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Juls & Burna Boy's "Gwarn."

The 10 Best Music Videos of 2017

The best music videos of the year—featuring must-see music videos from Cherrie, MHD, Juls & Burna Boy and more.

As everything in the music world seems to move towards streaming, the importance and weight of music videos only gets bigger.

2017 saw a long list of artists across Africa and its diaspora share some incredible music videos. Some acts looked towards their background to deliver new takes on their roots, while others broke the mold completely, presenting a visual aesthetic that felt wholly fresh and new.

Here are the 10 Best Music Videos of 2017 below.

Listen to our Best Songs of 2017 playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

Cherrie "163 För Evigt," featuring Z.E

Buzzing Somali-Swedish singer Cherrie dropped the amazing video for "163 För Evigt" ("163 Forever"), which despite her singing in Swedish, blew up online on both sides of the Atlantic, being posted in several Instagrams, Tweets and everything in between. "163" is the area code for Rinkeby, the largely immigrant populated Stockholm suburb where Cherrie grew up. Throughout the video, she reps Somalia hard—just take a look at the Somali flag waving proudly throughout the whole video or the very first line of the song in which she shouts out Mogadishu. —Kam Tambini

Oumou Sangaré "Kamelemba"

Grammy Award-winning Malian singer Oumou Sangaré teams up with South African director and fashion photographer Chris Saunders in the surreal music video for "Kamelemba." The video features members from the Swaggers dance crew, set before a gloomy, futuristic landscape. The director has mentioned that their performance is meant to portray a varied interpretation of afrofuturism and modern beauty. "The video references traditionally masculine performance cultures, like the competition of the Congolese Sapeur, portrayed here by a group of women in a gender-free setting," said Saunders. —Damola Durosomo

Juls "Gwarn" feat. Burna Boy

"Gwarn" is the ultra-smooth afrobeats collaboration from British-Ghanaian producer Juls and Nigerian star Burna Boy. It's music video follows an animated Juls and Burna as they serenade their girls in through several hilarious scenes. Watch them both lounge with their girls in this incredible Poka-directed video. —Kam Tambini

J Hus "Spirit"

J Hus had a breakout year with his excellent debut album, Common Sense. In the music video for "Spirit," one of the release's standout tracks, the UK-Gambian MC heads to Jamestown, Ghana for a lively affair packed with motor bike swerving, boxing, fishing and loads of contagious energy. —Kam Tambini

Yemi Alade "Charliee"

Yemi Alade's video for "Charliee" is simply a joy to watch. The Paul Gambit-directed clip is a bright and vibrant deep-dive into the sweet pop sound and aesthetic of this Nigerian diva. Yemi had a good year marked by the recent release of her highly-anticipated third album, Black Magic. Even more so, her old video for "Johnny" became the most watched Nigerian video on Youtube ever earlier this year. —Kam Tambini

Kelela "LMK"

Kelela serves all kinds of looks in her sultry music video for "LMK." The energetic video begins with the Ethiopian-American singer offering chic, 90s "it-girl" looks as she enters a packed club in a shiny blonde wig and statement frames. She then dons fiery red tresses for a dance number in a flashing hallway, before switching back to her signature locs during an all-white party. It's all major hair and style inspiration in just under four minutes. —Damola Durosomo

MHD "Afro Trap Part 9 (Faut Les Wet)"

The highly-buzzing young rapper MHD celebrates his roots by making West African-inspired "Afro Trap" music—an eclectic mix of hip-hop and afro-pop styles that's gone viral. The French rapper of Guinean and Senegalese descent has sparked an "Afro Trap" phenomenon in the past few years, with each one of his songs and its accompanying videos typically gaining tens of millions of views when he uploads them to Youtube. MHD continued his impressive Afro Trap series with Part 9, which follows the young rapper flanked by two amazing kid dancers and some goofy CGI effects across the streets of Paris. —Kam Tambini

Major Lazer & DJ Maphorisa "Particula"

Major Lazer and South Africa's DJ Maphorisa enlisted a bevy of buzzing African artists—Nasty C, Jidenna, Ice Prince, and Patorankin—for 'Particula.' Shot in Johannesburg, the 70s-inspired video sees the artists head to an exceptionally groovy party filled with vibrant gqom, pantsula and Fela Kuti-inspired dancers. The retro-tinged visual, directed by Adriaan Louw, transports viewers to the funkier days, when disco and bell-bottoms ruled. —Damola Durosomo

Olamide "Love No Go Die"

