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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.
Arts + Culture
Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)" music video.

Is Zanku Set to Be the New Dance Craze of 2019?

Breaking down what could become the year's new dance craze.

With last week's release of the video for "Zanku (Leg Work)," Zlatan Ibile has consecrated himself as the originator of the newest dance craze in afropop.

The specific origin of the name 'zanku' is uncertain but the dance itself, says Ibile in this interview from December, is one he noticed from his visits to The Shrine in Lagos and refashioned into a trend.

The best zanku, so far, works best in beats combining repeated foot tapping or pounding, with hands held aloft, and finished with a flourish—a stylised thrusting of one foot as if to knock down a door. Variations include a faster footwork, mimicry of slicing and screwing hand motions and the brandshing of a white kerchief, all of which is done with vigour and attitude.

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WurlD. Image courtesy of the artist.

WurlD: Nigeria's Most Inspired Star?

We talk to the Nigerian artist about creating a sound that connects to the quintessential Afropolitan mind.

WurlD, the blue-haired singer with a killer voice and deep songwriting, is a wonder. His music sits at the intersection between African vibes and Western delivery. 2018 has been a huge for him, with a deal with Universal Music ensuring that his art has received consistency in release.

Born Sadiq Onifade, the Afro-Fusion artist has had an inspiring journey, moving from the streets of Mushin in Lagos, to the US, from where much of his music has been conceived. The complete creative embrace of that cross-cultural influence has become his strongest point, with songs such as "Show You Off" and "Contagious" offering a unique angle to his sound.

"Moving to America for me gave me the opportunity to learn music and I fell in love with songwriting," WurlD says of his influence. "Atlanta (where I lived) is a creative hub when it comes to songwriting and producing, some of the biggest songs in the world were produced in Atlanta, people round the world go to Atlanta to go meet producers and songwriters in Atlanta. There, I fell in love with music and songwriting."

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Still from YouTube.

France Still Doesn't Know How Racism Works and the Vilification of Nick Conrad Proves It

The French rapper is currently on trial for his music video "Hang White People," which depicts what life might be like if the racial tables were turned.

When the music video "Pendez les Blancs" ("Hang White people") by French rapper Nick Conrad was released, the backlash was intense. The video shows what life would be if black people had enslaved white people. "Hang white people… arm them and let them kill each other" Conrad raps. He is not the first artist to think about a life where Black people would dominate white people. Todric Hall's music video "Forbidden" and Malorie Blackman's novels "Noughts and Crosses" did it before. But in France, a country that still tries to stop Black people from organising as a community, Nick Conrad had to pay the price.

First, he received countless death threats and lost his job at a prestigious French hotel. Everyone, from French personalities to the government called him out. And then, two anti-racist and anti-semitism organizations, the LICRA and L'AGRIF sued him. His trial happened last week. French journalist Sihame Assbague was there to witness it, and what she reports is baffling.

To the prosecution, Conrad is encouraging his audience to kill white people. They believe that anti white racism or "reverse racism" is just as bad as any type of racism and that Conrad is using a "black supremacist language" with words like "queen" "king" when he mentions Africa. In their mind, once Black people stop trying to integrate and start organising themselves, it's just as bad as white people being racist. Ethnocentrism is dangerous.

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