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ENTERTAINMENT: LASG, Nollywood invests in young talent with international ambition

A joint project between a Nigeria film production house and Lagos State government is training students to make African stories for a wider international public.

Nigerian film-making student Esther Abah is part of a new generation of Nigerian film-makers who want to take stories beyond a Nigerian audience.

“It’s been an awesome experience because I see film now from a different perspective and I really understand what film is all about, better now then what I used to know before” said the filmmaking student.

Nigeria’s domestic film industry, or Nollywood, is massive, and prolific, second only to India’s Bollywood in terms of movies produced and well ahead of Hollywood.

“We have talent in Lagos, in Nigeria, but to work on an international scale it changes a little bit. So, what the school does, it formats the way people work on an international standard, in other words, we allow these guys to go through a full production cycle from script development, to casting, to pre-production to production and post”, explained Theart Korsten, EbonyLife Creative Academy head of school.

Nigeria’s film industry made up 2.3 percent of the national GDP or $660 million last year.

The rise of streaming platforms is also creating demand for better films from beyond western studios.

“I think what Netflix and all these other platforms have done, is expose us to content beyond a particular region. So, you’re having contents from India, no, India was kind of known but you’re having some from South Korea, you’re having some from South America, you’re having some from Europe, some obscure country in Europe… and these are mainstream contemporary stuff.

So, it’s making a lot of Nigerians, you know filmmakers, now realise that their stories can actually be seen on a universal scale but at the same time they have to conform to certain relatable ethics, storytelling technics”, concluded Daniel Oriahi, head of the directing department.

For the Lagos State government, the investment was part of a drive to help the city’s creative industries.

Two more film schools will be part of the programme.

*AFP

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Entertainment

Entertainment: What happen to Nigerian female emcees in the music industry?

Nigeria, popularly known for its catchy Afrobeat’s by the likes of Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy was once booming with female EMCEEs. What happened?

It is not to say that there aren’t any women in the industry now, but the scene has changed drastically since the early 2000s. Take Sasha P, for instance. She was once known as the first lady of Nigerian hip-hop when they weren’t many females in the game. Songs like “Emi Le Gan” and “Adara” earned her spot as the first Nigerian female artist to perform at the World Music Awards in 2008. She even won Best Female Artist award at the MTV Africa Music Awards. She took a break from music, however, to work on her clothing line and hasn’t been heard since then musically according to HipHop Africa.

Another big hit is Eva Alordiah: a rapper, entertainer, make-up artist, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. Releasing her first hit in 2009, she remained consistent until around 2019 with features by Olamide, Phyno, Yemi Alade and more. Eva served as the face of female rap in Nigeria for quite some time before stopping to focus on herself. Despite the fame, she describes the “deep dark depression” she was in amidst a lost sense of identity. She left the rap scene to find herself and God, a necessary thing to do.

Weird MC, a British Nigerian named Adesola Idowu was another pioneer of female rap in the early 90s. You won’t see much of her on popular streaming sites, but she was topping charts in Nigeria all the way from the UK during her time. One of her songs, “Ijoya,” was produced by Don Jazzy and the album, “After the Storm,” won Best Pop Album at the 2007 Headies. Known for the way she infused the Yoruba language into her music, she continued making headway until a couple years back when a she lost a close friend and moved back to the UK.

There are more artists to name including Blaise, Bouqui, Mo’Cheddah, and more. Worldwide, but prominently in Nigeria, the rap scene is dominated by males. Today, no female truly rivals the top rappers in the country and it is a shame. Women are often sidelined to be background dancers adding to overly sensual music that degrades and objectifies women. A female artist can be a lyrical genius, but if she cannot move her body in a way that appeases record labels, it is not enough. The hope is that Nigerian Queens will take on the burden again to blaze the path for future female EMCEEs.

Daisy Firecracker may have the potential to reawaken the FEMCEEs of Nigeria.

Daisy or Anurika Happiness Mgbodim is a fire lyricist. From Anambra State, Nigeria, she has been working hard for some years now. You can hear the passion about her craft in this song “Dear Hustle” amidst the use of Pidgin English and Igbo language. This hustle is her “medicine” and she “will never leave [it].” I personally appreciate how smooth her flow is and the confidence or braggadoc(ia) in her music. As seen above, she has been proving herself in freestyle rooms, but also has singles and albums out. We will have to see where she goes from here, but I believe there is hope for women in Nigerian hip hop.

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Africa

African Metaverse set to Boost Economy and Create Employment

Africa’s first metaverse is set to unlock African creativity and connect Africa to the global digital economy. At an event in Johannesburg yesterday, plans were announced for commercialisation of the 3D virtual reality experience, that is set in Ubuntuland, a virtual world that marries creativity, cryptocurrency, and commerce.

