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Rwandan-British Choreographer Sherrie Silver Speaks on Her Involvement in Childish Gambino's 'This is America'

Sherrie Silver shares her experience on her collaboration with Donald Glover for his latest popular music video with Interview Magazine.

"This is America," Childish Gambino's most recent beautiful yet philosophical music video, recently went viral.

23-year-old choreographer, model, philanthropist, teacher and actress Sherrie Silver is the one responsible for transforming Donald Glover's powerful lyrics into interpretive body movements everyone everywhere is still trying to decipher.


The Rwanda-born choreographer went from spreading African culture through what she coins as "Afro-dance" on her humble Youtube channel to featuring her traditional, yet innovative dance moves on Saturday Night Live, and choreographing for artists like Gambino.

Her roots in philanthropy promoting wellness in Africa by providing meals, art workshops, dental and hygiene campaigns and helping to provide housing for homeless children reflect in everything she does as an artist. Her collaboration with Donald Glover for one of his most raw music videos that explores chaos, innocence, joy, and destruction as they pertain to youth in America is no surprise.

Her involvement with the video went beyond just wanting to work with one of the most influential and politically commentating artists out there. In an interview with Interview Magazine, she shares with the world how she came up with such symbolic, powerful moves.

Take a look at key quote from Silver where she puts her involvement in perspective, below. You can read the entire interview here.

On the creative process between she, Donald Glover, and director Hiro Murai:

"With the school kids, I was trying to reflect how we are back home—in Africa. No matter what troubles we have, kids are always dancing and smiling. We always dance and have music playing. The kids' dancing shows their innocence, despite being unaware of what's going on around them. The choir is also meant to be happy and unaware.

With Donald, I put together some choreography for him based on the concept and what I call Afro-dance. He has his own dancing style and had his own ideas for the solos. We definitely met in the middle. He had done ballet before, so there's some of that in there, in addition to American dance references, like the "Shoot," "Reverse," and "Nae Nae" dances. He rehearsed at home with videos he found, too."

On African dances incorporated in the video:

"Well, every six months there's a new Afro-dance move that goes mainstream. For a while now, Gwara Gwara has been the dance that everyone wants to do and learn. It looks simple, but it's actually difficult to do. I lived in South Africa for two months while filming a movie, so I became quite familiar with it. I also included the Shaku Shaku dance from Nigeria, the Alkayida from Ghana, the Azonto from Ghana, and other moves that don't have names, as well."

On what this project meant for her:

"Being a part of the number one trending video means a lot. I don't just do this for fun. I really do it because I want to give back. I travel and teach African dance from all over the continent. I take the money I generate from teaching back to Rwanda, Uganda, and Nigeria to redevelop schools and help get homeless kids off the street. For me, it's not just about dancing. It's the actual outcome that matters most."

Zubaydah Bashir is a filmmaker and writer from South Orange, NJ. Follow her on Instagram and visit her website to view her blog and find out about her latest film and tv projects.

Image courtesy of Riveriswild

#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. While this American "holiday" being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday, including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.

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'Queen & Slim' soundtrack cover.

Burna Boy Samples Fela's 'Shakara' on New Track, 'My Money, My Baby' From 'Queen & Slim' Soundtrack

The film's official soundtrack also features tracks from Lauryn Hill, Blood Orange, Megan Thee Stallion and more.

The official soundtrack for Queen & Slim has arrived, and it features a standout solo track from none other than Burna Boy.

"My Money, My Baby" is a heavily Afrobeat-tinged track that features a prominent sample of Fela Kuti's 1972 song "Shakara." The pulsating track also sees the singer, channeling Fela's signature talk-style of singing and repetition. Check it out below.

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(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100)

Tiwa Savage, Sauti Sol, 2Baba, Toofan & More to Perform at AFRIMA Music Village Festival

The star-studded event will take place ahead of the award show and includes a host of artists from across the continent.

The 6th annual All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) celebrations, which recognize African talent from across the continent, are set to take place between November 20-23 in Lagos, Nigeria. Several events will take place ahead of the award show, including the star-studded AFRIMA Music Village Festival which will feature performances from some of the top artists in the industry.

The show's lineup has just been announced and it features over 30 acts from all regions of the continent.

The AFRIMAs once again are not to be confused with the AFRIMMAs (African Muzik Magazine Awards) which took place in Dallas, Texas in October.

Here Are the Nominees For the 2019 AFRIMA Awards

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