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Mr Eazi. Photo: Emily Nkanga.

Mr Eazi's emPawa Is Reopening to Submissions

30 new artists will receive funding and mentorship from the likes of Diamond Platinumz, Sarkodie, Kwesta, Juls, Diplo and Mr Eazi himself.

Mr Eazi's emPawa initiative, a talent incubator for rising African artists, is reopening to submissions on Friday, August 15.

This time around, emPawa Africa will offer 30 artists the funds to film their music video, as well as offer mentorship and guidance from cemented names like Diamond Platinumz, Sarkodie, Kwesta, Guilty Beatz, Juls, E. Kelly, DJ Neptune, Diplo and Mr Eazi himself, who will all be participating as mentors.

To be considered, artists just have to upload a short video (up to 1 minute in length) to Instagram of themselves performing an original song, cover, or freestyle, with the hashtag #emPawa30.

Read: The Music Business of Mr Eazi

In this second phase of the program both artists based in Africa and across the African diaspora are welcomed to apply. "The #emPawa30 will include 10 artists from Nigeria, 10 artists from other countries on the African continent, and five U.K.-based African artists, with the remaining five spots open to African-born artists in countries around the world, including the U.S. and Canada," a press statement reveals.

YouTube Music will be partnering with emPawa to provide support for the 10 Nigerian artists that are chosen. "It's critical to develop the next generation of talent—and there is so much talent exploding out of Nigeria and the African continent right now," says YouTube's Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen. "Africa is setting the tempo all around the globe."

In its initial phase last November, emPawa had some notable successes from the likes of Ghana's J. Derobie, Nigeria's Joeboy and others.

The program will close to submissions on September 15, after which each entry will each be evaluated by Mr Eazi and his team.


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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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