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Meet Ilfenesh Hadera, the Ethiopian-American Actor Who Plays Opal in 'She's Gotta Have It'

Get to know the "She's Gotta Have It" actor who is one to watch.

Spike Lee's revamp of his 1986 cult classic film, She's Gotta Have It, dropped on Thanksgiving and we're obsessed.

Lee reintroduces Nola Darling, an artist who tries to stay true to her sexual liberation as she juggles three lovers. As we watched the series, we run into, Opal Gilstrap, Nola's former lover who she eventually runs back to when she takes a break from her triangle of men.

Opal is one of the few characters in the series who's a breath of fresh air. She keeps it all the way real with Nola and isn't afraid to call her out on her selfishness and how it impacts the people she's intimate with.

Ilfenesh Hadera is the Ethiopian-American actor who plays Opal so well in the series. You might have seen Hadera star alongside The Rock in the film Baywatch, Lee's controversial film Chi-Raq, as well as in the TV series Master of None and Billions.


The New York-native is the daughter of an Ethiopian refugee and an American acupuncturist.

Video still via Netflix.

"I identify as half Ethiopian, half white. I'm equal parts," she says in an interview with Time. "I hear so many biracial people say, 'I didn't know where I fit in.' But I grew up in Harlem and went to school on the Upper West Side, where half the students looked like me. I consider myself lucky to have lived in this bubble."

Before Hadera had her big break, she was on the grind as a waitress for 10 years.

"You pay your dues. You meet some great people, and it teaches you how to deal with long hours and grump[y] people," she says in an interview with Coveteur. "It is definitely not glamorous work. I was the low man on the totem pole at The Standard for a year, so I was closing every night that I worked. The things people would say to me if turned away…I can't even repeat. You take a real bashing."

Hadera also identifies strongly with her Ethiopian heritage, and understands the importance of giving back. Soon after her father, Asfaha Hadera, arrived to the U.S. in the late 1970s, he started the African Services Committee, an organization that helps displaced refugees with legal services and community building.

"I had my first summer job there doing paperwork," she continues to Time. "You meet the clients and you hear the stories. So, I know how vital the work has been to the lives of thousands of people over the years. We've got to look out for one another."

We can't wait to see what's next for Hadera—she's definitely an actor to watch.

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Watch Wizkid and Tems Perform Their Global Hit 'Essence' Live on Fallon

Take a look at the Nigerian stars' latest stop, as they take their chart-topping Grammy-nominated single around the world.

Nigerian singer and songwriter WizKid was joined by fellow Nigerian pop sensation Tems this week, to perform the duo's smash hit "Essence" live on The Tonight Show: Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The single, off of Wizkid's 2020 Grammy-nominated masterpiece Made In Lagos, was also nominated for a Grammy in the Best Global Music Album and Performance categories respectively. Due to the travel restrictions recently imposed on African countries because of the latest COVID-19 variant, the soulful rendition was performed from an empty stadium, instead of live from Fallon's New York City studio.

Made In Lagos has not left the charts since its release in October 2020, and the success continues to rain in for Wizkid, as the afrobeats star's project recently made history. During his European leg of his Made In Lagos tour, the singer was honored by London's infamous O2 music arena for being the first African musician to sell out 3 shows in a row.

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Photo: Matteo Prandoni and BFA

A Ghanaian Artist Brought A Boat To This Year's Art Basel Miami

Serge Attukwei Clottey installed a traditional Ghanaian fishing boat into a Miami hotel to create a deeply immersive and impactful sound sculpture experience.

After being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Art Basel Miami returned in person to celebrate the arts, bringing many viewers from around the world to the city for a 3-day event at the Miami Convention Center. Hundreds of art purveyors filled the building for a time of conversation, art, and inspiration – all while adhering to this yea's mask-wearing requirements. The city of Miami bubbled as hotels, restaurants, and bars were the epicenter of entertainment, boasting lavish parties with celebrities from across the country taking part in the action.

An artist who caught our attention was Serge Attukwei Clottey from Ghana, who presented his work at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel titled, The Bodies Left Behind. Clottey, who’s best known for repurposing plastic Kufuor gallons in his artwork as a means of exploring issues like global warming, water scarcity, and other environmental issues, staged a month-long exhibition, in partnership with the hotel. It allowed the artist and his team to further dive into the issue of global warming and water scarcity, throughout the hotel. The exhibition left guests of the hotel curious about his work.

Clottey made a huge statement by presenting the western traveler’s effects on Africa and its coastline in a luxurious space. He spoke to OkayAfrica about why he chose this subject matter.

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Nigeria’s LONDON Is Producing Afro Sounds of the Future

With a fresh Grammy nod and production work for big names like Wizkid, Rema, Johnny Drille, Ayra Starr and Tiwa Savage, the young beat smith's career is as bright as ever.

You may have heard his tag on your favorite afrobeats hits, it's so catchy that producers from other parts of the world have attempted to steal it.

Kaduna-bred star hitmaker LONDON is known for his futuristic and innovative fresh take on afrobeats. With bangers like “Gyrate” by Wizkid, “Koroba” by Tiwa Savage and “Soundgasm” by Rema under his belt, it’s crazy to think his journey as a music producer only started in 2018.

Born Michael Ovie Hunter as an only child in London, England to a Hausa mom and British dad, then raised in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria, producer LONDON’s journey into music production isn't exactly far-fetched. He started out with a passion for graphic design before experimenting with keyboards and drums at his church, where he recorded melodies to impress his friends at school. Like many Nigerian artists, LONDON got his start making music at church where many of his family members were heavily involved in the choir . He first downloaded Fruity Loops Studio software on his laptop in 2018 but he felt discouraged because couldn’t figure out how to use it. After hanging around his friend's studio and several Youtube tutorials later, LONDON finally understood the whole music production ‘thing.’

LONDON’s early compositions caught the attention of veteran Nigerian music producer BabyFresh, the architect behind some of Nigeria’s biggest afro pop hits in the past decade such as “‘Allover” by Tiwa Savage, “Problem” by Reekado Banks and “Adaobi” by the Mavins. He took him under his wing and taught him the tricks of the trade in music production. This brought LONDON closer to the Mavin Records family where Baby Fresh is an in-house producer, ultimately leading to his big break in the industry.

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A LÁOLÚ Artwork of Breonna Taylor Is Up For Auction​

Proceeds from the auction of LÁOLÚ's piece, alongside a George Floyd sculpture, will benefit non-profit organizations set up by the Taylor and Floyd families.