News Brief

3 Gems We Learned from Issa Rae's Stunning ESSENCE Cover Story

The "Insecure" maven opens up about her rapid growth and transformation in the entertainment industry in ESSENCE's April issue.

Issa Rae's graceful cover of ESSENCE Magazine's April issue has truly made our day.

I mean, just feast your eyes on how breathtaking she looks (thanks to photographer Itaysha Jordan) with New Orleans as the perfect backdrop:


In her interview with ESSENCE, Issa opens up giving an introspective on how far she's come in her career—though with the success of Insecure and with shooting the upcoming romcom she's co-starring in, The Lovebirds, she's truly just getting started.

Here are three gems from her that stood out to us. Check out the full article here.

On focusing on what matters when navigating dating—her mind:

"I think a part of it just came from figuring out that the guys I like, I'm not their type. Learning that early on made me realize there's no point in valuing the physical, because it wasn't going to get me anywhere. So what can I control, and what can I bring to the table? How can I be valued in this way?"

On her legendary web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl:

"When you don't have much to do or you don't have plans on Friday night, you're making up a character who does. That was an outlet for me. I fantasized all the time about having a different life. And that manifested in creating characters and worlds and scenarios. I've definitely let my imagination run free."

On young girls who look like Issa now having someone to look up to in magazines:

"I just didn't imagine that [for myself]. So the fact that it happened is like, you just never f—ing know. And you should never discount anything. I think so many of us tend to be comfortable with what we're not and complacent with what we're not. You really don't have to be. I didn't solve world peace or anything—it's not like that. But something that felt so small and intangible ended up being tangible. And that's just the coolest thing in the world."

Music
(Youtube)

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Fireboy DML, Juls, Adekunle Gold and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Film
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

Meet Duro Arts, the Man Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Album Covers

We talk to the Lagos-based digital artist about his work with Olamide, Phyno, Falz and more.

Duro Arts has found himself illustrating the cover artwork for a new wave of Nigerian musicians. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oluwadurotimi Bolaji Idowu started digital art in 2010, at a time where afrobeats music was still grasping its feet. Now, 11 years later, he has made covers for heavyweight hitmakers like Peruzzi, Phyno, Olamide, Zlatan, Oxlade, and Davido.

We caught up with Duro Arts on a Sunday afternoon over Zoom. He took the call from Accra, Ghana, where he's currently working. We talked about his journey as a digital artist, his portfolio, creative process, and the changes he'd like to see in the creative industry.

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Series Producer Bonga Percy Vilakazi Is Big On Telling Progressive Stories

The award-winning South African writer and producer cut his teeth in the TV industry washing and drying make-up sponges. Today, he's responsible for entertaining millions of soapie lovers on the African continent.