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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.

14 Cultural Events You Can't Miss this December in South Africa

OkayAfrica's guide to must-see events during South Africa's festive season.

South Africans will tell you that December is not just a month, it's an entire lifestyle. From beginning to end, it's about being immersed in a ton of activity with friends and family as well as any new folk you meet along the way. Whether you're looking to turn up to some good music or watch some provocative theater, our guide to just 14 cultural events happening in South Africa this December, has something for everyone.

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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