Film

'Daughters of the Dust,' the Seminal Film That Hugely Inspired Beyoncé's Lemonade, is Back in Cinemas

Julie Dash's 1991 film ‘Daughters of the Dust’ made history in 1991 as the first wide release by a black woman filmmaker.

When Daughters of the Dust debuted in 1991 it made history as the first feature film directed by a black woman filmmaker to be distributed theatrically in the United States. 25 years after its historic release, the movie re-emerged in the pop-cultural landscape thanks in large part to Beyoncé.


Even if you aren’t familiar with the name, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize the film’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous Southern gothic aesthetic as re-imagined in the Lemonade visual album (and in the recent standalone music video for “All Night”).

Writer, director, producer Julie Dash’s seminal work, a deeply poetic, sumptuous piece set in 1902 on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina, tells the story of a multi-generational family in the Gullah community—former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions—as they struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to mainland America.

The film had its premiere at Sundance 1991, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and walked away with the festival’s Cinematography Award. (You may know the film’s prolific cinematographer, Arthur Jafa, from his work on Solange’s A Seat at the Table music videos.)

When the world went full Lemonade mode back in April, a new generation became exposed to Dash’s groundbreaking portrayal of black women at the turn of the 20th century. It was around that time that Cohen Media Group revealed its plans to release a 25th anniversary restoration of Daughters of the Dust—in conjunction with UCLA and with a proper color grading overseen by Jafa—beginning with a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival followed by a full theatrical run in November.

The 25th anniversary restoration opened at New York City’s Film Forum on the 18th of November (it's still playing there) before heading to Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto last Friday. It opens in a ton more theaters throughout North America as of today. Check out the full list of screenings below.

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Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Sabelo Mkhabela.

Wizkid, Anatii Win Big at BET Soul Train Awards Alongside Beyoncé

The Nigerian and South African artists, respectively, won soul train awards for their contributions to 'Brown Skin Girl."

Nigeria's Wizkid and South Africa's Anatii both earned BET Soul Train Awards last night for their contributions to Beyoncé's hit song "Brown Skin Girl."

The song, which is an ode to dark-skinned women, was one of the standout tracks from Beyoncé's The Lion King: The Gift. It earned the "Ashford and Simpson Songwriter's Award" last night during the awards ceremony in Las Vegas. Wizkid is featured on the track and has a writing credit, while Anatii is credited as a composer along with Michael Uzowuru, and others.

Related: Listen to New Wizkid Songs From His Surprise 2019 EP 'Soundman Vol. 1'

The song was also nominated in the "Best Collaboration Performance" category.

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Interview
Image courtesy of Sarkodie.

Interview: Sarkodie Is Going Global By Staying True to Ghana

In a new interview with the star rapper, we talk about his upcoming album "Black Love," his monumental BET award win, plans for the Year of Return and the 'afrobeats invasion.'

For many, Sarkodie is Africa's best MC, and he's got the flow to back that up. For about a decade now, the artist has remained consistent in dropping jams that aren't only memorable (and often fun to party to), but ones that also stay unapologetically true to his Ghanaian heritage.

With his upcoming project, Black Love (which is slated for a surprise release) he continues on that path, but with a special focus on love and relationships. "Can't Let You Go," the first single, which he released over a year ago, also doubled as a wedding video. Since then, he's dropped a string of singles that also capture the theme at the heart of the project. The most recent being "Party & Bullshit" featuring Idris Elba and Donae'O—a collaboration between the Ghanaian artists that celebrates the love felt amongst friends when simply having a good time.

The artist's status as a formidable MC was further solidified last month when he became the first artist to win BET's Best International Flow Award and delivered a freestyle mostly in Twi that represented his heritage and spoke to the importance of black pride. The international recognition was welcomed, but it merely reemphasized what most of those paying attention to his career already knew. It was unsurprising that he'd win an award for his flow— his fans have been raving about his for years. "They created [this category] for him," remarked one Twitter user.

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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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