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100 Women: Kay Oyegun and Angelica Nwandu on The Power In Our Words

The founder of the Shade Room, Angelica Nwandu and filmmaker and TV writer, Kay Oyegun discuss staying true to their points of view, and the power in being allowed to fail.

In out latest video, Nigerian media guru and founder of The Shade Room Angelica Nwandu and Kay Oyegun, a Nigerian-Beninese writer and filmmaker, who writes for NBC's This Is Us and OWN's Queen Sugar, sit down for a frank conversation on the power of words and emotional connections, and how we can channel both into action.

"When you can make somebody feel something, you have their attention, and once you have their attention you can persuade them to want to change the world," says Nwandu.

The two share some of their experiences in their respective industries, opening up about how they've dealt with backlash, as well as the pressure put on black creatives to always be at the very top of their game.


"Before I put pen to paper I always think about intention verses impact, what am I intending to do and who is this going to impact. Being mindful of those two things I'm okay with criticism, I'm okay with backlash, because I knew that I was being honest with what I was expressing," says Oyegun.

For her, it's all about staying true to their own points of view, despite how it may be perceived by others."You have to be sort of strong and stick to what you're trying to say—that, at the end of the day is what allows all of the noise to filter out, because you know what you set out to do.

"We're fighting to be ourselves," adds Nwandu.

Watch the full video below.

This article appears as part of OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2018—a project highlighting the impactful work done by African women across the globe. Throughout March, we will be publishing a series of profiles, videos, interviews and feature stories on these inspirational women. Click here to see the entire list of 2018 honorees.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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