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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."

Photoi: TSE

The Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Lojay, Stonebwoy, Bad Boy Timz, Olamide, Wande Coal and Tibu.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks this week.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music. We also have a Best Afrobeats and Best Amapiano of the month column for you to check out.

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(Photo by Ernest Ankomah/Getty Images)

Was Burna Boy Snubbed at the Grammys?

Love, Damini was one of the contenders for Best Global Music Album and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance, however the Nigerian singer lost both awards.

The 65th annual Grammy Awards were held last night at the Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles. As expected, the event swarmed with outstanding artists and personalities with ravishing looks. Before the event commenced, onlookers and fans tipped their favourite artists to bring home the award, especially Nigerians who were hyped to see the likes of Tems and Burna Boyrepresenting the country on a global stage.

Gone are the days when being nominated for a prestigious award like the Grammy Awards as a Nigerian artist came as a shock. Nigerian music has been on a trajectory in recent years, winning over the global audience. In 2021, Burna Boy set history as the first Nigerian to win a Grammy Award as a lead artist in the Global Music Album category (previously Best World Music Album). His latest studio album Love, Damini was again one of the contenders for the Best Global Music Album category this year and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance. However, the singer lost both awards, failing to add to his list of international plaques.

Following the announcement at the award show, when Tems emerged as a Grammy Award winner in the “Best Melodic Rap Performance” category for Future’s “Wait For U” and Burna Boy wasn’t declared winner of any of the two categories he was nominated in, was a trail of reactions on social media.

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Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Africa was Well Represented At The 2023 Grammys​

The West's biggest night in music started off with a bang, a snub, and a whole lot of shimmer.

Music's big night out brought out some of Africa's biggest and brightest to lend their glamour to the red carpet.

Here are the African musicians attending the 2023 Grammy Awards:

Tems

Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The world belongs to Tems, baby! The Nigerian songstress becomes the first female Nigerian artist to win a Grammy award as she scooped her Best Melodic Rap Performance win alongside American rapper Future and Drake on their hit collab 'Wait For U'. Draped in a custom Viviane Westwood evening gown, the singer continues to break records as she adds the latest win to her abundant collection.

Trevor Noah 

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

South African comedian Trevor Noah was tasked with keeping tonight's crowd entertained and in order during the ceremony at Los Angeles's Crypto.com arena.

Rocky Dawuni

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ghanaian singer-songwriter Rocky Dawuni brought along his beautiful daughter Safiyah Dawuni to celebrate his nominated single "Neva Bow Down" featuring Jamaican Blvk H3ro. The two-time Grammy-nominated musician lost out on this year's award for Best Global Music Performance.

Yola 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

British-born Ghanaian Barbadian singer-songwriter Yola attends the award show for her work in the 2022 musical/drama hit Elvis.

Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Halala! South African threesome Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini, and Nomcebo Zikodeshowed up to snag this year's Best Global Music Performance award for their hit single "Bayethe." The collaborator's win set the internet ablaze as they beat Africa's Giant, Nigerian artist Burna Boy.

Doja Cat 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Doja Cat is clearly having a ball with her fashion sense lately, this time, the "Woman" songstress channeled her inner femme fatale in a black leather look by Versace. The singer was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Record of The Year, Best Music Video, Best Rap Performance, and Best Solo Performance.

Eddy Kenzo

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ugandan singer Eddy Kenzo waved the flag proudly this Sunday as he attended as the country's first Grammy nominee to date. The crooner missed out on this year's Best Global Music Performance award for his track "Gimme Love" with American rapper Matt B, but we trust the Masaka-born star will be back with a vengeance.

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news.

Tems Takes Home Her First Grammy Award

Nigerian star Temshas won her first Grammy Award for her work on Future's "Wait For U"—and it's only up from here for her.

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Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic is Going Global

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The Best Afrobeats Songs Out Right Now

Featuring Burna Boy, Joeboy, Pheelz, Kizz Daniel, Kelvyn Boy, Asake and more.