Events
Photo by Farah Sosa.

Here's What Amplify Africa's Inaugural Afro Ball Looked Like

The awards event was a celebration of excellence and ambition in the African community.

On Saturday, May 19, the Los Angeles Theater Center in downtown LA became a mecca for idealists and dreamers from the African diaspora.

The casual passersby would've been greeted with an effusion of bold prints, intricate headwraps and color coordination—the likes of which had not been seen since their favorite 90s music video (or church, or a wedding for some of us). And though the festivities might have vaguely resembled a film set—as is all too common downtown—this moment wouldn't be rehashed months later in a movie or television show. Attendees were flocking to Amplify Africa's inaugural Afro Ball. With the support of BET International, Buzzfeed, OkayAfrica, the GEANCO Foundation and more, Afro Ball lived up to its name as a "for Africans, by Africans" awards event, celebrating excellence and ambition in our community.


The evening was hosted Seyi Brown, Justin Spio and Mame Adjei; featuring a special appearance from Congresswoman Karen Bass, who gave a thoughtful speech about the significant influence of African immigrants. Bass, who spoke from a low-lit podium at the center of the hall, detailed how African ingenuity and passion had enriched American culture and innovation throughout the years. The politician also touched on how African immigrants and first generation children are fighting dated and pervasive narratives that they come to America purely to exhaust its resources.

Arrivals began to trickle past the step and repeat into the venue around roughly 6:00 p.m. Guests included honorees such as Wondaland Records virtuoso Jidenna, stylist and philanthropist Ugo Mozie, entrepreneur Samuel Desalu, neurosurgeon Muri Raifu and tech guru Ori Ayonmike. Soon after, the audience settled into their assigned tables to watch Amplify Africa co-founder Damilare Kujembola deliver the evening's opening remarks. Kujembola's light-hearted speech was followed by the presentation of awards in the education and science categories. Guests were then treated to a special performance by Aizehi Nomo, who opened with renditions of "One Dance" and "Work" as waiters and waitresses replaced the salad course with hearty plates of jollof rice, chicken and plantain. Over dinner, attendees sipped wine and chatted before the evening again shifted tone to honor creatives like stylist Ade Samuel, director Daps, who is the man behind Migos' most popular videos, and OkayAfrica's own CEO and publisher, Abiola Oke.

The evening ended on a high note with a special performance from Wale Ojo, followed by an after-party where attendees could continue to dance the night away.

Take a closer look at Amplify Africa's inaugural Afro Ball in our slideshow below, with photography by Farah Sosa.

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Image courtesy of Riveriswild

#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. While this American "holiday" being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday, including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.

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'Queen & Slim' soundtrack cover.

Burna Boy Samples Fela's 'Shakara' on New Track, 'My Money, My Baby' From 'Queen & Slim' Soundtrack

The film's official soundtrack also features tracks from Lauryn Hill, Blood Orange, Megan Thee Stallion and more.

The official soundtrack for Queen & Slim has arrived, and it features a standout solo track from none other than Burna Boy.

"My Money, My Baby" is a heavily Afrobeat-tinged track that features a prominent sample of Fela Kuti's 1972 song "Shakara." The pulsating track also sees the singer, channeling Fela's signature talk-style of singing and repetition. Check it out below.

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Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images

South Africa's Iconic Group Bongo Maffin is Set to Release a New Album

It will be the group's first album in well over a decade.

Last year, the iconic South African kwaito group Bongo Maffin, reunited after several years. They then went on to release the single "Harare" much to the delight of their numerous fans. Of course, the single was just an appetizer for everything else still to come. Thandiswa "King Tha" Mazwai, one of the members of the diverse quartet, recently confirmed that Bongo Maffin will be releasing an album on November 29th—the group's first album in well over a decade.

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(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100)

Tiwa Savage, Sauti Sol, 2Baba, Toofan & More to Perform at AFRIMA Music Village Festival

The star-studded event will take place ahead of the award show and includes a host of artists from across the continent.

The 6th annual All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) celebrations, which recognize African talent from across the continent, are set to take place between November 20-23 in Lagos, Nigeria. Several events will take place ahead of the award show, including the star-studded AFRIMA Music Village Festival which will feature performances from some of the top artists in the industry.

The show's lineup has just been announced and it features over 30 acts from all regions of the continent.

The AFRIMAs once again are not to be confused with the AFRIMMAs (African Muzik Magazine Awards) which took place in Dallas, Texas in October.

Here Are the Nominees For the 2019 AFRIMA Awards

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