Renowned Nigerian Art Curator Okwui Enwezor Has Passed Away

Enwezor's work directly challenged Eurocentrism in the art world.

Okwui Enwezor, the international renowned contemporary art curator, writer and educator, recognized as one of the foremost ambassadors of contemporary African art has passed away after a three year battle with cancer. He was 55.

Enwezor has an illustrious and noteworthy career, setting several precedents for African curators. In 2015, he became the first African-born curator to spearhead the Venice Biennale. He also became the first non-European curator to organize the German-based exhibition Documenta in 2002, according to Art News. He is the only curator to have overseen both the Venice Biennale and Documenta.

Enwezor was noted for his innovative approach that emphasized the work of international artists—challenging the art world's exclusionary Eurocentrism. He became director of the Haus Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany in 2011, but stepped down last June.

"If we have an open mind, Western art doesn't have to be seen in opposition to art from elsewhere," he said in a 2014 interview with German site Freunde von Freunden. "But can be seen in a dialogue that helps protect the differences and decisions that present the material, circumstances and conditions of production in which artists fashion their view of what enlightenment could be."

After moving to the United Sates to study political science, the curator, who was born in Kalaba, Nigeria in 1963, founded his own art magazine in 1994. He had several career highlights throughout his decades long career, one of his earliest was when he curated the Johannesburg Biennale in 1997. "When I started, I always had what I thought was a change agenda," he told the Asia Society of New York in a 2014 interview.

His passing is a major loss to the contemporary art world, and is being felt by several followers of his work— many of whom have taken to social media to pay tribute and reflect on his many contributions to the art world.

Photo: TSE.

The 7 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Teni, Lojay x DJ Maphorisa x Kabza de Small, Krizbeatz, Morena Leraba, Dice Ailes x Tiwa Savage, andKae Sun.

Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music.

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Listen to Sho Madjozi's New Single 'Toro' Featuring DDG

The talented South African rapper Sho Madjozi comes through with a confident new track.

South African rap star Sho Madjozi just shared her latest single, "Toro," featuring DDG via Epic Records.

The critically acclaimed artist first burst into the music scene in 2017 and became an act to watch because of her unique flow, and her keen eye for vibrant fashion styles that fused traditional African attires with modern spins.

"Toro" is the rapper's first English release since "John Cena," a record that quickly became a viral sensation after its release. Over the years, the rapper has continued to push the envelope and sonically break barriers by experimenting with her flow, cadence, and structure. On this record, fellow Epic Records signee DDGalso makes an appearance, and the two ride the wave of the beat in a memorable way.

The song has a noticeable Amapiano beat, a genre increasingly gaining traction on the modern African music scene. While talking about the song, Sho Madjozi shared that it speaks to the complexity of human relationships and how the bad endings of relationships, both platonic and romantic, can be an eye-opening experience.

" 'Toro' is short for 'Mtoroki,' meaning an 'escaper.' I've escaped bad managers, bad lovers and still come out as me," Sho Madjozi mentions. "I even defy convention because I say and do what I like. However, this music video is part 1 of this story. The thing around my neck stands for my gift—the thing that has given me my success. The video makes a statement about how isolating fame can be: how friends, managers, etc., have backstabbed me. By the end of this video, I'm disillusioned with fame and wishing I didn't have this gift at all because it's made me lose touch with closest to me and probably even myself."

So far, Sho Madjozi has received a lot of critical acclaim, awards, and recognition, including "Favorite African Star" at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, "Best New International Artist" at the BET Awards, "Entertainer of the Year" from Forbes, and more.

The music video for "Toro," also released earlier today, chronicles a dance party that initially starts with people having a good time until chaos breaks out. Watch the clip below.

Wizkid Lights Up NYC's Madison Square Garden

This week, Nigerian superstar Wizkid headlined New York City's infamous music venue Madison Square Garden. Here's what went down.

