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Idris Elba and Skepta Lead Line-Up for Manchester International Festival With New Stage Productions

Elba will debut "Tree," a play about life In South Africa after Nelson Mandela and Skepta will present the immersive rave experience 'Dystopia987."

Idris Elba and Skepta are set to debut exciting new stage works at the 2019 Manchester International Festival. The biennial arts festival, which takes place in the English city of Manchester, highlights original works from international artists.

Elba will debut Tree, a play which he co-wrote with the artistic director of London's Young Vic Theatre Kwame Kwei-Armah about life in South Africa "after Nelson Mandela," reports BBC Entertainment.The stage show is inspired by Elba's 2014 album Mi Mandela, and will combine music, dance and film to create a theatrical experience.


The actor, Producer and DJ, who played Mandela in the 2013 biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, spoke of his and Kwei-Armah's personal connection to the project. "[We] both experienced personal moments of healing connected with the country and we're starting to explore that together," BBC Entertainment quoted him as saying. "For me, an interesting part of the process is looking at the next part of the story; the new universe that sprung up after Mandela."

The show will debut at the festival next summer before heading to the Young Vic.


Grime star Skepta will present his immersive theatrical production Dystopia987, highlighting rave culture. Dystopia987 will see the artists performing alongside a selection of rappers in a show that he describes as "real life magic," reports NME.

The festival's director, John McGrath describes the production to NME:

[It's] somewhere between an immersive theatrical experience and a futuristic rave. The idea for Skepta is: what is the future of the space that has been called a rave over the years? Where might it be heading, and what kind of experience might that be?"

We're looking forward to seeing some of our favorite entertainers take their talents to the theatre stage. Manchester international festival opens on July 4 with a 8000 member orchestral performance from Yoko Ono, and runs through July 21.

(Photo by via Getty Images)

The Other African Footballers in the World Cup

There are five African teams in the World Cup, but there are at least 54 players on other teams who were either born in Africa, or have African ancestry.

Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia are the five African teams in the World Cup in Qatar, but there are at least 54 players on other teams who were born in Africa or have African ancestry.

This is, of course, the result of the African diaspora, the movement of people from the continent towards the rest of the world. But the stories of how African players or their families got to the other side of the world are not always so stereotypical as one might imagine. The world cup, besides a month of football, is also a way to find out about how humans move through the world. Here are a few:

One of the most talked about stories in this tournament is that of Breel Embolo, who was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, but represents the Swiss national team and refused to celebrate after scoring against his country of birth last week. Embolo scored the only goal in the 1-0 Switzerland victory. It was the first goal he ever scored in a world cup, and the video of it went viral. But it wasn’t because of his technique, it was because he refused to celebrate.

Embolo moved to France when he was six years old because his mom, who had separated from his dad, went to study there. She met a Swiss man and married him, and the family eventually moved to Switzerland when the now Monaco forward was still a kid. So when he scored for his adopted country against Cameroon, he decided to stop and hold his arms up while his teammates celebrated around him.

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Photo: Courtesy Wangechi Mutu and Vielmetter Los Angeles, taken by Robert Edemeyer

A Massive Exhibition of Wangechi Mutu's Work Is Heading to the New Museum

A specially-commissioned art piece from the Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based artist will be part of the major overview of her work.

In what is set to be one of the largest showings of the artist's work, the New Museum in New York will present “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined,” from March 2 – June 4, 2023. The art works will cover the entire museum, occupying the three main floors, including the lobby, and the building’s glass façade, where a new piece that's been commissioned will be displayed.

Earlier this year, eight of Mutu’s sculptures were installed at the Storm King Art Center in upstate New York, showcasing her current practice in earth and bronze material.

Mutu’s upcoming New Museum exhibition is curated by Vivian Crockett, Margot Norton, Allen and Lola Goldring and Ian Wallace. According to the curators, “Intertwined” will chronicle Mutu’s recent sculptural development, and connect it to her long standing expression and exploration of the legacies of colonialism, globalization, in African and diasporic cultural traditions.

The upcoming exhibition will highlight some of Mutu’s earlier art, as well as her most recent artistic outputs, which are primarily made from Nairobi-sourced wood, soil and bronze.

“Intertwined” will give art lovers the opportunity to see and appreciate the thematic progression of Mutu’s work, and get a sense of how New York-based art institutions have influenced the scope of her artistry over time.

Different floors at the museum will carry various parts of Mutu’s multi-dimensional work. The second floor, for example, will draw connections between the artist’s collage-based practice and her work in sculpture, including 'Yo Mama' (2003), originally commissioned by the New Museum in 2003 for the exhibition “Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.”

This exhibition on the second floor will also underscore some of her more recent work, which experiments with collages in corporeal, mechanical, and botanical forms. The third floor will continue to explore the fluidity of Mutu’s work and how her pieces have evolved over time.

The fourth floor will tie a collection of Mutu’s collages from the 'Subterranea' series (2021–22) with her most recent large scale bronze art.

In a statement, Crockett said Mutu’s work has wrestled with themes and complex artistic principles that make it even more important for the future of art as a whole. “Mutu’s work has long been characterized by a sense of permeable boundaries and hybridity, invested in the complex encounters of bodies, sites, and structures. Her work grapples with contemporary realities and proffers new models for a radically changed future informed by feminism, Afrofuturism, and interspecies symbiosis,” said Crockett.

Photo: Adama Jalloh.

Watch Stormzy's 'This Is What I Mean' Video Featuring Amaarae, Black Sherif & Ms Banks

Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. popularly known as Stormzy recently recruited a star-studded entourage of artists to feature on the music video for “This Is What I Mean.” The record features Amaarae, Black Sherif, Ms Banks, STORRY and Jacob Collier.

Following the release of his third studio album This Is What I Mean last week, Stormzy worked with his video team to bring the song to life.

The body of work consists of 12 tracks and also features appearances from Debbie, Sampha,, and more. The new album's single, "This Is What I Mean," is a P2J, Knox Brown, Joel Peters, and PRGRSHN-produced joiny that fully highlights Stormzy’s music ingenuity.

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