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HBO to Premiere Documentaries on Contemporary Cuba

A pair of documentaries on contemporary Cuba will premiere on HBO just three days after the death of Fidel Castro.

By now, you probably know that Cuba’s longtime revolutionary and former president, Fidel Castro, died Friday at the age of 90. As the world begins to contemplate the life and legacy of this extremely divisive, extremely complex individual, it seems HBO was one step ahead of everyone else. The American television network, rather coincidentally, has a full night of Cuban programming planned for this Monday with the premiere of two original documentaries centered around contemporary Cuba.


The first of the two films is Patria O Muerte: Cuba, Fatherland or Death, which looks at the current state of Cuba through the eyes of its artists, activists, bloggers, writers, musicians and everyday people. The 57-minute documentary marks a directorial debut for Spanish actress-turned-director Olatz López Garmendia.

“Forgoing the usual emphases on salsa clubs, dominoes, headstrong women and broken-down American jalopies, the film takes a sharply critical look at day-to-day life in Cuba today,” Remezcla’s Steve Macfarlane said of the film, adding that Garmendia “defies precedent for critiquing the island nation’s lack of public freedoms without denouncing the Castros (or, indeed, communism) outright as the devil incarnate.”

The second of the two documentaries is Jon Alpert's Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution, which looks at Cuba’s LGBT community through the work of Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro (and niece of Fidel Castro), as she champions LGBT equality and social reforms in present-day Cuba.

The documentaries premiere on HBO this Monday, November 28th, beginning at 8pm EST with Patria O Muerte: Cuba, Fatherland or Death, followed at 9pm EST with Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution. Both films will be available to watch on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.

H/T Shadow & Act

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Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

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Image courtesy of Issa Rae.

Issa Rae's New Show 'Rap Sh*t' Is Set to Premiere on HBO Max

The comedy series about a female rap group from South Florida is one of many that will launch on the upcoming streaming service.

A new series from Insecure creator Issa Rae is headed to HBO Max. Rap Sh*t (working title) centers on a group of female rappers from South Florida trying to make it in the music industry.

The half hour series, which Rae will executive produce and write the pilot for, is one of many recently announced shows coming to the upcoming WarnerMedia streaming platform, which will launch in May of 2020.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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