News Brief

This Kuwaiti TV Show Depicting Sudanese People In Blackface Has Caused Outrage on Social Media

"Block Ghashmarah" is receiving backlash for its depiction of Sudanese stereotypes with actors in blackface.

An episode of Block Ghashmarah, a Kuwaiti comedy television show, honed in on the stereotypes of Sudanese people while depicting them in blackface, BBC Africa reports.

If the series is capable of showing us one thing, it's that it encapsulates the racial issues Africans face in the Middle East.


Block Ghashmarah stars actors in blackface who embody "lazy," Sudanese people who lay around and talk all day. What makes it more unbearable are the characters' exaggerated use of the infliction "ahh" in nearly all the dialogue.

As reported by BBC Africa, Waleed Abdulhamid, a Sudanese music teacher at Humber College in Toronto, spoke his peace, joining the outcry of Sudanese people against the nature and existence of the show.

"I wish those people, they would understand the culture, and they would understand the society, of the Sudanese people very well before you do a comedy show…you think we are integrating to a better, peaceful with a harmony in this world, right? But what I see is the complete opposite."

The show began its airing during Ramadan, a practice which capitalizes on peace, community and charity. Yet this show has managed to highlight division with its negative portrayals of Sudanese culture, as well as other cultures around the world, including the African diaspora. Although the show has seen some support, such support has been challenged with much opposition.


Hasan al-Ballam, an actor on the show, has defended the show but later apologized for any offense he may have caused. The question is, can any apology be enough anymore to excuse such productions and warrant the continuation of the show?

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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