Video

The Roots Of... Flying Lotus Discovers His African Ancestry

Flying Lotus took a DNA test to find out his the roots of his African ancestry. Watch to discover not only his familial ties to Alice and John Coltrane, but also his musical roots in soul makossa.

[embed width=620][/embed]


Let's cut to the chase: we're in love with FlyLo.

Not only was Until The Quiet Comes at nearly the tippy-top of Okayplayer's Top 12 LPs of 2012 list ("...the simultaneous disbelief and limitless possibility of a lucid dream.."), one of the tracks off it, “See Thru To U”  featuring Erykah Badu, ranked #3 on our Top Songs of 2012 list ("her haunting voice wraps itself around the track, equal parts house and hard bop"), and director Kahlil Joseph's gorgeous, short film  Until The Quiet Comes outright won Okayplayer’s Best Videos of 2012. The Sundance Film Festival happened to agree with us on that last one – the vid was awarded the Special Jury Award for Short Film.

So it's more than our bashful admiration of, in his own words, the "big ol stupid grin" that lights up the stage while performing that made us seek him out as the next subject of our "The Roots of..." video series. FlyLo is a musical beast, with musical roots to match – his great aunt and uncle Alice and John Coltrane, amongst others. Above, find out where his family tree extends from, and how he's connected back hundreds of years (and centuries more) through the universal soul makossa cosmos, back to the African continent.

If you haven't yet seen our first episodes in "The Roots Of..." series, check here to watch The Roots' African ancestry revealed to ?uesto and Black Thought, and here to check out Q-Tip's real tribe. You too can discover the country and even tribe where it all began: to get your own DNA test, check out our partners over at African Ancestry.

Up Next: The Roots Of...

Videographers: Nelson-Mandela Nance, Andrew Acosta, Lis Bartlett

Editor: Allison Swank

News Brief
Chinonye Chukwu at the world premiere of her film, "Clemency" at Sundance Film Festival 2019. Photo by Stephen Speckman courtesy of the Sundance Institute.

Chinonye Chukwu Is the First Black Woman to Win a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance

The Nigerian-American director leaves Sundance Film Festival 2019 making history.

Chinonye Chukwu is the Nigerian-American director who truly left a mark on this year's Sundance Film Festival. The raving reviews of her film Clemency are not the only valuables she'll be leaving the festival with, as she is taking home the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition, Indie Wire reports.

This win makes her the first black woman to snag the festival's biggest prize. She is now among U.S. Dramatic winners including Ryan Coogler, Desiree Akhavan, Debra Granik and more directors to take home this prize.

The Nigerian-born, Alaska-raised screenwriter, producer, director and activist both wrote and directed the drama that stars Alfre Woodard, who plays a prison warden grappling with how emotionally demanding her job is. Here's the brief synopsis from Sundance below:

Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams. As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

"I did a deep, deep, 4 year dive into the research and advocacy required to tell this story...and that was just scratching the surface," Chukwu says in an interview with Democracy Now.

The filmmaker has also received more words of congratulations from the film world on social media, including Ava DuVernay and Tessa Thompson.




Chukwu is set to helm A Taste of Power next, a drama based on former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown's life. Read more about the project here.

Film
Actor Sam Adewunmi as 'Femi' in 'The Last Tree.' Photo courtesy of Sundance.

The Director and Star of 'The Last Tree' Speak on the Endless Search for Identity Growing Up Nigerian and British

At the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, we chat with director Shola Amoo and actor Sam Adewunmi about finding self in the midst of cultural non-conformism.

In the opening scene of The Last Tree, we see the young protagonist, Femi (played as a child by Tai Golding), screaming at the top of his lungs while frolicking in the fields of Lincolnshire in the British countryside, in ecstatic happiness. He is a young Nigerian-British boy surrounded by his (white) classmates from a preppy-seeming local school. As the film progresses, Femi's howls turn into a symbolic cry of frustration. His aggravation is born out of the challenge of coming to terms with his own identity in the midst of competing pressures from those who dictate who he should be given the color of his skin and his heritage.

The film, which just premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is directed by Shola Amoo and is one of the four African directors to screen features in the Utah Mountains this past weekend. When it begins, Femi has a seemingly comfortable existence within the warm embrace of his foster mother, Mary (Denise Black). Soon, the idyll is shattered when his birth mother, Yinka (Gbemisola Ikumelo) appears to take her with him, against his desires, to London. Things only worsen for him from there.

Keep reading...
popular
Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading...
popular
Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.