique Kidjo, Burna Boy, Salif Keita, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Diamond Platnumz and Sauti Sol.
It will be streamed on YouTube and ViacomCBS Networks.
Idris Elba told the BBC’s Newsday programme:
The priority is to try and get as many real-time meals into people’s mouths. At the moment hunger is the main fear as opposed to actual Covid-19
So trying to get people something to eat, at least some ways of getting food, is really the number [priority]… In terms of money you can’t put a number on it.
As far as donations are concerned, we’re really expecting that people – if they can give , they give… We are asking people to really dig deep into their hearts even just to attend this concert, even just to show there is solidarity amongst Africans at this point, that’s among the things we’re looking for.”
The actor, whose late father grew up in Sierra Leone and whose mother is from Ghana, tested positive for coronavirus in March and has since recovered.
Africa Day is an annual commemoration of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963. The organisation transformed into the African Union on 9 July 2002.
As part of our lockdown features, we have a Weekend Freestyle to keep you off the lockdown mood and a short note for your vibe swings.
2Baba has undoubtedly gain his places as one of the most versatile and talented musicians to come out of Africa, featuring almost on any genre you put him on and always comes out great.
With more than 20 years in music, the 44 year old Nigeria artist is undoubtedly one of the most talented freestyles in the continent.
He features the Nigeria power song lady, Tiwa savge in a freestyle session powered by uduX.
Note This lockdown has been on us and has given us more reasons to understand that we can do better together than we can do apart, in fact, if there is nothing else this pandemic has taught us, it is the fact that we need each other to survive, and we cannot win the fight by standing against each other.
The remix comes after a fortuitous conversation between both musicians about making some quarantine music.
“That Eve Bounce Remix making me wanna be in the sun right now!” Wizkid tweeted shortly after the song was made.
On the remix, the glinting sounds that open the original song are thickened to allow Yung L lay a typical emotive verse over the soft thrumming beat.
His ode to the muse is tinged with attraction and want, rightly explaining his desires. By the time Wizkid, who released the decade closing “Soundman Vol 1” E.P last December, gets to splash his vocals on the song, the ambience is slowed down for a markedly refined expression of interest that allows dancehall and afrobeats to find a spot of confluence without watering down their elements.
We are taking inspiration today from DJ & Media personality DJ Cuppy Otedola. Known for her edgy barbie-esque hair and makeup looks, the Greenlight crooner has made us fall in love with rocking bold and bright tresses.
Because the colour is bold and subtle at the same time, beauty enthusiasts can’t seem to get over the pink hair trend.
On Cuppy’s page, we scrolled through a sea of pink hair colours, from pastel to bright bold shades, to bring you the best inspiration ahead of your next hair appointment.
Thirty-year-old Algerian rapper Soolking was just hitting his stride before the world was put on lockdown. His commercially appealing blend of pop, reggaeton and Algerian raï (think Arabic and then add Auto-Tune) has generated a dizzying one billion streams on YouTube, with millions of them generated in the UK; hailing from the small coastal neighbourhood of Staouéli in Algiers and now living in Paris after time spent there as an undocumented migrant, his story crosses borders and generations.
Thankfully, the technology that has helped his music travel also means that I can speak to him while we are in lockdown in our respective countries. Speaking from the sofa in his Paris apartment, he explains what took him to France in 2013. “The dream was to succeed,” he says. “I wanted to succeed a bit in music, at least, but I never thought it would be like this.”
But Soolking is not just another rapper with big numbers on streaming platforms. His music has come to be a source of pride for a nation who up until just a few weeks ago had been taking to the streets every week to protest since early last year, when Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth presidential term. Overwhelming public pressure forced him to resign, but protests against the regime continued as young people in particular kept pushing for a better quality of life. With two-thirds of Algerians under the age of 30, many have only ever known the country with Bouteflika in charge, and are looking for new voices that can speak to them.
Soolking is one of them. One journalist for El Watan, the main newspaper in Algeria went as far as saying “for young Algerians, he is on a level in terms of image with Riyad Mahrez”, the national football captain and Premier League star.
Soolking’s song Liberté became an unofficial anthem of the protests. “I write because we are the golden generation,” he sings. “Free all those that are taken hostage / That’s all we have, all we have is freedom.” I went to Algeria last year and saw the protests one Friday, where thousands of people flooded the streets, young people passionately belting out the lyrics to this song, waving the Algerian flag: a poignant memory.Advertisementhttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
“It is nice to see,” he says humbly, though he accepts that the song has been reclaimed by the people. “It’s not a Soolking song any more. It’s a song for young people, and the original version comes from Ouled El Bahdja, a group which makes music in football stadiums. I wrote the lyrics, re-did the music a bit with them and it has become more than a stadium song – it has become an international song.”
Talking about a song called “Freedom” during a lockdown seems ironic, so I wonder what he thinks the word means at the moment. “Freedom is doing what you want, where you want, living where you want, being who you want, being free.” He pauses a moment, before adding: “Of course there are limits. You can’t do bad things. But it is about living the life you want … I feel free and freedom is priceless.”
While lockdown presents limitations and frustrations, especially for an artist who should be out promoting a new album and lining up tour dates, Soolking has already known a lack of freedom, including when he was living in the shadows as an undocumented immigrant: harraga, as we say in Arabic.
“You can’t do anything without papers,” he says. “You can’t travel; if you go in the street and get caught you can get put in jail or they can deport you. But I didn’t feel that too much because I’m a calm person. I don’t make problems, I work, I don’t go out a lot.”
There are a number of popular artists in France who are second-generation Algerian immigrants – Sofiane, Rim’K, Lacrim, and Ademo and NOS, the brothers who make up vastly successful rap duo PNL, for example – but Soolking was born in Algeria, and his struggle to success makes him hugely relatable to a young audience there.
He sees his circumstances as having set him up to work hard for the life he wants: “For the people back home life’s so hard that going to another country without papers, a house or anything at all is do-able because they live in such precarious circumstances, with poverty and difficult lifestyles. That is strength – misery gives us strength.”
That strength is evident in Soolking’s more heartfelt songs, such as Guérilla. A powerful 2018 French radio performance cemented his name as a big player in the music scene and racked up over a quarter of a billion views on YouTube. “I dreamed that we weren’t poor any more and that our sad stories were nothing but words,” he sings.
Guérilla samples the 1982 Algerian raï track Ya Zina Diri Latay (Pretty Girl, Serve the Tea), a detail not lost on a generation of Algerians who grew up listening to their parents’ cassette tapes. His new album Vintage plays with a similar kind of nostalgia, mixing it with modern sounds. The cover art features Soolking, sitting on a bed, with posters of iconic artists of previous generations: Tupac, Biggie, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and the godfather of raï, Cheb Hasni. Oh, and Scarface.
With all the nostalgic throwbacks, I ask him what he misses of Algeria. “My parents, that’s all. France is pretty similar to Algeria in many ways.” What about Algerian culture? “Well, exactly, the culture is what? Religion, Ramadan, and those things. For me, my parents are what carry the culture and religion in the family, so I don’t really miss anything else.”
