Video

All Access: An Exclusive Look Behind the Scenes of M.anifest and MiCasa's Joburg-Shot Music Video for 'Be My Woman'

We give you an exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of M.anifest and MiCasa's latest music video "Be My Woman."

SOUTH AFRICA—On a Sunday morning, in Troyeville, Johannesburg, the Ghanaian rapper, M.anifest shot scenes from a video for an unreleased song, which is a collaboration between him and the South African house band MiCasa.


The song, called, “Be My Woman," is catchy – with an infectious hook from MiCasa's lead singer, J'Something. It was recorded a few months prior—the artists exchanged files back and forth over email until they were satisfied.

The video was shot by the film company Callback Dreams. The video's director Makere Thekiso has a lot of great things to say about working with M.anifest, as he has worked with him before on a yet-to-be-released short film shot in Ghana. “The beautiful thing about working with M.anifest is that you get to try different things. He is down for whatever. I will even shoot his music videos for free. I love his music, and also, he's always willing to be creative."

The concept of the video is that the protagonist, played by Itumeleng Modise, is waking up in her house, and preparing to go see a M.anifest and MiCasa performance. But she is in a dreamy world, in which M.anifest keeps appearing, but he doesn't see her.

“It's the first time I'm directing a narrative video, where the lead character (not the artist) has to carry the video. I'm a fan of music videos that don't rely too much on performances, but cutaways and beautiful shots," says Thekiso. “The biggest challenge is how to make those scenes powerful. Like if you watch a Beyoncé video, even if she's by herself, she will carry it."

The video shoot went as planned. Trouble began when the scenes with MiCasa were being shot in Yeoville, a densely populated small town in Johannesburg. Fans rushed to take selfies with J'Something, and wanted be on camera.

The video currently has no release date, but, we give you a behind the scenes look at the video shoot, below.

Itumeleng Modise and M.anifest on one of the first scenes of the video. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Video director Makere Thekiso talks to a crew member on set. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

M.anifest during a short break. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Itumeleng gets her make-up done. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Itumeleng in action. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Itumeleng Modise looking stunning on set. Photo courtesy of the artist.

M.anifest poses for the camera between scenes. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Itumeleng in action. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

M.anifest during another break. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

M.anifest and Itumeleng on the first scene on the second location. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

M.anifest with J'Something. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

J'Something, Mo-T and M.anifest standing by for a scene. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

MiCasa and M.anifest messing around between scenes. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

MiCasa and M.anifest. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

J'Somethig in action. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Watching playback of a scene. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Watching playback of a scene. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

People in Yeoville came out to watch the filming. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

A fan takes a selfie with J'Something. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The people came out to watch and film on their phones. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

One of the scenes in Yeoville. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

And more selfies. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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