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Photo by David Kwaw Mensah.

Nigerian writer Irenosen Okojie.

Irenosen Okojie Wins This Year's Prestigious AKO Caine Prize

The AKO Caine Prize has awarded British-Nigerian writer Irenosen Okojie with one of African Literature's highest honours for her short story 'Grace Jones'.

The AKO Caine Prize has recently announced that British-Nigerian writer, Irenosen Okojie, is this year's winner. Arguably one of the foremost honours to be awarded in the African Literature space, Okojie's short story Grace Jones has received all-round praise from the judges. The recent announcement comes just after the shortlist of five writers was released earlier this year in May.

Grace Jones is a riveting piece that tells the story of Sidra, a Grace Jones impersonator, after the legendary 70s through 80s musician. However, Sidra has a few dark secrets she's eager to keep hidden away from the rest of the world. Both Jones's music and aesthetic in addition to her perpetual challenging of gender norms, are what inspired Okojie to write the story.

The Chair of the AKO Caine Prize judging panel and Director of The Africa Centre, Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, has described Grace Jones as a "radical story that plays with logic, time and place" and one that also "defies convention, as it unfolds a narrative that is multi-layered and multi-dimensional".

In a recent press statement, Tharp continues by saying:

"In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has prompted deeply powerful questions about race, justice and equality in the world today - this story offers a salient exploration of what it can mean to embody and perform Blackness in the world. This is a story of tremendously delicate power and beauty, and one in which we recognise the tradition of African storytelling and imagination at its finest."

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and various preventive measures, the AKO Caine Prize has reportedly commissioned British-Nigerian filmmaker Joseph A. Adesunloye to direct and produce a documentary film to celebrate the shortlist and announce the winner. A well-deserved win indeed to Okojie.

Read our interview with Okojie here.

Music
Photo: @Olapixels via Moves Recordings.

Get to Know Nigeria's New 'Cruise' Sound

A new, hyper dance style is bubbling out of Nigeria thanks to TikTok.

A frenetic sound has emerged from Lagos that pulses as the language of the streets. Despite inducing frenzied dancing at parties and across social media it remains a genre with no real name, mostly made on cheap PCs and ripped music software. Even many of those producing it do not care what it's called, no matter how excited they are to send dancers into electric-jolting fits.

London-based independent record label, Moves Recordings, have compiled their favorites of these tracks that ring out at a delirious BPM and they have dared to call it "Cruise."

It's music that exists as the intersection between class and social media and like punk or house before it, it's created by those whose lives are all but too immediate.

An explosion of youth-driven fast-tempo dance music may not be the signal for significant change in the disparity between rich and poor in Nigerian society, but thanks to TikTok, this music has not only burst out from the streets to blaze out across a nation. With help from the Nigerian diaspora from Ghana to the USA, the sound that has also broken worldwide, giving a voice to the voiceless in the slums of Lagos

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Watch: Asake Takes Us To School in New Video for Hit 'Organise'

The surprise drop sees the Nigerian superstar continue to raise the bar and share his talents with the world.

Finally!

Nigerian singer and songwriter Asake surprised fans with visuals to his global hit "Organise," from his debut album Mr. Money with The Vibe. The creative powerhouse teamed up with longtime collaborator and director TG Omorito bring a lively reminder as to why the world can't get enough of Mr. Money.

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The Other African Footballers in the World Cup

There are five African teams in the World Cup, but there are at least 54 players on other teams who were either born in Africa, or have African ancestry.

Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia are the five African teams in the World Cup in Qatar, but there are at least 54 players on other teams who were born in Africa or have African ancestry.

This is, of course, the result of the African diaspora, the movement of people from the continent towards the rest of the world. But the stories of how African players or their families got to the other side of the world are not always so stereotypical as one might imagine. The world cup, besides a month of football, is also a way to find out about how humans move through the world. Here are a few:

One of the most talked about stories in this tournament is that of Breel Embolo, who was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, but represents the Swiss national team and refused to celebrate after scoring against his country of birth last week. Embolo scored the only goal in the 1-0 Switzerland victory. It was the first goal he ever scored in a world cup, and the video of it went viral. But it wasn’t because of his technique, it was because he refused to celebrate.

Embolo moved to France when he was six years old because his mom, who had separated from his dad, went to study there. She met a Swiss man and married him, and the family eventually moved to Switzerland when the now Monaco forward was still a kid. So when he scored for his adopted country against Cameroon, he decided to stop and hold his arms up while his teammates celebrated around him.

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Music
Photo: Adama Jalloh.

Watch Stormzy's 'This Is What I Mean' Video Featuring Amaarae, Black Sherif & Ms Banks

Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. popularly known as Stormzy recently recruited a star-studded entourage of artists to feature on the music video for “This Is What I Mean.” The record features Amaarae, Black Sherif, Ms Banks, STORRY and Jacob Collier.

Following the release of his third studio album This Is What I Mean last week, Stormzy worked with his video team to bring the song to life.

The body of work consists of 12 tracks and also features appearances from Debbie, Sampha,, and more. The new album's single, "This Is What I Mean," is a P2J, Knox Brown, Joel Peters, and PRGRSHN-produced joiny that fully highlights Stormzy’s music ingenuity.

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All You Need to Know About the African Teams at the World Cup

We break down how Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, and Tunisia's national teams are looking ahead of the Qatar World Cup 2022.