Video

Video: VIP 'Pampanaa' feat. EL

[embed width="620"][/embed]


Okayafrica recently caught up with Promzy and Prodigal, two of the founding members’ of Ghana’s VIP (Vision In Progress), as they performed in California. Among other things, the two were excited - and thoroughly surprised - to see azonto in various places, including dance studios in Norway where most of the participants were non-African.

The group’s 2010 album, Progress, produced two major hits - “I Think I Like Am” (below) and the monstrous “Away.” The latter, with its infectious open snare intro and sing-along chorus, managed to evolve from mere club anthem to a colloquial staple ingrained into the local lexicon in Ghana. The resulting success further solidified their status as hiplife royalty at home, but for the group, it only aggravated an eagerness to reach new audiences abroad.

[embed width="620"][/embed]

“We’re still spreading our wings. The sky’s still the limit,” said Prodigal.

He and fellow group member, Promzy, see the azonto craze as an opportunity to spread their musical message and are enthusiastically waving the azonto flag throughout their travels. Above all else, it’s a proud moment to see a local product being embraced worldwide. “The azonto thing is by us,” said Promzy. He’s happy to see Ghanaians and Africans worldwide embracing their own music alongside their European counterparts.

But azonto does owe partial credit to the outside world. Ghanaian pop music has always been, in part, a result of the syncretism with western influences. Highlife – that nation’s oldest musical export - owes as much to big band jazz and gospel as it does to palm wine music. Azonto is no exception. Its warm reception in Europe may result from the UK Funky ‘s influence on the production. But to VIP it’s all hiplife. And as one of hiplife’s premier ambassadors, they plan on seeing azonto as another tool in their ever-growing arsenal to spread their message. VIP returns to the states June 16th for a show in New York (details to come) alongside fellow countrymen Castro and Tiffany.

Stream an excerpt from our interview and their take on azonto below:

[audio:http://www.okayafrica.com/wp-content/uploads/juan_gomez_vip_Interview.mp3|titles=juan_gomez_vip_Interview]

Interview
Photo by Trevor Stuurman.

Interview: Thando Hopa Never Anticipated Acceptance in the Industry—She Anticipated a Fight

We speak to the South African lawyer, model, actress and activist about her historic Vogue cover, stereotypes imposed on people living with albinism and her work with human interest stories about vulnerable groups as a WEF fellow.

Vogue Portugal's April edition was a moment that caused everyone to hold their breath collectively. For the first time ever, a woman living with albinism was featured on the cover of the magazine in a sublime and timeless manner. Thando Hopa, a South African lawyer, model, actress and activist was the woman behind this historic first. It was not just a personal win for Hopa, but a victory for a community that continues to be underrepresented, stigmatised and even harmed for a condition outside of their control, particularly in Africa.

At just 31, the multi-hyphenate Hopa is a force to be reckoned with across different spaces. Through her considerable advocacy work as an activist, Hopa has and continues to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about people living with albinism as well as changing what complex representation looks like within mainstream media. In 2018, Hopa was named the one of the world's 100 most influential women by the BBC. After hanging up her gown as a legal prosecutor after four years of working with victims of sexual assault, Hopa is on a mission to change skewed perceptions and prejudices when it comes to standards of beauty.

As a current fellow at the World Economic Forum, she is also working towards changing editorial oversights that occur when depicting historically underrepresented and vulnerable groups. The fellowship programme prepares individuals for leadership in both public and private sectors, and to work across all spheres of global society.

OkayAfrica recently spoke to Hopa to find out about how it felt to be the first woman with albinism to be featured on Vogue, the current projects she's working on and what's in the pipeline for her.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Uzo Aduba Snags 2020 Emmy Award for Role in 'Mrs America'

Nigerian-American actress Uzo Aduba was awarded an Emmy for her stellar performance as Civil Rights icon Shirley Chisholm in 'Mrs America'.