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(Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA / AFP)

Uganda, on January 14, 2021. - Ugandans began voting in a tense election on January 14, 2021 under heavy security and an internet blackout as veteran leader Yoweri Museveni pursues a sixth term against a former pop star half his age. The internet went down on the eve of the vote, with some parts of the country reporting complete disruptions or significant slowdowns, after one of the most violent election campaigns in years.

Ugandans Head to Polls in Potentially Historic Elections

Many hopes are pinned on Uganda's elections today as main opposition leader Bobi Wine attempts to unseat current President Yoweri Museveni from his 34-year term in office.

Today, Ugandans are heading to the polls to cast their vote in the national elections despite a recent partial internet shutdown which has seen a ban on all social media platforms. The elections are arguably the most highly-contested in decades as opposition leader, Bobi Wine(real name Robert Kyagulanyi), attempts to remove current President Yoweri Museveni from office following a 34-year rule. Clad in face masks as the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing, voters have already gathered at polling stations across the country to have their voices counted.


READ: Uganda Enforces Social Media Shutdown as Presidential Elections Draw Closer

There are currently 11 opposition leaders competing against Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) although Bobi Wine is admittedly leading the front with his National Unity Platform (NUP). Notably, Nancy Kalembeis the only woman presidential candidate in this race.These particular elections have the potential to be historic as they could see the end to Museveni's 34-year rule and hopes of clinching a sixth term in office. That Bobi Wine is half the age of 76-year-old Museveni says a lot about how many leaders, African and otherwise, refuse to relinquish power even long past their sell-by date.

The road to these elections has been less than smooth. Bobi Wine has been arrested countless times, labelled an "enemy of the state, had many of his supporters targeted and some even killed along with his residence having been surrounded and then subsequently raided by authorities on two separate occasions. The opposition leader has even been forced to wear a bullet proof vest in an effort to protect himself in public. Additionally, election campaigning was prohibited in major cities like Kampala on account of COVID-19 regulations although the collective opposition generally agree that it was an effort to thwart their campaigns, the BBC reports.

It is also reported that there are no observers from the US or Europe for this election. The US was denied accreditation to participate as observers according to US ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown. Admittedly, it must be said that the US is hardly the beacon of democracy right now following the storming of their Capitol by a mob of insurrectionists at the behest of President Donald Trump. However, what is rightly concerning is that Ugandans have neither received their accreditation as observers nor have the alleged observers from the African Union or East African Community been named by Museveni's spokesperson, Don Wanyama.

While the government has said that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be "free and fair," this remains to be seen after the last vote has been counted. Wishing Uganda a peaceful election today.

Music
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Burna Boy, Tems, Zakes Bantwini, Eddy Kenzo & More Are Nominated For 2023 Grammy Awards

They are joined by Angélique Kidjo, Rocky Dawuni, Nomcebo Zikode and more African artists on the nominees list for next year's Grammy Awards.

The Recording Academy has released its list of nominees for the upcoming 2023 Grammy Awards show and several African artists have been given a nod.

Nigerian superstar Burna Boyand Beninese legend Angélique Kidjo are both nominated for Best Global Music Album.

Uganda's Eddy Kenzo, Ghana's Rocky Dawuni, South Africa's Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode, and Burna Boy are all in the running for Best Global Music Performance.

Nigeria's continually buzzing Tems is nominated for "Wait For U," her collaboration with Future and Drake, under the Best Melodic Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. Angélique Kidjo is also nominated for her Woman King song "Keep Rising" under the Best Song Written for Visual Media category.

African music has been taking center stage, and the recent nominations have further proven that the world is paying attention to the sounds coming from the African continent.

The 65th installment of the award show will take place on Sunday, February 5, 2023, at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. It will be exciting to see all of the honorees from the continent and how their hard work has paid off.

Last year, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Tems, Femi Kuti, Made Kuti, Angélique Kidjo, Rocky Dawuni, and Black Coffee were the African nominees.

Last year, Kidjo won an award for her 16th studio album Mother Nature, marking her fifth Grammy win. During a visit to Ghana earlier this year, Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, told reporters that the Grammys were considering an Afrobeats category. Mason said he had been meeting with important decision-makers in the genre to explore the possibility.

