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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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Photo by Michael Kovac/Champagne Collet for Getty Images.

Cynthia Erivo Responds to Stephen King's Tweet on Diversity

The British-Nigerian actress begs to differ with the veteran author's tweet on diversity and 'quality' in this year's Oscar nominations.

British-Nigerian actress Cynthia Erivo has responded to veteran author Stephen King's recent tweets on the issue of diversity and this year's Oscar nominations.

King has been subject to considerable backlash since his controversial tweet about how he would "never consider diversity" when it comes to evaluating art of awards citing that, "It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong."

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Nnedi Okorafor attends the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Nnedi Okorafor's 'Binti' Is Being Developed Into a TV Series at Hulu

The award-winning novella is coming to a screen near you.

Binti, the acclaimed book by award-winning Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor, is being adapted into a TV series, set to premiere on Hulu. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to break the news.

The three-part, science fiction novella will be adapted for screen under the studio Media Res. The script is being written by both Okorafor and writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who has previously written for Watchmen and The Morning Show amongst others.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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