Olamide's video for "Love No Go Die" is the perfect meeting of animation and Nigerian pop music. The video, which was produced by the YBNL Toons, begins with Olamide's 3D avatar, in his signature black shades, lovingly staring at a girl in a hospital bed. The segment then cuts to better times—a flashback of the two animated characters playing video games. Their gaming session soon escalates as they start getting more intimate, while a larger-than-life portrait of Olamide hanging in the background looks on. Everything then turns to a spy-meets-Casino Royale ordeal. There are levels to this thing. —Jacqueline Traoré

Wizkid "Come Closer (Redux)"

When Wizkid dropped an alternate music video for his Drake-assisted hit "Come Closer," we have to say, we enjoyed it much more than the first. The video—directed by the acclaimed video director and husband of Solange Knowles, Alan Ferguson—sees Wizkid and some stylish friends at a dreamy summer get-together, brimming with rich color, bold fashion, and gorgeous melanin. The 3 and-a-half minute music video boasts features from Khoudia Diop (aka Melanin Goddess) , and even Davido's reported ex-girlfirend Sira Kante, who plays Wizkid's love interest. With its fun dance numbers and vintage Malik Sidibé vibes, the video is a visual stunner that had us wondering why Starboy didn't just drop this version in the first place. —Damola Durosomo


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Asa 'Lucid' cover.

The 14 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Asa, Patoranking x Busiswa, $pacely, Vagabon, Shane Eagle and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music 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.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 5: Sarkodie speaks onstage at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2019 at Cobb Energy Center on October 5, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Sarkodie Won 'Best International Flow' at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards

The Ghanaian rapper is the first-ever winner of the newly created category.

Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie had a memorable night at the BET Hip Hop Awards this past weekend, which saw some of the biggest names in rap music gather in Atlanta for a jam-packed show.

The rapper beat out the likes of Falz the Bahd Guy, Ghetts and Little Simz, Nasty C and Tory Lanez to take home the award for the newly created 'Best International Flow' category.

The artist dedicated the award to his daughter, Titi and used his acceptance speech to urge audience members to take a trip to Ghana during the year of return. "I think Africa has always had it and it is about that time. This year is the Year of Return and I would urge each and every one of you here to take a trip back home," said the artist. He was presented the award by Ugandan Get Out star, Daniel Kaluuya.

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Video: Mr Eazi On How He's Helping Young African Artists Grow

In 'Moments With: Mr Eazi,' the buzzing Nigerian star tells us about Banku music, being a serial entrepreneur, and how he's been pushing young African artists through his emPawa initiative.

Mr Eazi stopped by our offices in New York City during a packed round of promo around his new emPawa platform.

The Nigerian star sat down with OkayAfrica and spoke in-depth about his early days, how his friends all pooled money to help him get started, how his famous 'hat' look came about, the blend of Ghanaian & Nigerian sounds that make up Banku music and more recent things like collaboration with J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Watch our Moments With video with Mr Eazi below.

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Photo by Polly Irungu

Photos: A Night of ‘Cocoa and Color’ at Okay Space for Tony’s Chocolonely and Joshua Kissi’s ‘Reframed’ Exhibition

The exhibition, currently showing at Okay Space Gallery, advocates for fair practices in the West African chocolate industry.

What happened when cocoa hero Tony's Chocolonely and creative wonder kid Joshua Kissi rolled up to the Okay Space on the same night? Chocolate-y magic and sweet enlightenment. The two entities have been working together on a project called REFRAMED: Cocoa and Color aimed at shifting the perspective on the West African cocoa farmers who make Chocolonely's delectable bars.

The project kicked off its first US exhibition with us at the Okay Space Gallery in early October, where brightly colored chocolate bars of all sizes covered the tables as attendees had their pick of a variety of Tony Chocolonely's chocolate. Anywhere you looked, there was chocolate and smiles. The only time folks stopped munching on chocolate was to take a bite of the fantastic cuisine—jollof rice, fried plantains and beef skewers—from Gold Coast Catering and plantain ice cream from Kelewele NYC. The room was packed with a diverse and wonderful crowd, excited to interact with Kissi's work and curious about learning how the chocolate brand was focused on empowering Africans and African economies. DJ GFlamee created the perfect atmosphere with tunes that highlighted the region and made a Thursday feel more like a Friday.

The highlight of the night, however, was a live Q&A session between Joshua Kissi and Dena White, Tony Chocolonely's head of marketing for the US. Kissi created the concept and took photos of the people in Ghana and the Ivory Coast working to create the chocolate the world adores. Together, they discussed the methods and importance of Tony Chololonely's fight to end slave labor in the cocoa industry. It was illuminating to have the session with the faces of those being honored surrounding us, looking on, being included in something that has long been swept under the rug.

While the chocolate has all been gobbled up, Kissi's striking photos will stay on display at the gallery until October 31st.

Check out some of the action from the event below, with photos by Polly Irungu.

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