Besides, now that the world has started opening up to him, he wants to make the most of it. “I would like to discover more of the world,” he says, raving to me about the nature, cuisine and people in Thailand, where he performed just before Paris went into lockdown. “I want to go and see loads of countries, cultures and new things – I can’t just stay in one neighbourhood with one lifestyle.”
He has to stick to that sofa for now. But while none of us know when we might be able make plans for the future, we can at least cross borders through music and reflect on what we value – including the kind of freedom that Soolking values so dearly.
It’s been an amazing year for Tiwa Savage, one of the biggest names in afrobeats and one of the biggest female artists in Africa right now.
She signed a major deal with Universal Music Group and she roared back into the limelight last year with the sophisticated and distinctive single 49-99, which was accompanied by a stunning and original video.
When I caught up with her she told me that she had been taken by surprise herself at how arresting the video was:
When I saw the edit I was, like, ‘This is amazing…'”
But the problem is, though, how is she going to be able to follow it up?
I might just have to go butt naked in my next video, because I don’t know what else I’m going to have to do to top that one!
And, just to put it out there, this was done in Nigeria. All the cast is Nigerian, the director, the AP, everybody is Nigerian.
I love the fact that I could present this to the label and say this was done in Africa by Africans, this is what we can do. Imagine when you invest in us even more, you would get amazing work.”
If the lockdown continues, Tiwa might have to end up shooting her next video on her iPhone in her house.
She told me that she would do this if it was the only way – she’s determined to carry on releasing music whatever this virus throws at us.
“I’m not going to starve my fans again,” she said, referring to the long gap before 49-99.
We’re going through this pandemic, so the idea was I want to let them know that I’m still a boss, that I’m still beautiful, that I’m still African – and people have been really really creative with it which is amazing.”
Tiwa’s new album, Celia, named after her mother, is due for release soon, and she’ll be dropping a single from it in the next couple of weeks.
The album is a whole mix of the emotions an African woman goes through: love, aspiration, being bossy, being sexy, being vulnerable. All of that is what I think the modern African woman is, and that’s what I wanted to portray.”
Tiwa says the lockdown has given her valuable time to think about her career to date, what she wants to do next and what she wants to be remembered for.
It’s also made her very conscious of the lives of other people:
It’s really touched my heart to see that people are having a hard time during this. I mean we’re blessed to be at home, we have light, we can pile up food for months if we want to. But there’s some people who can’t, people who only have money for today, or food for today. So this pandemic has really opened my heart to the real situation of where the world is right now.”
13 years after his sensational debut, we find Michael Jordan on track to win his sixth NBA title in eight years with the revamped Chicago Bulls, making him perhaps the best basketball player of all time. Yet, club politics mean that this season could see a premature ending to a glittering career. Stacked with archive footage, interviews with all the key players – including a typically nonchalant Dennis Rodman – and a continual stream of the choicest 90s fashion, this fascinating docuseries is a must-watch for sports fans of all stripes.
1 May: Hollywood
Ryan Murphy follows up The Politician with an altogether different cast and setting for the latest production in his multi-million dollar Netflix deal. Set during the post-war Hollywood Golden Age, we join a group of wannabe writers, directors and actors trying to make it in the rapidly-modernising entertainment industry. First, though, they have to navigate a lascivious gas station owner, and the town’s deeply ingrained prejudices. A moving and often hilarious look at a much-mythologised era.
5 May – Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill
Jerry Seinfeld continues his Netflix production slate with his first original comedy special in 23 years. Shot at New York’s Beacon Theatre, 23 Hours features misanthropic musings on everything from the architecture of toilet stalls to the hapless nature of supervillains, and proves a welcome return for the king of observational comedy.
8 May – The Eddy
Following his big screen hits Whiplash and La La Land, jazz fanatic Damien Chazelle continues his fascination with the esoteric genre. For his TV debut, he offers a moody, amorphous tale of pianist Elliot (André Holland) who, in self-imposed exile from New York, finds himself running a struggling Parisien jazz club called The Eddy. With his daughter arriving to stay and his business partner Farid (Tahar Rahim) keeping some nefarious company, his precarious existence soon starts to unravel.
14 May – Schitt’s Creek
The final series of the hysterical, Arrested Development-esque comedy about a formerly wealthy, now decidedly down on their luck brood arrives on UK screens this month. As it kicks off, David and Patrick plan their nuptials, and Alexis gets to say “David” in her inimitable way once again as she tries to convince her brother of her benevolence. As sharp and witty as ever, the Rose family’s messy antics are sure to live on long after the final episode airs.
15 May – White Lines
The seedy underbelly of the party isle comes at the fore in this new drama from Money Heist creator Álex Pina, which delves into the mysterious death of a DJ some 20 years, and his sister’s quest to find out exactly what became of him. From sex parties to some very shady characters, this is pure escapism, with Daniel Mays – recently seen in Sky’s Code 404 – on form as a drug dealer with a murky past.
18 May – The Big Flower Fight
If Bake Off, Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throwdown have all had you glued to your screens with their twee competitiveness, this floral-based reality show is sure to be right up your street. Presented by comics Vic Reeves and Natasia Demetriou, ten teams must create increasingly extravagant floral displays in the hope of winning the grand prize: their own floral sculpture in London’s Kew Gardens.
22 May – The Lovebirds
Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani’s comedy was originally destined for a cinematic release, but with coronavirus shutting theatres indefinitely, Netflix have snapped it up instead. When they’re accused of a murder, Leilani (Rae) and Jibran (Nanjiani) go on the run, but will they be able to solve the crime or will they end up being banged up for it?
29 May – Space Force
Hot on the heels of Armando Iannucci’s space-set Avenue 5, Greg Daniels and Steve Carrell, writer and star respectively of the US version of the Office, team up once again for an otherworldly adventure about a new armed force who must “defend satellites from attack and perform other space-related tasks … or something”. Liable to be more Trumpian than the man himself.
The film follows Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) – a “fearless black market mercenary with nothing left to lose.” With shades of Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills, Tyler’s very particular set of skills are solicited to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned crime lord.
“In the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers, an already deadly mission approaches the impossible, forever altering the lives of Rake and the boy,” Netflix teases.
Directed by Sam Hargrave and produced by the Russo Brothers, the film is currently on track to become the streamer’s most-watched feature feature of all time, with 90 million households projected to stream it in its first four weeks.
But if you already have, and you’re craving more, then fear not! Because Netflix is bringing us a sequel.
Here’s everything we know so far about Extraction 2…
Is Extraction 2 in production?
Good news. Extraction 2 isn’t just a wild rumour. A second part of the Taken-meets-Rambothriller has now been confirmed to Deadline and is officially going ahead.
Joe Russo told the publication he’d already started conceptualising the new series, and it is now in the early stages.
“The deal is closed for me to write Extraction 2, and we are in the formative stages of what the story can be.
“We’re not committing yet to whether that story goes forward, or backward in time. We left a big loose ending that leaves question marks for the audience.”
What is the plot of Extraction 2?
Extraction 2’s plot is still to be decided, but we can make some pretty educated guesses about what’s to come.
For one, the film could further follow Tyler Rake as he watches over Ovi (played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal).
Or, maybe, it will see Tyler hired for an exciting new role somewhere yet to be disclosed. Like James Bond, or any other action adventure franchise, the possibilities are endless.
Another theory is that Tyler actually died at the end of the last film – something many fans questioned after the ambiguous ending.
