News Brief

Nnedi Okorafor Tells the Story of How Publishers Once Tried to Whitewash Her Book Cover

Science fiction novelist, Nnedi Okorafor, took to Twitter yesterday to share her experience with whitewashing in the literary world.

The Shadow Speaker is a 2007 novel by award-winning science fiction writer, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor—who we recently honored on OkayAfrica's 100 Women list.


The book is set in  Niger and its protagonist is a black, Muslim girl named Eji. Depite this description of the book's main character, Okorafor's publisher, at the time, thought it made sense to put an image of a white character on the book's cover.

Okorafor shared this story, yesterday, during a discussion on Twitter about racism in the literary world. She posted a photo, comparing the suggested cover image with the one that she ended up using.

"I described Ejii as "black skinned" and subsaharan African," she wrote. "Story set in NIGER and that left cover was proposed to me. WTF."

But it's not only the publishing companies who contribute to the whitewashing of narratives in science fiction, it's readers too, says Okorafor. In 2016, the author won the Hugo Award for her book Binti. Her win was heavily contested by an anti-progressive group aptly called the Sad Puppies, who basically exist to make sure that women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community remain underrepresented in science fiction. To combat this, Okorafor says that change needs to come from readers.

News Brief
Photo by: Gonzales Photo/Flemming Bo Jense/PYMCA-Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

American DJ Megan Ryte Accused of Stealing Beats from South African DJ Lag

South African Black Twitter has accused Megan Ryte of being a 'culture vulture' after releasing her new song 'Culture' featuring will.i.am and A$AP Ferg. South Africans claim 'Culture' has an uncanny similarity to DJ Lag's 'Ice drop'.

American DJ Megan Ryte has been accused of stealing beats from prominent South African gqom artist, DJ Lag, according to IOL. This comes after Ryte released her new song "Culture" featuring will.i.am and A$AP Ferg. Accusations gained traction this past Wednesday after many South African fans compared "Culture" to DJ Lag's "Ice drop" which was released in 2016 from his self-titled EP. Many more have also remarked on the apparent similarities in the music video as well and going on to further accuse Ryte of not only stealing the song's beat but also the video concept itself. DJ Lag responded to Ryte's "Culture" Twitter post with his "Ice Drop" music video which was released back in 2017.

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Former Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja Has Died

Niger's former President Mamadou Tandja has reportedly passed away at age 82. The Nigerien government has announced a three-day national mourning period.