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Courtesy of Netflix

Watch Three South African Illustrators Talk About Netflix's Strong Black Lead Content

Karabo Moletsane, Delmaine Donson and Sinomonde Ngwane illustrate what 'When They See Us', 'Good Girls' and 'She's Gotta Have It' all mean to them as artists.

At the BET awards last year, Netflix aired their "A Great Day in Hollywood" photo which captured Black talent such as Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe and a few others all in the parking lot of Universal Studios. That moment had been inspired by the 1958 photo "A Great Day in Harlem".

Additionally, there was a video which featured the 47 Black talent whose films and series are currently being streamed on. This initiative became known as the Strong Black Lead Content which Netflix's Director of Brand and Editorial, Maya Watson Banks, described as being "relatable and real, always unapologetically Black, and assumes context and knowledge so that content doesn't need to be watered down."

Netflix spoke to three South African illustrators, Karabo Moletsane, Delmaine Donson and Sinomonde Ngwane, about their favorite Strong Black Lead Content and got them to each produce an artwork.

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Arts + Culture
Heads of a Royal ancestor, arts of the Kingdom of Benin of the end of the 18th century are on display on May 18, 2018 at the Quai Branly Museum-Jacques Chirac in Paris. Benin is demanding restitution of its national treasures that had been taken from the former French colony Dahomey (current Benin) to France and currently are on display at Quai Branly, a museum featuring the indigenous art and cultures of Africa. (Photo by GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Bringing African Artifacts Home

What would it take to finally return the looted treasures of the African continent to their rightful owners? We spoke with curator Niama Safia Sandy about the future of African art repatriation.

Last November, France's President Emmanuel Macron oversaw the return of 26 artifacts that were stolen during France's colonial era back to their home in Benin. The move came after years of petitioning on the part of African governments and the commissioning of a report by the French leader that highlighted the need for full restitution to take place between European colonial powers and their former African colonies.

Macron's actions—while they could be read as performative measures, intended to serve France's economic interests on the continent by painting him in a positive light—was considered a constructive solution to the problem of art repatriation. It's a simple concept: a former colonial power admitted and apologized for stealing valuable cultural relics in the past, and then gave them back.

The process of art repatriation should be that simple, but in reality, it isn't. While efforts have been made to return these items to their rightful African owners—Germany recently returned a looted 15th century stone cross to Namibia—the majority of African cultural relics still live in museums far outside of the continent's borders. After all, France only returned 26 items, while the Quai Branly Museum in Paris alone houses 70,000 African objects, according to The New York Times. And apologies, when they do come, hardly suffice.

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