Firstly, virtual land will soon be available to purchase and develop, with MTN, Africa’s largest multinational mobile telecommunications company joining Africarare with an upcoming 12×12 village (144 plots of real estate) secured in Ubuntuland. Additionally, M&C Saatchi Abel have entered the metaverse as the first South African agency to do so. There will only ever be 204 642 plots of land available, made up of different village sizes in various community hubs. The land is positioned and priced according to a tiered value system.

Landholders will be able to customize their 3-D land spaces, such as hosting shops, producing resources, renting virtual services and developing games or other applications. Designated spaces will serve the community for work, play and wellness purposes, including a state of the art meeting rooms, online therapy rooms (with optional anonymity), concert stages, film festival spaces, meditation lounges and other dynamic interactive environments. And, there’s more to come, such as staking, DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) and blockchain play-to-earn gaming.

Maps Maponyane & Nastassia Arendse at Africarare launch in Johannesburg

Renowned South African artist Norman Catherine has developed a unique collection of avatars for the metaverse, which will shortly be available to purchase. The Normunda tribe is based on the artist’s signature lexicon, that has fetched record prices in galleries around the world. An avatar is a 3-D graphical representation of a user or the user’s character or persona in this space.

Furthermore, an exciting collaboration between Africarare and South African superstar Boitumelo Thulo has been announced. Popularly known as Boity, the acclaimed television personality, rapper, actress, businesswoman and model, revealed her first virtual reality music video, entering the event in the same Sun Goddess custom creation upon which her outfit in Queen Boity avatar form was based. The Boity tribe of 10 000 avatars will soon be available for fans, with a Boity village currently being developed and plans for virtual concerts under way.

Africarare will connect Africa to this booming arena of the global economy, stimulate growth and create multiple new jobs such as digital designers, creators and architects

The currency in Ubuntuland will be the $UBUNTU token, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain and available from later this year. Everything in Africarare can be bought, sold or traded using $UBUNTU tokens, including buying, developing, selling or renting plots or villages in Ubuntuland, and the in-world purchases of digital goods and services. The valuation of the token will be calculated according to what users invest / build / play / trade inside the metaverse.

Two art galleries will feature in Africarare, dedicated to showcasing Africa’s prolific creativity. The Mila gallery (Swahili for ‘tradition’), already open, will host curated collections by some of Africa’s foremost artists, while the Inuka gallery (Swahili for ‘rise’) will feature works by emerging African artists from later in 2022. Both galleries will stage various exhibitions on an ongoing basis with art pieces being be sold as NFT’s (non-fungible tokens).

Boity in Africarare Metaverse

In the Africarare marketplace, creators and developers can trade in in-world assets such as land, avatars, avatar additions and other goods and services that are and will be available in Ubuntuland. The marketplace focuses on four main areas: Art, Ubuntuland, Avatars & Skins and Digital Services. Users will also be able to trade on secondary platforms such as Opensea and others.

The Central Hub land area is reserved for Africarare custom made experiences, ranging from art to education and including experiences like galleries, live performances, stand-up comedy, video content channels, film festivals, safaris and more.

Africarare will connect Africa to this booming arena of the global economy, stimulate growth and create multiple new jobs such as digital designers, creators and architects ” said Mic Mann, Co-founder and CEO of Africarare. “Additionally, it will enable South African artists to showcase their talent to the world and monetize their distinctive creations,” he added. “With Africarare being built on collaborative partnerships, the possibilities for commercialisation are endless” said Shayne Mann, Co-founder of Africarare.

“This is an exciting moment for us as we lead businesses on the continent to enter the metaverse marketplace. This is exactly what our Ambition 2025 strategy is premised on – leveraging trends that amplify consumer’s digital experiences and engagement. We have always been at the forefront of technological and digital changes and we remain alive to the exciting opportunities the metaverse presents for us and our customers’’ – Bernice Samuels MTN Group Executive.

With Ubuntuland poised to become the biggest talking point in the digital African space, it’s time to own your piece of Virtual Africa!

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Entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: King of Boys was my first featured film – Illbliss

Nigerian rapper, hip-hop recording artist cum actor, Tobechukwu Ejiofor popularly known as Illbliss who played ‘Odogwu Malay’ in Kemi Adetiba’s movie, King of Boys has disclosed how the movie changed his life.

In an interview with Sunday Scoop, Illbliss fondly called Oga Boss noted that the movie introduced him to a new generation, adding that nobody seems to remember him as Illbliss.

In his words, “Nobody even remembers if I am IllBliss or Oga boss. The movie sold me to a new generation of film lovers. It was my first film. It was an experiment but it ‘blew up’.

