News Brief

It's Been 1 Year Since the Grenfell Tower Fire Claimed the Lives of 72 People

The shell of Grenfell Tower was lit green to mark one year since the tragedy as memorials have been held all over London.

Today marks one year since a massive fire took over Grenfell Tower—a social housing building in west London—killing 72 people.

The remnants of the tower was lit green at 12:54 a.m., among other major landmarks around London, in remembrance of the lives lost, NPR reports. It was the moment when the first emergency call was made. A moment of silence was also observed midday.


The tragedy of Grenfell Tower brought to light the poor living conditions residents faced, the slow, distant government response they endured and a long overdue review of building materials in other public housing building across the UK.

The fire started on the lower floors and raced upward, while those trapped on the highest floors were forced to wave whatever they had to get people's attention, screaming for help. Grenfell Tower residents had filed complaints concerning the fire safety of the building only months before the diaster. The building was wrapped in a flammable siding rather than a fire-resistant alternative, according to NPR.

The survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have had a challenging time starting over because of delays in obtaining replacement housing, despite Prime Minister Theresa May promising the survivors that they would be rehoused within three weeks. BBC reports that only 83 households have been moved to permanent housing—that's fewer than half of those who were evacuated. According to the Kensington and Chelsea Council, the rest of the survivors are still in temporary housing.

As we learned the stories behind the lives cut short in the fire, Khadija Saye, a rising British-Gambian photographer, was among the victims along with her mother.

Her last photographic series, Dwelling: in this space we breahe, explored traditional Gambian spiritual practices and was shown at the 57th Venice Biennale. Her career as an artist was on the brink of flourishing.

Saye was trapped on the 20th floor, posting gut-wrenching Facebook statuses asking her friends and families for their prayers. She was 24-years-old.

Revisit Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri's poem dedicated to the memory of the victims below.

Our thoughts are with the Grenfell community as they continue to fight for justice.

C Natty/emPawa

You Need to Watch C Natty's New Music Video For 'Ojah'

Video Premiere: Check out the striking first release from Mr Eazi's #emPawa30.

C Natty arrives in style with his new single "Ojah."

The track, which is the first release from Mr Eazi's new group of #emPawa30 artists, sees the Nigerian artist delivering a highly-infectious and grooving concoction over jazz-leaning afrobeats produced by Killertunes.

The new music video for "Ojah," which we're premiering here today, is equally as stunning and follows the story of someone who doesn't take others' advice. C Natty told us the following about the DK of Priorgold Pictures-directed video:

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South African Hip-Hop Producers Tweezy and Gemini Major Set for Instagram Live Beat Battle

Two of South Africa's hip-hop super producers Tweezy and Gemini Major will face-off in upcoming Instagram live beat battle.

After Instagram live beat battles such as Swizz Beatz versus Timbaland and Mannie Fresh versus Scott Storch amid the lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it was only a matter of time until the hip-hop community across the world followed suit.

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Image courtesy of Adekunle Adeleke

Spotlight: Adekunle Adeleke Creates Digital Surrealist Paintings That Celebrate African Beauty

Get familiar with the work of Nigerian visual artist Adekunle Adeleke.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Adekunle Adeleke, a Nigerian visual artist, using digital mediums to paint dream-like portraits of Africans. Read more about the inspirations behind his work below, and check out some of his stunning paintings underneath. Be sure to keep up with the artist on Instagram and Facebook.

Can you tell us more about your background and when you first started painting?

I am a self taught artist. I started drawing from when I was really young. I mostly used graphite pencils and paper. But about six years ago, I think it was 2014, I wanted to start getting into color. I was a university student at the time and I lived in a hostel with three other people, so I couldn't go traditional so [instead], I started making paintings digitally, first on my iPad and then on my laptop with a Wacom. I have been painting ever since.

What would you say are the central themes in your work?

I personally think my work celebrates beauty (African beauty to be precise) and occasionally absurd things. I really just want to make paintings that are beautiful.

How do you decide who or what you're going to paint?
I do not have an exact process. I do use a lot of references though. Sometimes, I had an idea of how exactly the painting would look, others I just make it up as i go along.

Can you talk about a particular moment or turning point in your life that made you want to pursue art or a creative path?

I am not sure–I did not actively pursue art in a sense. I was just doing it because it was fun and I wanted to. Then people all of a sudden wanted to put me on projects and offer to pay for my hobby. I have thankfully been able to make art and also work in a separate field—which I also enjoy–by day.

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