popular

Twitter Reacts to Rihanna Hitting the Gwara Gwara and More Highlights From Last Night's Grammys

Rihanna hitting the popular South African dance, was our favorite part of the entire show.

Last night the 60th Grammys commenced in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

The night was full of memorable moments. Bruno Mars swept the top awards, winning a total of six gramophones, including Record, Album, and Song of the Year. He hit the stage with Cardi B for a colorful performance of their 90's New Jack Swing-Inspired hit "Finesse."


Kendrick Lamar also won big, taking home a total of five awards including best "Best Rap Album," "Best Music Video," and "Best Rap Performance" for his Rihanna-assited hit, "Loyalty." The rapper opened the show with a stunning, politically-charged performance featuring U2 and Dave Chapelle. You can check it out below.

Back to Rihanna for a second, though. The singer tore down the house during her performance of "Wild Thoughts" with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller. Offering a salsa-influenced performance, before hitting the South African "Gwara Gwara"—no not the stanky leg or the shimmy or whatever—during a fiery choreographed dance sequence.

It was one of our favorite moments of the night and Twitter couldn't seem to get enough either.


We also received stirring performances from the likes of SZA and Childish Gambino, who won Best Traditional R&B; Performance for his soulful hit, "Redbone."

Artists like SZA however, despite being the most nominated female artists with 5 nominations, were notably snubbed—as were the majority of the women performers nominated last night. Only 17 out of the 86 awards went to women or women-led bands. While many artists were showing support for the #TimesUp movement, it seems like another movement is underway to challenge the male-dominated industry.

And always, it wouldn't be the Grammys if Lady Blacksmith Mambazo didn't win in the "World Music" category, would it? Well they took home their 5th one last night, and once again, we are over her trying to figure out what exactly "World Music" even means, and why African artists are repeatedly boxed into this one category. We're about 98.9 percent sure we'll be wondering the same thing again next year.

Congratulations to the talented group nonetheless.


See the full list of 2018 Grammy winners below:

Record of the Year: 24K Magic by Bruno Mars

Album of the Year: 24K Magic by Bruno Mars

Song of the Year: "That's What I Like" — Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip, songwriters (Bruno Mars)

Best New Artist: Alessia Cara

Best Pop Solo Performance: "Shape Of You" by Ed Sheeran

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Tony Bennett Celebrates 90, (Various Artists) Dae Bennett, Producer

Best Pop Vocal Album: (Divide) by Ed Sheeran

Best Dance Recording: "Tonite" by LCD Soundsystem

Best Dance/Electronic Album: 3-D The Catalogue by Kraftwerk

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: Prototype by Jeff Lorber Fusion

Best Rock Performance: "You Want It Darker" by Leonard Cohen

Best Metal Performance: "Sultan's Curse" by Mastodon

Best Rock Song: "Run" by Foo Fighters

Best Rock Album: A Deeper Understanding by The War On Drugs

Best Alternative Music Album: Sleep Well Beast by The National

Best R&B; Performance: "That's What I Like" by Bruno Mars

Best Traditional R&B; Performance: "Redbone" by Childish Gambino

Best R&B; Song: "That's What I Like" — Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip, songwriters (Bruno Mars)

Best Urban Contemporary Album: Starboy by The Weeknd

Best R&B; Album: 24K Magic by Bruno Mars

Best Rap Performance: "HUMBLE." by Kendrick Lamar

Best Rap/Sung Performance: "LOYALTY." by Kendrick Lamar Featuring Rihanna

Best Rap Song: "HUMBLE." — Duckworth, Asheton Hogan & M. Williams II, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)

Best Rap Album: DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar

Best Country Solo Performance: "Either Way" by Chris Stapleton

Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "Better Man" by Little Big Town

Best Country Song: "Broken Halos" by Mike Henderson & Chris Stapleton, songwriters (Chris Stapleton)

Best Country Album: From a Room: Volume 1 by Chris Stapleton

Best New Age Album: Dancing On Water by Peter Kater

Best Improvised Jazz Solo: "Miles Beyond" by John McLaughlin, soloist

Best Jazz Vocal Album: Dreams and Daggers by Cécile McLorin Salvant

Best Jazz Instrumental Album: Rebirth by Billy Childs

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Bringin' It by Christian McBride Big Band

Best Latin Jazz Album: Jazz Tango by Pablo Ziegler Trio

Best Gospel Performance/Song: "Never Have To Be Alone" by CeCe Winans

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: "What A Beautiful Name" by Hillsong Worship

