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Yemi Alade.

7 Reasons Why Yemi Alade Is A Music Video Icon

Here are the reasons why Yemi Alade is the Nigerian queen of music videos.

Never less than impressive, Yemi Alade's videos are frequently a visual feast of enviably agile dancing, burlesqued acting, inventive costuming and full-on pizazz. The Nigerian singer has a magnetic presence, seen video after video, and rivaled by few in a very competitive afropop sphere.

Here are seven reasons that prove that the self titled Mama Africa is the most iconic video artist, yet.


1. The Numbers

Released in March 2014, the video for "Johnny" (Dir. Clarence Peters) is approaching 90 million views on Youtube, the highest yet by any Nigerian artist and only trailed by "Personally" by P-Square (85 million views, at the time of going to print).

2. The Costumes

Costumed dancers are de rigueur in music videos affording them an eye-pleasing uniformity even when in uninspired attires. The choice of clothing in Alade's videos are frequently impressive, as are many afropop videos frankly, but specific items and combinations bring distinct glamour to her videos which you don't find in many others.

The coral-coloured evening dress she wears in "Heart Robber" (Dir. Clarence Peters) is delightfully regal, but more interesting is the band of men and women in white turbans and print-heavy trousers & waistcoats which offers an Arab-African vision that makes one seriously consider an alternate reality of cultural cohesion, beyond the already fantasised world of music videos.

3. The Choreography

Tightly sequenced choreography is by now a given in a Yemi Alade video, each one just as flawlessly nimble as the next. As if with more than enough dance moves to spare, "Pose " (Dir. Paul Gambit) with R2Bees comes in a pair, one of which (with Mugeez) has a dizzying array of moves, each one describing a lyric or emphasizing a word and beat loop on the song. "Kofi Annan" (Paul Gambit) is a most arresting parade of in-trend dance sequences, largely of Ghanaian origins. It starts with Alade's purposeful sashay into a warehouse after which she throws off her shirt and joins a ready-team of dancers for a tour de force of fly moves that brim with zest and the contagious joy of dancing, making time for a dab and an apt Michael Jackson reference.


4. The Theatricality

"Ferrari" (Dir. Clarence Peters) is coherent assembly of over the top acting, beautifully agile dance sequences, efficient storytelling—an improvement on the rustic romance of "Johnny", helped by ace highlife production by DJ Coublon, whose use of live instrumentation is Alade's strongest suit, even when she sings well enough in different traditions.


5. The Cultural Blends

Yemi Alade has been very astute in siphoning from other dominant afropop markets, most convincingly with the release of Mama Afrique (2017), largely a reworking of hit songs from her third album Mama Africa (2017), this time in French and Portuguese, two of the continent's other dominant lingua franca. On "Kissing" with Marvin (Dir. Ovie), she damn near out sings the French-Ivorian singer, while "Na Gode" has confident versions in Portuguese and Swahili, as well as French. She goes a step further on "Kofi Annan" which she sings in a faux-Ghanaian accent and even includes a Sarkodie reference that by all rights should be corny or desperate, but is in fact apt.

6. The Badassery

This quality can be vague or specific, imposing or fleeting. It is evident in how spryly she gyrates in most of her videos despite, most notably in "Sugar"(Dir. Paul Gambit) in which she's paired with a furiously athletic dancer. It is also in the menacing manner she holds a bat in "Kofi Annan," the sexually charged way she mimics stirring soup in "Ferrari," the glamour and grandeur of the mock live performance in "Heart Robber," and is right there in the mere eye-twinkle in the beginning of "Pose."

7. The (Upstaging of) Collaborators

Even the ever ebullient Flavour is subdued by Alade's effervescence in the video for "Kom Kom" (Dir. Clarence Peters), as is Phyno in "Taking Over You" (Dir. Taiye Aliyu & Justin Campos). Both Flavour and Phyno, more than her other collaborators, have distinct screen personalities. Other male models fare worse, unable to match her in stature or pizazz, often looking like boy toys or kept men, rather than worthy spouses, with two exceptions in the unflappable Falz and Alex Ekubo—the Nollywood actor and model who, since "Johnny," has featured in "Tangerine" and "Marry Me."







