Film
Photo via lincolnblues on Flickr

#OscarsSoWhite: These Are the African Artists Invited to Join the Academy This Year

The list of new Academy members shows that the Oscars are making changes but still have a long way to go.

The Academy just released a record 928 invitations to new academy members this week, which included some African actors and filmmakers from the continent and diaspora.

It's no secret that the academy is whiter than ever, and over the last couple of years the Academy has come under fire for its lack of diversity and inclusion of marginalized communities in movements like #OscarsSoWhite in 2014.

On Monday, the Academy put out 928 invitations to a list of new academy members, raising the number of invitees to include more women, people of color, and international film makers. Women make up 49 percent of the new list, which will shift the number of women to 31 percent of the overall academy. People of color make up 38 percent of the new members, which brings the overall number to just 16 percent. The new members all together represent 59 countries.

The list included some African artists from the continent and the diaspora in various categories like actors, directors, visual effects, documentary, short film and feature, and executives. The artists were Danai Gurira, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Daniel Kaluuya, Waniru Kahiu, Femi Odugbemi, Tendeka Matatu, Ngozi Onwurah, Yvonne Muinde, Wunmi Mosako.

The Academy included actors involved in large blockbuster films like "Black Panther" and "Get Out," but the list also included other filmmakers like Kenya's Kahiu whose film "Rafiki" was banned in Kenya but still received positive responses this year.

Some members have started accepting their invitations especially on Twitter, but even if no members decline their invitation the Academy still has a long way to go when it comes to diversity.

You can read the full list of invitees here.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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