Scroll down to see the list of African artists nominated for the award show this year.

Check out the complete list of nominees here.

Best Global Music Performance

“Udhero Na,” Arooj Aftab and Anoushka Shankar
“Gimme Love,” Matt B and Eddy Kenzo
“Last Last,” Burna Boy
“Neva Bow Down,” Rocky Dawuni featuring Blvk H3ro
“Bayethe,” Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode

Best Global Music Album

“Shuruaat,” Berklee Indian Ensemble
“Love, Damini,” Burna Boy
“Queen of Sheba,” Angélique Kidjo and Ibrahim Maalouf
“Between Us … (Live),” Anoushka Shankar, Metropole Orkest and Jules Buckley featuring Manu Delago
“Sakura,” Masa Takumi

Best Melodic Rap Performance

“Beautiful,” DJ Khaled featuring Future and SZA
“Wait for U,” Future featuring Drake and Tems
“First Class,” Jack Harlow
“Die Hard,” Kendrick Lamar featuring Blxst and Amanda Reifer
“Big Energy (Live),” Latto

Best Rap Song

“Churchill Downs,” Ace G, BEDRM, Matthew Samuels, Tahrence Brown, Rogét Chahayed, Aubrey Graham, Jack Harlow and Jose Velazquez, songwriters (Jack Harlow featuring Drake)

“God Did,’ Tarik Azzouz, E. Blackmon, Khaled Khaled, F. LeBlanc, Shawn Carter, John Stephens, Dwayne Carter, William Roberts and Nicholas Warwar, songwriters (DJ Khaled featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend and Fridayy)

“The Heart Part 5,” Jake Kosich, Johnny Kosich, Kendrick Lamar and Matt Schaeffer, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)

“Pushin P,” Lucas Depante, Nayvadius Wilburn, Sergio Kitchens, Wesley Tyler Glass and Jeffery Lamar Williams, songwriters (Gunna and Future featuring Young Thug)

“Wait for U,” Tejiri Akpoghene, Floyd E. Bentley III, Jacob Canady, Isaac De Boni, Aubrey Graham, Israel Ayomide Fowobaje, Nayvadius Wilburn, Michael Mule, Oluwatoroti Oke and Temilade Openiyi, songwriters (Future featuring Drake and Tems)

Best Song Written for Visual Media

“Be Alive” from “King Richard”; Beyoncé́ and Darius Scott Dixson, songwriters (Beyoncé́)

“Carolina” from “Where the Crawdads Sing”; Taylor Swift, songwriter (Taylor Swift)

“Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick”; Bloodpop and Stefani Germanotta, songwriters (Lady Gaga)

“Keep Rising (The Woman King)” from “The Woman King”; Angelique Kidjo, Jeremy Lutito and Jessy Wilson, songwriters (Jessy Wilson featuring Angelique Kidjo)

“Nobody Like U” from “Turning Red”; Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (4*Town, Jordan Fisher, Finneas O’Connell, Josh Levi, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva)

“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from “Encanto”; Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter (Carolina Gaitán — La Gaita, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz & Encanto — Cast)

Arts + Culture
Photo: @Africanist

Finding Afrobeats In a White City

One writer's quest to find a space that felt like home after moving to Seattle.

I moved to Seattle, Washington right in the middle of the pandemic in December of 2020. The following summer Governor Jay Inslee announced the opening of restaurants and clubs. It was perfect timing for Seattle summer, but the challenge was finding a party or space where I felt at home, with people who looked like me. I wanted to find a place where vibes and community intersected while listening to afrobeats, somewhere I could go to every weekend. After asking around, I was told numerous times to check out The Afrobeats Party.

According to the 2021 US census report, Seattle's population is roughly 733,919 people, and only 7.1% of those people are Black or African American. With these statistics, when you think of Seattle, the first thing that comes to mind is not afrobeats. However, there's been a big movement brewing over the past years in the city, with Ghanaian-born, Seattle-based DJ Nayiram’s party catapulting afrobeats further into its musical consciousness.

