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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.”

JOKES!

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).

Audio
Photo: Felipe Maia.

Making Music Between the Cracks In Senegal

Navigating mbalax, hip-hop, and afropop, Senegalese artists are sticking together to make their music heard.

Taking a stroll in Dakar is an overwhelming sonic experience. One of the busiest metropolises of West Africa, Senegal's capital is flooded by taxis with lousy tailpipes and drivers who are keen to honk every now and then while cruising long avenues by the seaside. All over the city, several minarets' speaker boxes remind the prayer times throughout the day, adding chants to daily people's chats in different languages and dialects.

At first, it may not seem too different from other big cities in Africa, but one kind of music sets a unique dakarois tone. Whether in a clothing store, having a thieboudienne for lunch or taking a cab, one's ears will be caught by mbalax music.

A new generation of artists wants to bring different sounds to the main stage of the Senegalese arts. They are the likes of the electro-fueled trio Guiss Guiss Bou Bess, the big afrobeat-ish band Sahad & The Nataal Patchwork and the experimentalist sound-maker Ibaaku. He's one of the founders of Kandang, a newly-born platform that aspires to build up a healthy environment that could develop the work of Senegalese musicians through concerts, workshops and promotion.

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