Best Gospel Album: Let Them Fall in Love by CeCe Winans

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Chain Breaker by Zach Williams

Best Roots Gospel Album: Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope by Reba McEntire

Best Latin Pop Album: El Dorado by Shakira

Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album: Residente by Residente

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano): Arriero Somos Versiones Acústicas by Aida Cuevas

Best Tropical Latin Album: Salsa Big Band by Rubén Blades Con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta

Best American Roots Performance: "Killer Diller Blues" by Alabama Shakes

Best American Roots Song: "If We Were Vampires" by Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit

Best Americana Album: The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit

Best Bluegrass Album: Laws Of Gravity by The Infamous Stringdusters tied with All The Rage – In Concert Volume One [Live] by Rhonda Vincent And The Rage

Best Traditional Blues Album: Blue & Lonesome by The Rolling Stones

Best Contemporary Blues Album: TajMo by Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo'

Best Folk Album: Mental Illness by Aimee Mann

Best Regional Roots Music Album: Kalenda by Lost Bayou Ramblers

Best Reggae Album: Stony Hill, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley

Best World Music Album: Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration by Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Best Children's Album: Feel What U Feel by Lisa Loeb

Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling): The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Best Comedy Album: The Age Of Spin & Deep In The Heart Of Texas by Dave Chappelle

Best Musical Theater Album: Dear Evan Hansen — Ben Platt, principal soloist; Alex Lacamoire, Stacey Mindich, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, producers; Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, composers/lyricists (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media: La La Land by Various Artists

Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media: La La Land by Justin Hurwitz, composer

Best Song Written For Visual Media: "How Far I'll Go" — Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter (Auli'i Cravalho)

Best Instrumental Composition: "Three Revolutions" — Arturo O'Farrill, composer (Arturo O'Farrill & Chucho Valdés)

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella: "Escapades For Alto Saxophone And Orchestra From Catch Me If You Can" — John Williams, arranger

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals: "Putin" — Randy Newman, arranger

Best Recording Package: El Orisha De La Rosa by Claudio Roncoli & Cactus Taller, art directors (Magín Díaz) tied with Pure Comedy (Deluxe Edition) by Sasha Barr, Ed Steed & Josh Tillman, art directors (Father John Misty)

Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package: The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition — Lawrence Azerrad, Timothy Daly & David Pescovitz

Best Album Notes: Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings — Lynell George, album notes writer (Otis Redding)

Best Historical Album: Leonard Bernstein – The Composer — Robert Russ, compilation producer; Martin Kistner & Andreas K. Meyer, mastering engineers

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: 24K Magic — Serban Ghenea, John Hanes & Charles Moniz, engineers; Tom Coyne, mastering engineer (Bruno Mars)

Producer Of the Year, Non-Classical: Greg Kurstin

Best Remixed Recording: "You Move (Latroit Remix)" — Dennis White, remixer (Depeche Mode)

Best Surround Sound Album: Early Americans — Jim Anderson, surround mix engineer; Darcy Proper, surround mastering engineer; Jim Anderson & Jane Ira Bloom, surround producers (Jane Ira Bloom)

Best Engineered Album, Classical: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio — Mark Donahue, engineer (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)

Producer of the Year, Classical: David Frost

Best Orchestral Performance: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio — Manfred Honeck, conductor (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording: Berg: Wozzeck — Hans Graf, conductor; Anne Schwanewilms & Roman Trekel; Hans Graf, producer (Houston Symphony; Chorus Of Students And Alumni, Shepherd School Of Music, Rice University & Houston Grand Opera Children's Chorus)

Best Choral Performance: Bryars: The Fifth Century — Donald Nally, conductor (PRISM Quartet; The Crossing)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: Death & The Maiden — Patricia Kopatchinskaja & The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Best Classical Instrumental Solo: Transcendental — Daniil Trifonov

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: Crazy Girl Crazy – Music By Gershwin, Berg & Berio — Barbara Hannigan (Orchestra Ludwig)

Best Classical Compendium: Higdon: All Things Majestic, Viola Concerto & Oboe Concerto — Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer

Best Contemporary Classical Composition: Higdon: Viola Concerto — Jennifer Higdon, composer (Roberto Díaz, Giancarlo Guerrero & Nashville Symphony)

Best Music Video: "Humble" by Kendrick Lamar

Best Music Film: The Defiant Ones by (Various Artists)

popular
From Chale Wote Street Art Festival 2016. Photo by Ofoe Amegavie.

