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Marvel Is Pushing for 'Black Panther' to Win 'Best Picture' Despite Oscar's New 'Popular Film' Category

The studio wants 'Black Panther' to become its first Oscar-winning movie, and is putting major support behind making it happen.

Despite the Academy's introduction of the "Best Popular Film" Oscar category, Marvel Studios is still pushing for Back Panther to earn the coveted "Best Picture" title at the 2019 Oscars.

The decision to create the "Best Popular Film" category earlier this month fell under scrutiny by many critics that felt it was a mere consolation prize, intended as a pat on the back for mainstream, commercially successful films like Black Panther, which the Academy deems not quite worthy enough of earning "Best Picture"—the biggest award of the night.

Disney Studios, however, is making major moves to ensure that Black Panther has a fair chance of taking home the award. According to the LA Times, the studio has hired Oscar strategist Cynthia Swartz to create a campaign for the record-shattering super hero film—the third highest grossing movie of all time in the US—and has put significant funding behind the campaign.


READ: The 2017 Guide to Blackness at the Oscars

For Marvel head Kevin Feige, one motivation for Black Panther earning the nomination—besides the increased profit and accolades it would bring the studio, of course—is the rightful acknowledgment of director Ryan Coogler's unique vision and groundbreaking execution, which led to the film having immense cultural impact.

He was quoted in the LA Times as saying:

"I would like to see the hard work and the effort and the vision and the belief of the talented filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who sat across the table from us a few years ago and said, 'I have been wrestling with questions about my past and my heritage and I think I really want to tell a story within this movie,' " Feige said. "And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact … seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most."

The Oscars, infamously known for being "so white," is also known for ignoring superhero films outside of technical categories. If Black Panther were to win "Best Picture" it would not only make is the first superhero film to do so, but it would also be Marvel's first Oscar-winning film ever.

Last week, it was announced that Black Panther will be coming to Netflix in the US this September.

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Photo: Shaughn Cooper

Ras Nebyu Is Washington, D.C.'s 'Uptown Lion Walkin'

We talk to the Ethiopian-American rapper about his new album, his Washington Slizzards crew, and the impact of gentrification on D.C.'s music scene.

Ras Nebyu is caught up in the crowd at Howard University's homecoming tailgate, where he can barely walk a block without shaking hands with another person who he knows. Although he didn't attend Howard University, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood forms as much of a part of his narrative as any student.

The Ethiopian-American rapper hails from uptown Washington, D.C., a neighborhood he uses to inform his latest album, Uptown Lion Walkin, a project that pays homage to his ancestral upbringing, as well as his thoughts on making money, love, happiness, and the government.

There's a twoness to Nebyu's identity that allows him to create from a place of historical-cultural reverence while pushing forward new ideas. He was raised in a Rastafarian household by an Ethiopian dad and African-American mother.

Nebyu doesn't hold much back when he speaks, like his music. He preaches about belonging to his community, gentrification and the diaspora. His work serves as a strong soundboard, for not only his Ethiopian community but D.C. natives.

In 2011, Nebyu co-founded the Washington Slizzards, a collective of Ethiopian creatives in D.C. What started as a joke, tacking on "slizz" to everything, became a buzz-worthy crew. Around the same time as the group's inception, he began releasing music into the world.

Nebyu first ventured into making music as a producer, but soon found it frustrating getting artists to use his beats. He decided to begin experimenting with using his own voice and hasn't slowed down since. OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss the new album and growing up uptown.

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Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty, Afro B & Mayorkun Join DJ Neptune On 'Tear Rubber' Remix

Listen to the "All Star Remix" now.

"Tear Rubber," one of the standouts from DJ Neptune's latest album, Greatness, gets a big remix that'll jump start your week.

The track, which originally featured Mayorkun, now gets a massive revisit featuring Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty and Afro B.

All three are potent additions to this laid-back and addictive Young John-produced track which was already getting a lot of spins.

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Listen to Sade's Beautiful New Song—'The Big Unknown'

Sade has graced us with her second single of the year—this time for Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, "Widows."

We now have two new Sade songs to shed thug tears to before the end of 2018, y'all.

The queen herself released a lyric video for her new track, "The Big Unknown." This single will be played during the end credits of Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, Widows, which is due to be released in theaters November 16, Highsnobiety reports.

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