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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.

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Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, Kofi Annan, Has Died

The celebrated Ghanaian humanitarian and the first black African to serve as head of the UN, passed away on Saturday at the age of 80.

Kofi Annan, the seventh UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away on Saturday morning following a brief illness. "His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during the last days," read a family statement. He was 80.

Annan was the first black African to serve as head of the United Nations, holding the prestigious position from 1997 to 2006. He was lauded for his global humanitarian work, eventually earning Annan and the UN a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for "their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."

Annan was head of the UN during the onslaught of the Iraq War, proving to be one of the most challenging global events to occur under his time as Secretary General and one of the most divisive of the early 21st century. "I think the worst moment of course was the Iraq war, which as an organization we couldn't stop—and I really did everything I can to try to see if we can stop it," he said in 2006.

Annan was also the founder of the Kofi Annan foundation and chairman of The Elders, an international humanitarian organization of global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela.

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Janet Jackson Returns With Afrobeats-Inspired Song & Video 'Made For Now' Featuring Daddy Yankee

The icon's latest is a nod to the sound, fashion and culture of the diaspora.

Ms. Jackson is back.

The iconic artist returns with her first single since the release of her 2015 album Unbreakable, and it's a timely nod to the "made for now" influence of afrobeats fashion, sound and culture.

On "Made For Now," which features Puerto Rican reggaeton titan Daddy Yankee, Janet Jackson does what she's done successfully so many times throughout her decades-long career: provide an infectious, party-worthy tune that's fun and undeniably easy to dance to. "If you're living for the moment, don't stop," Jackson sings atop production which fuses dancehall, reggaeton and afrobeats.

The New York-shot music video is just as lively, filled with eye-catching diasporic influences, from the wax-print ensembles and beads both Janet and her dancers wear to the choreographed afrobeats-tinged dance numbers, which see the dancers hitting the Shoki at one point in the video. The train of dancers travel throughout the streets of Brooklyn, taking over apartment buildings and rooftops with spirited moves.

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You Need to Hear Juls' New Single 'Saa Ara'


New hip-hop and highlife grooves from the celebrated UK-based Ghanaian producer.

By merging the diverse influence of growing up in Accra and East London, Juls has managed to cultivate a hybrid afrobeats style that has set him apart from the rest.

For his latest single, "Saa Ara," he teams up with award-winning rapper Kwesi Arthur and gifted lyricist Akan.

The brilliant fusion of vintage highlife instrumentals and booming hip-hop beats, along with Kwesi Arthur's lively chorus and Akan's fiery delivery gives the song a very spiritual and classical feel.

Soothe your soul this weekend with these tasteful sounds from Juls.

Listen to "Saa Ara" by Juls featuring Kwesi Arthur and Akan below.

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