News Brief

The Stories You Need to Know: Black Lives Matter Wins Sydney Peace Prize, African Celebs Send Messages of Support to Manchester and More

Black Lives Matter Movement wins the Sydney Peace Prize, WHO elects first African Director General and more.

DIAPSORA—The World Health Organization (WHO) has elected Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia as its new Director General.


The 52-year-old malaria expert replaces Dr. Margaret Chan of China to become the first African to hold the position.

"All roads should lead to universal health coverage. I will not rest until we have met this," he said during a speech to the World Health Assembly.

Read more on Ghebreyesus and the chaining politics of the WHO, here.

DIASPORA—Australia's Sydney University will award the Black Lives Matter movement with this year's Sydney Peace Prize. This is the first year that the award will be granted to a movement rather than an individual. Co-founders, Nigeiran-American Opal TometiPatrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza will be present the award in an upcoming ceremony at the Sydney Peace Foundation.

DIASPORA—The restored version of the 1991 film "Daughters of the Dust" will be released on Netflix next month. The seminal film was the first movie by a black woman filmmaker to be distributed theatrically in the United States. The movie, directed by Julie Dash, had a nationwide 25th anniversary restoration showing last year, when it enjoyed a reemergence after being heavily referenced in Beyoncé's Lemonade. Read more via Shadow and Act.

DIASPORA— African Celebrities and politicians have sent messages of love, frustration and support to Manchester, UK following Monday's tragic bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in which 22 people were killed. Idris Elba, Wizkid, Michaela Coel and more took to social media in solidarity.

 

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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