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Photo: Kyle Weeks.

Watch Baloji's Debut Short Film 'Kaniama Show'

"A fictional satire about the collusion of State and media powers in an unidentified African country."

Baloji is a leading force in his space.

For years, the Congolese-Belgian artist has paired his unique blend of soukous, hip-hop and pop elements with sharp critiques about the power that governments, industries and technology have over societiesā€”particularly across Africa.

Recently, Baloji release his latest album, 137 Kaniama, a 12-song record which offered potent commentary on, among other issues, how today's cellphone culture is making all of us zombies. That album is going to be re-released its originally-intended form of a one-track single as Kaniama: The Yellow Version tomorrow.

The new release is paired with a 22-minute short film that takes a satirical look at the shady ties between state and media with the backdrop of a '70s Soul Train-esque TV show.


"My first short film, Kaniama Show, [is] a fictional satire about the collusion of State and media powers in an unidentified African country," Baloji tells OkayAfrica. "The film is built as a Sunday afternoon variety show, with a set stuck in the 70s that underscores an unwillingness to change. The cast includes Eriq Ebouaney (Raoul Peck's Lumumba), Bwanga Pilipili, Martha Daro Canga, and Eric Kabongo."

"Kaniama Show received numerous awards at festivals despite its unusual and disconcerting form. It is a great pleasure to finally bring this film to a wider audience," he continues. "On May 3 the album Kaniama: The Yellow Version comes out on Bella Union, released in its original concept form as a long-play single track. It is an album that unfolds throughout 72 minutes, with two unreleased bonus remixes (feat. Poison Mobutu, Gael Faye)."

Watch our premiere of Baloji's Kaniama Show short film below and check out some film stills underneath.

'Kaniama: The Yellow Version' is out tomorrow, May 3, on Bella Union.

Baloji - Kaniama show (Short film) youtu.be

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

Film stills. Photo: Yaqine Hamzaoui.

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Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

Freddie Harrel Is Building Conscious Beauty For and With the African Diaspora

Formerly known as "Big Hair Don't Care", creator Freddie Harrel and her team have released 3 new wig shapes called the "RadShapes" available now.


Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


The normalising of Black and brown women in wigs of various styles has certainly been welcomed by the community, as it has opened up so many creative avenues for Black women to take on leadership roles and make room for themselves in the industry.

Radswan (formerly known as Big Hair Don't Care), is a lifestyle brand "bringing a new perspective on Blackness through hair, by disrupting the synthetic market with innovative and sustainable products." Through their rebrand, Radswan aims to, "upscale the direct-to-consumer experience holistically, by having connected conversations around culture and identity, in order to remove the roots of stigma."

The latest from French-Cameroonian founder and creator Freddie Harrel - who was featured on our list of 100 women of 2020 - has built her career in digital marketing and reputation as an outspoken advocate for women's empowerment. On top of her business ventures, the 2018 'Cosmopolitan Influencer of the Year' uses her platform to advocate for women's empowerment with 'SHE Unleashed,' a workshop series where women of all ages come together to discuss the issues that impact the female experience, including the feeling of otherness, identity politics, unconscious bias, racism and sexism.

And hair is clearly one of her many passions, as Freddie says, "Hair embodies my freest and earliest form of self expression, and as a shapeshifter, I'm never done. I get to forever reintroduce my various angles, tell all my stories to this world that often feels constrained and biased."

Armed with a committee of Black women, Freddie has cultivated Radswan and the aesthetic that comes with the synthetic but luxurious wigs. The wigs are designed to look like as though the hair is growing out of her own head, with matching lace that compliments your own skin colour.

By being the first brand to use recycled fibres, Radswan is truly here to change the game. The team has somehow figured out how to make their products look and feel like the real thing, while using 0% human hair and not negotiating on the price, quality or persona.

In 2019, the company secured Ā£1.5m of investment led by BBG Ventures with Female Founders Fund and Pritzker Private Capital participating, along with angelic contributions from Hannah Bronfman, Nashilu Mouen Makoua, and Sonja Perkins.

On the importance of representation and telling Black stories through the products we create, Freddie says, "Hair to me is Sundays kneeling between your mothers or aunties legs, it's your cousin or newly made friend combing lovingly through your hair, whilst you detangle your life out loud. Our constant shapeshifting teaches us to see ourselves in each other, the hands braiding always intimately touching our head more often than not laying someone's lap."

"Big Hair No Care took off in ways we couldn't keep up with," she continues, "RadSwan is our comeback.It's a lifestyle brand, it's the hair game getting an upgrade, becoming fairer and cleaner. It's the platform that recognises and celebrates your identity as a shapeshifter, your individuality and your right to be black like you."


Check out your next hairstyle from Radswan here.

Radswan's RadShape 01Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 02Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 03Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

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