News Brief
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

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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