Courtesy of Jinmi Abduls

Listen to Jinmi Abduls' New Single 'Abena'

This summery-sounding Ghanaian-inspired record is all about celebrating the beauty of the Black woman.

The wait is finally over for many Jinmi Abduls fans. The Lagos singer has finally dropped his much anticipated single "Abena" and it's a definite banger.

After announcing that "Abena" would be dropping on May 24th, social media has been counting down the days in excited anticipation. One Twitter follower has described the track saying, "Just finished listening to "Abena" by Jinmi Abduls for the first time and it's a big vibe!"

The undeniably smooth track, which the Nigerian singer self-produced, comes after his sophomore project, Jinmi of Lagos, back in 2017 and is the first under his new contract with The Plug Management company. The singer featured on BankyOnDBeatz's "Omoluabi" last year along with the Manchester-based Nigerian indie artist, Tobi Sunmola.

The use of guitars by Bendrix creates a relaxed and almost nostalgic Afro-pop feel as Jinmi sings about how he's mesmerized by the love of his life—a glorious Black woman. Central to "Abena" is the celebration around the beauty of Black women in a way that just makes your body want to move to the subtle yet infectious rhythm.

Listen to "Abena" on Apple Music and Spotify.

Courtesy of Jinmi Abduls

Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Rema Sends Solidarity Message to the 5 Iranian Women Arrested for Dancing to His Music

Rema has spoken out in support of five Iranian girls who were arrested for dancing to his music.

Nigerian Afropop star Rema, sent out a message of solidarity to five Iranian young women who were reportedly arrested for releasing a video dancing to his music.

On International Women’s Day, which occured on March 8th, the women created a buzz online after they released a video showing themselves dancing to the global smash "Calm Down." In the video, the women were wearing no headscarves, while slightly exposing midriffs.

According to reports, the Iranian government soon caught wind of the video, and began looking for the girls. On March 9th, the Shahrak Ekbatan Twitter account—an account that belongs to activists from the Ekbatan area—first alerted the general public by posting the dancing video online and stating that authorities had been asking residents in the area if they knew the women.

"They looked for CCTV footage of Block 13 to identify the girls who were only dancing and were not involved in any political activity. Police were seen checking the footage and questioning the guards," the account said.

Earlier this week, the Ekbatan-based activists reported that the women had been detained and forced to make an apology video, dressed in regalia that completely covered them from head to toe. The news soon caught the attention of Rema, who tweeted out a solidarity message in support of the women earlier this week.

Although it is unclear how long the Iranian women were detained for, the Shahrak Ekbatan Twitter commented under the Twitter thread, stating that the girls were apprehended for about two days.

Historically, Iran girls have faced a number of restrictions that have limited their freedom. Some of these restrictions include legalities that require them to cover their hair and dress modestly in public.

Although there have been demands to abolish the compulsory headscarf rule, no progress has been made in that regard, and the rule is still in effect.

Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

The 10 Best Chiwetel Ejiofor Films

The British-born actor of Nigerian descent consistently delivers, whether it’s in an indie thriller or a comic-book blockbuster.

He’s worked with some of the most notable directors of our time – from Spike Lee to Steve McQueen – and for each film, Chiwetel Ejiofor brings his A-game. Over the years, his trademark intensity and commitment to roles have endeared him to filmmakers and audiences alike.

Born to Nigerian parents who moved to the U.K. to flee the Biafran War, he grew up in South London. When he was 11 years old, Ejiofor suffered a great tragedy. While traveling back to Nigeria for a wedding, a car accident killed his father and left Ejiofor seriously injured.

Theater offered him some solace. As a kid, he enjoyed taking part in plays, which gave him a way to understand the world. As a teen, he joined the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and was cast by Steven Spielberg for Amistad, after only three months into his course.

In 2007, he stunned audiences in a production of Othello at London’s Donmar Warehouse and earned a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor. A few years later, he went on to earn an Oscar nod for his role in 12 Years A Slave. Despite his success, he stays true to his African roots, as his directorial feature, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, attests – along with his love for both Crystal Palace and the Super Eagles alike.

OkayAfrica breaks down his best roles over the years so far.

