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Tributes Pour Out for NYC Restaurateur and Community Leader, Jonathan Adewumi, Upon His Passing

The Nigerian-born cultural advocate was a pillar of New York's African community.

New York-based restaurateur, businessman and community advocate Jonathan Adewumi has passed, due to complications from COVID-19. His family confirmed the news to OkayAfrica on Tuesday.

As partner of the family-owned, Brooklyn-based Nigerian restaurant Amarachi, Adewumi helped create a unique space for people to congregate while enjoying good food and hospitality. He was an alumni of Utica College, class of '86, and a cherished member of New York's African community, dedicated to advancing its culture and providing mentorship to young people following in his footsteps—many of whom affectionately referred to him as "Uncle Jonathan."

"From the moment I met him, he was a larger than life figure because of his impact in our organization," Stanley Lumax, founder of African Chophouse tells OkayAfrica. The two were members of the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi.

"He was involved in everything from an African Film Festival to bringing traditional African clothing to the forefront of fashion before it became a thing and opening an African restaurant downtown Brooklyn," adds Lumax. "We became closer when I found out about the restaurant and realized I could get authentic Nigerian food in Brooklyn."


Although he was a local leader, Adewumi was also involved in connecting the diaspora globally. He founded the travel company Homeland Travels and Tours, which he described as a "gateway to guided tours of Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya," in a 2019 interview with New York Amsterdam News.

He is survived by his son Jonathan Adewumi Jr., his sisters Elizabeth Body-Lawson, Chief Joyce Adewumi, and brothersMr. Samuel Adewumi, Joseph "Bub" Adewumi (and his wife Maxine Adewumi), nieces Angelica and Isis Body-Lawson, Shola Adewumi, Rhema Adewimi, Sade Adewumi and Joseph Adewumi Jr.

"It's a big loss," says his younger brother Joseph "Bub" Adewumi who described him as "the face of the family" because of his outgoing spirit and ability to connect with people. "We will continue to support all the initiatives he was involved in," he adds.

Adewumi will be remembered for his commitment to community and culture. "He was always serving a community, whether it was Brooklyn, Africans or Kappas—he always offered a sanctuary for gathering and fellowship," says Lumax. "His ability to pivot not only gave him the wisdom that he was able to share with us as younger Africans, but his consistency, compassion and humor made it easy to be around him. He was a humble legend and will not be able to be replaced. I lost a big brother in every sense of the word."

His family has set up a GoFundMe in order to help with the costs of finding a resting site "where anyone of us, at our own convenience can visit and show their love."

Many young people in New York's African community have expressed similar sentiments about the cherished community figure and have taken to social media to commemorate him.




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(YouTube)

Wande Coal and Olamide Team Up On 'Kpe Paso'

Nigeria's Wande Coal and Olamide share "Kpe Paso," a colorful, rhythmic display of Yoruba's cultural intricacy.


Afrobeats veteran Oluwatobi Wande Ojosipe, popularly known as Wande Coal and industry heavy weight and YBNL boss, Olamide have collaborated on "Kpe Paso," a song that showcases their musical prowess and appreciation for Yoruba culture. In the record, the two artists, who have Yoruba backgrounds bring their renowned style to the forefront, with Wande Coal's signature vocals merging seamlessly with Olamide's sonics. The majority of the song is sung in Yoruba.

The majority of the song is sung in Yoruba, and produced by Nigerian record producer, Kel P Vibes. The music video was directed by Jyde Ajala.

This is Wande Coal's first single for 2023, and in the past the afrobeats icon has worked with Olamide on a record called "Hate Me." Their reunion on "Kpe Paso" showcases their rhythmic chemistry and lyricism.

Wande Coal has created a successful 17-year career that begun under the influence of Mo' Hits Records, a record label that was founded and led byD'banj and Don Jazzy. Ever since the release of his first album Mushin 2 Mo' Hits, the Lagos-born crooner has been on a career upswing ever since.

"Kpe Paso" is scheduled to be a part of Wande Coal's upcoming album Legend Or No Legend which will be released on March 30.

Watch the colorful music video for "Kpe Paso" below 

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Watch Burna Boy's Down-to-Earth Video For "Common Person"

The Nigerian superstar shares a memorable video for "Common Person," a creative visual presentation of Nigerian humanity amid the ebbs and flows of day-to-day life.


