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This Beautiful Congolese Jazz Collaboration Is The Best Thing You'll See This Week

You need to watch Flockey Ocscor and BADBADNOTGOOD's new collaborative video.

Congolese-German artist Flockey Ocscor can dance. A quick look at his Instagram page might turn into a long one. There's multiple videos of Flockey frantically moving to songs, some are set to popular tracks like Migos' "Bad and Boujee" while others are more interpretive numbers.

Though Flockey makes music and videos, he remarked that "Everything started first with dancing. My dad & the Congolese church back then was the inspiration for me to get in touch with music… my dad always loved to hear music of Papa Wemba & showed me old footage of Viva la Musica, which is Papa Wemba's group. That was like the soul train in Congo for me, so everything started with that. I used to take part in dance battles. Now I try to find myself more deep knowledge art."

Flockey told me had a dream one night: he was young and he was at church with his family "and suddenly everything escalated very fast." That escalation turned into the spoken word piece "Bitter Dream."

Flockey then came across the Canadian jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD's fluttering track "Cashmere" and knew that his words had found good company. He later performed the piece in Berlin.

"After the performance, I felt like this is not just a performance for me... this is the first time I speak with the audience about our legacy… my life and when my mom showed me a graphic video of Congo I told myself to shoot a video about it," Flockey mentions.

He then contacted BADBADNOTGOOD's management about using the track for a video he was thinking about creating. They agreed.

The gorgeous video, which was shot in Germany, feels like a short film. It begins in a room with white walls, Flockey sitting in a beige chair with his eyes closed. The music starts, Flockey's eyes jump open and he recounts his story of family, love, and struggle. The piece moves through disparate, opposing and reinforcing scenes that illustrate a striking picture of the beauty and horror of humanity. Walking to school with friends, a budding romance, all then disturbed by war.

"My parents had to escape the civil war back then.. the situation will be seen almost at the end of my video with these rebels... that's the violence of Congo.. being kidnapped, kids being forced to kill innocent people by others. The politics & protest… that's the danger of Congo. That was about 30 years ago, when my parents had to escape and unfortunately my mom [is] still showing footage [of] what's going on in my country... it's not ending. To never forget what we've been going through and make the best out of it."

The inspiration for the piece, Flockey explains, was the 1992 film Sarafina!, which was directed by Darrell Roodt and starred Whoopi Goldberg, and the 2015 film Beasts of No Nation.

Flockey described the piece as standing "for the culture of Congo. My family's legacy and the reason why my parents had to escape Congo because of the civil war… so it's something very personal. You also have the beautiful side… the bantus… I speak about the Congolese culture. The church… beautiful Black women… But then everything switches into the darkness… the war. That's the bitter end."

Christopher Behrmann, David Füsgen, and Amir Quadahi filmed and Flockey directed.

Watch Flockey Ocscor and BADBADNOTGOOD's collaboration video for "Cashmere" up top.

The track, which is featured on BADBADNOTGOOD's fourth studio album IV, was released in 2016 and is definitely worth a listen. Head to Apple Music, Spotify or YouTube to check it out.

This interview was edited for clarity.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

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Photo by Robert Szaniszlo/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Kenyan Athlete Eliud Kipchoge Nominated for Sportsman of the Year Award

The record-breaking marathon runner has been nominated for the top prize in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

Sport24 reports that Kenyan athlete and marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge has been nominated for Sportsman of the Year in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards.

He's made the prestigious nominations list alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

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