Amistad (1997)

Amistad - Traileryoutu.be

With an ensemble that includes Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Matthew McConaughey, Ejiofor more than holds his own — even though this was his feature film debut in the early days of his career. Then 19, he was cast by Spielberg for his epic historical drama, based on the true story of the 1839 mutiny aboard the ship, La Amistad, and the international legal battle that followed when abducted Mende men overthrew their captors’ ship off the coast of Cuba. Ejiofor plays James Covey, a young, formerly enslaved man who serves as an interpreter for the defendants in the film’s central trial.

Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

Dirty Pretty Things | 'Innocent’ (HD) - Audrey Tautou, Chiwetel Ejiofor | MIRAMAXwww.youtube.com

In his first lead role, Ejiofor shines as Okwe, an undocumented Nigerian doctor living in London, who makes a living as a cab driver by day and a hotel attendant by night. Ejiofor is central to the film’s success, playing an immigrant who carries a sadness from his past with him. Directed by Stephen Frears, the film is a hypnotic thriller, but it also has much to say about illegal immigrants trying to make a life in the U.K. To play the part, Ejiofor reportedly copied his Nigerian accent from his parents. As the late critic Roger Ebert notes, this film shows he’s a natural actor with leading man presence, who has the “rare ability to seem good without being sappy.”

Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually (2003) Official Trailer - Colin Firth, Emma Thompson Movie HDwww.youtube.com

A beloved staple in homes across the world, come December, it’s hard to believe this film is 20 years old already. It’s a role that remains close to Ejiofor’s heart, because, as he told Entertainment Weekly, the film is, “so fully romantic and optimistic.” He plays Keira Knightley’s new husband who has no idea his best friend, a pre-Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, secretly pines after her. Although we haven’t seen much of Ejiofor in the rom-com genre, this film gives us a glimpse of what we’re missing by not having more of his charming self in these kinds of roles.

Kinky Boots (2005)

Kinky Boots | Official Trailer (HD) - Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor | MIRAMAXwww.youtube.com

“Ladies, gentlemen, and those who’ve yet to make up your mind,” it's Chiwetel Ejiofor as we’d yet to see him before. Playing Lola, the drag queen who helps save the shoe factory of Joel Edgerton’s Charlie, Ejiofor commits to the part wholeheartedly. He sports those titular high boots, makeup, nails and false eyelashes, as well as dances in the aforementioned heels. Not someone who’s known for his comedic or musical talents, Ejiofor positively delights in the role – even if he didn’t express any interest in going on to reprise the part in the hit Broadway version of the film.

Inside Man (2006)

Inside Man Official Trailer #1 - Christopher Plummer Movie (2006) HDwww.youtube.com

The second time Ejiofor was directed by Spike Lee (after a small role in She Hate Me), he worked alongside Denzel Washington. As Detective Bill Mitchell to Washington’s Detective Keith Frazier, Ejiofor and Washington set about trying to solve an elaborate New York City bank heist in New York City. Ejiofor had to do some work to nail his American accent, but he proved his acting chops once again, as part of a formidable ensemble that also included Jodie Foster and Clive Owen.

Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men - Trailerwww.youtube.com

Owen and Ejiofor would once again feature together in a film that same year, in the explosive sci-fi drama, Children of Men. Who can forget the car scene – considered one of the greatest tracking shots in cinematic history – in which Ejiofor, a radical political activist, and Owen try to save Julianne Moore’s character? Although he doesn’t have a major part in Alfonso Cuaron’s film, Ejiofor brings a fiery intensity to his character that ensures he’s still thought of long after he leaves the screen.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 YEARS A SLAVE - Official Trailer (HD)www.youtube.com

The role that earned Ejiofor a much-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actor is in the film that won Best Picture at the 2014 ceremony. As real-life Solomon Northup, the actor went to places we’d yet to see him go in portraying a free Black man from the North who is kidnapped and sold into slavery during the 1840s. Ejiofor won a host of acting awards for playing Northup in the run-up to the Oscars, losing out on that coveted statue to Dallas Buyer’s Club’s Matthew McConaughey. But the anger, frustration, hope and dignity he brought to Northup lives on in movie lore, and it can’t be understated how much of a role he played in the film’s success, and the way it changed the industry in the years to come.

