News Brief

'Eclipsed' Playwright Danai Gurira and Producers Honored for Their Groundbreaking Work

'Eclipsed' playwright Danai Gurira and producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey continue to make Broadway history.

Eclipsed made history when it debuted on Broadway earlier this year for bringing some much-needed diversity to the “Great White Way.” Written by Zimbabwean-American actor, playwright and star of The Walking Dead, Danai Gurira, the powerful drama tells the story of five women during the Second Liberian Civil War.


When the play originally ran at the Yale Repertory Theater in 2009, a little-known Yale School of Drama student understudied for the principle role of the “Girl.” That same Yale School of Drama student would return to the stage—this time as the lead and with a few more accolades to her name—when New York’s Public Theater staged a sold-out production of Eclipsed last September under the helm of South African-born director Liesl Tommy.

The student was Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. She and her co-stars, Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia, Zainab Jah and Saycon Sengbloh (who is herself Liberian), would reprise their roles when producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey of Front Row Productions brought Eclipsed to Broadway this past March, also under Tommy’s direction. (Byrd and Jones-Harvey, it’s important to note, are the only African-American lead producers on Broadway.)

La La Anthony (left), the cast of Eclipsed (left to right: Saycon Sengbloh, Akosua Busia, Lupita Nyong’o, Zainab Jah and Pascale Armand), director (top left: Liesl Tommy), writer (top right: Danai Gurira), and producer Stephen Byrd (right)

The show was a smashing success and resulted in six nominations at the 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Play (Gurira was the only woman writer nominated in the category this year), Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, Best Costume Design of a Play and Best Direction of a Play.

Five months since Eclipsed played its final performance, the show’s mark on Broadway remains clear.

Tonight, Gurira and producers Byrd and Jones-Harvey are being honored at the annual Theatre Communications Group (TCG) gala in New York City.

“We're thrilled to honor both the visionary artistry and activism of Danai Gurira as well as the groundbreaking work of producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia M. Jones-Harvey,” said TCG’s executive director, Teresa Eyring. “By bringing the voices of women from Liberia’s civil war to the Broadway stage through their acclaimed production of Eclipsed, they’ve reaffirmed theatre’s power to humanize and connect us across borders.”

The gala is being held at the Edison Ballroom. For information on tickets and sponsorship contact gala@tcg.org or (212) 609-5931.

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C Natty/emPawa

You Need to Watch C Natty's New Music Video For 'Ojah'

Video Premiere: Check out the striking first release from Mr Eazi's #emPawa30.

C Natty arrives in style with his new single "Ojah."

The track, which is the first release from Mr Eazi's new group of #emPawa30 artists, sees the Nigerian artist delivering a highly-infectious and grooving concoction over jazz-leaning afrobeats produced by Killertunes.

The new music video for "Ojah," which we're premiering here today, is equally as stunning and follows the story of someone who doesn't take others' advice. C Natty told us the following about the DK of Priorgold Pictures-directed video:

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News Brief

South African Hip-Hop Producers Tweezy and Gemini Major Set for Instagram Live Beat Battle

Two of South Africa's hip-hop super producers Tweezy and Gemini Major will face-off in upcoming Instagram live beat battle.

After Instagram live beat battles such as Swizz Beatz versus Timbaland and Mannie Fresh versus Scott Storch amid the lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it was only a matter of time until the hip-hop community across the world followed suit.

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Image courtesy of Adekunle Adeleke

Spotlight: Adekunle Adeleke Creates Digital Surrealist Paintings That Celebrate African Beauty

Get familiar with the work of Nigerian visual artist Adekunle Adeleke.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Adekunle Adeleke, a Nigerian visual artist, using digital mediums to paint dream-like portraits of Africans. Read more about the inspirations behind his work below, and check out some of his stunning paintings underneath. Be sure to keep up with the artist on Instagram and Facebook.

Can you tell us more about your background and when you first started painting?

I am a self taught artist. I started drawing from when I was really young. I mostly used graphite pencils and paper. But about six years ago, I think it was 2014, I wanted to start getting into color. I was a university student at the time and I lived in a hostel with three other people, so I couldn't go traditional so [instead], I started making paintings digitally, first on my iPad and then on my laptop with a Wacom. I have been painting ever since.

What would you say are the central themes in your work?

I personally think my work celebrates beauty (African beauty to be precise) and occasionally absurd things. I really just want to make paintings that are beautiful.

How do you decide who or what you're going to paint?
I do not have an exact process. I do use a lot of references though. Sometimes, I had an idea of how exactly the painting would look, others I just make it up as i go along.

Can you talk about a particular moment or turning point in your life that made you want to pursue art or a creative path?

I am not sure–I did not actively pursue art in a sense. I was just doing it because it was fun and I wanted to. Then people all of a sudden wanted to put me on projects and offer to pay for my hobby. I have thankfully been able to make art and also work in a separate field—which I also enjoy–by day.

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News Brief
Photo by Dominique Faget/AFP via Getty Images.

Former Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein​ Passes Away

Somalia has declared a 3-day mourning period following the death of the 83-year-old politician from the coronavirus.

The former Prime Minister of Somalia, Nur Hassan Hussein, passed away yesterday at the age of 83 according to reports by the Anadolu Agency.

After receiving treatment over the past few weeks at a hospital in London, England, the former politician passed away after having tested positive for the coronavirus. The Somali government has recently declared a nationwide 3-day mourning period following Hussein's death.

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