Photos

Okayafrica Brought the Heat to SummerStage with Mbongwana Star, Batida and Young Paris

Browse through our pictures from the Okayafrica concert at Central Park SummerStage over the weekend.

Okayafrica teamed up once again with our friends at SummerStage to host another evening of music in New York City’s Central Park over the weekend.


The heat, which at times felt like a scorching 100°F, didn’t stop the crowd from getting down to the sounds of Mbongwana Star, Batida, Young Paris and DJ Underdog in between much-needed shade and water breaks.

The likes of Fab 5 Freddy and Ghanaian singer Jojo Abot were spotted across the audience enjoying the show, as Young Paris kicked off the evening with the mix of rapping and electronic beats heard on his latest release African Vogue.

Mbongwana Star. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Paris, who comes fresh off his Roc Nation signing, was backed by his band and two stunning dancers who lit incense and gyrated throughout the set. His whole crew was clad in all-white outfits.

Batida followed next. The Angolan-Portuguese producer took the audience to school, talking through the kuduro and semba influences behind his tunes and pulling up Youtube clips of the songs he’s sampled before turning his set into a full-fledged dance party, as bursts of rain relieved the crowd from the day’s heat.

One of the highlights of the night came as Batida called up 17 people on stage to bring attention to the 17 detained Angolan activists he’s been fighting to free since last year.

As the sun went down, Kinshasa’s Mbongwana Star closed off the night with a highly-energetic live set that blended Congolese rhythms, post-punk bass, and distorted electronics into a mind-blowing and hypnotizing wall of sound.

Check out photos from the evening at SummerStage, shot by Oluwaseye, below.

Young Paris at SummerStage. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Young Paris at SummerStage. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Young Paris and dancers at SummerStage. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Batida at SummerStage. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Batida and Fab 5 Freddy at SummerStage. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Batida and Fab 5 Freddy at SummerStage. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Mbongwana Star. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Mbongwana Star. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Mbongwana Star. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Mbongwana Star. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Mbongwana Star. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Photo by Oluwaseye.

Photo by Oluwaseye.

Young Paris and dancers at SummerStage. Photo by Oluwaseye.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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