Arts + Culture

NextGen: Guinean Model Sira Kante Is Using Her Platform to Empower Young African Girls

Guinea's Sira Kante is using her platform as a model and her career as an entrepreneur to uplift young African girls.

DIASPORAOver the course of July we'll be publishing short profiles, essays and interviews on the theme of "Afrofutures." Together these stories will be a deep dive into the way African and diaspora thinkers, technologists and artists view a future for Africans in the world and outside of it. 


Take a look at our introduction to Afrofuturism here.

Throughout this month, we'll also highlight and celebrate young, leading talents who already put into practice what a future with black people look like through their work in our daily profile series, 'NextGen.'

In our 14th edition, meet rising model and entrepreneur, Sira Kante.

Sira Kante, also known as InkMyAfrica, is a Guinean model and entrepreneur based in New York City. As one the notable rising models in the industry, Kante, 21, is hoping to use her platform as a way to communicate and collaborate with brands and artists in the African diaspora and around the world. She also hopes to serve as a resource to empower girls, especially in Africa, who are not usually uplifted or represented in the media or beauty industry.

Photo by Amarachi Nwosu.

Since embarking on her modeling journey just over a year ago, Kante has already accumulated several notable mentions and was recently announced as Hotel Palm Camayenne's brand ambassador, which is the first five star hotel in Conakry, Guinea. Beyond working with major brands she has also been featured in publications like GQ, WWD, Highsnobiety, C-Heads Magazine, Buzzfeed, Coveteur and Galore Magazine. Kante was also the lead model in Wizkid’s “Come Closer” alternative video that was directed by Solange’s husband, Alan Ferguson.

When asked about how she views Afrofuturism, she discussed that she believes the movement entails “creativity in all formats originated from Africa.”

Photo by Amarachi Nwosu.

She continues:

“Having a world filled with black innovators and creators means a lot to me, especially for the African diaspora. As a wise woman once told me in Guinea, 'As it is in he beginning, so it will be at the end'—Africa is now. I plan to use my platform as a center of inspiration that'll serve as a resource to empower people around the world, especially in Africa, through the art I create with brands and creatives.”

Although this is just the start of Kante's modeling journey, she has a bright future ahead that will serve as a blueprint for independent African models.

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Runtown. Photo courtesy of the artist.

How Runtown Got His Groove Back

In the past year, Runtown has had to look behind him to shed the ghosts of his former label. Now he's looking forward to more success.

In May of 2018 with two months left on his contract, the Nigerian popstar Runtown woke up one morning to news that his record label, Eric Many Entertainment, was suing him for damages worth N267 million. A potential local court injunction against him meant Runtown might face the possibility of being barred from making music until the suit was resolved. It was the the start in of a string of legal battles between the singer and his label that threatened his very existence as an artist.

As Runtown planned his next steps, his boss, Ukwudili Umenyiora was doing everything he could not to let him go. The suit was a ploy to get him to extend the contract, or reach a settlement that would allow the label to keep a stake in his future business. In the press, Runtown was lambasted daily by suspected paid agents of the record label.

After the record label tried to prevent a performance in Canada, and sent cease and desist letters to radio stations, asking them to pull Runtown off playlists, something cracked in his camp. His legal team mobilised. They launched an offensive, filing cases and petitions on many fronts across Lagos, Abuja and New York. His boss and aggressor, Okwudili Umenyiora, was arrested twice by the local police on petitions by Runtown. To stop the media harassment, Umenyiora signed a legal agreement promising to back off. With the coast clear, he could then focus on the music.

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Video still via YouTube.

'Ratnik' Is the Dystopian Nollywood Action Film You Didn't Know You Needed

Watch the dramatic teaser from Nigerian filmmaker Dimeji Ajibola.

A film 2 years in the making is yet another cinematic moment contributing to the growing diversity of subgenres in the Nollywood industry.

Ratnik is a dystopian action film from Nigerian filmmaker Dimeji Ajibola his production company Flipsyde Studios. The teaser recently dropped this month ahead of the official trailer—and from this 1-minute clip we're anticipating suspense, explosions, peculiar superhero characters and impressive vfx that we're seeing more of in Nigerian films.

Get into the teaser below.

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Moonchild Sanelly. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Swiss Producer Dejot Enlists South African Leftfield Artists Moonchild Sanelly, Waterlillyrose, RADIO 123 and More in His New EP ‘Uhujano’

Listen to Dejot's latest EP.

Swiss electronic producer Dejot has a fondness for South African and its musicians. "What was really surprising to me was the fact, that when I played my music, my demos or ideas, people started to dance immediately," says Dejot in an email to OkayAfrica. "I was really surprised, that there was something in my music that hit them and made them move. This is very different compared to Europe or Switzerland, where people mostly stand around and just listen to it."

Last year, Dejot produced the rapper Robin Thirdfloor's EP Bhotela in its entirety. He has also worked with Bongeziwe Mabandla. This year, for his latest EP, Uhujano, he enlisted South Africa-based artists Moonchild Sanelly, Waterlillyrose, Robert Machiri and the duo RADIO 123.

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