News Brief
Photo still via YouTube.

Celebrated French-Mauritanian Filmmaker Med Hondo Has Passed Away

A founding father and trailblazer of African cinema died over the weekend in Paris at 82 years old.

Med Hondo, the award-winning French-Mauritanian actor and filmmaker known for his film Soleil O, passed away Saturday morning in Paris, IndieWire reports.

Born Abid Mohamed Medoun Hondo in Mauritania in 1936, his work contributed to the discourse of the continent's representation on the big screen—delving into the discrimination African migrants have faced in France, the tension colonialism has left between Africa and Europe and more.


He kickstarted his career as a stage actor after moving to France in the late 1950s and created Shango, an all-black troupe that toured France, performing plays written by known playwrights Aimé Césaire of Martinique and New Jersey's own Amiri Baraka. Hondo was also featured in French TV shows in the 1960s through the start of the 1970s.

Med Hondo (1995) by Gérard Courant - Cinématon #1780 youtu.be

Soleil O was Hondo's 1967 feature debut that received critical acclaim at Cannes as an inclusion in the festival's International Critics' Week in 1970. The black-and-white film tells the story of an African migrant worker who deals with a mental breakdown after facing racism in France. The film was Hondo's critique of the role France played during the colonial era on the continent.

Hondo was known to be the voiceover for the likes of Eddie Murphy and Morgan Freeman for the French release of their respective films later in his career. He produced Fatima, l'Algérienne de Dakar—his last film set in post-Algeria's battle for independence that follows a young woman's journey to track down the Senegalese army officer who raped and got her pregnant—in 2004.

IndieWire adds that Soleil O will be one of the four African films to be restored and re-released by Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation for the African Film Heritage Project—an initiative in partnership with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers.

The pioneer of African cinema was 82 years old.

Read his full obituary from IndieWire here.

Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

[Op-Ed] Speeka: “‘Dankie San’ brought me closer to kasi rap”

A personal reflection on one of South Africa's most influential hip-hop albums, 'Dankie San' by PRO.