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Courtesy of Samba Yonga.

The Women's History Museum's 'Leading Ladies' Podcast Returns for Second Season.

Women's History Museum's 'Leading Ladies' Podcast Returns for Second Season

After the successful launch of 'Leading Ladies' last year, the historical Zambian podcast series on influential women from the 17th to 19th century now returns for a second season.

The Women's History Museum, based in Zambia, is back with the second season of its Leading Ladies podcast which was launched last year. The animated series highlights the lives of influential African women who lived between the 17th and 19th century. A collaboration between the Women's History Museum and Hivos Southern Africa Region, the series will tell the "hidden" stories of bad-ass women from across the continent including Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and more.


Watch Samba Yonga's Kick-Ass TED Talk on an 'African Superhero Curriculum'

The first episode of season two aired this past Wednesday and is freely available and accessible on the museum's online platforms. Without giving away any spoilers, the first episode highlights Christine Munkombwe who won Miss Zambia back in 1974 but was stripped of her title after she accused the Miss World Pageant organisers of being racists who "never gave consideration to Black skin."

Speaking about the second season of the podcast, co-founder of the Women's History Museum, Samba Yonga says:

"These stories challenge the idea that, in the past, women were not capable of being leaders or contributing significantly to our societies", says co-founder of the museum and story writer Mulenga Kapwepwe. The idea is to have it as a travelling exhibition which can be shared on many platforms such as radio and TV both locally and internationally...The aim of the series is to highlight and mainstream these stories so Zambia's historical narrative gains new knowledge and perceptions of women are influenced positively."

Watch the preview to the second season below:


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Photo by: Alberto E. Rodriguez

The Best Fashion Looks From The 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' Premiere

The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever worldwide premiere happened on Wednesday, October 26 in Los Angeles, California, and attracted a ton of top-tier fashion.

The official worldwide premiere of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever took place on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California. Hollywood's best and brightest attended the event, including all the main figures from the movie, from Lupita Nyong'o to Danai Gurira to Ryan Coogler. The premiere was bittersweet: with the cast honoring Chadwick Boseman, who died after a four-year battle with colon cancer in 2020.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled to be released in the United States on November 11, 2022. And it is already receiving rave reviews online so far.

The premiere also saw many fashion-forward actors and actresses grace the red carpet. Here are some of the best looks we saw.

Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett attends Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Legendary actress Angela Basset, who plays the Queen of Wakanda, arrived on the red carpet in a high-sheen magenta dress designed by Moschino. She paired it with an equally eye-catching pair of pink platform heels by Le Silla and tied the look together with her signature full hair.

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o attends Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Always one to make a fashion-forward statement, Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Nakia in the film, arrived in an all-white ensemble by Balmain's 2023 spring collection. Her hairstyle was tied together by cowries and ropes, adding a dash of regal glamor to the overall look.

Rihanna

Rihanna attends Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Rihanna, who is a new mom, has two songs in the movie, including "Lift Me Up", which was written by Tems. She arrived at the premiere in an all-sequin gown paired with heeled slippers and gloves.

Marsai Martin

Marsai Martin attends Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Marsai Martin looked gorgeous at the premiere. The actress was all decked out in an all-black ensemble paired with black heels and a high-sheen ponytail.

Chloe x Halle

Chloe and Halle attend Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Chloe x Halle came out to LA to support the movie. Chloe Bailey has a new song coming out tomorrow.

Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira attends Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye in the film arrived on the red carpet in a ruched, silly, all-magenta look, paired with a pair of equally silky magenta shoes.

Michael B. Jordan

Michael B. Jordan attends Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Never one to be left out of the sartorial conversation, Michael B. Jordan, who plays Erik Killmonger in first Black Panther, arrived the scene with a bright yellow set.

Letitia Wright

Letitia Wright attends Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Letitia Wright, who play Shuri, opted for an androgynous style by wearing an all-black tailored suit set with finely- crafted jewels on the shoulders.

Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel attends Marvel Studios' "Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever" Premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022

Photo by: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Michaela Coel arrived in a long, shimmery dress complete with a silk balaclava, a pair of gloves, and a trendy black clutch.

