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Kelela: "White People Don't Understand. Black People Don’t Have The Space To Suck"

Kelela gets real in a cover story for The FADER ahead of the release of her debut album "Take Me Apart."

Kelela laid down the truth with some choice words about her journey to releasing her upcoming debut album, Take Me Apart, in a recent cover story for The FADER.

After years of feeling as if it was "too late" to start her career, Kelela, a second-generation Ethiopian American, finally built the courage to write her first song when she was 25 years old.


The courage that she gained helped her to overcome self doubt and to persevere over misogynoir (the intersection of racism and sexism directed at black women).

The album title, Take Me Apart, demonstrates the importance she places on honest self-expression, and her belief that everyone should take risks.

Kelela knows that it's not easy and that it takes courage.

She told The FADER's Lakin Starling, “When you demand somebody take you apart, then you're the boss. It's so strong. You must have a lot of confidence to say that comfortably. It feels risky, I feel my heart pound a little bit harder, but that's who I am."

She's particularly attuned to how this struggle falls upon black women in the music industry, for whom the stakes are particularly high. It's not necessarily that black people are more "artistically inclined," she said. "It's because we don't have the space to suck."

The album, which was produced by Jam City, is true to Kelela's affinity for electronic music, but is also "fully grounded in R&B's brave emotional honesty," according to The FADER.

At a time when dishonesty goes unchecked more often than ever, this type of straight talk is unfortunately rare. We're glad to have Kelela and Take Me Apart is right on time.
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C Natty/emPawa

You Need to Watch C Natty's New Music Video For 'Ojah'

Video Premiere: Check out the striking first release from Mr Eazi's #emPawa30.

C Natty arrives in style with his new single "Ojah."

The track, which is the first release from Mr Eazi's new group of #emPawa30 artists, sees the Nigerian artist delivering a highly-infectious and grooving concoction over jazz-leaning afrobeats produced by Killertunes.

The new music video for "Ojah," which we're premiering here today, is equally as stunning and follows the story of someone who doesn't take others' advice. C Natty told us the following about the DK of Priorgold Pictures-directed video:

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Image courtesy of Adekunle Adeleke

Spotlight: Adekunle Adeleke Creates Digital Surrealist Paintings That Celebrate African Beauty

Get familiar with the work of Nigerian visual artist Adekunle Adeleke.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Adekunle Adeleke, a Nigerian visual artist, using digital mediums to paint dream-like portraits of Africans. Read more about the inspirations behind his work below, and check out some of his stunning paintings underneath. Be sure to keep up with the artist on Instagram and Facebook.

Can you tell us more about your background and when you first started painting?

I am a self taught artist. I started drawing from when I was really young. I mostly used graphite pencils and paper. But about six years ago, I think it was 2014, I wanted to start getting into color. I was a university student at the time and I lived in a hostel with three other people, so I couldn't go traditional so [instead], I started making paintings digitally, first on my iPad and then on my laptop with a Wacom. I have been painting ever since.

What would you say are the central themes in your work?

I personally think my work celebrates beauty (African beauty to be precise) and occasionally absurd things. I really just want to make paintings that are beautiful.

How do you decide who or what you're going to paint?
I do not have an exact process. I do use a lot of references though. Sometimes, I had an idea of how exactly the painting would look, others I just make it up as i go along.

Can you talk about a particular moment or turning point in your life that made you want to pursue art or a creative path?

I am not sure–I did not actively pursue art in a sense. I was just doing it because it was fun and I wanted to. Then people all of a sudden wanted to put me on projects and offer to pay for my hobby. I have thankfully been able to make art and also work in a separate field—which I also enjoy–by day.

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News Brief

South African Hip-Hop Producers Tweezy and Gemini Major Set for Instagram Live Beat Battle

Two of South Africa's hip-hop super producers Tweezy and Gemini Major will face-off in upcoming Instagram live beat battle.

After Instagram live beat battles such as Swizz Beatz versus Timbaland and Mannie Fresh versus Scott Storch amid the lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it was only a matter of time until the hip-hop community across the world followed suit.

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Photo by Dominique Faget/AFP via Getty Images.

Former Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein​ Passes Away

Somalia has declared a 3-day mourning period following the death of the 83-year-old politician from the coronavirus.

The former Prime Minister of Somalia, Nur Hassan Hussein, passed away yesterday at the age of 83 according to reports by the Anadolu Agency.

After receiving treatment over the past few weeks at a hospital in London, England, the former politician passed away after having tested positive for the coronavirus. The Somali government has recently declared a nationwide 3-day mourning period following Hussein's death.

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