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Ghanaian Teenager Abraham Attah & Idris Elba Win Best Actor & Best Supporting Actor At The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Diversity took center stage at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards, where three of the four acting awards went to actors of color.

On the eve of #OscarsSoWhite, diversity took center stage at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, where three of the four acting awards tonight went to actors of color.


15-year-old Ghanaian newcomer Abraham Attah was awarded Best Male Lead for his portrayal of the child soldier Agu in Beasts Of No Nation—his first acting gig ever. Attah’s co-star, Idris Elba, was named Best Supporting Male. Beasts was also nominated for Best Feature as well as Best Director (Cary Fukunaga), though it lost to Oscar favorite Spotlight in both categories.

Mya Taylor made history as the first transgender Spirit Awards winner when she won Best Supporting Female for her turn in the iPhone-shot comedy-drama, Tangerine. Her co-star, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, was nominated for Best Female Lead, but lost out to Room’s Brie Larson.

"There is transgender talent. There's very beautiful transgender talent. So, you better get it out there and put it in your next movie,” Taylor said in her acceptance speech.

The migration drama Mediterranea–another of Okayafrica’s Top Films of 2015—featured prominently throughout the night. The film was nominated, though did not win, for Best Male Lead (Ghanaian actor Koudous Seihon), Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay (Italian filmmaker Jonas Carpignano).

Elba, who also won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance as the brutal Commandant, brought his teenage co-star up to accept the honor with him. He ended with an awesome nod to James Brown.

Elba also answered some questions in the press room. “I’m half Ghanaian, it was my first time in Ghana. It was incredible, it was like a homecoming for me,” he said on what it was like to shoot in Accra.

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(Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Pregnant Tanzanian Girls Now Have Hope Of An Education

In the past, Tanzania's pregnant girls of school-going age were banned from accessing an education. However, things are about to change!

If a young girl of school-going age happened to fall pregnant in Tanzania, it usually spelled the end of her schooling career — and the death of any prospects she may have had for a bright future. In Tanzania currently, an estimated 5 500 girls are forced to leave school each year due to pregnancy, according to the World Bank.

The Tanzanian government has announced a new programme aimed at addressing the plight of young girls who have been impacted by this discriminatory ban. Tanzania's Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Leonard Akwilapo said young girls will now be offered an opportunity to further their schooling at alternative colleges.

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