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Marvel Is Pushing for 'Black Panther' to Win 'Best Picture' Despite Oscar's New 'Popular Film' Category

The studio wants 'Black Panther' to become its first Oscar-winning movie, and is putting major support behind making it happen.

Despite the Academy's introduction of the "Best Popular Film" Oscar category, Marvel Studios is still pushing for Back Panther to earn the coveted "Best Picture" title at the 2019 Oscars.

The decision to create the "Best Popular Film" category earlier this month fell under scrutiny by many critics that felt it was a mere consolation prize, intended as a pat on the back for mainstream, commercially successful films like Black Panther, which the Academy deems not quite worthy enough of earning "Best Picture"—the biggest award of the night.

Disney Studios, however, is making major moves to ensure that Black Panther has a fair chance of taking home the award. According to the LA Times, the studio has hired Oscar strategist Cynthia Swartz to create a campaign for the record-shattering super hero film—the third highest grossing movie of all time in the US—and has put significant funding behind the campaign.


READ: The 2017 Guide to Blackness at the Oscars

For Marvel head Kevin Feige, one motivation for Black Panther earning the nomination—besides the increased profit and accolades it would bring the studio, of course—is the rightful acknowledgment of director Ryan Coogler's unique vision and groundbreaking execution, which led to the film having immense cultural impact.

He was quoted in the LA Times as saying:

"I would like to see the hard work and the effort and the vision and the belief of the talented filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who sat across the table from us a few years ago and said, 'I have been wrestling with questions about my past and my heritage and I think I really want to tell a story within this movie,' " Feige said. "And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact … seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most."

The Oscars, infamously known for being "so white," is also known for ignoring superhero films outside of technical categories. If Black Panther were to win "Best Picture" it would not only make is the first superhero film to do so, but it would also be Marvel's first Oscar-winning film ever.

Last week, it was announced that Black Panther will be coming to Netflix in the US this September.

Photo by Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.
Interview

Interview: Meet Velemseni, Eswatini’s Queen of Soul

Soul artist Velemseni's music reflects Eswatini culture and aesthetics. "The Kingdom of Eswatini is a magical and mysterious place, and my music aims to interpret and document that mystique, drawing from genres like Swazi gospel, soul, African soul, cinematic and traditional music," says the artist.

From being a backing vocalist for some of Eswatini's household names like Bholoja, Siyinqaba and Nomalungelo Dladla, Velemseni has gone on to soar to greater heights.

The Eswatini guitarist and soul singer's debut album, We are People (2014), showcased soothing vocals and strong musicality. The project was received well, getting airplay in the country's major radio stations (EBIS1 and 2).

The 11-track project was produced by David F from France, Martin Berauer from Austria and Eswatini's Bholoja. It led to Velemseni embarking on a US mini-tour in 2014.

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Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Interview: 'Carpe Diem' Is Olamide's New Way of Life

Olamide communicates his current mood of living on his own terms, gives us his thoughts on #EndSARS, and tells us about fulfilling his singing desires while introducing the current sound brewing underground in Nigeria.

The death of Dagrin, who through hip-hop championed a course for the underground slums of western Nigeria, was a blow. While Nigeria inadvertently sought a progeny, an underground rapper silently picked up steam through bluetooth shares and word of mouth. By the end of 2010, Olamide broke into mainstream consciousness after releasing "Eni Duro," a street freestyle that caught the attention of ID Cabasa who then signed him to Coded Tunes where he released his debut album, Rapsodi in 2011.

In 2012, Olamide teamed up with a handful of relatively unknown producers, rappers for his sophomore album YBNL, which he also christened his own record label, marking his exit from Coded Tunes. YBNL has now become one of Nigeria's leading record labels having produced talents like Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Fireboy DML, and more. It comes with no surprise that the recording artist born Olamide Adedeji, revered as the "voice of the street" has become one of Nigeria's most successful rappers ever. He's now known for his multilingual tracks which showcase his ability to rap and sing in English, Yoruba, Pidgin. His knack for lacing wordplay into his music stems from experiences of his formative years in Bariga, a rural part of Lagos.

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Watch Burna Boy & Chris Martin's Electric Performance at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2020

The Nigerian star performed "Monsters You Made" in front of a backdrop of #EndSARS protest footage as Coldplay's Chris Martin lent his voice virtually.