News

Auma Obama's Life Between Different Cultures


“I hugged her, we looked at each other, and just laughed. I knew then that I loved her.” With these words blood ties were restored between two siblings who were seeing each other for the first time as young adults.

Auma Obama first met her big half-brother Barack Obama in the United States in the late eighties. The reunion gave roots to a solid bond, which led to trips to Kenya, where the Obama family originates, research into family history, and Auma's support for her brother's bid to become US President.

We caught Auma in South Africa, just one of the stops on a worldwide tour for her book And Then Life Happens. The new book tells the story of her family – focusing on her relationship with her father as well as her brother Barack, but also on her own search for identity and belonging. Born in Kenya, Auma left the country at the age of 19 to study in Germany. During her 16 years there, she was confronted with the contradictions between European and African culture, where she feared being an outsider to both. Her personal story gives insight into life between different cultures – a life influenced by notions of migration and globalization, frustration and the feeling of being torn apart. Read more about the book and buy it here.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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