“We had a version of the movie [where he died], and we tested it a lot, and it was not surprising that a lot of people wanted the character to live, and some people wanted him to die,” screenwriter Sam Hargrave told Collider.
“People were torn; it was almost down the middle. We want to appeal to as many people as possible without compromising the integrity of the story. And so, we think a pretty good compromise is to make an ambiguous ending.”
Hmmm. We’re going to guess this is pretty unlikely now the movie is returning for a sequel. But if he isn’t dead, how will he make a comeback? That should present a pretty interesting storyline in itself – even if a little outlandish!
Who will be cast in Extraction 2?
Seeing as it’s still being written, Extraction 2 hasn’t been cast yet.
But, according to Deadline, Hemsworth is poised to return as Tyler Rake, meaning the chances of his character dying are *pretty* slim.
Nothing is confirmed officially yet, but he certainly didn’t sound opposed to the idea when posting about it on his social media. “You’ve made it the number one film on the planet right now,” Hemsworth said on Instagram as he thanked fans for supporting the first movie.
“We are blown away by the response and the support. There’s been a lot of talk about sequels and prequels and all sorts of things. All I can say is, ‘Who knows?’ But with this kind of support it’s something I’d be stoked to jump back into.”
Assuming the sequel takes place after movie 1, and sees Tyler survive, we can expect the likes of Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani), his partner, to return too.
Plus, Nik’s brother Yaz (Adam Bessa) looks likely to make a comeback alongside Ovi.
When will Extraction 2 be released?
There’s no official release date for Extraction 2 yet, as it’s still being written and developed, so – based on a typical schedule – we can safely say it’s going to be at least a year and a half to two years away. Sorry!
The coronavirus pandemic may way delay or impact filming, too, meaning we shouldn’t expect this sequel to be pulled together sharpish.
We’ll update you when we know more.
When can we expect an Extraction 2 trailer?
Once again, we’re afraid it won’t be soon.
When the movie has been shot and edited we can expect a trailer. So, basically, hold your horses.
And if you need a Tyler fix in the meantime, you might just have to watch the first movie again!
Allen’s career and life story were documented in his 2013 autobiography Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat.
Allen, who was born in Lagos in 1940, taught himself how to play drums when he was 18.
He said he learnt his technique by listening closely to American jazz drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach. He then created the distinctive polyphonic rhythms of afrobeat and was said to be able to play four different beats with each of his limbs.
Allen first met Fela in 1964, and they went on to record dozens of albums in Africa ’70, including Gentleman and Zombie.
Allen left the band in 1979, after reported rifts with the band leader over royalties. Fela needed four separate drummers to fill the void.
Allen emigrated to London in 1984, and later moved to Paris.
He collaborated with a number of artists during his long music career, and was the drummer in The Good, the Bad & the Queen, with Damon Albarn, Paul Simenon and Simon Tong.
Naira Marley, a Nigerian singer, has pleaded with all the random ladies sending him nude photos to stop as he observes the Muslim fasting season.
The controversial street crooner took to his Twitter handle to share a clip in which he is seen addressing individuals whom he said have repeatedly questioned him on whether or not he’s observing the fast.
“Stop asking me if I’m fasting. Because it says if you are sick, pregnant, and have problems with your head or mad, those people shouldn’t fast, and I don’t fall into that category,” he said.
“To all of you that keep sending bum, stop sending me now. When I wasn’t fasting you weren’t sending me any nudes, stop sending me bum.”
In the short clip, the 25-year-old singer, who was recently arrested and arraigned for flouting the government’s lockdown directive, can be be seen holding a lighter and what appeared to be a single stick of wafer biscuits.
Marley, whose real name is Azeez Fashola, has severally made the news for controversial reasons. He became popular after he was arrested on cybercrime allegations back in 2019.
Last month, he was named Nigeria’s most-viewed artiste on YouTube for the year 2019, beating the likes of Davido, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Teni and Zlatan among others.
Tributes have been pouring in for Picture Kodak, a Nigerian dancer and video vixen, who died on Wednesday.
Although Westsyde Lifestyle, her management, is yet to release a statement on what led to her death, there are rumours that she died while trying to receive a call on her mobile phone while it was charging.
The tragedy was said to have occurred at a video director’s home in Omole Estate, Lagos.
Before her demise, the choreographer, better known as Love Divine, has worked with top musicians including the likes of Olamide, Burna Boy, Wizkid.
Quite a number of Nigerians, including celebrities, have taken to social media to pay tributes as words of her death spreads.
Olamide took to his Instagram to share a picture of the dancer alongside himself while asking her to “rest up.”
Davido is making an impact across the world with his music and he is getting recognition for his good works. On Saturday, the singer was featured on international news network CNN for his latest song “D & G” which he sang in support of the COVID-19 research.
Davido announced that all the proceeds from his new video, “D & G” will be donated to fashion house Dolce & Gabbana to provide funds for research to combat COVID-19. He explained why he was giving this huge donation during an interview with entertainment reporter, Chloe Melas.
The entertainment reporter asked him why he’s donating the proceeds of his new music video to coronavirus research and also what it was like when his fiancé tested positive for the virus.
Depending on who you talk to, Naira Marley is either the scourge of the next generation of Nigerians or their saviour. But whoever’s talking, the pop star – arguably the most controversial in Africa – is spoken about in near-mythological tones, which makes his amiability very arresting when we meet in London a few weeks before lockdown.
He arrives flanked by an entourage, photoshoot-ready in a reflective puffer, and oscillates between class clown and deep thought. To some, the 25-year-old’s meteoric rise over the past two years has been sudden: selling out Brixton Academy in three minutes; accruing three million Instagram followers, tens of millions of streams, and a cult-like fandom. But the signs of stardom have always been there.
Born Afeez Fashola in Agege, Lagos, Marley moved to Peckham, London, aged 11. As a teen he was a keen freestyle rapper, but was initially more interested in the management side of music. During a studio session he facilitated for friends in 2014, he recorded the instant hit Marry Juana on a whim. The track helped usher in the fusion of UK rap, dancehall and Afrobeats that now frequently hits the UK charts, by such artists as J Hus, Darkoo, Young T & Bugsey. The blend of influences is referenced in his name: Naira is the currency of Nigeria, and Marley reggae royalty.
“I knew it was a new sound and I wasn’t sure if people were gonna take to it,” he says. “I didn’t know it would be a big impact, with everyone following afterwards.” African intonation is now commonplace in the UK music scene, but back then, a Caribbean lilt was the standard among MCs – regardless of their background. “I was already proud of being African and had a problem with the fact we couldn’t be ourselves,” he says. “So I just went with my accent and it sounded wavy.”
Marley made waves with UK rap bangers Back2Work and Money On the Road. It was difficult to immediately associate him with one genre: he had a scampish likability combined with the edge of a road rapper. When he started frequently visiting Lagos, his music took on the sunnier sound of Afrobeats and his popularity skyrocketed.
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When Marley shared a snippet of his 2018 single Issa Goal on Instagram, it instantly launched the social media trend that went on to dominate that summer, the shaku shaku dance, and became the semi-official song for the Nigerian football team. He launched the label Marlian Music, and is currently on the lookout for its first female artist. “I actually want a fat girl,” he says with a grin. “Music is spiritual – it’s not about the look only. There’s actually fat people in the world, you know? It doesn’t have to be skinny people singing only.”
