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Kehinde Wiley's Official Portrait of Barack Obama Has Been Revealed

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled portraits—by two black artists—of the former president and first lady Michelle Obama today.

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled the official portraits of former president of the United States Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C. today.


This unveiling is historic, to say the least, because the two artists who were commissioned for this honor—Amy Sherald and Nigerian-American artist Kehinde Wiley—are the first black artists to paint official portraits of the first family.

"Working with Kehinde was a great joy, he and his team made it easy," Obama says. "Kehinde, in the tradition of a lot of great artists, actually cared to hear how I thought about it—before doing exactly what he intended to do."

"What we did find is that we had certain things in common. Both of us had American mothers who raised us with extraordinary love and support," Obama notes. "Both of us had African fathers who had been absent from our lives and in some ways our journeys involved searching for them and figuring out what that meant."

Wiley also notes on why he chose to feature flowers that connect with Chicago, Kenya and Hawaii in the portrait, saying:

"When you look at that painting...there's also botanicals that are going on there that nod to his personal story—in a very symbolic way what I'm doing is charting his path on earth through those plants. There's a fight going on between he and the foreground—who gets to be the star of the show? The story? Or the man who inhabits that story?"

Watch Michelle Obama also touch on the impact her portrait will have on young girls of color:

The reactions to the portraits on social media all point to awe—they are indeed stunning.

The UN Has Lifted Its Sanction on Eritrea After Nine Years

Members voted unanimously on Wednesday to remove a nine year sanction—removing a trade embargo and travel ban.

After nine years, the United Nations has voted unanimously to lift Eritrea's economic sanctions, as a result of the government's attempts to foster friendlier relations with neighboring countries Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.

The sanction which was put in place in by the UN Security Council in 2009, after the Eritrean government was accused of backing the Somali extremist group al-Shabab—which it denied. The block included an embargo on trade, an asset freeze and travel ban—making the country a "global pariah," reports BBC Africa.

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D'banj & Tiwa Savage "Shake It" cover artwork. Courtesy of the artists.

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Sade, D'banj x Tiwa Savage, FOKN Bois, Busiswa, Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Cassper Nyovest and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

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Still from YouTube.

Diamond Platnumz & Rayvanny’s 'Mwanza' Has Been Banned In Tanzania

It's been deemed "too vulgar" to be played in the country.

Tanzania's national arts council, Baraza la Sanaa Tanzania (BASATA) has banned Diamond Platnumz and Rayvanny's latest single "Mwanza," and slapped the artists with a hefty fine due to its sexual content.

The board has ordered the label Wasafi Records to remove the track from all digital platforms, and it will no longer be played on the radio or in clubs in Tanzania, reports Kahawa Tungu. The popular song has over 2 million views on YouTube.

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