News Brief

M.I.A Is Coming To South Africa For The Screening Of Her Documentary & Performances

The African premiere of M.I.A's documentary will be in Johannesburg.

British-Sri Lankan artist M.I.A will be in South Africa, early next month, City Press reports reports.


She will attend the screening of her personal documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. at Encounters SA International Documentary Film Festival in Johannesburg. The festival starts on the 31st of May. This will mark the African premiere of the film.

The artist will also perform two shows in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. The shows will be on the 7th of June at the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town and on the 8th of June at the Newtown Music Factory in Johannesburg.

According to the City Press, the concert organizers Black Major Selects M.I.A. said that for her first live performances in South Africa will feature a specially curated selection of cutting-edge local dancers, artists and DJs who similarly represent the fearlessness that she has demonstrated throughout her life.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

ProVerb’s Memoir Is A Huge Slap In The Face To South African Hip-Hop

In his memoir, one of South Africa's revered lyricists ProVerb and his co-author compromise his rich story with trite motivational talk.

The Book of Proverb

ProVerb has had a strange relationship with the SA hip-hop scene. Albeit being one of the most gifted lyricists the country has ever seen, he has grown to flow less and hustle more. Despite this, his name still comes up when the greatest (South) African rappers of all time are mentioned. MTV Base placed him as the 7th in their list of the greatest SA MCs of all time in 2018 for example.

The rapper-turned-media personality dedicates a paragraph of his memoir, The Book of Proverb, to explaining his complicated relationship with hip-hop. "Although I built my brand as a hip-hop artist, I never enjoyed full support or success from it," he writes. "Music is and always will remain a pass ion, but it stopped being viable when it stopped making business sense to me. If I was given more support, I might continue, but for now, I'll focus on my other hustles."

On the cover of the book which was released towards the end of 2020 by Penguin, Verb is wearing a charcoal blazer and sporting a white ball cap, so one can be forgiven for getting into it expecting both sides of his story. This memoir, however, is too vague to be a worthy read if you aren't necessarily reading to get motivated but to be simply informed and inspired.

While a few of The Book of ProVerb's chapters touch on his rap career, most of the book is about ProVerb the man, personality and businessman. Not so much one of the country's finest lyricists. This omission is a huge slap in the face for his fans and SA hip-hop fans in general.

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Image by Mark Peckmezian.

Filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr Explores the Sweet Spot Between Nollywood & Hollywood

Winner of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, London-based Nigerian filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr speaks about his experimental film 'Lizard', what belonging looks like and the overlap between Hollywood and Nollywood.

In early February, the jury for the short film competition at the Sundance Film Festival announced the Nigerian film, Lizard, as the winner of the Grand Jury Prize, the highest honour for that category. Thirty-five-year-old Akinola Davies Jr, Lizard's director and co-writer (with his brother Wale, better known as Tec, one half of the rap duo Show Dem Camp) accepted the prize from the United Kingdom, a country he has called home since the age of 13.

Lizard follows the adventures of an eight-year-old girl, Juwon (Pamilerin Ayodeji) who is kicked out of Sunday school service and goes on a tour of the massive compound where she witnesses firsthand the dynamics at play in and around a Lagos Pentecostal megachurch. Davies Jr makes use of elements of magical realism to thrust audiences into the world of this innocent as she grapples with the images she comes in contact with. The film closes out in a climactic act of violence that recalls Davies Jr's memories of growing up in a country under censorship and military dictatorship.

With this Sundance triumph, Davies Jr became the first Nigerian filmmaker to achieve this distinction. However, he is no overnight success though. Born in London and raised in Lagos, the multi-disciplined artist attended school in the English countryside and has been grinding for a while now. The bulk of his creative work—music videos, fashion films, experimental films—have navigated aspects of belonging and existing in some kind of "middle".

In 2017, collaborating with photographer Ruth Ossai and stylist Ibrahim Kamara, Davies Jr paid homage to his Nigerian roots for French luxury brand Kenzo in a video film titled Unity is Strength. He has participated in the Berlinale Talents and opened his first solo show at Art Basel in Switzerland. He is also a prolific music video director, shooting visuals for British acts, Larry B and Mischa Mafia.

We caught up recently with Davies Jr via Zoom from his home in London.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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News Brief
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Warner Music)

Burna Boy Set to Perform at the Grammys 2021 Premiere Ceremony

The Nigerian star is nominated in the Best Global Music category.

The African giant Burna Boy will perform at the 2021 Grammy pre-show which will be livestreamed on GRAMMY.com at 3 p.m. EST on March 14.

The premiere ceremony will be hosted by Jhene Aiko. It will kick off with an ensemble of previous Grammy nominees including Gregory Porter, Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra, Regina Carter, and Kamasi Washington performing "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)" in tribute to the late legend Marvin Gaye.

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#LGBTRightsGhana: Ghanaians Rally Support For the LGBT+ Community

Pro-LGBT+ advocacy in Ghana is at an all-time high as members of the community face public backlash.