News Brief
Seun Kuti at Felabration. Photo: OkayAfrica.

Seun Kuti & Fatoumata Diawara Will Perform Live at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony

Catch them live this Sunday.

The 61st Grammys Awards are coming up this week and, despite their continued use of the questionable "World Music" category, a lot of our favorite African artists are nominated this year.

It's now been revealed that Seun Kuti and Fatoumata Diawara, who are both in the running for an award, will be performing together at the prelude to the 61st Grammy Awards.

The Nigerian afrobeat torchbearer and Malian star singer will be playing live at the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony taking place Sunday, February 10 at the Microsoft Theater in L.A. from 12:30–3:30 p.m. PT. The show will be streaming live on the Grammys official website.


They'll be joined by the prelude host Shaggy and additional performers like singer/songwriter Snatam Kaur, trumpeter Craig Morris, and dance/electronic duo Sofi Tukker. Plus, Ángela Aguilar, Aida Cuevas, and Natalia Lafourcade who will connect to perform the Mexican classic "La Llorona."

Damola previously broke down the Grammy nominations here:

This year, four out of the five nominees for the category are of African descent, including Seun Kuti and his band Egypt 80 for Black Times, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara for her album Fento, Niger-born Tuareg musician Bombino for the album Deran, and the Soweto Choir, who performed at OkayAfrica and Global Citizen's Next 100 Summit in Johannesburg just last week, earned a nomination for their album Freedom.

We're rooting for all of these musicians, but it'd be nice if they weren't all lumped into one category, considering they all have very different sounds. We also hoped that with the massive cultural impact of afrobeats, that one of the genre's big names would have made the cut. It's clear that the Grammys remain behind on fully recognizing the talent coming from the continent.

Hip hop has been recognized in a major way this year with the two most nominated artists of 2019 being Kendrick Lamar and Drake with eight and seven nominations respectively. Lamar earned a Best Album nod for his work on the Black Panther soundtrack, which featured a slew of South African artists including Babes Wodumo, Yugen Blakork and more.

The 61st Grammys Awards take place this Sunday, February 10.


Featured
Runtown. Photo courtesy of the artist.

How Runtown Got His Groove Back

In the past year, Runtown has had to look behind him to shed the ghosts of his former label. Now he's looking forward to more success.

In May of 2018 with two months left on his contract, the Nigerian popstar Runtown woke up one morning to news that his record label, Eric Many Entertainment, was suing him for damages worth N267 million. A potential local court injunction against him meant Runtown might face the possibility of being barred from making music until the suit was resolved. It was the the start in of a string of legal battles between the singer and his label that threatened his very existence as an artist.

As Runtown planned his next steps, his boss, Ukwudili Umenyiora was doing everything he could not to let him go. The suit was a ploy to get him to extend the contract, or reach a settlement that would allow the label to keep a stake in his future business. In the press, Runtown was lambasted daily by suspected paid agents of the record label.

After the record label tried to prevent a performance in Canada, and sent cease and desist letters to radio stations, asking them to pull Runtown off playlists, something cracked in his camp. His legal team mobilised. They launched an offensive, filing cases and petitions on many fronts across Lagos, Abuja and New York. His boss and aggressor, Okwudili Umenyiora, was arrested twice by the local police on petitions by Runtown. To stop the media harassment, Umenyiora signed a legal agreement promising to back off. With the coast clear, he could then focus on the music.

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popular
Video still via YouTube.

'Ratnik' Is the Dystopian Nollywood Action Film You Didn't Know You Needed

Watch the dramatic teaser from Nigerian filmmaker Dimeji Ajibola.

A film 2 years in the making is yet another cinematic moment contributing to the growing diversity of subgenres in the Nollywood industry.

Ratnik is a dystopian action film from Nigerian filmmaker Dimeji Ajibola his production company Flipsyde Studios. The teaser recently dropped this month ahead of the official trailer—and from this 1-minute clip we're anticipating suspense, explosions, peculiar superhero characters and impressive vfx that we're seeing more of in Nigerian films.

Get into the teaser below.

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Music
Moonchild Sanelly. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Swiss Producer Dejot Enlists South African Leftfield Artists Moonchild Sanelly, Waterlillyrose, RADIO 123 and More in His New EP ‘Uhujano’

Listen to Dejot's latest EP.

Swiss electronic producer Dejot has a fondness for South African and its musicians. "What was really surprising to me was the fact, that when I played my music, my demos or ideas, people started to dance immediately," says Dejot in an email to OkayAfrica. "I was really surprised, that there was something in my music that hit them and made them move. This is very different compared to Europe or Switzerland, where people mostly stand around and just listen to it."

Last year, Dejot produced the rapper Robin Thirdfloor's EP Bhotela in its entirety. He has also worked with Bongeziwe Mabandla. This year, for his latest EP, Uhujano, he enlisted South Africa-based artists Moonchild Sanelly, Waterlillyrose, Robert Machiri and the duo RADIO 123.

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