News Brief
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.


Karabo Moletsane is an illustrator, street artist and graphic designer who says that "art has given her the necessary tools to give an accurate representation of her narrative". Speaking about the personal importance of Ava DuVernay's powerful four-part series When They See Us, Moletsane says that, "What resonated for me was that this is not a First World or Third World problem—this is a global Black problem.

This is the artwork she produces:

Still taken from video.

Sinomonde Ngwane is a graphic designer and illustrator who decided to illustrate Ruby, a character in the comedy series Good Girls. Ngwane says that, "I love how she's entered a male-dominated world and excelled at it. I think Ruby is a metaphor for someone who is redefining, someone who is challenging, someone who is taking control of their life and dominating where they are."

This is the artwork that she produces:

Still taken from video.

Delmaine Donson, a photographer, digital artist and oil painter, describes a Strong Black Lead as someone who can "inspire change and is strong enough to take the first step to creating change. A person that is able to influence the minds of others and give them a different perspective". She says that she relates quite well to Nola Darling, the main character in Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It. Donson describes Nola Darling as a woman who is "bold, makes her own rules and doesn't live under the laws of patriarchy."

This is the artwork that she produces:

Still taken from video.

Watch the full video below:

Why I Drew This | Strong Black Lead | Netflix South Africa www.youtube.com

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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