5 Ghanaian Creative Spaces Doing Afrofuturist Work You Need To Know

These Pan-African outfits are actively visualizing and creating realities for black people that are better than the ones we inhabit now—get to know them.

In her praise for Octavia's Brood (an anthology of science fiction stories from social justice movements), filmmaker dream hampton quotes these words of adrienne maree brown, a co-editor of the anthology: "All social justice work is science fiction. We are imagining a world free of injustice, a world that doesn't yet exist." A respectable appropriation of brown's statement would be: all pro-Black/African activism is afrofuturism in praxis.

In that frame of social justice activism being twined with the useful framework that afrofuturism is—envisioning and exploring viable realities for black people all over the world—here are five Pan-African outfits out of Ghana who're doing advocacy work, and variously tasking our imaginations to visualize an existence for black people other—and better—than the one we inhabit presently.

Accra [Dot] Alt

Photo courtesy of Accra [Dot] Alt.

The "Alt" in Accra [Dot] Alt stands for alternative, which should say much about this organization's orientation: an invested interest in facilitating the alternative. To that end, A[D]A creates programs which provide spacial and other forms of support for the expression of alternative thought, and also for spawning boundary-breaking art. A[D]A's most popular initiative, the annual Chale Wote Street Art Festival, since its inception in 2011, has been thematically preoccupied with imagining and creating existences that are more humane and fulfilling—particularly for black people.

The African Electronics Trilogy exemplifies this. Between 2015 and 2017, the Chale Wote Festival's themes, African Electronics, Spirit Robot and Wata Mata—have altogether exhorted festival participants to "tap into a super power grid [and] create a new encounter with reality that is entirely of our choosing and construction." The theme for this year's festival, Para-Other, does not stray from this visionary mission. A[D]A partly describes Para-Other as an order "embracing of a black labyrinth and establishment of an aesthetic that captures our cessation of flight and transit into a non-contested existence."

Last time the statistics were checked, in 2016, over 30,000 people were at Chale Wote; which is a more than 6,000 percent increase from the number that attended the first edition of the festival. Talk about possibilities.

African Women's Development Fund (AWDF)

Photo courtesy of the AWDF.

This grant-making foundation, Africa's first pan-African women's fund, was co-founded in 2000 by three African women: Hilda Tadria, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi and Joana Foster, who passed in 2016.

Since setting up, the African Women's Development Fund has funded and supported close to 1,500 women's rights organizations and women-led initiatives in countries all over the continent.

In April 2017, the institution launched their ground-breaking AWDF Futures Project. The initiative is basically composed of projections on the future of the continent as seen through an African feminist lens. These projections are based on a mix of data/trends analysis and sheer imagination.

The AWDF Scenario Stories is one aspect of the project. It comprises of four short stories imagining four different kinds of futures—desirable, undesirable, wild card, transitional—for African women, in Africa. The protagonist in each of these scenarios (set in August 2030) is Mariam; a queer, intelligent and free-spirited young woman in a wheelchair.

The full narratives of Mariam navigating each of these four futures can be accessed, in both text and animated audio-visual formats, on AWDF's website, together with the Futures Africa: Trends for Women by 2030 report.

What will Africa be like in 2030? What would we see if we looked through the eyes of a woman? The AWDF Futures page holds a number of possible answers to these questions.

AfroCyberPunk Interactive

Photo courtesy of AfroCyberPunk Interactive.

Sci-fi writer and self-proclaimed afrofuturist, Jonathan Dotse, created AfroCyberPunk in 2010. Then, it was a blog whose focus was on "exploring the creative potential of African science fiction and speculative narratives."

Almost a decade after running as a blog, AfroCyberPunk morphed into AfroCyberPunk Interactive—a digital hypermedia content developer and publishing house—in 2017. Still, the preoccupation with "exploring the future of Africa" (as went the blog's tagline) remains prime. A part of what could be referred to as their mission statement reads thus: "Our roots in afrofuturism continue to inspire the recurrent themes, motifs and aesthetics of our publications. We aspire to [...] address the global imbalance in the representation of marginalised peoples and perspectives."

Founder Jonathan Dotse is himself at work on his debut novel, a cyberpunk mystery/ psychological thriller set in Accra, Ghana circa 2060 AD.

All of the above certainly do echo these words offered by Jonathan in a blog post titled Why Africa Needs Science Fiction: "As Africa marches onward into the future it is important that we as Africans begin to critically visualize the development that will take place on our own soil, and our vision must be based on our own unique reality, cut from the cloth of our own societies and tailored to our specific needs."

