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Mati Diop's​ ​'Atlantics' Has Been Shortlisted for an Oscar

From a selection of 91 eligible films, 'Atlantics' is among the 10 films shortlisted for an Oscar in the International Feature Film category.

Deadline reports that Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop's Atlantics has recently been shortlisted for an Oscar in the category of "International Feature Film". The film, along with nine others from France, Czech Republic, South Korea, Spain and several other countries, was selected from a pool of 91 eligible films submitted from across the globe.


It's been an incredible year for Diop as her directorial debut continues to collect numerous nominations and awards.

Now that the film has landed on the shortlist of what was previously known as the "Foreign Language Film" category, it will progress to the nominations round where Academy members will vote on the winning film on condition that they have watched all the shortlisted films.

Atlantics has been described as a "ghost love story" which tells the haunted story of migration through the real-life experiences of Senegalese migrants who made the dangerous journey to Spain in search of better opportunities for themselves and their families.

Following a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), OkayAfricacontributor Anya Wassenberg described the film saying, "Diop's directorial vision turns Dakar into a place of both surreal magic and harsh reality". Wassenberg adds that, "The film immerses the audience in the city's sounds, from the goats bleating outside a window while Ada and her friends talk, to voices in the next room, with the eternal heaving of waves against the shore as a recurring refrain."

Earlier this month, Diop took home the win for "Best First Film" at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and went on to score a nomination at the 2020 Critics Choice Awards in the category of "Best Foreign Language Film". In May of this year, Atlantics also snagged the Grand Prix award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Diop was not only the first Black woman to be included in the competition, but also the first to take home a top prize.

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Baaba Maal Releases New Single 'Agreement'

Senegal's Baaba Maal shares a new song ahead of his upcoming album, Being.


Renowned Senegalese singer and guitaristBaaba Maalhas shared a new single called "Agreement." The song is the fourth track on his upcoming album Being, which is slated to be released on March 31st, 2023.

"Agreement," a percussion-heavy record produced by Johan Hugo, fuses both ancient and modern rhythms, and continues Baaba Maal's ongoing musical quest to connect the past and the present, while making lasting cultural and emotional connections through music.

While discussing the record, Baaba Maal dissects the meaning of the song and explains that it draws inspiration from day-to-day relationships.

“Agreement is about the relationships you make in your life, whether they are with friends, musicians, neighbors, people you love,” says Baaba Maal. ”When you say to people, we are going on this journey through life together, through good times and bad, you should be very sure that you mean it.”

The Senegalese legend continues breaking down the meaning of the song by explaining it through a cultural lens.

“It’s based on a proverb from my community — to say no at the beginning to the idea that we will always be together is much stronger and more noble that beginning a relationship and then cutting it short later, maybe forty years later. Be mature enough to take seriously an agreement you make with someone about the future, about your souls being connected,” says Maal.

After a seven-year music hiatus, "Agreement" is one of Maal's new releases, and he will continue to share his music in the coming months with fans. In addition to releasing his upcoming album, the Poor-born icon will be performing at the Barbican in London, for the first time in 20 years on May 30th, 2023.

Maal'sBeing is a riveting extension of his pioneering, transcendent, and inspiring four-decade legacy that has blended the traditional and the innovative, the acoustic and the electronic over the years. For being, Maal reportedly partnered with long-time producer Johan Hugo, and recorded the body of work in Brooklyn, London and Senegal. Watch the visualizer for "Agreement" below.

Listen to Baaba Maal "Agreement" below.

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Tems Bags Oscar Nomination for 'Wakanda Forever' Song

Nigeria's renowned Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, scored a nomination at the 2023 Oscars for co-writing ‘Lift Me Up’, one of the songs on 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.'

Popular singer Nigerian singer Temilade Openiyi, better known as Tems, has scored a nomination at the 2023 Oscars for “Lift Me Up,” a song she co-wrote with Rihanna, Ludwig Göransson, and Ryan Coogler.

