Arts + Culture

Blitz the Ambassador's Guide To Being An 'African in New York'

Blitz the Ambassador African in New York is our latest city guide feature. Ghanaian-born Blitz lists his favorite spots in NYC.

In our City Guide series we present an alternative, non-whack way of getting to know a town. For our latest edition we enlisted the help of Accra born and raised Blitz the Ambassador for a Ghanaian lens of New York. After all, dude's recently released track is a snazzily-sampled, firsthand account of immigrant life in the Big Apple. Get acquainted with Blitz's city below and, while you're at it, turn up his single "African in New York."

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Best Music Venue:

Blitz: SOB's, I'm biased because they gave me my first real show in New York. And more importantly Papa Jube who was the booker at the time pulled me to the side after the show and screamed at me: "You never hit the stage without your Ghana flag man!" Since then, I've always kept my flag on my mic stand.

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Best Club/Night Spot:

B: Anywhere Rich Medina or Chief Boima are spinning. From afrobeat to highlife to kuduro to soukous to azonto. Those guys play it all. [Stream Rich Medina's Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape below]

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Best night/event for Ghanaian culture:

B: Independence Day Celebration in the Bronx. I run into lots of people I went to high school with back in Ghana. It's one big reunion.

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Best spot for Ghanaian food:

B: Papaye Restaurant in the Bronx. I judge how good a restaurant is based on how many people from that country patronize it. That's how you know it's authentic. At Papaye, you find a few foreigners but mostly Ghanaians.

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Best Date Spot:

B: MoCADA Museum. I like to keep it Brooklyn and they always have some dope exhibit. Yep, I'm that kind of guy.

*Blitz supplied tracks attached to the three pieces featured in this MoCADA exhibit.

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Best Drink In Town:

B: I don't drink alcohol, so its either Ginger Beer or Malta.

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Blitz's latest off the forthcoming The Warm Up EP showcases rapid-fire spitting with fellow Ghanaian emcee Sarkodie. Stream "Internationally Known" below and catch up on city guides from Alec Lomami [Kinshasa], Christian Tiger School [Cape Town], and Bombino [Tuareg Touring in the U.S.].

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Listen to 10 Great Songs From Johnny Clegg

Here are some of the best songs to remember South Africa's son of the soil.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that South African musician, Johnny Clegg, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Understandably, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in ever since. Long before it was cool (or even legal) to be in close proximity to blackness and anything attached to it in South Africa, Clegg, a white man, was doing just that. That is exactly why he was given the endearing title of South Africa's "son of the soil."

Growing up during Apartheid, Clegg was taught how to speak the Zulu language by a domestic worker named Charlie Mzila. In his teenage years, his appreciation for the Zulu culture continued and he soon learnt the traditional dance styles known as isishameni and also learnt how to play the Maskandi guitar. Clegg's music was a beacon of light during a very dark time in South Africa's history and his songs about Nelson Mandela (at a time where songs were banned for merely mentioning the name of the late statesman and other key struggle activists) brought the country together.

It is irrefutable that a music giant has fallen. However, Clegg leaves behind a wealth of music featuring other great South African artists and groups such as Zakwe, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Juluka/Suvuka, among several others. His music undeniably brought South Africans and people all around the world together.

We've picked ten of our favorite songs from the late musician's discography in honor of a life that was lived to the fullest.

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Stonebwoy in "Tuff Seed"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Stonebwoy, Mahmoud Ahmed, Tiwa Savage x Zlatan, Africa Express, Juls x Mr Eazi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Beyoncé Wore These 2 African Designers in Her Music Video for 'Spirit'

Queen Bey continues to include and give a nod to African talent in her visuals.

As we draw even closer to Disney's The Lion King opening in theaters this week, Beyoncé continues to lead the way with her new music video for "Spirit"—the first single off of the film's album she produced and curated, The Lion King: The Gift.

Shot in the Havasu Falls in Arizona's Grand Canyon, Beyoncé and her legion of beautiful dancers are one with nature and its various elements as she beckons us to be brave and hear the calling of spirit. As we noted when she announced the album, the track opens with a call and response in Swahili that translates to "Long live the king": Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme—uishi kwa.

Keeping our eyes peeled for African influences in the music video, it's evident that is seen in the choreography. We even spotted our extended fam with the afrobeats moves—the AVO Boys: Stephen Ojo and Caleb Bonney—as two of her dancers in the video.

Beyoncé continues to also give a nod to African talent through the looks she donned in "Spirit" styled by her mainstay, Zerina Akers.

Take a look at the two African designers she wore in the video below.

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