News Brief

Rising South African Director Sibs Shongwe-La Mer Chosen To Direct 'Meridian'

The film tells the story of a priceless Picasso painting that resurfaces in a small American town after going missing post-WWII.

South Africa's Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, a director to watch, has been selected to direct Meridian, a new film produced by Cassian Elwes, the producer behind Lee Daniels' The Butler, and Susan Carter Hall, Variety reports.

Meridian is based on an original screenplay by Henderson Hall and Karolina Waclawiak. It tells the story of a priceless Picasso painting that resurfaces in a small American town after going missing from a Nazi bunker post-WWII.


Shongwe-La Mer tells Variety that the film is "a beautiful ode to cinema" and describes it as "classic Hollywood."

"That Hollywood is the Hollywood that made me fall in love with films," he continues.

Shongwe-La Mer met Elwes in Los Angeles after the AFI Fest screening of his acclaimed debut, Necktie Youth, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2015, Variety says. "Cassian Elwes is a true hero of mine," he continues. "From Blue Valentine to Dallas Buyers Club, these are pictures that move me to the point that they remind me why I want to make films."

The 26-year-old helmer also credits Elwes with mentoring him through his quick rise, as Shongwe-La Mer is due to show his third feature, The Color of the Skull, this week at Cannes. This feature is in conjunction with the Cinefontation's Atelier, Cannes' forum for films seeking completion funding.

Meridian is currently casting, as Shongwe-La Mer is also in production with the film, The Sound of Animals Fighting, an earnest South Africa-Brazil co-production.

Interview

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.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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Music
(Youtube)

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Fireboy DML, Juls, Adekunle Gold and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Film
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

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Meet Duro Arts, the Man Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Album Covers

We talk to the Lagos-based digital artist about his work with Olamide, Phyno, Falz and more.