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Photo Credit: Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images

The Barbra Banda Ban Shows Black Women Aren't Allowed to Be Too Strong

Failing to meet gender protocols, the Zambian captain was dropped ahead of WAFCON. In African female football, there needs to be a case for bodily integrity.

In Morocco, the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) has begun. Ruled out from the competition is Zambia’s captain Barbra Banda, after failing eligibility tests to prove her gender. These tests align with FIFA regulations, which the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is obligated to follow. Originally named in Zambia’s WAFCON squad, the 22-year-old forward had been on medication to reduce her naturally high testosterone levels. Yet, she didn’t meet the criteria from CAF.

Banda has been a star player for Zambia’s national team since debuting at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she became the first player to score two consecutive hat-tricks in the history of the Olympic Games. Also, she was the top scorer in the Chinese League in the same year, scoring 18 goals in 13 matches for the Shanghai Shengli.

Here’s a player whose trajectory on the continent is being derailed. But how did we get here?

Photo Credit: Jiang Wenyao/Xinhua via Getty

Africa’s football governing body has a responsibility to ensure fairness and equality. But it’s necessary to understand what undergirds these gender tests. On the surface, it became a policy after Equatorial Guinea hosted and won the African Women’s Championship in 2008 when their victory was tainted with claims from Nigeria and Cameroon that two of their players were men.

CAF introduced “femininity testings” in 2011, collaborating with national associations. Sanctioned by FIFA, professional female footballers were expected to undergo gender evaluations before tournaments. In the light of Banda’s exclusion from WAFCON, these regulations continue to emphasize the tumultuous relationship between gender and sports. More than that, it upholds a colonial reasoning that punishes Black people for failing to enter neat categories of gender.

Gender verification in women’s sports has a long, convoluted history. Esteemed bodies like the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), have been advancing methods to maintain “female purity” in women’s competitions. This simplistic logic has racist and misogynistic undercurrents, formulated centuries ago from the corridors of European science to justify colonial domination over Black people and sexist discrimination against white women.

Several intersecting fields of western inquiry have created a pathology and hysteria around manhood and womanhood and who should be excluded from it. In the 19th century, a developing intellectual canon mapped out gender as binary, including biological sex. To make the gender binary work, physical traits, hormones, chromosomes, genitalia and other characteristics had to be seen as either exclusively male or female. Existing outside of the binary was to be seen as abnormal or freakish.

As a linchpin of white supremacy, the gender binary continues to be reified in a way that female masculinity becomes grotesque. Black women face a peculiar demonization. Banda has hyperandrogenism. In this case, women are observed to have high levels of androgen. In other words, they produce testosterone more than what’s considered abnormal for women. In the medical sense, this refers to AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome).

Per CAF stipulations, this is why she went on hormone treatment to reduce her elevated levels of testosterone. We aren’t privy to her current testosterone status. Following CAF’s verdict, it raises important questions about anti-Black surveillance in sports and Black women’s relationship with testosterone.

In the view of CAF, women can be strong, but not too strong.

Photo Credit: Kohei Chibahara / AFP

On whether female athletes with high testosterone levels have a competitive advantage over their peers, research and theories have shown that this isn’t straightforward. In addition, natural endowments have given certain people an advantage in sports. Why weren't there rulings to alter these characteristics? The racial double standard of decorated swimmer Michael Phlelps, who wasn’t asked to increase his lactic acid, comes to mind. So is the reality that basketball doesn't have height divisions.

Banda is in a team sport where players make contributions based on individual talent and skill. In the grand scheme of things, why must her input be solely seen through the lens of a hormone and not hard work and practice? An athlete who isn’t a stranger to vilification and smear campaigns in sports is Caster Semenya. For years, this embattled South African athlete has been caught in the crossfire of scrutiny from sports governing bodies and the public in order to prove that she’s really a woman.

In 2021, two Namibian athletes, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, failed to meet the criteria for female classification in the Olympics. It led to their withdrawal from the 400m running events. As much as these incidents spark outrage on social media, it has amplified the rhetoric of several groups with a stake in transphobia, from alt-right conservatives to anti-trans feminist circles. Testosterone testing on female athletes today holds up a mirror to the transphobic panic amongst “natural-born” women.

