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Ryan Coogler Talks the Making of 'Black Panther' With OkayAfrica at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

The director of "Black Panther' tells us about the making of the trailblazing film with OkayAfrica's CEO.

Last night, OkayAfrica in collaboration with Okayplayer, hosted an advanced screening of 'Black Panther' at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Attendees came out dressed for greatness, in their best "royal" attire, walking the red carpet before heading into BAM's Harvey Theater to finally experience Wakanda.

Afterwards, CEO Abiola Oke and director Ryan Coogler sat down for an intimate conversation about the themes of blackness in Black Panther and the making of the film.


The discussion was full of gems as Coogler recalled making connections between rituals in his hometown of Oakland and ones he observed on his first trip to South Africa, shared the five films that inspired him to become a director, and discussed Black Panther's profound cultural impact. Coogler also discussed the prominence of the movie's female character's, and why portraying African women with agency was such an important part of the film.

Check out Ryan Coogler in conversation below.

It was a moving night and momentous occasion to celebrate the importance of the groundbreaking film ahead of its theater release. Coogler's idol, Spike Lee was also in the building for the festivities. Check out some photos from the event below.

Photo by Travis Matthews.

Photo by Travis Matthews.

Photo by Travis Matthews.

Photo by Travis Matthews.

Photo by Travis Matthews.

Photo by Travis Matthews.

Photo by Travis Matthews.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.