Marlians don’t wear belts and don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. One was suspended from school for not having underwear on
But there has been a major bump in this ascent: his arrest by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It began when another Afrobeats artist, Simi, chastised the actions of the country’s “Yahoo boys” – internet conmen nicknamed after the search engine. In response, Marley wrote an Instagram post saying: “If u know about slavery … yahoo no b crime” and later asked Nigerians to “pray for internet fraudsters” rather than criticise them, arguing that they kept money circulating in the country. Nigeria is keen to shed its reputation for internet fraud, and Marley was accused of exacerbating it.
A backlash followed, further whipped up by Marley’s antagonistically titled single Am I a Yahoo Boy featuring Nigerian rapper Zlatan. The lyrics were provocative (the Nigerian government is cast as “thieves”) as was the video, which featured a mock-up of Marley being arrested. The day after its release, he and Zlatan were arrested in real life along with three others.
Marley was held in custody for 35 days and the case is ongoing, meaning he can’t comment on it directly. He faces 11 charges of credit-card fraud, for allegedly conspiring to use credit card numbers that didn’t belong to him, and having counterfeit cards as well as cards that weren’t his own. If convicted, he could be jailed for up to seven years. He has pleaded not guilty. In a statement, his management argued he was being held “based on a cheeky song”.
“Naira did not publicly [defend] those who commit fraud,” it reads. “He expressed his view on the situation, which was simply his opinion.” He appears undeterred: the cover art of his single Why?, released shortly after his arrest, shows him raising his arms in handcuffs. In Bad Influence, he continues to take potshots at Nigeria’s leaders, declaring himself a scapegoat for their own failings. “We want school, but they give us prison,” is one of the lyrics. He tells me: “I’ve always been political because I was born in Nigeria, where everything is not the way it’s meant to be. I’ve always been against the corruption.”Advertisement
Comparisons between legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and the artists of the contemporary pop style Afrobeats are common. But Marley, who sings “they want to treat me like they treated Fela”, is also drawing comparisons with the government’s repression of Kuti, who was arrested more than 200 times after speaking out against Nigeria’s violent, corrupt mid-century regime. “All my music is not straight at the government, straight political, but there’s a lot of similarities,” he says. “The weed, the I-don’t-care attitude, the freedom – speaking your mind and the government coming to arrest you.”
I ask him what he learned during his time in prison in Lagos. “That I’m powerful,” he says without any pause. “Not to be big-headed, but I influence a lot of people.” His devoted fanbase, known as Marlians, protested outside the EFCC headquarters for the entirety of his stay and rallied around him with the #FreeNairaMarley hashtag.
There’s even pastors in church saying, ‘I cast the spirit of Marlian out of your children. Your children will graduate!’
His impact is undeniable: from helping to pioneer the Afrobashment style, to heading viral dance crazes, such as the shaku shaku and the tesumole dance. Soapy, his first major single since his arrest, is accompanied by a dance simulating masturbation, and took over the streets of Lagos, unsurprisingly provoking ire. But the Marlians are the biggest testament to his influence, something that goes beyond mere fandom.
“I’m a Marlian myself,” he says. “It’s more of a way of life. It’s a country.”
“A religion,” his manager offers from across the room, laughing. “A cult!”
The loosely defined Marlian ideology almost exists outside of Marley himself. It’s chiefly about pushing back against a strangling status quo and its adherents have their own rules – Marlians don’t wear belts or celebrate Valentine’s Day, nor do they do a whole host of other arbitrary things, having decided that this is the way to best embody the spirit of their musical deity.
Marley is laid back about most of the rules created in his name, but makes it clear he doesn’t agree with everything. He mentions a recent story that hit the Nigerian press, regarding a teen Marlian who was suspended for not wearing underwear to school, as per alleged Marlian guidelines.
“I didn’t tell them not to wear pant,” he shrugs. “There’s even pastors praying in church saying, ‘I cast the spirit of Marlian out of your children. Your children will graduate!’”
With his dreads, penchant for weed and disregard for authority, Marley is the embodiment of everything that inherently conservative Nigerian society dislikes, particularly in its youth. He is the physical manifestation of parents’ fears over their children joining “bad gang” – boasting of “no mannaz”, and rubbishing Nigerian higher education.
His ubiquity within the Nigerian press, equal parts erroneous and hysterical, means anything he says makes headlines. Though a great deal is deliberately provocative, there is always method in his madness, he assures. Even Soapy has more to it that its immediate lewd premise: it’s a mediation on his prison experience. “I just added the dance so it wasn’t as serious,” he says.Advertisement
One of his most controversial statements on Twitter – “Marlians Don’t Graduate, We Drop Out” – led to inevitable uproar in a nation where formal education is highly valued. He tells me his message was misconstrued: “There are corporate Marlians, there are dropout Marlians – all kind of Marlians.” Another statement that rankled was: “Having a big booty is better than having a masters degree.” Though on the surface ridiculous, the sentiment may be difficult to dispute. Last year, 55% of young people in Nigeria aged 15 to 35 were unemployed, and graduates were among the worst affected. Meanwhile, the country’s Instagram models and influencers are big business.
“It’s not a joke!” he says emphatically. “I don’t want it to be better, but it is better, in Nigeria especially: big-bummed girls that didn’t even graduate can get a job easily. It’s better to have a big bum than qualifications – you have more of a chance.”
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This is what draws young Nigerians to Marley most of all: his willingness to confront the establishment’s hypocrisy.
“They are still backwards,” he says. “They’re not free, they don’t believe in equality, they don’t believe, if you’re 18, you can make decisions yourself. They don’t believe in freedom of speech. I’m making people speak their mind, making people make their own decisions.” Marley knows something that his naysayers don’t yet seem to have grasped: the more they clutch their pearls, the more powerful he becomes.
The event tagged One World: Together At Home will kick off on Saturday, April 18, with the aim of celebrating and supporting healthcare workers, and will feature real experiences from doctors, nurses and families around the world.
It also features a thrilling lineup of artists curated by Lady Gaga, including, Burna Boy the only African, and other stars like Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, FINNEAS, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, DG of WHO said “The World Health Organization is committed to defeating the coronavirus pandemic with science and public health measures, and supporting the health workers who are on the frontlines of the response. We may have to be apart physically for a while, but we can still come together virtually to enjoy great music. The ‘One World: Together At Home’ concert represents a powerful show of solidarity against a common threat.”
One World: Together At Home is ‘powered by commitments from supporters and corporate partners in benefit of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, Broadcast special to also benefit local and regional charities that provide food, shelter and healthcare to those that need help most’.
The one-night special event will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon of ‘The Tonight Show,’ Jimmy Kimmel of ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ and Stephen Colbert of ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’. You can also watch it on digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tidal, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and more.
Netflix has increased its investment in Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood. The dominant streaming company announced its presence via its newly created Twitter handle, NetflixNaija, while also detailing plans to commission original content by partnering with local creatives and investing in the space. The streamer has ordered an as-yet-untitled six-part series that will be directed by local directors Akin Omotoso, Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi.
