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Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photos: OkayAfrica Hosts Burna Boy's 'African Giant' Listening Party In LA

Here's what happened when friends, family and fans gathered in LA for an unforgettable night with the African Giant.

This past Tuesday, OkayAfrica hosted an unforgettable listening party powered by Hennessy for Burna Boy's forthcoming album African Giant at Adults Only in Los Angeles.

Friends, family and day one fans come out to celebrate with Burna in a lush space, decked out in floral details and customized "Burna bills." The decor, led by Grace Bukunmi offered a unique, Lagos disco feel fit for the infectious energy permeating the room.

Attendees danced into the night, with Burna himself joining the crowd to hit the zanku, taking breaks in between to grab the mic and explain the inspiration behind each track.

Burna, with the help of Ghanaian artist Nana Kwabena on the turntables, also ran through several of his deep-cuts. Fellow Ghanaian DJ Mike Abrantie also provided tunes throughout the night.

Tasty eats were provided by Kenfe Kitchen and drinks flowed all night long, courtesy of Hennessy.

Check out some of the action below, with photography by Yamarie Mayol and Danny Wonders.


Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Danny Wonders.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Danny Wonders.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Danny Wonders.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Photo by Yamarie Mayol.

Interview
Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Sarz Has Powered a Generation of Nigerian Music—and He Isn't Stopping Anytime Soon

We talk to the star producer about his role in the rising global popularity of Nigerian music, spanning his production on massive singles from the likes of Wizkid, Skepta, Drake and more.

"I think more than the music, the narrative is more important these days," says Sarz as he sits at the offices of his press agency. "So one great song with an amazing narrative can get you farther than five great songs sometimes."

When Sarz talks about music, his eyes light up. They dart with excitement as he runs through topics like sounds, production, trends, and innovation. These are all words that represent his life's work of impactful music production, which has powered a generation of music in Nigeria, and is currently playing a role in its international future. Sitting at the offices, decked in a white t-shirt, red trousers and Nike kicks, he makes a point that he rarely grants interviews. And when he does, it's in spaces like this, in rooms and studios where his business is conducted, and his work is birthed and refined for public impact.

Born Osabuohien Osaretin, the 30-year-old music producer discovered sounds by accident when his ears would automatically pick apart music and focus on the beat. Interestingly, he discovered that he could remember every beat in detail. It was the entry point to a career that took off in 2010 when he scored his first hit on Jahbless' "Joor Oh" remix—during the formative stages of the current Nigerian pop success—and has provided sounds that have shaped the culture and given it its biggest moments.

With afrobeats' global ambitions taking off, Sarz's production is playing crucial roles in celebrated cross-cultural projects. He's helmed Drake's "One Dance," unlocked the chemistry between Wizkid and Skepta on "Energy (Stay Far Away)," and added composition on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift album.

"I'm inspired by the thoughts of how far I can take music. Just thinking about where this music can take me to," Sarz says, taking swigs from a water bottle. The producer has also worked with the biggest stars in afrobeats, and a look through his catalogue has hits every year since 2007.

He talks passionately about his work, the source of inspiration, where good music originates from, and how he identifies where to direct his energies. He runs an academy that has been a vehicle for delivering new producers to the culture. Sarz converses with range, a brimming energy, and a humility that is tied to purpose and achievements. He never shies away from topics that examine his revered place in this ecosystem, admitting without bragging that he is no one's mate. Even his 2019 SINYM EP is affirmation that "Sarz Is Not Your Mate." He has seen a lot and has a lot to say.

Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

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Still from YouTube

Watch Yemi Alade's New Music Video for 'Shake' Featuring Duncan Mighty

The "Nigerian Queen of Music Videos" does it again.

Yemi Alade returns with the visuals for her single "Shake," one of the many infectious tracks from her latest album Woman of Steel.

In the Paul Gambit-directed music video, the singer shows off her sensual side, first posing on a bed in an elegant powder blue mesh gown, before heading into several dance sequences. As usual, the singer serves in a number of stunning, eye-catching looks.

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'54 Silhouettes' at the British Council of Nigeria's Lagos Theatre Festival. Photo: Drive Adebayo.

'54 Silhouettes' Is the One-Man Play Exploring What Happens When Other People Tell Our Stories

The play is the first from Nigeria to show at the international United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC.

Playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director Africa Ukoh's award-winning play 54 Silhouettes has made its way to New York City as part of the United Solo Festival, the annual international festival, highlighting solo theatre performances through a "variety of one-person shows."

The one-man play stars the award-winning Nigerian actor Charles Etubiebi as a struggling actor who thinks he's landed his big break when he gets a major role in an upcoming blockbuster, he becomes conflicted, however, when he learns the film is yet another stereotypical "war in Africa" production—the type of film he vowed to never do. "Caught between career ambitions and ideals of his African identity, he must decide whether to do the film or ditch it," reads an official description of the show.

"The play explores African representation in global media and asks questions about creative responsibility, with tensions of cross cultural relations at the center of it all," Ukoh tells OkayAfrica. "It explores the inherent complexities in culturally unique stories being told by people of different cultures and how this intersects with power dynamics, commerce, and artistic ideals."

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Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Sho Madjozi Accuses Organizers of 'Africans Unite' of Using Xenophobia as a 'Marketing Ploy'

The South African rapper has spoken out about why she declined to perform at the now cancelled concert.

Yesterday, the much-anticipated "Africans Unite" concert was cancelled after Burna Boy pulled out of his scheduled performances in South Africa. This comes after South African artists spoke out against Burna Boy performing following his heated Twitter exchange with rapper AKA. While some were disappointed, others felt the exact opposite. Sho Madjozi, who has weighed in on the debate before during the September xenophobic attacks, has once again spoken out. This time, the "John Cena" star has called out against the organizers of the concert, Phambili Media and Play Network Africa.

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