The night started with Wiz entrusting his longtime friend and resident spinner, DJ Tunez to get the party started, and boy, did we party. Time does not exist when you put a bunch of Africans in a room with good music. The Nigerian-American performer delivered hit after hit as he prepared the massive crowd for Starboy’s act. Amongst a plethora of shoutouts to the ladies, Tunez let the room know that a lifelong dream brought him to MSG’s stage—and based on the magnificent lineup of tunes he gifted us with, we’re glad his dream became a reality, too. After lighting the room on fire, Tunez gave the crowd his most convincing “Are you ready to see Big Wiz?” of the evening, and we knew it was showtime.

As darkness settled in the 20,000-plus capacity stadium, the anticipation built as Wiz’s band assembled themselves, all dressed to the 9’s in their matching white ensembles. The first few beats of 2018 hit “Fever” echo through the room and there he was, with his signature fur coat: Starboy had arrived.

It was WIzkid's first time hitting the infamous New York City stage and he made it his own from the get-go. Wiz's energy and excitement for the major accomplishment translated well with the audience—and they made it clear that they were absolutely prepared to match it. Armed with a powerful love for Afrobeats, their culture, and Starboy himself, Wizkid’s fans were ready to get down. And a shoutout to his “day ones” revealed the long journey his supporters have traveled with him, as he burst into 2017 hit “Closer,” to the delight of the audience. We were in the palm of his hand, eagerly and obediently responding to every call to cheer or sing back—and he knew it.

The style king dropped his fur coat to reveal a glittering matching two-piece because, if there’s one thing Wiz is gonna do, it's show up in a fit. The shininess of his attire spoke volumes of the incredible growth Wiz has pursued and attained as a performer. The stage production, flash, and lights were a welcomed but inessential aspect of the excitement around seeing Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun from Ikeja dominate one of the world’s biggest music stages. Wiz has elevated himself fully, a true performer.

Wiz’s chest makes its appearance, and we know Starboy is officially in his zone, encouraging the stadium to chant his new mantra, and name of his latest project, More Love, Less Ego. Introducing his new body of music, the singer breaks into a sultry live rendition of “Call Me Everyday” and yes, it sounds as sexy live as you would imagine. He immediately jumps into “Daddy Yo” only to excuse himself to rectify an issue with his inner ear, hardly missing a beat before restarting the song and giving the ladies the full experience they came for. “You know I came here for the ladies,” he reminds us affectionately throughout the evening, before interrupting one tune to shout out Mama Wiz and Mama Tunez who were in the building and in line to watch their boys shine.

In an opportunity to slow the evening down—and show off his vocal chops—Wiz breaks into a heartfelt delivery of “Frames (Who’s Gonna Know),” wrapped up with a message urging concertgoers to accept the love, joy and good things in their lives. The wholesome moment was quickly lit up with an electrifyingly fresh mix of 2011 hits “Pakuromo,” “Don’t Dull” and Maleek Berry collab “The Matter” among many other of his earlier hits. OG Wizkid FC and Ghanaian fans alike were treated to a surprise shoutout via Wiz’s 2013 “Slow Down” collab with Ghanaian hip-hop group R2bees.

As hit after hit rolled out, Wizkid’s fans stayed on their feet throughout, eager to create new memories around some of their favorite songs. The smile painted on the performer’s face only seemed to illustrate the mutual merriment being experienced on a school night. An inappropriately affectionate male fan rushed the stage during “True Love,” but it did little to rock the singer’s energy and his trusted team of protectors sprung into action to ensure the show went on.

And, finally, the song of the summer (and, according to American rapper Kanye West, the song of mankind) “Essence” picked up with Nigerian songstress Tems’ luscious vocals leading the way. I’m not exaggerating when I say every lyric was sung, the entire room elated to have the opportunity to connect through music.

Starboy said goodnight to us with a lively performance of his self-proclaimed African national anthem, “Ojuelegba.” Green and white confetti flicker through the air, Nigerian flags are brandished, and Africa continues to dominate the world.

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