This is a welcome development for the industry. Apart from the visibility and increased viewership, Netflix also gives Nigerian filmmakers a strategy to combat the adverse impact of piracy in Nigeria. It’s not the first attempt at this. An indigenous streaming platform, IrokoTV, established in 2011, has been using streaming to distribute Nollywood content while staying out of the reach of pirates.
Nollywood is the second largest employer after agriculture in Nigeria. In 2014, Nollywood was worth $5.1 billion and made up 5% of Nigeria’s GDP. Although the first Nigerian films were made in the 1960s it wasn’t until the 1990s and 2000s that the industry blossomed as filmmakers took advantage of digital technology and internet distribution. Nollywood filmmakers have largely run an independent model for over three decades, producing about 50 movies a week.
Lax copyright laws and enforcement allow piracy to continue, though. For years, pirates have stolen Nigerian filmmakers’ profits at the end of the distribution chain by replicating and distributing films within days of VCD/DVD release. These losses lock up the industry’s full potential, as filmmakers experience difficulty in attracting funding for ambitious projects.
Creative freedom? Not yet
Netflix investment is great, but maximising the new resources depends on certain legal fundamentals. Are Nollywood filmmakers and stakeholders conversant with the ownership rights regime in the evolving digital copyright era? Will Nollywood get value for its rich creative resources when negotiating across licensing and other transactional platforms? How well would the Nigerian intellectual property laws – particularly its copyright laws – protect Nollywood creators in dealings with Netflix and other sophisticated partners?
Nollywood is disadvantaged at present, but there is hope.
Licensing is defined as the process of obtaining permission from the owner of a TV show or movie for various purposes, and online streaming is no different. A licensing agreement is established under the terms of a legally binding contract between the content owners and Netflix, and each agreement varies. Some licences will last into perpetuity, while others are limited for a time. This is why Netflix is constantly updating consumers on what will be available, and also what will soon disappear.
Netflix licenses out content that does not belong to it from the entity that owns that content. This vastly oversimplifies the process, but Netflix gets written permission from rights holders to show their movies. That permission comes in the form of a licence (a contract) that allows the use of copyrighted creations, contingent upon various limitations and fees.
For original content, the company gets into specialised agreements with production houses. These agreements are made within the copyright regimes of the United States. Sound knowledge of these licence contracts and how they are structured is crucial for Nollywood’s growth.
Nigeria lags behind on copyright
Nigeria’s copyright law was first governed by the English Copyright Act 1911, which was made applicable to Nigeria by the colonial powers of Great Britain. Nigeria applied the 1911 Act until it was replaced with the Copyright Act of 1970. This act was considered inadequate because it failed to combat and punish the increasing rate of piracy and other copyright infringements. Hence the birth of the 1988 Act, later amended and recodified.
In 2012, the Nigerian Copyright Commission led the drafting of a new copyright bill, published in 2015. But the country’s National Assembly hasn’t passed it into law.
From the late 1990s, the global intellectual property regime encountered disruptive changes because of the influence of digital technology. The World Intellectual Property Organisation led the charge to change intellectual property laws to respond to digital creations and protect creativity. The outcome is the current global digitalised intellectual property regimes.
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Nigeria, with its archaic copyright regime, still lags behind. The country’s copyright laws and others which may complement copyright – including torts, contract and e-commerce laws – have not been updated since 1999. How can Nigerian creatives thrive globally if the minimum threshold for protecting their content isn’t modernised?
Nollywood’s creative handicap
Being the most successful video streaming platform, Netflix possesses the resources to protect its legal and business interest. Some commentators believe that it might become a monopoly in the streaming industry. This scenario will adversely affect Nollywood by limiting the bargaining space for alternatives. Local player IrokoTV needs to devise new strategies to compete.
In my earlier research between 2016 and 2018, I had discussions and interviews with some Nollywood stakeholders who raised their concerns about the inadequacy of digital copyright regimes in Nigeria to protect their creative interest.
If these concerns aren’t properly addressed, Nollywood creators may be operating in an unequal legal and economic environment which favours the video-on-demand partners. Nigeria’s copyright laws are outdated and in need of reform to adapt to current digitalised intellectual property regimes and productive methods.
How Nigeria can fix it
For Nollywood to fully compete at the global level, it should adopt a smart, proactive approach. Nigerian creators and policymakers need collaboration to achieve progress. Most importantly, it is time for the proposed amended Nigerian Copyright Act to become law. The amended law will help protect Nollywood in the digital market place.
Nigerian copyright management organisations and performer rights organisations have to educate themselves and plan programmes to enforce the rights of their members. With digital platforms, the formation of contracts entails different legal regimes. Nigerian creatives need a reformed and recognised idea submission agency based on a deliberate policy and legal framework.
Nollywood should also focus on the economics of creativity. The industry needs metrics to track and measure skills and output of performances. A collaborative partnership with experts in economics, analytics, statistics and adjacent fields will help. Nigerian universities should revamp their curricula to train existing and emerging lawyers to master the intricacies of digital licensing so they can advise Nollywood’s creative industry.
irectors Roni Moore and James Blagden funded their first film Midnight in Paris, a documentary about a 2012 prom night in Flint, Michigan, entirely out of pocket. Without even the help of crowdfunding—now common amongst tiny upstart film projects—they pulled their savings together from day jobs to fly from Los Angeles to Flint, where they spent two weeks filming the thoughtful and elaborate preparations of Flint Northern High School seniors ready to mark their transitions into adulthood with one last hometown hurrah. From the school halls and family-filled living rooms, to specially hired and borrowed luxury cars and party busses, to the sparkling dance floor, the kaleidoscopic Midnight in Paris takes a playful yet urgent view of both being and becoming.
After a decade of production, including planning, filming, and editing, the doc premiered at the True/False film festival and played at BAMcinemaFest in 2019. It is now beloved in if-you-know-you-know film circles, but still yet to be distributed. When I saw Midnight in Paris late last year, I was struck by its mix of free form and groundedness; it’s a slice-of-life documentary that allows the varied and connected lives of young black people from Flint—who are usually pitied, demonized, or ignored by mainstream press because of their class and race—to loom energetically and spiritually large. With no grant funding and having expressly avoided the conventional documentary narratives that compel industry benefactors, will the film get the audience it deserves?
When I spoke to Moore and Blagden, they told me that they were in the midst of weighing options for distribution with their producer Laura Coxson, who, Blagden told me, so far hasn’t been paid. And they all have day jobs that pay the bills, which, particularly in the midst of a virus pandemic, will take precedence over any marketing efforts to get the film noticed. “[Laura] has been helping us for a year and a half now, and it’s definitely not her job,” Blagden explained. “If we get distribution or we get a deal, she’ll get her percentage, [but distribution is] not something that any one person is really working on full-time to figure out.”
But the nature of their efforts has changed after COVID-19 has confined many salaried workers to their homes and stretched hourly workers thin. Instead of a big streaming or production company payday, would it make sense to go gonzo? “There must be an avenue where we can get it out, put it out ourselves,” Blagden pondered, worried that it may comprise the ability for it to be seen by a “much wider” audience. “Could we be jeopardizing the life of the film?”