In Burna Boy's heart-warming music video for "Common Person," he shares a more vulnerable, likable version of himself that is often overshadowed by the limelight. The music video for the track off his critically acclaimed album, Love, Damini, showcases the global artist in an extremely down-to-earth and heart-warming manner.

Burna's new video further pushes the message of the song "Common Person": that one person is not better than the next, and despite his superstardom, he is a common person who has never forgotten his roots. In the music video, Burna can be seen interacting with residents of a working-class neighborhood, and partaking in every-day things that happen in several Nigerian working-class neighborhoods, including cooking and carrying buckets of water into the home. In several shots, the superstar is captured helping residents with car trouble kickstart their vehicle.

Ever since the release of Love, Damini, Burna Boy has continued to garner more success and international acclaim. Recently, he was nominated for Best Global Music Performance for the Gold RIAA certified hit, “Last, Last” and “Best Global Music Album” for his sixth studio album, Love, Damini at the upcoming 65th Annual Grammy Awards. Love, Damini, was also selected as a The New York Times’ Critics Pick , and described by OkayAfrica as "a story of victory, love, loss, pain and strength over a number of colorful musical influences." The music video for "Common Person" is a continuation of that story. Watch the video below.

Watch Burna Boy's music video for "Common Person"

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Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

Photo Series: Vic Mensa's Pilgrimage to Ghana

OkayAfrica traveled with Vic Mensa as he visited his father's childhood home, Koforidua. Here's a behind-the-scenes look about what happened.

Back in December, American rapper Vic Mensa went on a pilgrimage back home. The rapper was in Accra, Ghana for his historic Black Star Line Festival, which he was co-hosting with longtime friend and fellow rapper Chance the Rapper.

But, on a hot day before the festival, the rapper traveled two hours from Accra to Koforidua to visit his extended family. There is a lot of history in Koforidua. Highlife trailblazer Chief Kofi Sammy grew up there. Not only was he founder of the famous Okukuseku International Band but Sammy also had a long and fruitful relationship with Afrobeat legend Fula Kuti.

He also happens to be Vic Mensa's uncle. And part of the reason Vic took this trip is to convince Sammy to join him on stage at the Black Star Line Festival in Accra, in front of 50,000 fans. However, while there, Vic made sure he had time to connect with his extended family.

It was a special, intimate moment. One OkayAfrica was lucky enough to witness firsthand. Check out our photo gallery of Vic Mensa's pilgrimage below.

Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

In December 2022, Vic Mensa took a trip to visit his uncle, legendary Highlife artist Chief Kofi Sammy. It’s about a two hour drive from Accra to Koforidua. A bit longer when you factor in Vic stopping for some of his favorite snacks.

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Photo: Etan Comics

Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic is Going Global

Etan Comics is launching a kids version of the kickstarter-backed title, which will be published in 11 languages.


After the successful release of their graphic novel, Jember, Etan Comics is teaming up with the non-profit Open Hearts Big Dreams (OHBD) to launch a special collaboration. Etan is working with the Seattle-based organization, which has produced over 700 bilingual early-reader titles, to turn Jember into a bilingual kids book that's based on the award-winning graphic novel.

The release of the book coincides with Black History Month, and will be launched in 11 different languages, including Amharic, Arabic, French, Greek, Igbo, Kiswahili, Spanish, and Wolayta. Jember was first published in hardcover format in October 2022, and after its release it garnered +$12K pre-orders on Kickstarter. The comic book is designed to help emerging readers build their reading confidence, and learn more about African cultures and languages. Created and written by Beserat Debebe, it was illustrated by Yonatan Solomon and Michael Okoroagha.

Jember is being turned into a bilingual kids book that's based on the award-winning graphic novel and will be available in 11 different languages.

Photo: Etan Comics

Beginning in mid-February, the books will be available globally on Amazon and IngramSpark. They will also be available at Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, and in public libraries shortly after.

With the release of Jember, Etan Comics aims to make African stories accessible to global readers. The collaboration will also help Ethiopian children, who make up 40% of the Ethiopian population, to be empowered through the story, which speaks to the rich cultural heritage of the Ethiopian history.

With this development, Etan Comics has joined the growing list of new generation of African comic book creators who are sharing African culture through comics to engage readers with various parts of the continent's history.

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