The prejudice against trans women — with visual judgment informed by the presence of idealized feminine aesthetics, or lack thereof — has crossed over into the domain of policing women who aren’t trans. It's an inevitable outcome of transphobia. Banda isn’t trans, but the actions from CAF imply that she’s a suspect of committing gender fraud.

African national football associations should care enough about gender politics and how it impacts the well-being and functioning of female footballers. They should see how their collaboration with CAF sends an overarching message: that only men can be the paragon of athleticism and performance. Upending colonial gender is a tall order, but diplomatic confrontations with CAF like close-door meetings is a start.

When these measures fail, female footballers should get support from their teams and supporters as they protest for bodily integrity.

Music
(Photo by Ernest Ankomah/Getty Images)

Was Burna Boy Snubbed at the Grammys?

Love, Damini was one of the contenders for Best Global Music Album and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance, however the Nigerian singer lost both awards.

The 65th annual Grammy Awards were held last night at the Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles. As expected, the event swarmed with outstanding artists and personalities with ravishing looks. Before the event commenced, onlookers and fans tipped their favourite artists to bring home the award, especially Nigerians who were hyped to see the likes of Tems and Burna Boyrepresenting the country on a global stage.

Gone are the days when being nominated for a prestigious award like the Grammy Awards as a Nigerian artist came as a shock. Nigerian music has been on a trajectory in recent years, winning over the global audience. In 2021, Burna Boy set history as the first Nigerian to win a Grammy Award as a lead artist in the Global Music Album category (previously Best World Music Album). His latest studio album Love, Damini was again one of the contenders for the Best Global Music Album category this year and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance. However, the singer lost both awards, failing to add to his list of international plaques.

Following the announcement at the award show, when Tems emerged as a Grammy Award winner in the “Best Melodic Rap Performance” category for Future’s “Wait For U” and Burna Boy wasn’t declared winner of any of the two categories he was nominated in, was a trail of reactions on social media.

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Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Africa was Well Represented At The 2023 Grammys​

The West's biggest night in music started off with a bang, a snub, and a whole lot of shimmer.

Music's big night out brought out some of Africa's biggest and brightest to lend their glamour to the red carpet.

Here are the African musicians attending the 2023 Grammy Awards:

Tems

Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The world belongs to Tems, baby! The Nigerian songstress becomes the first female Nigerian artist to win a Grammy award as she scooped her Best Melodic Rap Performance win alongside American rapper Future and Drake on their hit collab 'Wait For U'. Draped in a custom Viviane Westwood evening gown, the singer continues to break records as she adds the latest win to her abundant collection.

Trevor Noah 

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

South African comedian Trevor Noah was tasked with keeping tonight's crowd entertained and in order during the ceremony at Los Angeles's Crypto.com arena.

Rocky Dawuni

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ghanaian singer-songwriter Rocky Dawuni brought along his beautiful daughter Safiyah Dawuni to celebrate his nominated single "Neva Bow Down" featuring Jamaican Blvk H3ro. The two-time Grammy-nominated musician lost out on this year's award for Best Global Music Performance.

Yola 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

British-born Ghanaian Barbadian singer-songwriter Yola attends the award show for her work in the 2022 musical/drama hit Elvis.

Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Halala! South African threesome Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini, and Nomcebo Zikodeshowed up to snag this year's Best Global Music Performance award for their hit single "Bayethe." The collaborator's win set the internet ablaze as they beat Africa's Giant, Nigerian artist Burna Boy.

Doja Cat 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Doja Cat is clearly having a ball with her fashion sense lately, this time, the "Woman" songstress channeled her inner femme fatale in a black leather look by Versace. The singer was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Record of The Year, Best Music Video, Best Rap Performance, and Best Solo Performance.

Eddy Kenzo

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ugandan singer Eddy Kenzo waved the flag proudly this Sunday as he attended as the country's first Grammy nominee to date. The crooner missed out on this year's Best Global Music Performance award for his track "Gimme Love" with American rapper Matt B, but we trust the Masaka-born star will be back with a vengeance.

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