News Brief

John Boyega Tells The Story of How He Landed His Role In 'Star Wars' In This Animated Video

Watch the actor share the delightful story about how he became the star of one of film's biggest franchises in a new clip from BBC Two.

If you need some inspiration this morning, look no further than this story from John Boyega about how he landed his role as Finn in Star Wars.

The actor tells the heartwarming story in a new clip from BBC Two's Black Hollywood. The story comes alive through Boyega's charming storytelling and the clip's colorful animation.

What started off as just ordinary day, with him "chilling at home with a girl" he was seeing, turned out to be a game-changing one after Star Wars producer J.J. Abrams called him for a meeting to tell him he would become the new star of Star Wars.


"You've never felt time freeze before. That was the day." Talk about life-changing!

Hear the full story in the clip below.


Photo by Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images/Getty Images.

Rebecca Malope: All Hail the African Queen of Gospel Music

The gospel icon was recently handed the Order of Ikhamanga — the highest award given to South African citizens who have excelled in the arts, culture & literature.

Her hands clasped together, she walks at a brisk pace to the dais at the Presidential guest house in Pretoria, South Africa. She’s wearing a classic black bodysuit, tucked in a high-waisted red pleated skirt. She's rocking her signature ‘german’ haircut and on her feet are black heeled pointed-toe pumps. As she elbows President Cyril Ramaphosa, her eyes crinkle at the edges, revealing the smile beneath her mask. Then she turns left and listens:

“For her distinguished contribution to South African music, with her unique voice bringing joy and comfort to many through meaningful gospel music….”

As the crowd applauds, the head of state places a medallion around her neck and hands her the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver—the highest award given to South African citizens who have excelled in the arts, culture and literature. Excitedly, she raises a clenched fist to the air and dances back to her seat, raising a ‘hallelujah’ before she sits down.

This was the African Queen of gospel music, Dr. Rebecca Malope, during her recent award ceremony on November 18th. Barely two months after receiving the Gospel Lifetime Achievement Award by Nigerian magazine, Clima.

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These Sisters Are Reimagining Nollywood For A Younger Audience

Neptune3 Studios, founded by the Damina Sisters, is breathing new life into the teen drama, embracing subjects the Nigerian entertainment industry usually shies away from, like body autonomy and women's sexuality.

In July 2018, Neptune3 Studios burst onto the filmmaking scene with their web series, New Girl, not quite sure how the response to the show would be. The series, which follows the lives of teenagers in a Nigerian secondary school, as they go through their teenage years dealing with school, family, peer pressure, and love, has since gone on to have over 8 million views.

There are only a handful of titles in the teen drama genre in Nollywood. And most of them hardly scratch the surface of teenage life in Nigeria or they are depicted by adults. But Neptune3 Studios handles the genre differently.

"When we got into making the web series [New Girl], we didn't think much about how the genre is not explored,” Jemima Damina, Neptune3 Studios co-founder, tells OkayAfrica. “We just wanted to tell a story that resonated with our friends and us. And when we created the story, we were just echoing the things that had happened in our own lives growing up."

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News Brief
Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

South Africa Responsibly Reported A New Variant of COVID-19 - And Now The World Is Making Them Pay For It

In the world's latest attempt at making COVID-19 Africa's disease, South Africa is now being punished for good use of the advanced technology that identified the Omicron variant.

If there's one thing Western media is going to do, it's going to make African countries out to be the bad, irresponsible kids on the team.

Last week, South African scientists informed the globe that they had discovered and identified a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, which the World Health Organization went on to name Omicron. The variant's influence and characteristics are yet to be understood, as leading scientists in South Africa — and across the world — scramble to understand the next layer of the COVID-19 virus. It also means that it is impossible to dictate exactly where the variant originated from.

The news broke, and the world began to panic, with the brash reactions manifesting as a near-global travel ban, to and from South Africa, over fears of the latest variant. The almost immediate ostracization has resulted in hordes of foreign nationals within South Africa being "stranded", and South African citizens abroad not being able to get back home.

The Omicron strain was identified in neighboring country Botswana at the same time, but among a group of foreign diplomatic visitors, with two ministers warning Western onlookers from "geo-politicizing this virus". Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera went on to openly accuse Western countries of "Afrophobia" for shutting their borders with such haste, and in a manner that seems as if they've been waiting for the opportunity to do so. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director on the African continent said, "With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity." Israel announced over the weekend that they would enforce travel bans on all African countries... except those which reside in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, etc). U.S Governor Greg Abbott received backlash after ignorantly tweeting on Sunday that, "Immigrants have recently been apprehended crossing our border illegally from South Africa."

According to Reuters, South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and relevant parties have requested an urgent sitting this Friday with WHO's working group on virus evolution, to discuss the new variant and what this could mean for this next phase of the global pandemic. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the countries that have implemented travel bans on the country to rethink and ultimately lift them, vocalizing his disappointment in the ease with which world leaders are prepared to shut African countries out of an issue we are experiencing as a global unit. Ramaphosa also argued that the bans would not successfully stop the transmission of the newer variant, "The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic," he said.

This is not the first time that South Africa has been held liable for a newly discovered variant of the COVID-19 virus. Last December, a Beta variant was detected in the Southern African country and the world reacted in a similar way — inappropriately. Claims that the newly identified variant is the most dangerous are irresponsible are simply not true — scientists have little to no real information on how this variant may affect people, as it has just been discovered.

Informed individuals and social media warriors alike took to their handheld devices to set the records straight, with some congratulating South Africa's team for being responsible in their handling of a global pandemic. Even Piers Morgan got it right.


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