Drama Queens

Photo courtesy of Drama Queens.

This feminist and Pan-Africanist theatre organisation optimally embodies the idea of Sankofa: an examination of heritage to select and use, presently, the positive and helpful values, in the ultimate service of creating the future.

Drama Queens is founded on the ancient Egyptian philosophy of Ma'at—which adjures for justice, balance and harmony as ways of being. The world being as it is now—generally unjust, imbalanced and disharmonious, against black people specifically, and more specifically against marginalized black communities—renders Drama Queens' work futuristic.

To ground this, they are avowedly working towards "a just, balanced and harmonious world where highest respect is given to nature and all nature creates."

This year, for instance, is Drama Queens' year of "contributing to an end to homophobia towards the African LGBTQ+ community" through various activities such as theatre productions, facilitating queer film production workshops, social media discussions and talk events.

Nana Akosua Hanson, founder and director of Drama Queens has said in an interview that her organization aims, ultimately, "to end oppression by changing mindsets through the use of cultural tools, to revolutionalize thinking and bring forth the existence of an Africa without heteropatriarchy, and a continent free from the exploitation and destruction of racist nations." Sounds about Afrofuturist.

Squid Magazine

Photo courtesy of Squid Magazine.

Comics, games and animation are probably the most popular media through which creators indulge in futuristic thinking. Add to this the truism that critical, intellectual engagement and documentation are of lifeblood importance to the efflorescence of a culture. Put together, it adds up to the fact that Squid Magazine (simply, Squid Mag) is doing essential afrofuturist work.

Started in 2015 by Kadi Yao Tay and Kofi Asare, Squid Mag is dedicated to the "exploration, critique, promotion and archiving of African creativity manifested within comics, games, animation..." As it happens, Squid Mag is one of the very few, if not only, platforms on the continent that wholesomely covers African output in the above mentioned media.

There's a rather poetic resonance as to why this outfit is named 'Squid.' Here's the import of the name, as explained on their website:

The name is inspired by squids, sea invertebrates that release ink as a defense mechanism. We find it poetic how such a mechanism can be a metaphor for painting a people's realities and dreams fluidly in an ocean of canvases. An ocean that is threatened to be overrun with narratives that exclude us.

So now you know, if you didn't know before, where to go in search of a sea of narratives—of realities and dreams—that include us.

*

There is a great deal more than can be said for the imagination—and exercising it. It begets creation, after all. Thus, what these and other entities are doing—engendering alternative socio-political imaginaries for all peoples of African descent—is such a needful venture. But after all is said and visualized, the ultimate challenge, most probably, is to act, to create. Blitz the Ambassador puts it succinctly on his afrofuturist song, "Africa Is The Future" (long since renamed "Africa Is Now"): There ain't no future unless we build it now.

moshood lives in Accra, from where he writes across genres. He has recently taken on painting. He tweets here: @thehamzay

popular
Still from Emmeron's "Good Do"

Following Government Suppression, Sierra Leone's 'People's Popstar' Is Finally Allowed to Perform

Emmerson's music has influenced past elections in Sierra Leone. Here's why his performance at the National Stadium is a win for artistic freedom.

Early December 2017, a flyer was circulating on Whatsapp in Freetown announcing one of the most exciting concerts of the year. Sierra Leonean superstar Emmerson Bockarie, stage name Emmerson, was going to perform live alongside two other popular artists. The concert was to be held at the National Stadium, Freetown's foremost and largest concert venue where the likes of Timaya and Wizkid have performed in the past.

One week later, with no further explanation, the concert was cancelled.

Rumours went wild. The then ruling party, All People's Congress (APC), was seen by many as the culprit. Elections were just around the corner and Emmerson, with government-critiquing lyrics, was not to perform to an audience that could reach 36,000 people. It was a recurring story; Emmerson has not been able to perform at the National Stadium since 2012, all during the APC reign.

Now, a month after the change of government, Emmerson held his concert, called Finally, on the April 28.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

The Prince and Princess of Lesotho Were the Only Foreign Royals At Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Wedding

The Basotho and British royals have a long-standing bond.

While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle avoided inviting politicians and foreign royals to their wedding on SaturdayBarack and Michelle Obama were noticeably absent—the couple made an exception for one pair of royals: Prince Seeiso of Lesotho and his wife Princess Mabereng.

The two were amongst the 600 guests present for Saturday's festivities at Windsor Castle. Princess Mabereng donned colorful traditional attire for the ceremony, and stood out in the best way possible.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.