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Wanuri Kahiu's 'RAFIKI' Is the First Kenyan Feature Film To Premiere at Cannes Film Festival

The film is a combination of struggle and the power to dream and love.

This coming of age feature film set in Nairobi has been invited to premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival—a first for Kenya.

RAFIKI (Friend), directed by Kenyan storyteller and OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Wanuri Kahiu, tells a tale of a community affected by a relationship that grows between two young women, Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva).


Inspired by the 2007 Caine Prize Winning short story "Jambula Tree" by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko, the film celebrates love and asks whether it's safer being invisible or if it's better to defy conservative rules, while discovering one's identity and destiny through love.

"The love story resonated with Kahiu, who had the vision to change the setting to Kenya and place the film in a vibrant, present-day urban environment," the film states in a press release. "Kahiu worked with co-writer Jenna Bass and together they added further elements to the screenplay that speak to the present-day concerns and conflicts affecting people like Kena and Ziki even in young, vibrant, millennial Nairobi."

RAFIKI's supporting cast includes Jimmi Gathu, Nini Wacera, Patricia Amira and Dennis Musyoka. This is Kahiu's second feature film, with its coproducers Big World Cinema, Afrobubblegum (Kenya), MPM Film (France), Shortcut Films (Lebanon), Ape & Bjorn (Norway), Rinkel Film (Netherlands) and Razor Film (Germany).

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 8 through May 19.

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Photo: Single cover art courtesy of Emerald East

Rema Welcomes 2021 With New Single 'Bounce'

The Don Jazzy produced track reminds us of why the Nigerian singer-songwriter is topping charts.

Nigerian golden boy Rema took his time on deciding how to start of 2021—and we're glad he did.

The afropop hitmaker is out with his first project of the year, "Bounce", after stunning fans with word of an upcoming album, and the cooks in this kitchen have not disappointed.

Keeping it in the Mavin Records family, legendary producer Don Jazzy sprinkles his magic on the track, while undoubtedly motivating the young singer-songwriter to be his best self. And with this track being like nothing we've heard from Rema before, one could say Jazzy succeeded. "Bounce", fast-paced and fierce, is a love song dedicated to bewitchingly beautiful and blessed bottoms. The candid declaration and hip shaking beat are a force duo and we can't help but love it.

Of the single and collaboration with head honcho Don Jazzy, Rema says, "This record was inspired by the luscious and magnificent body of the African woman. Furthermore, I'm really excited about this tune because it's my first single with the legendary Don Jazzy."

Honestly, when you start the year off with a banger, you get to make songs about butts.

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Photo courtesy of Mariama Diallo

Interview: Sincerely Ria Is Giving Guinean Fashion Its Flowers

And designer Mariama Diallo's NYFW debut celebrates the vibrancy and uniqueness of Guinea and its Fulani culture.

Guinea-born supermodel, actress, and activist Mariama Diallo is a face you've likely seen all over social media.

With modelling campaigns with the likes of Savage x Fenty by Rihanna, Kim Kardashian's KKW Beauty, and features in Vogue, Marie Claire, NYLON magazines, the model is commanding her space in the industry and making her way centerstage. And, Mariama's strong online presence and following has certainly made her a popular member of the global village too.

With the aforementioned achievements under her belt, the 28-year-old supermodel presented herself as an eager and excited talent within the fashion industry. Now, Mariama's talents and ambitions have attracted her to a role behind the scenes. And showing the power of intention, the role has already taken her to places she only dreamed of prior.

Debuting as the fashion designer of self-financed fashion line Sincerely Ria at this year's New York Fashion Week is but a peek into what the model has to show of herself and share with the world.

The new collection, The Oshun, celebrates not only female beauty and the many ways that it manifests itself but also the magic of womanhood. Named after Oshun, the African goddess of femininity, fertility, beauty, and love, the collection is wrapped within the warmth and divinity of its namesake. The brand follows an ethos of inclusivity, community, and the power behind being beautiful because you have decided to be. Challenging the notion that beauty is always to be accompanied by pain, Mariama and Sincerely Ria are celebrating the rejection of beauty and body standards and expectations.

The Oshun line is a nod to the opulence of Mariama's African heritage and Guinea's Fulani culture, with special attention to the use of brilliant colors, exciting designs, and stunning silhouettes. Motivated to be seen and to captivate, the emphasis on Black beauty within the clothing is certainly translated beautifully, however, stylistically available to all. Uniqueness is welcomed and encouraged. And like Mariama says herself, "You deserve to celebrate yourself unapologetically."

The line debuted at New York Fashion Week, very appropriately, on Valentine's Day of this year and love certainly was the theme. Already boasting a following of over 8,000, the brand's instagram account has shown nothing short of praise and excitement for what we've seen from Mariama, and for what's to come.

We spoke with the Guinean supermodel about the journey to Fashion Week and her love for and emphasis on community and shared experiences.

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(Youtube)

The 5 Best East African Songs of the Month (February)

Featuring Rayvanny, Siverstone Barz x Victoria Kimani, Spice Diana x Fik Fameica, and more.

The month of love featured an array of incredible releases from East Africa's pop royalty as well as promising newcomers.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Focalistic Shares Visuals For ‘Ke Star (Remix)’ Featuring Vigro Deep and Davido

Watch the music video for 'Ke Star (Remix)' by Focalistic, Vigro Deep and Davido.