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Mankind. Photo by CJ Pixels.

This Is What the First Edition of the 'Hand-Forged in Kenya' Music Series Looked Like

'Hand-Forged in Kenya' kicked off to an epic start in Nairobi.

OkayAfrica, Bateleur Brewery and The Alchemist Bar joined forces to launch a new live music series, Hand-Forged in Kenya, that is focused on showcasing rising Kenyan talent to fans both locally and globally.

The first edition took place on Saturday, April 6, at The Alchemist Bar in Nairobi and it was a night to remember. Nairobians showed up in the hundreds to support their local talent and it was a beautiful scene to witness.


Songstress Ru.BY kicked off the night, which was curated by our Nairobi-based contributor Camille Storm, with an incredibly lively performance that included throwback Kenyan classics as well songs from her latest Hey There EP. Her captivating stage presence had many rushing to the dance floor in no time and she set the pace for the rest of the night.

Fox Elijah and his band, BLK GLD RPLK, later enthralled the audience with a mind-blowing hip-hop-meets-reggae fusion set. Alternative-pop duo Mankind shut the house down when they performed their hit single "Take and Go" for fans that had been yearning to see the duo play live for the first time.

It was difficult to leave the dance floor once Mix Master Lenny took over the decks—and he kept the party going 'til the early morning. What an epic start to what is looking to be a very exciting music series. All video and photography by Craig Mumo Kilili (CJ Pixels).

Check out how it all went down in the clip below!


Ru.BY. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Ru.BY. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Fox Elijah. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Fox Elijah. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Mankind. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Mankind. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Mankind. Photo by CJ Pixels.

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Kenyan Students Launch #CampusMeToo Movement on University of Nairobi Campus

The movement aims to tackle sexual harassment on university campuses in Kenya.

Kenyan students at the University of Nairobi have recently launched the #CampusMeToo movement which aims to tackle the sexual harassment of students on Kenyan university campuses. The movement comes after ActionAid and UN Women teamed up and conducted a survey which reportedly found that 1 in 2 female students and 1 in 4 male students have been sexually harassed to some degree at the hands of staff at Kenyan universities. The student-led Kenyan extension of the now global #MeToo movement also comes after South Africa's #AmINext movement which protested increasing rates of gender-based violence and femicide while the BBC Africa's recent documentary Sex For Grades was an explosive exposé on sexual harassment going happening in West African universities.

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Left to right: Images courtesy of Kwame Onwuachi, YouTube, and SUMY SADURNI/AFP via Getty Images

Bobi Wine, Wanuri Kahiu, Kwame Onwuachi & More Make Inaugural TIME 100 Next List

The list Includes a slew of young talent from across the diaspora.

TIME has released its new list, the 100 Next recognizing "100 rising stars who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, science, health and more. Although this focus lends itself to a younger group, we intentionally had no age cap—a recognition that ascents can begin at any age," as it's described in TIME.

The list includes several of our favorite move-makers and creatives from the African continent across several indus

Video: Wanuri Kahiu On How 'Rafiki' Took the World by Storm Since Premiering at Cannes

The Kenyan director of the groundbreaking film Rafiki Wanuri Kahiu is one of this year's many nominees. "I'm on the first #TIME100Next list! So proud! So happy! So pleased to represent," wrote the filmmaker on Twitter. Ugandan musician turned presidential candidate Bobi Wine is also included on the list.

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'54 Silhouettes' at the British Council of Nigeria's Lagos Theatre Festival. Photo: Drive Adebayo.

'54 Silhouettes' Is the One-Man Play Exploring What Happens When Other People Tell Our Stories

The play is the first from Nigeria to show at the international United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC.

Playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director Africa Ukoh's award-winning play 54 Silhouettes has made its way to New York City as part of the United Solo Festival, the annual international festival, highlighting solo theatre performances through a "variety of one-person shows."

The one-man play stars the award-winning Nigerian actor Charles Etubiebi as a struggling actor who thinks he's landed his big break when he gets a major role in an upcoming blockbuster, he becomes conflicted, however, when he learns the film is yet another stereotypical "war in Africa" production—the type of film he vowed to never do. "Caught between career ambitions and ideals of his African identity, he must decide whether to do the film or ditch it," reads an official description of the show.

"The play explores African representation in global media and asks questions about creative responsibility, with tensions of cross cultural relations at the center of it all," Ukoh tells OkayAfrica. "It explores the inherent complexities in culturally unique stories being told by people of different cultures and how this intersects with power dynamics, commerce, and artistic ideals."

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Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Sarz Has Powered a Generation of Nigerian Music—and He Isn't Stopping Anytime Soon

We talk to the star producer about his role in the rising global popularity of Nigerian music, spanning his production on massive singles from the likes of Wizkid, Skepta, Drake and more.

"I think more than the music, the narrative is more important these days," says Sarz as he sits at the offices of his press agency. "So one great song with an amazing narrative can get you farther than five great songs sometimes."

When Sarz talks about music, his eyes light up. They dart with excitement as he runs through topics like sounds, production, trends, and innovation. These are all words that represent his life's work of impactful music production, which has powered a generation of music in Nigeria, and is currently playing a role in its international future. Sitting at the offices, decked in a white t-shirt, red trousers and Nike kicks, he makes a point that he rarely grants interviews. And when he does, it's in spaces like this, in rooms and studios where his business is conducted, and his work is birthed and refined for public impact.

Born Osabuohien Osaretin, the 30-year-old music producer discovered sounds by accident when his ears would automatically pick apart music and focus on the beat. Interestingly, he discovered that he could remember every beat in detail. It was the entry point to a career that took off in 2010 when he scored his first hit on Jahbless' "Joor Oh" remix—during the formative stages of the current Nigerian pop success—and has provided sounds that have shaped the culture and given it its biggest moments.

With afrobeats' global ambitions taking off, Sarz's production is playing crucial roles in celebrated cross-cultural projects. He's helmed Drake's "One Dance," unlocked the chemistry between Wizkid and Skepta on "Energy (Stay Far Away)," and added composition on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift album.

"I'm inspired by the thoughts of how far I can take music. Just thinking about where this music can take me to," Sarz says, taking swigs from a water bottle. The producer has also worked with the biggest stars in afrobeats, and a look through his catalogue has hits every year since 2007.

He talks passionately about his work, the source of inspiration, where good music originates from, and how he identifies where to direct his energies. He runs an academy that has been a vehicle for delivering new producers to the culture. Sarz converses with range, a brimming energy, and a humility that is tied to purpose and achievements. He never shies away from topics that examine his revered place in this ecosystem, admitting without bragging that he is no one's mate. Even his 2019 SINYM EP is affirmation that "Sarz Is Not Your Mate." He has seen a lot and has a lot to say.

Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

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