Events

NBA Star Luol Deng Rallies South Sudan To Unite Through A Weekend Of Music & Fashion In D.C.

NBA star Luol Deng announces South Sudan Unite event in D.C. to rally South Sudanese in the Diaspora to unite through arts and culture.


Sudanese-British NBA star Luol Deng's foundation will be holding the first South Sudan Unite event in Washington, DC on August 29. The Miami Heat small forward, who recently lead Team Africa at the NBA's first game on the Continent, hopes to rally his fellow South Sudanese in the Diaspora to unite through arts and culture.

"This is very important to me, because the time is now to focus on our oneness and identity as a people, rather than our differences," Deng states. “As a people, if we can have the courage to represent the change we want to see, it means we also have the power to steer our nation back on the right track. We cannot allow what started as political conflict between a few people to take more lives and lead to more senseless suffering, robbing us of the country we dreamt of when we voted for and gained independence on July 9th, 2011."

The Saturday event will include live music from several South Sudanese artists — including ruka-reggae singer Dynamq, 'afro-ROSS' & soukous vocalist Sultan Clintone, rapper Baf Jay, Meve AlangeMer, and spoken word poet Bigoa Choul — a fashion show, and a workshop for the foundation's Peace Ambassadors initiative. Buy your tickets at the link below.

On Sunday, South Sudan Unite, Luol Deng and Okayafrica will host an Afrobeats Day Party featuring music by DJ Biggie Deng and DJ Stiletto at Mission in Dupont Circle. Make sure to RSVP for the party here and see more info in the flyer below.

>>>Purchase Tickets To South Sudan Unite [Saturday, August 29]

>>>RSVP For Luol Deng x Okayafrica's Afrobeats Party [Sunday, August 30]

South Sudan Unite will take place at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, August 29 (6:30pm). For updates, head to the South Sudan Unite Facebook page.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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