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Correction: Brazil Has Not Made Yoruba an Official Language

Brazil's Ministry of Culture tells OkayAfrica that the Minister of Culture was not in attendance during the event where the announcement was said to have been made.

Yesterday, reports circulated in Nigerian media that Brazil had adopted Yoruba as an official foreign language. We reported on it suggesting it was accurate (see below), but with more digging we've found that the story doesn't quite add up.

As we probed further and searched the news for supplemental content, we received confirmation from Rafael Baldo Guimaraes, from the Brazilian Ministry of Culture that the story is "fake news." According to Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão's, schedule, he was not in attendance at the seminar mentioned in Nigerian news sites such as The Nigerian Voice and The Poise Nigeria, which appeared to show photographs from the event.

We will continue to keep you updated on the story as we learn more. You can read on for the original story.

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Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

WATCH: How Ilê Aiyê Brought Blackness Back to Carnival

Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.


The announcement occurred during the fourth edition of the National meetings of the African-Brazilian storytellers, called "AYO" which featured a host of prominent Yoruba scholars and thinkers including legendary Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, São Paulo-based Nigerian artist, Adeyinka Olaiya and Dr. Sophie Oluwole, the first women to receive a doctorate in Yoruba Studies, reports Konbini.

READ: In Photos: the Ooni of Ife Visits Brazil

A number of Latino scholars and public figures where also in attendance to speak on the influence of Yoruba traditions on Brazilian cultural beliefs. Speakers such as Peruvian Nobel laureate and professor, Mário Vargas Llosa emphasized the importance of promoting Yoruba culture as a means of fostering meaningful connections between Brazilians and their African heritage.

One word of caution, while this news has been reported in the Nigerian press and other international outlets we've yet to see a report from Brazil confirming this information. We will update the article once that's confirmed.

Many Afro-Brazilians are happy to see the government taking steps to preserve the country's rich African roots, while also recognizing that the country still has a long way to go in terms of race relations and the treatment of it black population.

For more on the subject revisit our pieces on "Why Brazilians are Embracing Afrofuturism," as well as our "Mini-Guide to Salvador," considered Brazil's "blackest"city.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Interview
Photo: Black Butter/Sony UK.

Interview: JAE5 Is Crafting London's Distinct Diasporic Sound

We talk to the buzzing producer about his Grammy win alongside Burna Boy, his work with J Hus and the ever-looming influence of Ghana.

When tales about the origins of hip-hop come into the cypher, the hyperfocus is almost always about the culture being born out of a unique and profound struggle that centers Black and Indigenous youth in the Bronx. First and second generational youth with roots in both the English and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, who in spite of their deteriorating environment — at the time some of the most impoverished streets in North America — learned to harness the power of creative ingenuity as a form of survival.

We can, arguably, deduce then that the original purveyors of this music that was made from scratch — quite literally — weren't actually intending on making music that could speak for or represent a people and their stories. No. I'd wager the first DJs worrying the vinyls on Uptown blocks, and the first MCs spitting outside corner bodegas were simply living, relishing in the little joy they could manifest for themselves. Two-stepping and waving braggadocio hands in the few darkened spaces that welcomed them.

For JAE5 (born Jonathan Mensah) one of today's most prolific producers on the other side of the Atlantic, creating a fresh UK sound that in many ways is an expression of contemporary African British youth, it was not intentional. It was simply inevitable.

"I lived in Ghana for three years. J Hus grew up around a lot of Ghanaians. All of our friends are African and our parents are African," he shares. "So even when we were trying to make music from the UK, it would always have an African influence because that's what we grew up listening to and that's who we are. So I don't think anything was intentional. It's what it is."

With origins in Ghana and a coming-of-age set in London, JAE5 first became known as the genre-splicing beat machine behind J Hus' intoxicating songs, including the summer smash of 2017 "Did You See" off his Common Sense album. Having executive produced J Hus' entire debut album, JAE5 made a name for himself as the East Londoner developing a distinct diasporic sound combining elements of hip-hop, afrobeats and afro-fusion.

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Joeboy Recruits Kwesi Arthur on Remix of 'Door' & Music Video

Joeboy enlists Kwesi Arthur on the new remix to his single 'Door' and shares the accompanying visuals.

Nigerian artist Joeboy has recently dropped the remix to his single "Door" as well as the music video. He recruits Ghanaian artist Kwesi Arthur on both the remix as well as the accompanying visuals for the track. The original version of "Door" features on Joeboy's 14-track debut album Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic which was released at the beginning of February this year.

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Students from Nigeria's Greenfield University Abducted

At least 20 students are missing and one staff member dead after gunmen recently attacked Nigeria's Greenfield University.