The first time I attended The Afrobeats Party I went with some of my girls who had frequently been, but they did not prepare me for what I was about to experience. I didn't expect to stand in a line that wrapped around the block alongside, what seemed like, a sizable portion of the 7.1% of black people that live in Seattle. Once we eventually made our way inside Red Lounge, we were met with over 300 people singing Fireboy DML's “Peru” at the top of their lungs, as a sea of bodies were being taken on a musical journey. I was pleasantly surprised by how much energy there was in the room and the power afrobeats had on everyone moving to every beat.

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(Photo by via Getty Images)

The Other African Footballers in the World Cup

There are five African teams in the World Cup, but there are at least 54 players on other teams who were either born in Africa, or have African ancestry.

Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia are the five African teams in the World Cup in Qatar, but there are at least 54 players on other teams who were born in Africa or have African ancestry.

This is, of course, the result of the African diaspora, the movement of people from the continent towards the rest of the world. But the stories of how African players or their families got to the other side of the world are not always so stereotypical as one might imagine. The world cup, besides a month of football, is also a way to find out about how humans move through the world. Here are a few:

One of the most talked about stories in this tournament is that of Breel Embolo, who was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, but represents the Swiss national team and refused to celebrate after scoring against his country of birth last week. Embolo scored the only goal in the 1-0 Switzerland victory. It was the first goal he ever scored in a world cup, and the video of it went viral. But it wasn’t because of his technique, it was because he refused to celebrate.

Embolo moved to France when he was six years old because his mom, who had separated from his dad, went to study there. She met a Swiss man and married him, and the family eventually moved to Switzerland when the now Monaco forward was still a kid. So when he scored for his adopted country against Cameroon, he decided to stop and hold his arms up while his teammates celebrated around him.

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Arts + Culture
Photo: Courtesy Wangechi Mutu and Vielmetter Los Angeles, taken by Robert Edemeyer

A Massive Exhibition of Wangechi Mutu's Work Is Heading to the New Museum

A specially-commissioned art piece from the Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based artist will be part of the major overview of her work.

In what is set to be one of the largest showings of the artist's work, the New Museum in New York will present “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined,” from March 2 – June 4, 2023. The art works will cover the entire museum, occupying the three main floors, including the lobby, and the building’s glass façade, where a new piece that's been commissioned will be displayed.

Earlier this year, eight of Mutu’s sculptures were installed at the Storm King Art Center in upstate New York, showcasing her current practice in earth and bronze material.

Mutu’s upcoming New Museum exhibition is curated by Vivian Crockett, Margot Norton, Allen and Lola Goldring and Ian Wallace. According to the curators, “Intertwined” will chronicle Mutu’s recent sculptural development, and connect it to her long standing expression and exploration of the legacies of colonialism, globalization, in African and diasporic cultural traditions.

The upcoming exhibition will highlight some of Mutu’s earlier art, as well as her most recent artistic outputs, which are primarily made from Nairobi-sourced wood, soil and bronze.

“Intertwined” will give art lovers the opportunity to see and appreciate the thematic progression of Mutu’s work, and get a sense of how New York-based art institutions have influenced the scope of her artistry over time.

Different floors at the museum will carry various parts of Mutu’s multi-dimensional work. The second floor, for example, will draw connections between the artist’s collage-based practice and her work in sculpture, including 'Yo Mama' (2003), originally commissioned by the New Museum in 2003 for the exhibition “Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.”

This exhibition on the second floor will also underscore some of her more recent work, which experiments with collages in corporeal, mechanical, and botanical forms. The third floor will continue to explore the fluidity of Mutu’s work and how her pieces have evolved over time.

The fourth floor will tie a collection of Mutu’s collages from the 'Subterranea' series (2021–22) with her most recent large scale bronze art.

In a statement, Crockett said Mutu’s work has wrestled with themes and complex artistic principles that make it even more important for the future of art as a whole. “Mutu’s work has long been characterized by a sense of permeable boundaries and hybridity, invested in the complex encounters of bodies, sites, and structures. Her work grapples with contemporary realities and proffers new models for a radically changed future informed by feminism, Afrofuturism, and interspecies symbiosis,” said Crockett.

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