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.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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