In fact, a recent offer for distribution did come through, but with one major hitch: the filmmakers will have to secure and pay for music rights clearance before the distributor takes the film on. This could spell trouble for Moore and Blagden if they’re unable to invoke fair use laws, since the music is popular, and thus expensive. Midnight in Paris features a diegetic soundtrack (meaning it comes directly from the footage, and was not added in post) of songs of the era by 2Chainz, Kelly Rowland, Lil Boosie, Beyoncé, and more, as well as a marching band performance that they re-cut throughout the film “as a sort of score,” Moore told me. “The music was very key to what was happening in the present time when we shot the film. We just can’t come out with [it] being compromised, which is why sort of going rogue style might be something to think about because you don’t want to change the body of work.”Going rogue style might be something to think about because you don’t want to change the body of work.
Still, the main reason for doing the festival circuit in the first place was to get traditional distribution, which would potentially allow their film to be seen by the wide audiences they were hoping for—even in theaters. Of course, now with most major theaters in the U.S. having shut down to avoid the spread of coronavirus, streaming seems like the best option. “You know, what I think was so funny was that Roni [Moore], before we ever got into the [True/False] festival, said, “We’ll get it on Black Twitter and then everything else will follow. Now I feel that’s more true than ever.”
They got a taste of the kind of response they are hoping to engender from the film while traveling the country with it last year, and so a distribution plan that’s able to cast a wide net while rallying the support of the very kinds of communities depicted in the film feels essential. “We were in Columbia, Missouri, and then Brooklyn, New York, and then we showed it at the MoMA. We got every kind of person from all walks of life being like, ‘Hell, I fucked with this film,’ or being like, ‘I don’t know what I really just watched, but I was intrigued by it,’” Moore told me. “There’s still those kinds of things that you want to hear as feedback.”
As the new rhythms and timelines of the pandemic are showing the industry and the world, in the end, it will take as long as it takes. “[Producer] Laura [Coxson’s] perspective is, ‘Don’t worry about it,’” Blagden said. “‘However long this takes, it ends up just being part of the story.’”
In the brave new world of coronavirus, you may find yourself searching for something to watch in the safety of your own home.
Netflix has plenty of classic films in its catalogue, and in recent years, the streaming service has also produced some superb original films, from the animal rights satire Okja to the Oscar-winning Roma and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.
And yet: for every award-winning drama, there are just as many trashy B-movies (such as the risible romance A Christmas Prince).
If you need help navigating these murky, Sharknado-infested waters, look no further. In this star-rated guide, The Telegraph’s film critics have chosen 92 of the very best.
1. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Genre:Romantic Comedy Dir: Mike Newell Cast: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, James Fleet Cert: 15 Time: 117 mins
In a nutshell: The best of Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant’s romcoms about awfully nice chaps dithering over frightfully pretty girls. Grant plays bumbling Charles, who, ah, er, can’t tell what’s, um, going on between him and the scrummy Carrie (Andie MacDowell), whom he keeps, gosh, bumping into at weddings. It’s aged pretty well and certainly knocks spots off Love, Actually.
2. Birdman (2014)
Genre: Comedy/Drama Dir: Alejandro G. Iñárritu Cast: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton Cert: 15 Time: 116 mins
In a nutshell: This miraculous comic drama won four Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture. Michael Keaton plays the former star of a superhero franchise taking one last stab at respectability with a self-penned Broadway play, and like theatre (and real life), the entire film appears to unfold in a single, sinuous take. Keaton is better than he’s ever been, with the former Batman star mining the role’s real-life parallels for maximum humour and pathos, while the supporting cast (Emma Stone, Ed Norton, Zach Galifianakis) all somehow shine individually in the whirling chaos. The film defies everything we think we know about film, and makes you think again about what cinema can do, and be.
3. The Wife (2018)
Genre: Drama Dir: Björn Runge Cast: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater, Max Irons, Alix Wilton Regan, Elizabeth McGovern Cert: 15 Time: 100 mins
In a nutshell: Glenn Close gives a mesmeric turn in this smooth adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s 2003 novel, about a woman in the shadow of her Nobel Prize-winning writer husband (Jonathan Pryce). She knows his darkest secret, but may not be willing to sit on it forever. Max Irons plays their son, a would-be writer caught in his father’s shadow.
4. The Reconquest (2016)
Dir: Jonás Trueba Cast: Francesco Carril, Itsaso Arana, Candela Recio Cert: N/A Time: 107 mins
In a nutshell: A translator in his early thirties, happily in a relationship, catches up one night in Madrid with an actress who was his girlfriend 15 years ago. One drink leads to another, and to soul-searching: should these childhood sweethearts have tried harder to stay together? Split into three sections, this wonderful film feels like Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy compacted into a single, chronologically reshuffled film. The third part, with perfectly cast younger versions of the leads, is a lost valentine between kids who have no idea where their future lives will lead them
5. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Genre: Crime Dir: Quentin Tarantino Cast: Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth Cert: 18 Time: 99 mins
In a nutshell: Quentin Tarantino’s directing debut became a notable cult success, re-adrenalising the gangster film. Even though it’s heartless and violent, it’s well written and extremely entertaining. A failed robbery has consequences for the thugs who dress like the Blues Brothers and whose colour-coded pseudonyms include Mr White (Keitel), Mr Pink (Buscemi) and Mr Orange (Roth).
6. The Death of Stalin (2017)
Genre: Comedy Dir: Armando Iannucci Cast: Steve Buscemi, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough, Paul Whitehouse. Cert: 15 Time: 107 mins
In a nutshell: The death of Russian dictator Josef Stalin throws the Soviet Union into chaos as his hapless ministers manoeuvre to succeed him. Armando Iannucci brings his familiar brand of comic farce to an infamous historical moment, satirising the petty ambitions and casual cruelty of late-Soviet politics.
7. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Genre: Western Dir: Sergio Leone Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volontè, Marianne Koch Cert: 15 Time: 99 mins
In a nutshell: Clint Eastwood rides into town with a gun and a cigar to make a few quick bucks, settle some scores and invent a whole new genre of movie. Sergio Leone’s first “spaghetti western” set a high standard (albeit one later surpassed with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) with its sparse direction, epic landscapes and magnetic star. Ennio Morricone’s score is one of the most recognisable in cinema.
8. Darkest Hour (2017)
Genre: Historical drama Dir: Joe Wright Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup. Cert: PG Time: 125 mins
In a nutshell: Winston Churchill faces pressure to capitulate to the Nazis and negotiate a peace treaty. Against the odds, the weathered British prime minister keeps Britain in the war and orders the successful evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk. Tracking Churchill’s rise to power in 1940 to his eventual defeat in the 1945 general election, Joe Wright’s nuanced character study hands Gary Oldman the role of a lifetime – and his first Oscar.
9. Homecoming (2019)
Genre: Concert film Dir: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter Cast: N/A Cert: MA Time: 137 mins
In a nutshell: Beyoncé’s concert movie, capturing her acclaimed 2018 Coachella festival set, is a musical triumph. Behind-the-scenes footage reveals the work that went into creating the show, while archival voice-overs from Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison (among others) highlight its theme of black pride and celebration. It’s a reminder that Beyoncé is the best in the world at what she does.