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The front page of The New York Times on January 16, 2019

Kenyans Are Furious at the New York Times for Posting Photos of Terrorist Victims

After the the deadly attack on Tuesday, many are accusing the American newspaper of having a double standard on which dead bodies they allow into the paper

Is the New York Times guilty of a double standard when it comes to publishing images of dead bodies?

Kenyans, and others fed up with the coverage, took to social media in the hundreds to denounce a Times article that included an image of victims of Tuesday's Nairobi terrorist attack, bloodied from bullets, and lying hunched over their laptops, dead.

It has cause enough debate online to where the Times' incoming East Africa Bureau chief Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura felt the need to explain their photo policy, which is to show the dead only if their faces cannot be seen in the image. The photo in question fits the policy as the faces are facing away from the camera. She would later apologize before posting the official policy to her Twitter account. The photo remains up.

The Times' official response, as those tend to do online, has only created more anger. But unlike many unruly Twitter mobs, those responding to the official statement have a rather coherent message—"you wouldn't do this with photos of the American dead."

Some of the responses to the Times' official statement.

In a response to the controversy from the Poynter Institute, a typically astute observer of journalistic practice in the United States, they run through the typical American journalism school approach to publishing photos that might shock or offend. They write:

Should the Times have run the photo?
There is no easy answer.
The first question any news organization must ask when deciding to publish violent images is: WHY show it?
In other words, what is the news value? Does the public need to see such an image to fully grasp what happened? Does the public need to see such a photo to confirm or disprove the official account of the events?
An argument could be made that a writer's words could accurately describe the scene without being as disturbing as the image. In addition, when it comes to an act of terrorism, might publishing such a photo actually advance the cause of the terrorists, showing the damage they caused, thus fueling dread and panic?
Also this: The photo on the Times website came without warning. As a reader, you didn't know you were going to see a photo of dead people until you actually saw it.
Those are arguments to not run such a photo or, at least, warn readers of its graphic content.

While it's a fine analysis of when to show a violent image, it misses the central issue at play for those aggrieved by the Times' posting—that the American news-gaze values certain lives differently. Black, brown, foreign, poor—American journalism organizations, including the New York Times, cannot escape a base ethnocentrism in their coverage. It's so embedded into how these institutions operate, and the gap in understanding is so wide, that to much of the world, the Times' official response is laughably wrong at first glance.

"We take the same approach wherever in the world something like this happens--balancing the need for sensitivity and respect with our mission of showing the reality of these events"

And while there are examples from the Times that complicate this feeling, like these images of the dead in the terrorist attack in Nice, France, it doesn't discount the wider and correct feeling that the white victims of American mass shootings are treated differently than their African counterparts. And while there are complicated and systematic reasons for this which will always make discussing it difficult, to simply deny that different standards exist, does not increase the Times' credibility with Kenyans or the newspaper's growing online audience which will only become more vocal about how they're portrayed.

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Falz 'Moral Instruction'

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Falz, King Monada, Zlatan, Yemi Alade and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music 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 OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

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Violent Attack at Kenyan Hotel Ends With 14 Dead

The remaining hostages were freed after a 17-hour standoff between militants and Kenyan security forces on Wednesday.

The final hostages in the violent terrorist attack which took place at the DusitD2 Hotel in Naoribi's affluent Westlands district yesterday have been freed after a 17 hour standoff between Kenyan security forces and Al Shabab militants.

In a speech this morning, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the rescue mission over, stating that there were 700 people rescued and a total of 14 casualties. He also stated that all of the attackers had been killed in the operation, according to Quartz Africa. "Every person that was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act will be relentlessly pursued," added Kenyatta.

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