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Screen shot from "All the Stars"

"All The Stars" Is An Afrofuturistic Voyage Back To Our Roots

Kendrick Lamar and SZA's "All the Stars" video illustrates a journey through blackness, with a heavenly essence.


Blackness is a journey. At first, degraded and discriminated against by society, and sometimes ourselves. Then, monetized and appropriated by whiteness±—the same entity that marginalized it—as if it can be boiled down to a science instead of the supernatural that it is. Finally, embraced, reclaimed and realized, by us, the keepers of its true powers and force.


Reaching this destination is no easy excursion, and was much more challenging for those before us, but as conversations on racism, inclusivity and social justice become more prominent, I dream our future black children will reach their peace easier, and sooner, than we.

Kendrick Lamar and SZA's new music video for "All the Stars," the lead single from the Black Panther soundtrack, illustrates one narrative of voyaging through blackness, but with an empyreal essence. Here, blackness is rectifying the demarcation between African-American and African by crossing a spiritual bridge leading to afrocentric, afrofuturistic dimensions. The chimerical fable breathes life into a communal dream we imagine while awake and with eyes shut: what is home, and what will I find once I'm there?

Each scene in "All the Stars" imagines Lamar in distant yet familiar African landscapes, edging closer to divine truth.

First, by boat: an ocean of arms carry him on his solitary arc, like a lonely Noah determined to salvage what's left of the culture. He communes with small children in red caps like small Igbo chiefs, who surround a towering idol of a black woman's graceful gold head. He sits achingly pretty with Congolese Sapeur fashionistos, then strolls through a ghostly, sublime forest with a pack of black panthers guarding him. This scene in particular embodies so much: Black Panther, the king and hero, and the Black Panther movement, a force of persistent freedom fighting and black elevation.

The ear-grabbing hook further rouses us into contemplation of destiny, discovery and determination. "Maybe the night and my dreams might let me know...all the stars are closer," SZA chants, while twirling gleefully in a sky drowning in stars, a visual manifestation of black girl magic.

She acts as Lamar's spirit guide, dancing, swaying and stunning while traveling parallel to Lamar's pilgrimage. Her landscapes are even more ethereal and untouchable, as she is often the only one moving in her scenes, or staying patiently still as the environment comes to life around her—the way ancestral spirits go unnoticed as they protectively float around you.

Notice the women in this music video are all gigantic goddesses. They pose stoically, like all knowing totems, as Lamar winds in and out of them. Their attire, intricate golden suits, glimmering braids and geometric afros, are direct callbacks to the visions of Lina Iris Viktor. When Lamar finally meets his makers—more gigantic black goddesses, this time reminiscent of Egyptian deities—he stands confidently in their presence, as SZA watches on in approval. He made it.

The idea of returning to one's roots encompasses embarking on a voyage back to a land filled with as much marvel and enchantment as clarity and truth. Africa. The shape and outline of this content alone fills us with hope and endearment, even if we're unsure of where we land. It's our infinite destination, despite whether or not we arrive.

Video
Photo: Sipho the Gift.

Watch Sipho the Gift's New Music Video for 'Hold Up'

The talented South African MC drops a vibrant visual for his latest single.

Sipho the Gift is the budding South African rapper who is known for his bold and thought-provoking lyricism.

He just released the music video for "Hold Up," his groovy new single.

"It's a song about young love and I wanted that to translate through to the visuals by telling a love story," he tells us.

Shot in Cape Town by Jasyn Howes with the help of VideoCartel, this video captures the subtle joys of youth and romance.

Check out Sipho the Gift's new music video for "Hold Up" below.

You can also watch the music video in full over at iTunes.

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News Brief

A Film Based on a Novel by Acclaimed Kenyan Author Ngugi wa Thiong'o Is In the Works

Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan is developing Ngugi's novel "Matigari" with Kenyan and South African filmmakers.

A novel by Kenya's own Ngugi wa Thiong'o is being adapted to a film, Brittle Paper reports.

Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan shared at the Africa Movie Academy Awards that Ngugi's 1987 work, Matigari, is in development with Kenyan and South African filmmakers, who have yet to be revealed.

Keep reading... Show less
Music

Listen to Wizkid's Catchy New Track 'Gucci Snake' Featuring Slimcase

The highly anticipated track is finally here.

Wizkid has had a huge year, dropping a number of singles and unforgettable features, but he's not done yet.

Today, the Nigerian megastar has dropped the much-talked about single "Gucci Snake" featuring fellow Naija artist Slimcase. Wizkid had been teasing the highly-anticipated song throughout the year and it's finally here for fans to enjoy.

"Gucci Snake," is a catchy jam that sees Wizkid bragging over upbeat production. It's a departure from the mid-tempo vibes of many of his more recent singles like "Fever" and "Master Groove," which he released last month. This one is sure to be on rotation at all the parties as the holidays approach.

Early this month, the artist appeared on two tracks from star producer Metro Boomin's latest album, and according to the producer, we can expect more music from the two of them in the near future, which means we have even more Starboy to look forward to.

For now, listen to "Gucci Snake" below.

Wizkid – Gucci Snake Ft. Slimcase youtu.be


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