Doctor Strange (2016)

Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness | Official Trailerwww.youtube.com

Get you a man who can do Shakespeare and Marvel! Joining Benedict Cumberbatch in the Marvel franchise, Ejiofor plays Baron Mordo, a complex villain who exists in the gray of the Multiverse of Madness. It’s fun to watch him embody this character, which is developed a little differently from the comics and takes on a more complicated dynamic. At first a friend of Doctor Strange, Mordo experiences a deep change through the course of the film, allowing us to revel in the expanse of Ejiofor’s range as an actor. Personally for the actor himself, the film was a thrill too, as he’d grown up reading comics like Watchmen, too.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind | Offical Trailer [HD] | Netflixwww.youtube.com

For Ejiofor’s directorial debut, he looked to his home continent. Set in Malawi and based on the true story of inventor William Kamkwamba, it won him the NAACP Image Award for outstanding direction of a motion picture in 2020. Ejiofor wrote the screenplay and also starred in the film, as Kamkwamba’s father, and learned to speak Chichewa, the local language, for it. The story of Kamkwamba’s love of science and desire to find solutions to the challenges his family face remains inspiring, and we look forward to Ejiofor’s next directorial venture.

News Brief
Photo by Amos Gumulira

Malawi’s President Says Half the Country Damaged by Cyclone Freddy

The death toll in Malawi has reached 447 people, with 282 residents missing and close to 400,000 people still displaced.

It has been a month since Cyclone Freddy ravaged Madagascar and then made a downfall in Malawi and Mozambique. But the aftermath of the tragedy still rages on. As more officials work to uncover the devastating effects of the cyclone that led to the loss of many lives, more details are surfacing.

In an interview with The Guardian published on Monday (March 20th), Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera said that over half of his country has been damaged by Cyclone Freddy.

“This demonstrates that climate change issues are real and we are standing right in the path of it,” Chakwera told The Guardian. Chakwera also stated that the devastation of the cyclone could very well keep Malawi in the cycle of poverty.

According to reports from the country’s authorities, the death toll in Malawi has reached 447 people, with 282 residents missing and close to 400,000 people still displaced. (When you factor in Mozambique and Madagascar, there have been close to 600 confirmed deaths.)

Cyclone Freddy first mounted in Australia before traveling across the Indian Ocean and settling in south-east Africa, where it destroyed property and killed residents across Mozambique, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and now, Malawi. This intense deadly storm has been dubbed one of the longest-lasting tropical cyclones ever recorded in history.

Chakwera also detailed the effects of the tragedy, stating that the country, which has a population of over 19 million people, was in dire straits.

“We need everyone’s help and support for this tragedy to be mitigated,” Chakwera said. “We are suffering and we can’t meet the needs. We have set up temporary camps and food is needed, shelter, yes, but must go past that and build stronger because of the damage.

There is also concern over an elevated cholera risk; since last year, there has been a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 1,700, making it one of the deadliest on record. Those numbers are now expected to go up.

“With the floods, people’s toilets have been washed away and most people have no access to safe drinking water,” Storn Kabuluzi, health services director, said.

Kengol DJ/Jailtime Records

Get to Know Kengol DJ’s Cameroonian Drill Music

The 32-year-old is blending drill and coupé-décalé—all from a prison in Cameroon.

Kengol DJ, born Magloire Noumedem, entered a world of suffering when faced with intense stares from the shadows of the notorious Central Prison of Douala—a place which operates more like a small walled city than a high-security jail.

"Arriving in prison is exactly as you might imagine — I can only laugh now, everyone half-naked, and the voices ringing out...it was terrifying." Kengol is an emotional man. Over two hours in his presence, he acts out his life experiences rather than recount them. It becomes an interview that is as much a performance, where Kengol lays himself bare—spitting bars wide-eyed one minute, singing his heart out the next, gesticulating wildly as tears run down his face.

The 32-year-old's latest single “Ca Va Aller' (It's Gonna Be Ok),” his cry of survival, is a fresh take on Drill that "Cameroon has never seen before--I call it Atalaku Drill,” Kengol explains, “I've crossed it with coupé-décalé." It was released this month on Jail Time Records, a label set up in prison to rehabilitate talent fallen to the wayside.

Noumedem was, by his own admission, lost to the streets when he was arrested for possession of drugs and sentenced to a term of 6 months: "Not many go inside to find the light, but I started to have visions. I could work day and night on my music, my God-given talents were no longer lost.”

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