News Brief

Luvvie Ajayi, Opal Tometi and More, Recognized In Essence's 'Woke 100 Women' Issue

Essence Magazine releases its inaugural 'Woke 100 Women' issue featuring Luvvie Ajayi, #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Opal Tometi, Shonda Rhimes and more.

The phrase "stay woke" like "on fleek" and "yolo" is well on its way to being inducted into the Overkill Hall of Fame. But for now "woke" still has some currency in today's climate of heightened online awareness.


For their inaugural "Woke 100 Women" issue, Essence has recognized black women who are using their awareness to become champions of social progress in their communities. Despite the over-saturation of "woke," we can't hate on a list that contains many of our favorite women. The cover features the likes of Luvvie Ajayi, and #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Opal Tometi—who were both honored on OkayAfrica's 100 Women—as well as a host of other trailblazing black women who have dedicated their careers to creating positive change for Black people in America.

"The cover stars are part of the #Woke100, an inaugural list of female creators, activists, educators, journalists, politicos and thinkers who are socially conscious and vigilant about changing our nation for the better," reports Essence.

We're all about recognizing game-changing, phenomenal women. Check out the full list, and revisit OkayAfrica's 100 Women to read about more groundbreaking Black women.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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