News Brief

Yasiin Bey Permitted to Leave South Africa

Yasiin Bey, f.k.a. Mos Def, is finally allowed to leave South Africa following a successful apology to the Home Affairs Department.

Ten months since his legal woes began, Yasiin Bey, the artist formerly known as Mos Def, is now permitted to leave South Africa. Bey, whose legal name is Dante Terrell Smith, will leave the country Tuesday evening following a written apology to Home Affairs, which the department has accepted.


"[He] has unreservedly apologized to the Government of South Africa," Home Affairs explained in a statement. "The department is satisfied with the apology [and] will withdraw the charges against him."

Bey was arrested in January while attempting to leave South Africa using a document called a “world passport.” A week later, he revealed his plans to retire from music and acting at the end of the year and put out his final album. And while there’s still no word on a release date for the final album he promised, Bey has been using his time in Cape Town to record and release a steady stream of new tracks alongside his longtime collaborator and A Country Called Earth co-founder, Ferrari Sheppard, under their Dec. 99th moniker.

He confirmed his impending retirement last month, calling 2016 his “retirement party year.”

2016 may also be Bey's actual final party in S.A. Having been declared an “undesirable person” in terms of Section 30 of South Africa’s Immigration Act, he will not qualify for re-entry or admission to South Africa in the future, Home Affairs said in a statement. He may however apply for a waiver, for good cause, in terms of Section 2 of the Immigration Act of 2002.

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Photo: Jolaoso Adebayo.

Crayon Is Nigeria's Prince of Bright Pop Melodies

Since emerging on the scene over two years ago, Crayon has carved a unique path with his catchy songs.

During the 2010s, the young musician Charles Chibuezechukwu made several failed attempts to get into a Nigerian university. On the day of his fifth attempt, while waiting for the exam's commencement, he thought of what he really wanted out of life. To the surprise of the thousands present, he stood up and left the centre, having chosen music. "Nobody knew I didn't write the exam," Charles, who's now known to afro pop lovers as Crayon, tells OkayAfrica over a Zoom call from a Lagos studio. "I had to lie to my parents that I wrote it and didn't pass. But before then, I had already met Don Jazzy and Baby Fresh [my label superiors], so I knew I was headed somewhere."

His assessment is spot on. Over the past two years Crayon's high-powered records have earned him a unique space within Nigeria's pop market. On his 2019 debut EP, the cheekily-titled Cray Cray, the musician shines over cohesive, bright production where he revels in finding pockets of joy in seemingly everyday material. His breakout record "So Fine" is built around the adorable promises of a lover to his woman. It's a fairly trite theme, but the 21-year-old musician's endearing voice strikes the beat in perfect form, and when the hook "call my number, I go respond, oh eh" rolls in, the mastery of space and time is at a level usually attributed to the icons of Afropop: Wizkid, P-Square, Wande Coal.

"My dad used to sell CDs back in the day, in Victoria Island [in Lagos]," reveals Crayon. "I had access to a lot of music: afrobeat, hip-hop, Westlife, 2Face Idibia, Wizkid, and many others." Crayon also learnt stage craft from his father's side hustle as an MC, who was always "so bold and confident," even in the midst of so much activity. His mother, then a fruit seller, loved Igbo gospel songs; few mornings passed when loud, worship songs weren't blasting from their home. All of these, Crayon says, "are a mix of different sounds and different cultures that shaped my artistry."

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