News Brief

OkayAfrica's Weekend Guide

There’s a deluge of cool events happening across Africa and the diaspora this weekend and OkayAfrica’s weekend guide is where you’ll find them.

There’s a deluge of cool events happening across Africa and the diaspora this weekend and OkayAfrica’s weekend guide is where you’ll find them.

NEW YORK CITY—The International African Arts Festival will host its opening ceremony Libation on Sunday, June 4. This year's event will be a tribute to ancient and modern Ghana in honor of the country's 60th year of independence. The event will feature performances by Blitz the Ambassador and the Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater. Get more information on this event, here.

BROOKLYN—The Brownsville Heritage House will host its monthly "Pan-African Experience" night on Saturday, June 3. The organization describes the event as "a monthly celebration of our Black heritage where music, games, discussions and performances mingle." Find more info on this event, here.

PHILLY—The 10th annual Roots Picnic is going down this Saturday, June 3 at Festival Pierre at Penns Landing. There will be performances by Michael Kiwanuka, Tunji Ige, Solange, Pharrell and more. Get your tickets here.

JOHANNESBURG—The monthly Soweto Arts and Crafts Fair takes place this Saturday at the Soweto Theater. The event is a platform for local artists to sell and display their work and gain exposure in the process. There will be food, drinks and handcrafted goods available for purchase. More on this event, here.

JOHANNESBURG—The Word N Sound Poetry League will kick off this Saturday at Market Theater in Newtown. There event is a search for the cities most talented poets, "The 'classified experiment' seeks to produce the deadliest, bravest agents of change the poetry scene has ever experienced, says the organization. Read more about it here.

LONDON—The African Gospel Music & Media Awards take place this Saturday, June 3 at Stratford Circus Arts Centre in London.

"Join us at the African Gospel Music & Media Awards 2017 #AGMMA2017, a night of celebration, elegance and rewarding and appreciating excellence in gospel music and affiliated. This night will feature some of the most accomplished and some up-and-coming-gospel in a night of exuberant praise," reads the event's description. Check here for more details.

What to Listen To:

For a playlist of the best songs that came across our desk this week, check out OkayAfrica’s Weekend Playlist, featuring tracks from Davido, 2Baba, RedRed and more. You can stream it below.


Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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