10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Genre: Comedy Dir: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin Cert: 12A Time: 91 mins
In a nutshell:The Pythons’ first proper film may be little more than a string of sketches, but when the sketches are this good it doesn’t matter. In this wonderously daft Medieval romp – filmed on a shoestring budget – King Arthur (Graham Chapman) leads his knights in search of the Holy Grail, meeting along the way such such foes as the killer Rabbit of Caerbannog and the Nights Who Say Ni.
11. You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Genre: Thriller Dir: Lynne Ramsay Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alex Manette, John Doman, Judith Roberts. Cert: 18 Time:90 mins
In a nutshell: An emotionally traumatised veteran makes a living rescuing young girls from sex traffickers. After being hired to rescue the daughter of a prominent politician, Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) discovers the horrifying extent of the network, which goes to the top of government. Lynne Ramsay secures her reputation as one of the most daring and interesting directors in the business with this captivating, but at times difficult to watch, noir thriller.
12. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Genre: Musical Dir: Norman Jewison Cast: Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon Cert: U Time: 172 mins
In a nutshell: Canadian director Norman Jewison translates this classic Broadway musical into an equally enthralling and time-honoured family movie, following the life of Tevye (Israeli actor Topol, reprising his London stage role) a poor milkman who must juggle the toils of everyday life with the harsh realities of being poor and Jewish in Tzarist Russia in 1905. Poignant and Kosher from start to finish.
Naira Marley, Nigerian singer, says he ventured into music after making £250,000, his first big money, in England.
The controversial singer disclosed this when he featured on an episode of ‘The Truth‘ a YouTube series, pioneered and hosted by Olisa Adibua, Nigerian media personality.
Zinoleesky, Mohbad and C-Blvck, three of the four artists on ‘Marlian Records‘, his own record label, also featured alongside him.
Speaking during the interview, Naira Marley said that his original plan was to invest in talents around him and help them explore their potentials, while also making profit.
He, however, said such mindset changed when he made £250,000 after which he went into the studio and eventually started his music career.
“I didn’t even mean to go into the studio. My plan was to invest in people freestyling around me because they were so talented,” he said.
“So eventually, we went into the studio, we had so much time and they made lots of records, you know. But we had too much time on our hands, I made just one song.
“By the time we left the studio; imagine we had 10 songs, but it was my song that everybody was singing, so I was just baffled, you know. People kept forcing me to send them the song… Everyone around me already knew the lyrics. So, one day we were chilling when one of my friends with a camera told me to shoot a video (for the song) with the camera.
“We shot the video unplanned and it had like four million views in three weeks. Basically, that’s how I got into music and I can’t stop.”
He, was however, unclear as to how he made the £250,000.
“I was picking money on the streets in England, it was so easy,” he said when asked how the money came about.
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When probed further if he money was legal or illegal, he said “I was doing mad things.”
The street singer has amassed a deluge of diehard fans — comprising both old and young — ever since his legal battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over cyber crime allegations.
Fairfield Halls, London In his show Taxi Tour, the comic from last year’s Britain’s Got Talent offers only standard-issue middle-aged standup
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Kojo Anim was a star of the black standup circuit for years, but “Britain’s Got Talent changed my life,” he tells his Croydon crowd. The Londoner has booked his Taxi Tour off the back of an appearance in last year’s final, and recounts how that brush with fame – and his Christian faith, and new fatherhood – picked him back up after a grim period in his life. The emotional honesty is refreshing, but plays only a cameo role in an otherwise unadventurous show. Anim certainly does have talent, but – on this evidence – it’s for performing, not for writing distinctive material.
The show opens with a justification for appearing on BGT, and an account of his experience of overnight celebrity. But it soon devolves into standard issue middle-aged standup comparing his unglamorous childhood with that of today’s pampered youth. His parents play their expected role, giving their son broad accents to mimic when not walloping him for the slightest impertinence. “Only an African parent,” reports our host ruefully, “will beat their own child when they see another child doing something.”
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This is all brought to cartoonish life by Anim, infectiously excited by childhood memories of McDonald’s, agog at the slow singing in his Pentecostal church. He’s a fine physical comic too, whether popping with anger at being called home from football, or experiencing acute cramp while having sex. There’s more first-base sex comedy – he chooses to end the gig on a lame ejaculation mime – and some unreflective male perspectives (“Guys, we’ve all done the same thing, innit?”) on relationships and childbirth. For all Anim’s talent, he’s picking low-hanging fruit comedy-wise – and it doesn’t taste particularly fresh.
Rwandan gospel singer Kizito Mihigo was at one time hailed as a great national talent but then he was accused of being a traitor. He was recently found dead, at the age of 38, in a police cell. The BBC’s Great Lakes Service looks back at his life.
With his signature crucifix dangling around his neck and his patient demeanour, Kizito, as he was popularly known, resembled a priest rather than one of the most popular performers in the country.
Like a priest, he felt he had a mission to promote peace in a country scarred by slaughter, but it was this mission that is widely seen as having eventually landed him in trouble with the authorities.
He was initially embraced by the government. His concerts drew tens of thousands of fans, from all walks of life, who appreciated his message offering hope for the future.
But his journey from superstar to pariah was swift.
Influenced by his father, who composed liturgical music, his songs echoed the sounds heard in Catholic worship.
But in 1994, at the age of 12, he lost his father, as well as other relatives, in the Rwandan genocide, in which about 800,000 people, ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were murdered by Hutu extremists.
Profoundly affected by what had happened, Kizito, an ethnic Tutsi, made reconciliation a central message of his work once he became a performer.
Kizito Mihigo, Inuma (The Dove) – 2011
Dove of love and peace among people
Dove of asking for forgiveness and forgiving
Dove for the willingness to reconcile
That’s the good dove and the one we need
Born in 1981, Kizito was the third child in a family of six. He grew up in Kibeho, southern Rwanda, an area that became a pilgrimage site after several schoolchildren there saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the 1980s.
It was in this religious context that the future gospel star grew up.
He fled to neighbouring Burundi in the wake of the genocide and was reunited with surviving members of his family.
They returned home once the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the mainly Tutsi rebel movement led by the current President Paul Kagame, had taken power.
An initial plan to join the army and take vengeance for the death of his father did not work out as he was turned away. But then, at 14, he enrolled in the Karubanda Minor Seminary, where his musicianship was nurtured.
“I will remember him as a very talented musician who gave people joy, who was a trailblazer in composing and singing,” school friend Jean de Dieu Sibomana told the BBC.
In his second year at the seminary, Kizito became the school’s chief organist ahead of some more senior students and led an elite choir, which entered competitions across the country.
Eventually, his talent was recognised by President Kagame who awarded him a scholarship to study at the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris.
Kizito Mihigo, Turi abana b’u Rwanda (We are Children of Rwanda) – 2011
America and Europe, Asia and Oceania, give us shelter,
But let us never forget that we are children of Rwanda
He began his performing career in Europe, but he never forgot where he was from and he went home in 2011. He was feted by the authorities and often invited to sing at official functions in front of the president.
Kizito was also awarded a prize by the first lady, Jeannette Kagame, for establishing a foundation to promote peace and reconciliation.
By 2013, the government was partly funding the Kizito Mihigo Peace Foundation, which saw him tour schools and prisons to spread his message.
