News Brief

Davido, Tiwa Savage and Mr Eazi Cover Billboard Magazine

The Nigerian stars are part of Billboard's first-ever issue devoted to the African continent.

Davido, Tiwa Savage, and Mr Eazi are the subject of Billboard magazine's latest cover story, Africa Now.

The new Billboard story, titled 'This Isn't a Fad': Three of Africa's Biggest Stars on Making the Industry Come to Them, states that the "next musical revolution is brewing in Africa."

The story, written by Gail Mitchell, features interviews Tiwa Savage, Davido, and Mr Eazi, which were all done in a video conference call.

The article sees the Nigerian stars addressing topics like life under quarantine (Davido mentions his fiancée recovering from the virus), the dollar amounts they're now making as artists, the differences between major label & independent routes, "afrobeats" as a category, and the factors that have played a part in the music industry's investment in Africa.

"People just need to get on the train. This isn't a fad. With 1.2 billion people, we're not going anywhere anytime soon. We're here to stay," Tiwa Savage mentions in the piece. To which Davido adds, "the feeling you get from Afrobeats and African music is just different…People have always loved African music, but we didn't have the avenues to go worldwide."

"There's [also] a general wind of appreciation for what being African is all about...Back then, even in the villages you'd hear people singing Céline Dion. But now people are playing 99% Nigerian music because that's what's hip," says Mr Eazi.

The cover story features photography by Lakin Ogunbanwo and Seye Isikalu, and styling by Daniel Obasi and Quinton Faulkner.

Billboard's new issue also features stories on Apple's Platoon offering African artists advances and Marjana Jaida's Oasis Festival making Morocco a dance music destination.




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Photo: Spark Creative

Meet the Ghanaian-British Designer Behind Janet Jackson's Latest Cover Look

For her most recent cover shoot, Janet Jackson donned a headpiece co-created by Ghanaian-British designer Chrissa Amuah, who tells us more about how she finds inspiration in her parents' homeland.

After rocking a LaviebyCK design by Cameroon's Claude Kameni in her 2018 'Made for Now' music video, Janet Jackson has turned to another talented African creative for her latest look. On the February 2022 cover of Allure Magazine, in which Jackson talks about executive-producing her documentary, Janet, the multiple Grammy-winning artist is pictured wearing an Ògún headpiece, co-designed by Ghanaian-British textile and furniture designer, Chrissa Amuah.

"I’ve always been a fan and respected her craft and work ethic,” Amuah told OkayAfrica. “For Ms Jackson to wear the Ògún in promotion of her new documentary sends a powerful message of enduring brilliance, integrity, and walking in the strength of our true voices.”

Of Ghanaian, Togolese, and Beninese heritage, Amuah was born to Ghanaian parents in London and draws inspiration from the Ghanaian Adinkra symbol in her work as the founder and Creative Director of AMWA Designs, a luxury homeware and interiors brand established in 2014. Making her international debut at the Milan Design Week, she gained worldwide acclaim in 2015, and a few years later, was named “Consumer and Luxury Rising Star” at the 2017 Black British Business Awards.

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BRYAN THE MENSAH On His Debut Album ‘Road to Hastafari’

The Ghanaian rapper narrates the journey of his career in a candid debut laced with personal stories.

BRYAN THE MENSAH is one of the new school acts from Ghana who’s been doing it for a minute. Ever since the arrival of his debut EP in 2017, he was quickly recognized as one of the rising acts in the Ghanaian music scene with a fresh and unique sound—a contemporary rap act but one who fluidly moves between rap, pop, alternative, and fusions of the three, and does so effortlessly.

From then until now he's released four projects in total, all EPs including his critically acclaimed debut Friends with the Sun. His most recentwas 2020’s Not Going Outside, which saw the rapper employ the coronavirus pandemic as its underlying theme. Now, the rapper has decided to level up with the release of his debut album Road to Hastafari.

Bryan actually announced as early as five years ago in that he would be releasing his debut project in 2021, and just before the year came to an end he made good on that promise with an earnest, spirited offering.

As far as full-length projects from contemporary Ghanaian artists come, Road to Hastafari is in a class of its own. Twelve tracks long, with features by M.anifest, buzzing Ghanaian newcomer Black Sherif, Nigerian rappers A-Q and PsychoYP, and rising singer Titi Owusu, RTH is not the conventional African sound. Here, the self-assured rapper with a precise, melodic flow makes it clear that he’s not like anyone else, and he’s not trying to be.

But the album isn’t built on just sonics alone. Road to Hastafari is an album full of personal stories from the rapper that speaks to his journey so far, from family to his love life, and even tales of disrespect that he’s encountered in the music industry. And who better to tell those stories than the rapper himself? We invited BRYAN THE MENSAH to speak to us about his debut album, and the stories behind its creation.

Check out our conversation below.

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News Brief
Photo: Phumi Morare

These African Films Scored 2022 NAACP Image Award Nods

A host of African talent has made the cut for the list of this year's NAACP Image Awards, which will take place as a socially-distanced affair next month.

Come February 26th, the winners of this year's NAACP Image Awards will be announced in a two-hour live TV special, hosted by Anthony Anderson. And a number of African filmmakers could be among them.

Streaming giant Netflix has garnered the most nominees for this year's NAACP Image Awards, which will mark the 53rd edition, leading across both the motion picture and television categories. The Harder They Fall leads the film side of the awards, with 12 nods, while the biopic about Aretha Franklin, Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson as the late icon, has scored six. The film, helmed by South African director, Liesl Tommy, as her feature debut, also scored a nomination for outstanding ensemble cast in a motion picture. Tommy herself earned a nomination for outstanding breakthrough creative category, alongside the likes of Amir "Questlove" Thompson, for Summer of Soul, and Jeymes Samuel, director of The Harder They Fall.

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