Bozoma Saint John Astounds the Crowd at Apple’s Annual WWDC Conference

Ghanaian Apple Music marketing executive Bozoma Saint John for the win at #WWDC2016.

A predominately white male audience witnessed a rare sight, much akin to an unicorn, at Apple’s Annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday.

While presenting on Apple Music’s major visual overhaul, which includes a new interface and a Siri add-on for Macs, Head (diva) of Global Consumer Marketing Bozoma “Boz” Saint John, who is Ghana-born, fired up The Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, signaling the black girl magic spell she was about to cast over the audience.

Saint John’s presentation on the music app brought much needed zest to the staleness many have come to expect from Apple’s tech-heavy conference. Remember last year? That's Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue showing off his less-than-stellar dance moves.

And Twitter definitely took notice.

See, you get the picture.

As cameras panned overhead, it was apparent that the melanin-deficient audience didn’t know what had hit them.

“No,” Saint John commands, doubling as her own hype-woman, “We’re gonna pause this, because some of you guys are not rapping to the beat.”


If you think this is the first time you’re seeing the marketing executive and naturalista, who got her start at Pepsi and Spike Lee's advertising agency Spike DDB, she has already put you on notice.

Saint John is the beauty and the brains behind Apple Music’s brilliant ad featuring fellow black girl magicians, actresses Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson and R&B superstar Mary J. Blige.

She’s quite persuasive, too. Leading Pepsi-Cola North America’s music and entertainment marketing group, she secured endorsements with entertainers Nicki Minaj, Kanye West and Eminem as well as sponsorships at The Grammys and the Super Bowl. Let us not forget that she reportedly convinced Beyoncé to rivet the stage at during the 2013 Super Bowl half-time show, which you might recall resulted in a pretty insane black out. Adding to her gravitas, Saint John was named one of Billboard’s Top Women in Music and an ADCOLOR Rockstar honoree.

Not only is she the MVP of #WWDC2016, Saint John is a single mother (her husband passed from cancer a few months before she took her Apple gig), holding it down for her six-year-old daughter in Los Angeles.

And she reps hard for her people—Saint John played Ghana Music Awards’ Hiplife song of the year Yewo Krom by Atom while closing out her thrilling demo of Apple Music’s latest redesign and enhancements.

Boz proves she’s a bawse, unapologetically black, and she’s in good company as 2016 signals #PeakBlackGirlMagic.

Watch Saint John dazzle the audience below (She plays Atom’s Yewo Krom at the 5:35 mark).


Burna Boy Is Apple Music's New 'Up Next' Artist

The 'African Giant' joins Apple Music's Up Next program.

Burna Boy is the latest artist to get a spot in Apple Music's Up Next program, OkayAfrica is excited to announce today.

The Nigerian afro-fusion star has been coming off a huge year that saw him perform at Coachella and win the BET Award for Best International Act. He's also readying the release of his upcoming album, African Giant, from which we've had the infectious single "Anybody" on repeat.

Burna Boy's inclusion in the program comes with a new Beats 1 interview with Julie Adenuga, which is live today, and an upcoming short documentary on the Nigerian artist due July 16.

"I'm super excited to be part of the Apple Music Up Next campaign," says Burna Boy. "Apple continuously comes up with new initiatives to support artists globally and push the African culture. It's an honor to be a part of this and with my African Giant album coming out soon, the timing is perfect."

Keep reading...
News Brief

Bozoma Saint John Is Getting Her Own Docuseries

The series will premiere on Starz and cover a range of topics related to her personal and professional life.

Star business executive Bozoma Saint John will get her own docuseries coming to Starz in 2019, Fast Company reports.

The Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor will host and produce Bozoma: Being Badass, a series that will cover various topics related to the executive's passions, professional endeavors and personal life, such as of the loss of her husband to cancer and navigating the subsequent grief that comes from losing a loved one. The exec told Fast Company that the show will aim to inspire others "to show up wholly as ourselves."

"The multi-hyphenate that I am. Being black, being the child of immigrants...being a widow, a mother. All of those things that make up who I am. That's what's so beautiful about the human experience. None of us are one-dimensional," she added.

She'll also interview others in relation to each topic. Saint John described the series as "a cross between Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Mister Rogers, and The Oprah Winfrey Show." The show will be executive produced by Parts Unknown producer Alex Lowry along with Saint John herself and Anjula Acharia.

The show is set to begin production early next year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading...
Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox