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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.

Interview
Image courtesy of Sun-El Musician.

Interview: Sun-El Musician Is Going 'To the World & Beyond'

Thirteen years ago, Sun-El Musician left his home in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal and dropped out of university to move to Joburg and pursue a dream that continues to unfold with To the World & Beyond, the much-anticipated followup to his debut album

Sun-El Musician almost didn't release the very song that made him the much-loved name he is in South African dance music. He sent "Akanamali" to three different sound engineers and still didn't feel it was quite ready to see the light of day. The song, which is about being broke, sat on his laptop for four months before his younger brother, Sandile, encouraged him to reconsider putting it out for others to hear.

"If it were up to me, I wouldn't have released 'Akanamali,'" Sun-El, real name Sanele Sithole, tells OkayAfrica. "I would have wanted it to be so extra perfect. I don't know what that means anymore, but once you touch a song, you feel like you could do better." Thankfully, with a little nudging from his brother, Sun-El let the song out into the world in 2017 to work its magic, earning him his place in the scene, along with three South African Music Awards, including Best Collaboration with Samthing Soweto.

Sun-El's reputation has been shaped by years of working with Demor Skhosana, who helped get him started in the industry, and producing tracks for the likes of Thiwe, Zakes Bantwini, and Shota. The self-taught Sun-El has put all he's learnt into a label of his own, El World Music, which counts Simmy and S-Tone, who both appeared on his debut album Africa to the World, among its roster. At the same time, he's teamed up with artist development company Platoon to increase the reach of his music.

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Listen To Sun-El Musician’s Sophomore Album ‘To The World & Beyond’

South African deejay and producer extraordinaire, Sun-El Musician drops 'To The World & Beyond', the follow-up to his widely successful 2018 debut, 'Africa To The World'.