Challenging the official narrative
But Kizito’s fortunes changed in 2014 after he released The Meaning of Death.
Timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the genocide, many saw the song as challenging the officially accepted version of what happened – that only Tutsis were killed.
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Kizito Mihigo, Igisobanuro cy’Urupfu (The Meaning of Death), 2014
Those brothers and sisters, they too are human beings
I pray for them. I comfort them. I remember them
Death is never good, be it by genocide, or war, or slaughtered in revenge killings
In The Meaning of Death, Kizito was not only asking for those who were murdered by the Hutu extremists to be remembered, but all those who were killed around that time.
This was viewed by some as a reference to the revenge killing of ethnic Hutus allegedly committed by Mr Kagame’s RPF as they took power in 1994.
Although the RPF said that such killings were on a small scale and those who committed them have been punished, the government views comparing these killings with the mass slaughter of Tutsis as a form of genocide denial.
The RPF has a reputation for not tolerating any dissent. “Political opposition leaders have been intimidated and silenced, arrested or forced into exile,” in the words of Human Rights Watch (HRW).
A number of prominent government critics have been killed inside and outside the country in recent years.
The government has denied involvement in most of their deaths, although President Kagame last year said he should not be apologetic for the killing of former Home Affairs Minister Seth Sendashonga, who was shot dead in Kenya in 1998.
On 7 April 2014 Kizito was reported missing and days later the police paraded him in front of the media. He was accused of plotting terrorist attacks and working with opposition movements with the aim of toppling the Rwandan government.
His music was then banned on all local radio and television stations.
In 2015 he was sentenced to 10 years for planning to kill the president and conspiring against the government. At his trial, the prosecution produced text messages that showed him plotting the assassination.
He confessed to the charges, but later said he was coerced into pleading guilty. He was convinced that it was that song that got him into trouble.
“I was told that I had to plead guilty. They said if I didn’t plead guilty, they would kill me,” he told human rights activist Ruhumuza Mbonyumutwa on the phone from prison in 2018. The audio from the interview has just been released.
Asked if he would write the song again, Kizito said: “Yes, I would. I couldn’t help myself.”
“The song was about reconciliation. I got to a point where I felt compassion for all victims,” he added.
“Not just victims of the genocide against the Tutsi, of which I am one. But also victims of other violence committed by the ruling RPF.”
He was freed in September 2018, after being pardoned by the president, along with 2,000 other prisoners.
On his release, he told the BBC that he would continue with his music and through his foundation would carry on his activism with the message of “living in peace, reconciliation, unity and tolerance” among Rwandans.
But, like all those pardoned, his movements were restricted and he had to report regularly to the police.
Shortly before his death, he told HRW that “he was being threatened to provide false testimony against political opponents” and that he wanted to flee the country.
Found dead in a police cell
On 13 February, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) announced that he was in custody after he was arrested for trying to cross into Burundi illegally.
Four days later, he was found dead in a cell, after hanging himself, according an RIB investigation.
A number of human rights organisations and foreign-based Rwandan activists have cast doubt on the official version.
Philippe Basabose, a spokesman for 36 genocide survivors living abroad, wrote an open letter to the president calling for an independent investigation to be carried out by international experts and government officials.
But state prosecutors said that the evidence and witness statements showed that the cause of death was “suicide by hanging”.
Kizito Mihigo, Uzabe Intwari (Be a Hero), 2019
Be a hero my child
I love you and through that I love Rwanda
That’s why I am going to dedicate it to you
Be a hero and be important for Rwanda
For those who see Kizito as a hero, he has become a symbol of someone prepared to stand up to the government.
But for the authorities, he was a criminal who had betrayed the president.
Hey guys! Guess what… Lupita Nyong’o is in Lagos, Nigeria!
The Hollywood star is the lead actress and also executive producer (alongside Danai Gurira) for the screen adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s best-selling book “Americanah“. Last night, on the 22nd of February, Lupita was hosted to a private event by the author with the aim of introducing Lupita to friends, family and members of the Nigerian creative community.
The visit is one we appreciate and we learned some pretty interesting details about the forthcoming series.
The 10-episode series will star Lupita Nyong’o, Zackary Momoh, Uzo Aduba and Corey Hawkins, while Danai Gurira will serve as showrunner, and writer, Chinonye Chukwu will direct the first two episodes.
Here are five things we learnt about Lupita Nyong’o’s screen adaptation!
How she acquired the rights to the movie
Lupita revealed that ‘Americanah’ has been a passion project for her since she read Chimamanda’s beautiful novel in 2013 and she knew she had to bring it to life on TV screens. She admitted that after reading the book, she cried a lot and found out that they had a mutual friend in the acknowledgement page of ‘Americanah’, contacted him to send an email to Chimamanda, met up with the author at Toronto Film Festival and the rest is the result of the forthcoming screen adaptation.
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Part of the movie deal was that it will be shot in Lagos
Don’t be surprised when you meet Lupita Nyong’o, Zackary Momoh, Uzo Aduba, Corey Hawkins, Danai Gurira or Chinonye Chukwu in the streets of Lagos, because they are bringing the magic to the roots.
She’s learning Igbo and Pidgin for the movie
It might seem like a difficult task learning a new language within a short period of time, but Lupita is definitely pulling it off. She has an Igbo tutor who’s putting her through pretty well and she’s getting a hang of it. She actually believed learning numbers would be easy-breezy but she knows it takes more than number ‘One to Ten’ to speak Igbo fluently for her role.
She loves Nigeria
Yeah!. We know you’re thinking of Nigerian Jollof but… Nah! That may come later but, she is totally in love with Nigeria because of the heart-warming, hospitable and very honest people in it.
She’ll be visiting Lagos more in the next few months
We honestly can’t wait to see more of Lupita in Nigeria and in Lagos. There are definitely a lot of things the actress will love to learn and know about Nigeria and its people.
Sheebah Karungi is now one of Uganda’s most successful music stars, with a string of awards and hits to her name.
She even had a role in the film Queen of Katwe alongside Hollywood actors Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, as well as the young Nikita Pearl Waligwa, also from Uganda, who sadly passed away this week.
But, as she told me in a very frank interview for This Is Africa, Sheebah’s journey has been a tough one.
She is the child of a single mother who worked to feed her five children by sorting coffee beans.
Sheebah left school at 14 because there was no money to pay for fees:
I grew up needing everything so for me at 14 I started feeling bad, she [her mother] was crying, they were chasing us out of the house, I’m like you know what, I need to break this curse of poverty”.
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Sheebah managed to become a dancer with the group Obssessions, and through sheer determination taught herself English, learnt to sing and released her first record, Ice Cream. It became a hit, and she was on her way up.
Who is your biggest inspiration to be a powerful woman, I asked her. “My mother” she told me. But Sheebah’s mother doesn’t really understand or approve of what Sheebah does:
She does not get it, she does not want it, it’s painful because you want your mum to be your cheerleader, but you have to respect her if she does not want to.”
Our fave celebrities are definitely having the time of their lives this Valentine’s Day.
From sharing Valentine’s as a couple and those hot red photoshoot, your favourites are spending February 14 exactly how you’d expect: looking hot, being showered with love, and showering our timeline with lots of love, too.
Check out how all the celebrities you love are showing their love this Valentine’s Day.