News Brief

Ilhan Omar Is the First Woman to Wear Hijab In Congress

The Somali-born lawmaker is one of two Muslim congresswomen sworn into the House of Representatives today.

Illan Omar, the first Somali-American woman elected to congress, made history in more ways than one today when she also became the first woman to wear hijab in congress and one of two Muslim woman sworn into the United States' House of Representatives.

Ahead of her swearing-in ceremony today, the lawmaker took to Twitter to reflect and to celebrate the milestone with a picture of her and her father. "23 years ago, from a refugee camp in Kenya, my father and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC, she wrote. "Today, we return to that same airport on the eve of my swearing in as the first Somali-American in Congress."


Her father also took to social media to share a heart-warming message about the significance of Omar's appointment, writing "It's an honor to have her represent me and our family is so humbled that Ilhan has the opportunity to serve in our democracy. I wish Ilhan's grandfather could be here to witness this historic moment. He will be here in spirit as Ilhan will place her hand on his Quran for the ceremonial swearing in.

Omar and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, who is the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress, both made history as the first Muslim women to make it to congress. Tlaib was sworn in with Thomas Jefferson's Quran, and wore a Palestinian thobe during the ceremony. "I like that," she told CNN of being sworn-in with Jefferson's centuries-old Quran. "I like that it's kind of pushing against the stereotype that somehow we're new to this country."

She's inspired other Palestinian women to share photos of themselves in the traditional attire, using the hashtag #TweetYourThobe.


Omar, who recently clapped-back after a Republican pastor complained that "The floor of Congress is going to look like an Islamic Republic," proudly wore hijab in Congress, where hats and head coverings had been banned since 1837—a law which Omar herself pushed to abolish, reports Vox. The law was officially overturned today, allowing for religious garments to be worn in the chambers.

The United States House of Representatives is currently the most diverse that it's ever been in its 230 year history, with 35 new women being sworn in today.

Music
(Youtube)

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Fireboy DML, Juls, Adekunle Gold and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

Meet Duro Arts, the Man Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Album Covers

We talk to the Lagos-based digital artist about his work with Olamide, Phyno, Falz and more.

Duro Arts has found himself illustrating the cover artwork for a new wave of Nigerian musicians. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oluwadurotimi Bolaji Idowu started digital art in 2010, at a time where afrobeats music was still grasping its feet. Now, 11 years later, he has made covers for heavyweight hitmakers like Peruzzi, Phyno, Olamide, Zlatan, Oxlade, and Davido.

We caught up with Duro Arts on a Sunday afternoon over Zoom. He took the call from Accra, Ghana, where he's currently working. We talked about his journey as a digital artist, his portfolio, creative process, and the changes he'd like to see in the creative industry.

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