Beyoncé in "BLACK IS KING, a film by Beyoncé | Official Trailer | Disney+" (Walt Disney Studios/YouTube)

Beyoncé in 'Black Is King'

Where to See More From the Talent In Beyoncé's 'Black Is King'​

A guide to where you can see more of the African film and TV talent featured in Black Is King.

Black is King may feature an Oscar-winning actress in Lupita Nyong'o but it also assembles a bevy of African film and TV talent beyond the singers and musicians who contributed to the album Beyoncé released last year, in the wake of The Lion King remake. For many, these might be new faces, but to South Africans and Africans across the continent, they're familiar ones—seen on screens big and small, in various roles. Here's a short guide to where else you can see their work.

Warren Masemola

Warren Masemola, who plays the villain everyone loves to hate, Scar, in Beyoncé's loose adaptation of The Lion King in Black is King, is a memorable and well-known face on TV screens in South Africa, having been in a number of local shows, for which he's earned 4 Golden Horn awards at the South African Film and TV Awards. He's likely best known for portraying art director Lentswe Mokethi in the popular etv soapie, Scandal. Outside of television work, Masemola has a growing list of movies to his credit. Sure, he's popped up in US productions shot on location in South Africa, like 2017's The Dark Tower and 2015's Eye in the Sky (as Agent Atieno) but if you really want to be impressed by him, seek out Five Fingers for Marseilles and Vaya. Masemola has said he's always looking to be involved in projects that push the envelope and break boundaries, as these films, which both debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival (in 2017 and 2016, respectively), do. In the neo-Western Five Fingers, he plays the evil henchman Thuto, while in Akin Omotoso's layered journey-to-Johannesburg film, Vaya, Masemola plays Xolani.

Five Fingers for Marseilles is streaming on Prime Video. Vaya is now on Netflix.

Nyaniso Dzedze

Nyaniso Ntsikelelo Dzedze, the grown-up Simba, is known for taking bold steps in his career, which was initiated by a high-school teacher who encouraged him to do a production of Grease. He received praise for his role as Tsietsi Namane in Ashes to Ashes, considered to be South Africa's first telenovella, which was also his television debut. His film debut was as Muzi in Hear Me Move, the country's first dance movie, which scored him a nomination for Most Promising Actor at the 12th Africa Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria. The film is a South African take on the Step Up franchise where Dzedze's character is the son of a pantsula dancer who is killed after a performance, so his mother bars him from getting involved in dance. But he follows his passion and ends up finding his own way through his grief. It's unique for featuring the dance form sbujwa, which originated from pantsula. Dzedze is also an accomplished dancer and choreographer himself, having toured several countries with performance pieces.

Hear Me Move is currently available on Prime Video.

Connie Chiume

When Connie Chiume appeared on movie-theatre screens across the world in 2018's Black Panther, it was a chance for the rest of the world to learn what South African fans have known for years—that Chiume is a formidable presence on screen. In Black is King, Chiume portrays Simba's mother, Sarabi. A veteran of the entertainment industry, she's appeared on many a stage, from Ipi Ntombi to Porgy and Bess and Little Shop of Horrors. Chiume, who started her career as a young teacher at the height of the student uprising of 1976, became an actress when she auditioned on a whim for an internationally-touring show. On the small screen, viewers have come to know her as Mamokete Khuse in the soapie Rhythm City. She's currently starring alongside Pearl Thusi in Queen Sono as Nana Rakau, and is also in this year's Palm Springs ShortFest-selected What Did You Dream? short film.

Queen Sono is currently streaming on Netflix, while Black Panther is on Disney Plus.

Nandi Madida

The striking pink-haired bride, Nala, in Black is King, has made her name known on a variety of television shows over the past few years. From landing her first TV job at 15 as host of the pre-teen entertainment show, Bling, to co-hosting the BET magazine show BET A-List, Madida is as warm as she is stylish. She's also flexed her acting muscle, playing Zokuthula Dhlomo in Mzansi Magic's The Road. The actress and model is also a singer, having released her first single in 2011, "Tonight," with DJ Franky, and signing to Universal Music Group with her debut album the following year. Her collab with K.O, "Skhanda Love," was nominated for several music awards, and this week, her follow-up single with him, "Say U Will," won the South African Music Award for Best Collaboration.

Madida's next single, "Organic," celebrating women and their organic bodies, is due out on all platforms at the end of the month.

Folajomi "FJ" Akinmurele

7-year old Folajomi Akinmurele wears the crown in Black is King, as young Simba, an embodiment of the dedication Beyoncé makes at the end of the film—to her 3 year-old son, Sir Carter. With two credits to his burgeoning career, the first being in the music video for Spirit, the young actor certainly has a solid start.

Papi Ojo

23-year-old Nigerian Stephen Ojo, aka Papi Ojo, plays the blue man seen dancing throughout Black is King, and notably, the "Already" music video. Like Akinmurele, he has worked with Beyonce before, having danced in the "Spirit" music video last year. Ojo grew up in a musical family and began dancing with a crew called A.V.O BOYZ that included his late brother. Over a short time, he's become a sought-after dancer, working with fellow Nigerians like Wizkid and Davido, as well as the likes of Rihanna (he was part of her unforgettable 2018 Grammy awards performance) and Janet Jackson, on the Made for Now video. Ojo has also been making his own Afrobeat tunes too — at the beginning of last year he dropped the single, Awelewa, and his latest single, Beremole is due out this week. During the pandemic, the timely short film, Privilege, released on YouTube, signaling his foray into acting too.

Beremole releases this week, and you can see Privilege above.

Mary Twala

The entertainment industry lost a baobab when Mary Twala passed away last month. Playing Black is King's Rafiki, directed in the segment by Ghana's Blitz Bazawule, was the last role the 80-year-old actress took on. An integral part of South Africa's film and theatre industry for 6 decades, she was lauded with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the 2019 National Orders Awards. From Sarafina! (which she starred in with her son, Somizi) to Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Twala had, of late, been particularly cast in stand-out lead roles. Earlier this year, Twala drew great acclaim and applause for the film This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection, made by Lesotho-born director, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The film won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award at Sundance and went on to pick up the Jury prize at the Portland International Film Festival. Twala gives a captivating performance in it, which tells the story of a woman who won't be moved by developers who want to take over the land on which she and her ancestors have long lived. She'll also still be seen in the upcoming film by Mickey Madoda Dube, Comatose, in which she plays an ailing mother in a coma.

This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection was touring film festivals around the world before the pandemic, so keep an eye out for its release date.

Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at Christies.com. And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery

The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019

1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."

Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957

Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:


31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

get okayafrica in your inbox


Listen to Sibusile Xaba‘s New Jazz Single 'Umdali'

Sibusile Xaba's single 'Umdali' featuring Naftali and Fakazile Nkosi comes ahead of Brownswood Recording's highly-anticipated contemporary jazz compilation album 'Indaba Is'.