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People Aren't Thrilled About the Brooklyn Museum's Decision to Hire a White Person as Curator of African Art

"People from the African Diaspora are frustrated with white people being gatekeepers of our narrative."

The Brooklyn Museum has come under fire after news spread earlier this week of its appointment of a white curator for African art.

Though it was initially believed that the museum had hired two white curators for their African art department, in a press release from earlier this month, the museum announced that it had brought onKristen Windmuller-Luna as the Sills Family Consulting Curator of African art department and Drew Sawyer as the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography—not of "African" photography as many had thought. The news spread after it was reported by theBK Reader on Monday.

As the new curator of the museum's African art department, Windmuller-Luna will "assess and rethink the Brooklyn Museum's extensive holdings of African art, which is comprised of more than 6,000 objects, and organize an innovative, freshly conceived temporary installation," stated the press release.

The news of her appointment did not sit well with many online who expressed frustration with the art world's history of racism and elitism, and who believe the position should have gone to someone of African descent. To many, the museum's decision highlights the discriminatory hiring processes which take opportunities away from qualified black people and—in cases like these—allow white people to maintain control over black narratives and culture.


While some pointed out that Windmuller-Luna's educational background and resume make her uniquely qualified for the job—she holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in art and archaeology from Princeton University and her B.A. in the history of art from Yale University—others find it hard to believe that there was not one equally qualified black candidate.

Of course, folks are also making references to Black Panther—clearly the Brooklyn museum missed the main takeaway from Killmonger's museum scene, and perhaps the entire film in general.

OkayAfrica has reached out to the Brooklyn Museum for comment.

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Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Listen to Burna Boy Feature On Popcaan's New Song 'Aboboyaa'


Renowned dancehall artist Popcaan has released his album Great Is He, via OVO Sound, and it features none other than Burna Boy.


Jamaica's Popcaanhas shared his anticipated album Great Is He, and the body of work features Nigerian superstar Burna Boy on the track "Aboboyaa."

The album showcases the Jamaican musical giant's signature dancehall sound, while also exploring the depth of genre's versatility. In addition to featuring Burna Boy, Great Is He includes features from OVO Sound's boss Drake, Jamaica's Chronic Law, and Toni-Ann Singh, among others.

On "Aboboyaa," the two musical powerhouses merge their signature rhythmic melodies and intonations in a way that is both compelling to listen to on the first listen, and in turn inspires a second and third listen.

Ever since he released his debut album in 2014, Popcaan has become an international dancehall sensation, and his repertoire includes a list of impressive features.

His album Forever, which was released in 2018, debuted at number two on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums. Commercially, Popcaan has made a mark on the music scene too. His last project FIXTAPE — which included “Twist & Turn,” the mesmerizing dancehall hit featuring Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR — has garnered over 191 million streams and continues to receive accolades from outlets like Pitchfork, who described the body of work as “a testament to his place at the forefront of the genre.”

"Aboboyaa" is not Popcaan's first international collaboration. In the past, the Jamaican icon has worked with several international music acts including Davido, Jamie xx, Young Thug, Gorillaz, Kano, Jorja Smith and a host of others. He also founded Jamaica’s annual Unruly Festwhich brings stars across the globe to experience Jamaican culture.

Listen to "Aboboyaa" featuring Burna Boy below.

Listen to Popcaan and Burna Boy's "Aboboyaa"

Photo: Nabil Elderkin.

The Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Popcaan x Burna Boy, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Mr Eazi, Baaba Maal, Pheelz and more.

Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music. If you missed them, check out our music lists for the Best of 2022 here.

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Photo: The Sundance Institute

In his Imaginative Debut Feature, Walé Oyéjidé Brings Together Elements of His Life’s Work

The Nigerian American director has long used the tools of his multi-hyphenate trade to expand the ways Africans are seen. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, 'Bravo, Burkina!' gives him a larger canvas on which to paint.

Whether it’s employing asylum seekers to model his designs or adding his flair to a piece of pivotal clothing that the late Chadwick Boseman wore in Black Panther, Walé Oyéjidé has always been about using whatever elements he can to push the ways Africans have traditionally been portrayed. What he hinted at in his short film After Migration: Calabria (available on the Criterion Channel), which tells the story of two refugees settling in Italy, he now gets to explore further in the feature debut, Bravo, Burkina!

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