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Cynthia Erivo's Performance at TED2017 Might Move You to Tears

The British-Nigerian actress and singer lends her powerful vocals to a Mali Music ballad and an Aretha Franklin classic in this stunning performance from TED2017.

Cynthia Erivo, the multitalented singer, songwriter and actress behind Cele in the critically-acclaimed Broadway version of The Color Purple, and Harriet Tubman in an upcoming biopic about the abolitionist hero's life, stopped by the TED2017 to deliver a passionate and moving musical performance.

The skilled singer ran through a pensive rendition of Mali Music's "Johnny and Donna" before shifting gears to deliver a heart-wrenching cover of Aretha Franklin's classic soul ballad, "Natural Woman."

"I love to sing," says the actress ahead of her final song. "And it's because I feel like it's the fast-track route to the heart." She certainly reaches our hearts with this powerful performance.

Watch the full 10-minute performance below, and revisit our video feature with Erivo from earlier this year, where she talks about creating more safe spaces for young black women and encouraging their participation in the arts.

OkayAfrica was on the ground at this year's TEDGlobal in Tanzania, see what went down by revisiting our conversations with some of the conference's most innovative African creatives, including Wale Oyejide of Ikiré Jones, and Kenyan, female percussionist Kasiva Mutua.


Review: Shekhinah Avoids The Sophomore Slump With ‘Trouble In Paradise’

Shekhinah's sophomore 'Trouble in Paradise' is a formidable album that affirms her as a thoughtful and proficient singer and songwriter.

With her newly released album Trouble in Paradise, South African singer, songwriter and producer Shekhinah has achieved the rare feat of avoiding the sophomore slump. Asked whether she actively planned to overshadow her debut while making her sophomore, she clarifies, "I didn't want to outdo Rose Gold per se, but I did want what I did next to feel like I'm on a new level. I didn't want it to feel like I hadn't grown or that I didn't put any effort into it. So, while I can't say I consciously wanted to do better than Rose Gold, I can say I certainly wanted to show growth."

Rose Gold was released in 2017 to resounding success. After enjoying moderate success with the 2015 Kyle Deutsch duet "Back To The Beach" and Sketchy Bongo's "Let You Know", on which she was featured, she surpassed all expectations as Rose Gold spawned hit after hit — propelling the album to platinum status in less than a year of release. It turned Shekhinah into a household name, earning her well-deserved plaques and awards. She walked away with Newcomer of the Year, Album of the Year and Female Artist of the year at the 2018 South African Music Awards (SAMAs). Since then, her legion of fans has waited eagerly for her sophomore album.

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South African Rapper 25K Drops 'Pheli Makaveli (Intro)' After Signing With Sony Music

Pretoria rapper 25K has released his highly anticipated single "Pheli Makaveli (Intro)" to launch pre-orders for his upcoming titular debut album Pheli Makaveli.