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A Letter from the Editor: Introducing OkayAfrica Stories

We want to hear from you, where you are, how you are.

OkayAfrica community,

While we have been learning to accept, and adjust to our temporary norm, COVID-19 has changed life in every corner of the globe. As a brand and a publication, we are always looking for new impactful ways to tell the stories of life, art, and culture in our global community. In the past, through our editorial coverage on OkayAfrica, we have been able to reclaim narratives and focus on allowing new voices access to the masses. Now it's time to replicate that model with fewer barriers so we can hear directly from you about how you are impacted by COVID-19.

As the news of the pandemic began to unfold with focus on celebrity cases, I longed to see faces whose experiences mirrored those of our audience, I wondered how our readers were coping, I considered the uncertainty of the young artists, travelers, scholars, dreamers whose lives and pursuits were suddenly halted. But more than that I thought endlessly about the ways we could hear directly from you and how you could connect with one another. For that reason, I am so proud to introduce you to our OkayAfrica Stories, a new user-generated content platform dedicated to your voices.

OkayAfrica's Stories powered by Hypno will give us all a direct look into the lives of those surviving the current global pandemic on the continent. My hope is that the UGC platform will bring communities together to create, share and explore original content. The platform works on both mobile and web to automate the production of branded video content starring you. Members of our community will be able to record 60sec videos in response to automated prompts based on the categories of their choice. Once recorded, the video joins our public collection of videos from everyday Africans around the world expressing their realities during the COVID-19 crisis.

The goal has always been the same, in a pandemic and otherwise, it is our mission to connect the globe to the stories of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora. If we cannot do this by gathering via travel, around food, through dance, and have it captured by photography, we will be called to do what we always do: innovate. The things we can learn from one another are endless, the power and comfort that comes when we centralize our voices are boundless.

We are looking to provide the comfort of togetherness, and an outlet for expression, delivered when you need It, when you can handle it and where you can access it. While are only physically apart, our stories will continue to be what brings us together.

We want to hear from you, where you are, how you are.

I am so excited to introduce you to OkayAfrica Stories and look forward to the stories you will share that I know will provide warm comfort and inspiration for your peers.

I look forward to seeing you there!



Warmly,

Rachel Hislop
Editor in Chief, OkayAfrica

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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