News Brief

Ilhan Omar Could Be the First Somali-American in Congress After Snagging Democratic Primary

Two more Somali-Americans also make history by winning seats in Minnesota's State House.

Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American who has served as a state legislator for Minnesota's District 60B, has won the Democratic nomination for her state's 5th Congressional District, The Washington Post reports.

Omar locked in this victory by running a progressive campaign, despite attempts of alt-right sabotage, with the support of multiple left-wing groups and an endorsement of rising politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She defeated two candidates who argued that her rise happened too quickly, and is the favorite to join the House this November.


This is another history making moment, as she, along with Michigan's Rashida Tlaib, could be the first Muslim women in Congress, with Omar potentially being the first to replace another Muslim—Keith Ellison—in the House.

"We started this campaign to prove people are ready and willing to fight for an America that works for all of us," Omar says, thanking her staff, volunteers, donors and voters, in a tweet. "Together, we will move our district, state and nation forward."

Omar will now run against Republican nominee Jennifer Zielinski in the general election.

Somali-Americans still continue to gain footing in Minnesota state politics, according to Star Tribune reporter Mukhtar Ibrahim. Hodan Hassan won the Democratic primary for Minneapolis House District 62A, making her the second Somali-American woman elected to state legislature. Mohamud Noor won the race for Omar's seat in Minnesota legislature—making him the first Somali-American man to be elected to a state house.

News Brief
Image supplied by artist

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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
Image provided by the artist.

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

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.