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Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

In Photos: A Sultry Evening Celebrating OkayAfrica's 100 Women at NYC's Top of the Standard

Here's what went down at our evening of community and celebration in this photo story.

OkayAfrica recently took over New York City's Top of the Standard to praise this year's 100 Women honorees for a sultry evening of community and celebration.

Over 350 VIPs and past honorees including Flaviana Matata, Maria Borges, Abrima Erwiah, Jojo Abot and Susy Oludele gathered for delicious bites and custom Courvoisier cocktails—like the Courvoisier French 75 (Courvoisier VS, lemon juice, simple syrup, Brut champagne, and garnished with a lemon twist).


The crowd also got down to sets by female African DJs—including DJ AQ, Niara Sterling and Sydney Love. South Africa's own and our fabulous 2019 honoree Moonchild Sanelly blessed the room with a high-energy performance, having guests on their feet well past midnight. Some of the esteemed women honored this year that joined us for the evening include Isha Sesay, Penda N'diaye, Soull and Dynasty Ogun, Besidone Amoruwa and more.

As you've seen in this year's campaign, our amazing honorees are being recognized for their impact and influence as change agents and innovators in their respective industries.

"Every March, OkayAfrica is dedicated to celebrating 100 women across the continent and diaspora for the work that they've done," Rachel Hislop, editor-in-chief of OkayAfrica, says, addressing the audience at the soiree. "This year, our celebration encapsulates around youth culture—where we celebrate 100 women who use their power to push those who are the future of Africa and the world. Thank you to our honorees for allowing us to celebrating you."

Revisit the illustrious evening through the images below, thanks to photographers Noemie Marguerite and Hannan Saleh.

Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

DJ Niara Sterling. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

2019 OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Charlene Akuamoah. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Justine Skye in Studio 189. Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

2019 OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Penda N'diaye. Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

2017 OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Maria Borges. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

Young Paris, Maria Borges and friends. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

2019 OkayAfrica 100 Women honorees Dynasty (left) and Soull (right) Ogun. Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Livelle Collins. Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

El Lewis. Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Ade Adeniran. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

Rachel Hislop, OkayAfrica's editor-in-chief. Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

2019 OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree and guest artist Moonchild Sanelly. Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Moonchild Sanelly. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

Photo by Noemie Marguerite.

Abiola Oke, CEO and publisher of OkayAfrica with 2019 OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Isha Sesay. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

Jojo Abot, Poizon Ivy the DJ and Moonchild Sanelly. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

2017 OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Flaviana Matata. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

Abiola Oke and TK Wonder. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

Sira Kante. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

Peju Famojure. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

2018 OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Susy Oludele. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

OkayAfrica, Okayplayer and 100 Women staff (L-R): Oyinkan Olojede, Ivie Ani, Nadia Nascimento, Antoinette Isama, Bisi, Jasmine Michel, Sinat Giwa. Photo by Hannan Saleh.

News Brief
Moonchild Sanelly. Image courtesy of the artist.

Catch Moonchild Sanelly & Alsarah Live at BAM This Weekend

As part of our 100 Women concerts.

South Africa's buzzing Moonchild Sanelly and East African retro pop group Alsarah & The Nubatones will be bringing their electrifying live shows to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) this weekend in conjunction with OkayAfrica's 100 Women.

Moonchild Sanelly has been breaking charts and dance floors in South Africa and across the globe with her infectious solo singles like "Isthembu" and "Weh Mameh," as well as collaborations like "Makhe," "iWalk Ye Phara," and "Midnight Starring." She will be playing at BAM on Friday, March 22.

Alsarah & The Nubatones will be presenting a special performance: a salute to the Sudan Uprisings, showcasing live footage from the protests, curated and performed by Marine Elneel and various other members of the Sudani diaspora coming together in solidarity with what is happening on the ground in Sudan right now. They will be performing at BAM on Saturday, March 23.

The artists will be playing BAMcafé Live this weekend, on Friday and Saturday night, as part of our 100 Women concerts.

See all detail below and sign up for updates on the events here.

