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Screen shot from "All the Stars"

"All The Stars" Is An Afrofuturistic Voyage Back To Our Roots

Kendrick Lamar and SZA's "All the Stars" video illustrates a journey through blackness, with a heavenly essence.


Blackness is a journey. At first, degraded and discriminated against by society, and sometimes ourselves. Then, monetized and appropriated by whiteness±—the same entity that marginalized it—as if it can be boiled down to a science instead of the supernatural that it is. Finally, embraced, reclaimed and realized, by us, the keepers of its true powers and force.


Reaching this destination is no easy excursion, and was much more challenging for those before us, but as conversations on racism, inclusivity and social justice become more prominent, I dream our future black children will reach their peace easier, and sooner, than we.

Kendrick Lamar and SZA's new music video for "All the Stars," the lead single from the Black Panther soundtrack, illustrates one narrative of voyaging through blackness, but with an empyreal essence. Here, blackness is rectifying the demarcation between African-American and African by crossing a spiritual bridge leading to afrocentric, afrofuturistic dimensions. The chimerical fable breathes life into a communal dream we imagine while awake and with eyes shut: what is home, and what will I find once I'm there?

Each scene in "All the Stars" imagines Lamar in distant yet familiar African landscapes, edging closer to divine truth.

First, by boat: an ocean of arms carry him on his solitary arc, like a lonely Noah determined to salvage what's left of the culture. He communes with small children in red caps like small Igbo chiefs, who surround a towering idol of a black woman's graceful gold head. He sits achingly pretty with Congolese Sapeur fashionistos, then strolls through a ghostly, sublime forest with a pack of black panthers guarding him. This scene in particular embodies so much: Black Panther, the king and hero, and the Black Panther movement, a force of persistent freedom fighting and black elevation.

The ear-grabbing hook further rouses us into contemplation of destiny, discovery and determination. "Maybe the night and my dreams might let me know...all the stars are closer," SZA chants, while twirling gleefully in a sky drowning in stars, a visual manifestation of black girl magic.

She acts as Lamar's spirit guide, dancing, swaying and stunning while traveling parallel to Lamar's pilgrimage. Her landscapes are even more ethereal and untouchable, as she is often the only one moving in her scenes, or staying patiently still as the environment comes to life around her—the way ancestral spirits go unnoticed as they protectively float around you.

Notice the women in this music video are all gigantic goddesses. They pose stoically, like all knowing totems, as Lamar winds in and out of them. Their attire, intricate golden suits, glimmering braids and geometric afros, are direct callbacks to the visions of Lina Iris Viktor. When Lamar finally meets his makers—more gigantic black goddesses, this time reminiscent of Egyptian deities—he stands confidently in their presence, as SZA watches on in approval. He made it.

The idea of returning to one's roots encompasses embarking on a voyage back to a land filled with as much marvel and enchantment as clarity and truth. Africa. The shape and outline of this content alone fills us with hope and endearment, even if we're unsure of where we land. It's our infinite destination, despite whether or not we arrive.

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Image via TONL.

Uganda Has Lost Millions of Internet Users as a Result of Its Controversial Social Media Tax

The infamous tax is effectually driving Ugandans off the internet.

The number of internet users in Uganda has declined significantly since the implementation of the highly-criticized tax on social media, which went into effect in July of last year.

While the government claimed that the tax would assist in raising government revenue and help "maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently," said Uganda's Finance Minister Matia Kasaija at the time. President Museveni also suggested that the tax would help "curb gossip" online.

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Cover art for Riky Rick's "You and I"

The 14 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Riky Rick, Mr Eazi, Moonchild Sanelly, Burna Boy, Blinky Bill, Niniola and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

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Image courtesy of Doubleday.

Oyinkan Braithwaite's 'My Sister the Serial Killer' Is the Lagos-Set Novel Rocking the Crime Thriller Genre

We speak with the Nigerian author about the success of her debut novel, and breaking the boundaries of "African Lit."

"I have always been drawn to dark topics," says Oyinkan Braithwaite, the 30-year-old Nigerian author behind the critical darling of a novel My Sister, the Serial Killer.

Her declaration helps explain the subject and title of her debut novel, which tells the story of Ayoola, a young woman who has developed a not-so-healthy habit of murdering her boyfriends, leaving her older sister, the book's protagonist, Korede to clean up her mess. You may have noticed it's ubiquitous cover—which features a young black woman wearing a headwrap, casually looking on as a knife-wielding hands is reflected in her sunglasses—on your timeline or at your local store. The internationally-released, Nigerian-made novel sits confidently on retail shelves previously reserved for mass-market thrillers.

The dark and humorous, Lagos-set novel is extreme—but not just because of all the murdering that happens. It also examines the extreme nature of the many things that can push people to the edge. For the sisters, it's: intergenerational trauma, abuse, the prevalence of a culture that rewards beauty above all else, as well as having to battle with their own personal shortcomings—just to name a few.

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