"Lift Me Up," which was recorded in five countries, served as the lead single for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack and was a tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who played King T'Challain the previous installment of the movie but passed away in 2020 after battling colon cancer.

While discussing the record in the past, Tems had mentioned that she drew inspiration for the song from people who were once in her life, but had passed away.

"After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I've lost in my life. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them," Tems said. "Rihanna has been an inspiration to me, so hearing her convey this song is a great honor."

Africa's history with the Oscars has also been minimal over the years. While a handful of African films have won awards at the prestigious ceremony, there hasn't been a strong presence from the motherland. So far, the only African to win an award for Best Actress was South Africa's Charlize Theron for her role in the 2003 film Monster. Ten years later, Lupita Nyong'o scored a Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 12 Years a Slave.

This year there are no African films represented in the Best International Film category. And The Woman King, a movie about the all-female unit of warriors called Agojie, was completely snubbed.

View the full list of nominees here.

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Asake Kicks Off His Year With New Single 'Yoga'

The Nigerian superstar shares his first single of 2023.


Ahmed Ololade Asake, popularly known as Asake, drops a new single for 2023 called "Yoga." The "Mr. Money" crooner shared the single along with a vibrant music video which depicts a deep, spirited, message that is expertly interwoven into the the song, and is primarily sung in the Yoruba language. According to Asake, the song is about peace and zen.

“The song is about minding my business and guarding my peace so no one can disrupt it,” says Asake. The Nigerian artist, who has consistently been releasing hits ever since he became a mainstream sensation, took to social media in the early hours of January 30th, 2023, shared a snippet of the new record with his followers.

The music video, which was directed by celebrated cinematographer TG Omori, boasts of colorful imagery and was shot in Dakar, Senegal. Last year was a highly-successful year for the YBNL signee, with us claiming that 2022 Was the Year of Asake, and stating that the singer's "clear-cut domination of the year was without a doubt."

According to that previous OkayAfrica essay, the Nigerian megastar has historically drawn inspiration from street-hop sonic influencers like DaGrin, Lord Of Ajasa, and Olamide, who poured the hardships in their lives into their music. In "Yoga," Asake uses his signature sonic blend of Fuji music, merged with spiritual affirmations.

Following his debut album Mr. Money With The Vibe, Asake set the tone for a streak of musical success that has been celebrated by Okay Africa's curated music lists, including Best Nigerian Songs of 2022 and Best Afrobeats Songs of 2022.

Watch the scintillating music video for "Yoga" below.

Listen to Asake "Yoga" below

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Photo via Warner Music Group.

Burna Boy's 'Last Last' is Eligible for Platinum Certification

Burna Boy's global smash "Last Last" is set to receive yet another accolade.

Burna Boy released a global anthem when he shared "Last Last" with the world.

The song, which samples Toni Braxton’s "He Wasn’t Man Enough," quickly became the biggest hit of The African Giant's career. And, according to Chart Data, the record has now surpassed onemillion units in sales in the United States. The record is now eligible to receive a Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The global superstar released "Last Last," in the summer of 2022, and it soon became one of the most memorable records off of his sixth studio album Love, Damini .

Asides from becoming a fan-favorite, the record also quickly became a global phenomenon, earning it multiple weeks on the Billboard 100, where it peaked at No. 44. This is not Burna Boy's first run at the rodeo with an RIAA certification. He also previously received a gold plaque for his 2018 smash hit 'YE,' which played a big role in helping him to amass a growing, loyal fan base.

The celebrated singer continues to make a mark both home and abroad, and in addition to his RIAA recognition, he was featured on Popcaan's latest album Greater Is He. Everything seems to be falling in line for Africa's Giant. He's also set to headline Burna Boy Afro Nation Miami, alongside Wizkid, in May.

Last year, we spoke to Chopstix about crafting the song. He told us:

“Bro, as soon as this song was done — as soon as I hit export — Burna and I had a moment where we looked at each other and we knew that we had caused trouble."

"Trouble" is an understatement.

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