#Okay100Women

ZANELE MUHOLI

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

I had the pleasure of viewing South African artist Zanele Muholi's exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum last year. With her use of photography, short film and mixed media, Muholi invites us into the world of black lesbian and gay identities in South Africa. It is an intimate, honest, confrontational experience: I remember seeing a high wall decorated with the painful words of lesbian women who've been abused, assaulted and harassed for their sexuality, like a chalkboard filled with disheartening lessons. Lessons no one should have to learn.




There were portraits of newly wed lesbian couples, a blurry video of Muholi making love to her partner, their skin tones melting into each other like honey in tea, and a coffin—although I don't remember what it looked like, I remember how jarring it was, resting there while visitors chose to dismiss or interact with it.



Muholi, who is described as a visual activist, succeeds at expressing the beauty and burden of being queer, in a society that has such polarizing perceptions on the LGBTQIA community. Her work documents hate crimes against black lesbians in South Africa, as well as joyous and candid depictions of black lesbian life. She's received controversial criticism for her work and in 2012, her home was robbed—the thieves stole footage of crimes she documented. Being an activist-artist comes with its risks, but I am proud and moved that she continues to do the necessary work to enforce social and cultural change—and is being recognized for it.



-AA

Music
Xplosive's version of pop music takes the musical and technical chops he earned while producing boom bap, trap, Afrobeats and other styles, squeezing the best out of those skills and making something that can appeal to the masses.

Interview: Xplosive DJ Calls Many Places Home With His Debut Release ‘Plan B’

After years of working with other artists, South African-based producer Xplosive DJ shares his sound in his new project 'Plan B'.

It is difficult to place the producer/sound engineer Xplosive DJ when he talks. His tempered drawl could be from any East African country. His slang is distinctly Joburg, but a typically hood phrase falls out of his mouth before a suburbanism when he speaks. His accent fuses English, Arabic and Nubian intonations.

Xplosive DJ's recently released five-track debut project, Plan B, was produced and recorded over four years and makes the producer behind it even more difficult to locate, geographically and musically.

Born Ahmed Khaled Dahab in the Congo, raised in Sudan and living in South Africa since 2007, Xplosive grew up in a home where all four compass points of African music were familiar. He was drawn to reggae, hip-hop and dancehall on street sound systems as he grew up to develop his own musical taste.

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