News Brief

Kenyan Director Wanuri Kahiu Has Signed with The Gotham Group

Well-deserved for the mind behind "RAFIKI."

Wanuri Kahiu, the writer and director of RAFIKI—the first Kenyan feature film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival—has signed with The Gotham Group, Deadline reports.

The Gotham Group is a diversified management and production company that have produced films like The Maze Runner series and The Spiderwick Chronicles.

"Wanuri Kahiu is a prodigiously talented and brilliant woman," Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, founder and CEO of The Gotham Group, says to Deadline. "As an advocate for Africans, especially young women, Wanuri has established herself as a major cultural force. That she refused to edit Rafiki in any way to avoid the Kenyan ban is a testament to Wanuri's courage and commitment to her creative vision."


Kahiu's film received a well-deserved standing ovation after it screened at Cannes—and the reviews have been positive in light of Kenya banning the film.

"In our difficult times, and I say this despite the serious themes in much of my work, I also believe film—and television—needs images of joy and frivolity as well," Kahiu says. "My hope is that the whole dimension of the human spirit, in Africa and around the world, be reflected in my work."

After this power move, we're excited to see what's next for the visionary. Congrats, Wanuri!

Photo: Trevor Stuurman

Ghanaian Designer Steve French On The Influence of Cartoons & Earning A Gucci Fellowship

He's been designing fashion since 2015, but Steve French doesn't mind how long people take to notice his work - just as long as they notice.

Steve French personifies the thought that unwavering faith in one’s talent and capabilities can open doors. The Ghanaian fashion designer, stylist and illustrator didn’t make the initial top 10 for the 2019 Gucci Design Fellowship program but the organizers ended up expanding the list to include him because of his aptitude.

Launched in March 2019, the program is part of the luxury fashion brand’s initiative to offer opportunities to underrepresented designers, and to promote cultural exchanges between people from different backgrounds. The fellows get to learn from the Creative Director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, and his team for a year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, French’s class shifted, and they began their fellowship in March this year.

“The 11th designer from Ghana [French] was a decision taken today,” stated Marco Bizzari, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gucci, about the decision to add French to the mix, as reported on fashion website, WWD. “The team didn’t want to let him go.”

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Music
Image courtesy of the artist.

The 6 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring DJ Lag, Asa, LasGiiDi, Kaien Cruz, Imarhan and more

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

DJ Neptune Surveys the Sounds & Genres Running Africa In His New Album

Greatness 2.0 features an all-star cast of African artists and jumps from afrobeats to amapiano to asakaa, Ghana’s thrilling new take on drill.

Transitioning from a DJ to an artist is no small feat. Nigeria’s DJ Neptune has always had good ear for what the people want to hear, but in past years he's also shown his skill at assembling hitmakers to make a hit and earn a spot on any afrobeats playlist.

Neptune has been dotingly described as "Africa’s DJ Khaled" for his ability to bring the continent’s top names together in musical harmony. His 2018 debut album, Greatness: The Album, pulled from his extensive contacts and years of experience as one of Nigeria’s most influential radio personalities to create a star-studded compilation with features from Burna Boy, Davido, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Efya, Kizz Daniel and Olamide, to name a few.

In 2020, during the pandemic, DJ Neptune endeared himself with his intimate live sessions with Neptune Isolation Radio, where he constantly entertained people during the lockdown. After more than a decade as a DJ, and also one of afrobeats’ most influential personalities and curators, he has assembled some of Africa’s hitmakers for his sophomore album, Greatness 2.0, which he describes as “a playlist with Africa’s favorite artists.”

Artists on the truly pan-African project include Nigeria’s Mr Eazi, Rema, Patoranking, Yemi Alade, Stonebwoy, Joeboy, Omah Lay, Simi, Adekunle Gold, Laycon, Ladipoe, Blaqbonez, Cheque, Peruzzi, Bella Shmurda and Phyno, Ghana’s Stonebwoy and Kofi Jamar, Harmonize and Anjella from Tanzania, South Africa’s Focalistic; and UK rapper One Acen. Collaborating with Neptune on production are Magic Sticks, Dëra and MOG, among other afrobeats hitmakers.

Greatness 2.0 is a survey of the sounds and genres currently running Africa —from afrobeats to amapiano and asakaa, Ghana’s thrilling new take on drill.

In this interview, we speak with DJ Neptune about DJ culture in Nigeria, working with some of Africa's biggest superstars, and his new album.

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