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Image courtesy of Cleopatra Kambugu Kentaro.

Beyond the Struggle: Trans Activist Cleopatra Kambugu Kentaro on the Everyday Joys of Embracing Her Identity

Hailing from a country that criminalized queerness comes with its own challenges. But Cleopatra Kambugu Kentaro is choosing to find the joy in her life as a trans women instead of dealing in the loneliness and trauma that can come with being a leading voice in the movement to change the status quo.

Protest comes in many forms. For some, it's marching in the streets with picket signs and bullhorns. For others, it's boycotting or petitioning. For Ugandan trans activist Cleopatra Kambugu Kentaro, it's simply existing, fully and openly as herself.

Remaining hyper-visible on a continent where non-binary identity is shunned and sexual relations between people of the same sex remains illegal in a whopping 37 out of 54 countries according to Amnesty International, is in itself a radical act. Still, Kentaro has chosen to take her activism even further through her work as a storyteller, which she acknowledges as a tool for queer Africans to become the authors of their own histories.

In 2016 Kentaro starred in the groundbreaking documentary The Pearl of Africa, making her one of the first openly trans Ugandan women. At the time, however, the activist didn't fully realize how much of an impact the film would have. Instead, she says it was completely "organic" and humbly refers to it as a simple look into her everyday life. "I didn't even anticipate it having an impact in the community, and among my friends and family," she tells OkayAfrica "But [because of it] people have started having this conversation around transness."

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Merry-Lynn. Photo courtesy of the artist.

You Need This Merry-Lynn EP In Your Life

Interview: Rising R&B newcomer Merry-Lynn's Petrichor EP is a breath of fresh air.

Iyere-Eke Merrylynn Ehinomen, also known as Merry-Lynn, is a rising singer and songwriter based in Abuja, Nigeria. She recently released her debut EP, Petrichor, which presents a masterful blend of reggae and R&B with a modern twist across its six tracks.

Drawing you in with its resonant bass line and alluring vocals, EP opener "Skin," is a major head-bopper. Merry-Lynn pours her heart out over the rippling guitar chords singing "When you gonna call me baby?/ Or don't you think about me lately?" Before you know it you're midway through the sultry and euphoric cut, "Temptation," and fully locked-in to this musical experience.

In "Boy Tears" the young singer, who was born in 1997, graces us with vivid lyricism and audacious delivery as she rhymes "too" and "fooled," enriching each line with subtle nuance. She also enlists Nigerian hitmaker King Perryy on the melancholic heartbreak tune "911"—a remixed version of the original track that was released earlier in the year

Merry-Lynn's decision to work exclusively with Nigerian producer Veen on the project seemingly enabled her to truly experiment and find the distinctive sound that sets her apart from the crowd. Emotionally rich and enlightened, this tape is a smooth sonic ride for any lover of good music. There's no doubt that, with Petrichor, Merry-Lynn has delivered a reliably-solid debut.

We got to know the R&B newcomer a little bit more in a recent interview below.

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Tiwa Savage "Owo Mi Da" cover.

Tiwa Savage Drops Two New Songs 'Owo Mi Da' & 'Attention'

The Nigerian star has shared two new bangers—"Owo Mi Da" and "Attention"—a day early due to leaks.

Tiwa Savage has returned with not-one-but-two new singles, "Owo Mi Da" and "Attention."

While the tracks were originally slated to drop tomorrow, Wednesday, the Nigerian superstar rushed released them due to leaks. "You guys couldn't wait na so my songs don leak o .... FUCK IT OUT NOW," Tiwa wrote on her social pages.

The addictive and upbeat "Owo Mi Da" was co-written by fellow Nigerian hitmaker Olamide and produced by Pheelz.

Video: Tiwa Savage On Female Artists Having to Work Twice As Hard

The smoother "Attention" is a song aimed at a man who isn't taking enough notice of his woman. " I guarantee all the ladies will know the lyrics to this one word for word," Tiwa wrote about the track. It was produced by Blaqjerzee.

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