“I am going to do more films but I am taking my time. As I speak to you, I have about 12 scripts on the table. Everybody is trying to have another ‘Odogwu Malay’. They are trying to typecast me and I have refused. The people I look up to are very dynamic— from Denzel Washington to Wesley Snipes.

“I will also be producing films in 2022. I am doing everything— short films, documentaries and feature films. I would also be putting out good music in 2022.

“King of Boys changed everything for me. It opened up new doors, corporate relationships and a new fan base. I don’t have a life anymore.

“I give all the credit to Kemi Adetiba. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have had the guts to do such a movie.”

On the challenges of playing the role of ‘Odogwu Malay’, the rapper-cum-actor said, “It required a different range of emotions. Sometimes, one is happy and at other times, one is scared. I am the one they stretched the most after Sola Sobowale.”

 

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Entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: Chanter And Singer, Iyadunni Akintunde Launches Album ‘SABABI IRE’, Says My Talent is Inborn

 Multi-talented broadcaster, Iyadunni Bisola Akintunde has revealed how she was motivated to become a chanter and musician by a veteran Broadcaster, Alh Bashorun Gboyega Lawal who discovered a resonating ability in her and was mentored by Komolafe Olaiya and Alh Ismail Olaniyan.

Iyadunni, while speaking with newsmen after her album launch ‘Sababi Ire’ disclosed that her talent and gift to sing is inborn because no one taught her how to sing but further explained that ultimately, she received the divine vision of singing God’s praises in a covenantal way.

Her words: “I am a Journalist, but major in broadcasting because I studied Mass Communication both at National Diploma (ND) at Adeseun Ogundoyin Campus, Eruwa in 2007 and got my HND from The Polytechnic Ibadan in 2014, but my musical talent was discovered by a veteran broadcaster, Alh Bashorun Gboyega Lawal  he noticed the talent in me.

“I recalled when he called me one day and said to me ‘Iyadunni, aside from being a presenter, I discovered you still have other talents, you can do something else apart your media presentation, and I was like, what can I do, and he gave me a particular topic to sing about which I did, and he remarked that I have some raw talent that need to be polished. That is why I described him as one of my great benefactors”.

Speaking on her new six tracks vinyl titled ‘Sababi Ire’ that will be marketed by Kenny Music the Ibadan born singer cum broadcaster however, said that her adventure in music industry has brought some challenges but are quite surmountable because of good people like Elder Komolafe Olaiya and Alh Ismail Olaniyan who are always there to motivate her.

Acknowledging the support of her husband, Alh Semiu Akintunde, popularly known as Hajj White in her music career, Folakemi said the co-operation and understanding of her hubby contributed greatly to the successful production of her new album and launch of Iyadunni Titilope Foundation (ITF) which was initiated to immortalize the passions and legacies of her late Father Alh. Bashir Titilope.

“My gratitude goes to these elders of FIBAN which include: Mogaji Kola Olootu and Alh. Ismail Olaniyan, Alh Taye Cellular, Aare Olalomi Amole, Alh Kola Akintayo, Alh Wale Lawal, Elder Akinboade Ologbojo, Elder Bade Ojuade, and Elder Bisi Kofo.

“While my special thanks also go to Evang. Ajibola Ogunkeyede, the team leader of Ufitfly, Com. Seun Awodele and the entire members of FIBAN Oyo State Chapter, Mogaji Olajuwon Adelokun, Amb. Romoke Ayinde, Alhaja Serifat Lawal Ede, Alh. Olarewaju Al-Fulany, Prince Hakeem Ajimobi, Alh. Olalekan Hameed (Foalexis)”, said the lady with a comforting voice.

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Entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: Fatima Boubakdi, Glory Mununko wins awards as Ecrans Noirs film festival celebrates the richness of African cinema

Moroccan film director Fatima Boubakdi won first prize at the Ecrans Noirs film festival held in Yaoundé, capital of Cameroon.

Glory Mununko received the prize for best African actress and Narcisse Wandji won two prizes, for best Cameroonian film and best script at the Ecrans Noirs. African news reports

“It’s really all the ingenuity but more so all the passion that animated us, that drives us, guides us throughout the making of the film. And the fact that we are receiving it at home is doubly important for us, I mean the prize” confessed Cameroonian director, Narcisse Wandji.

Several special prizes were also awarded to great applause.

Film screenings, debates, and contacts between producers, directors, and actors were also part of the 25th edition of the Ecrans Noirs festival.

The need to support African cinema was one conclusion that emerged from these meetings.

“I had a lot of discussions with several young people and it hurts my heart because there are not many ways to help them. The State must invest a lot in this field”, claims film director Bouchaib El Messaoudi.

In normal circumstances, the festival would attract thousands of spectators.

The pandemic however forced the organisers to reduce the number of visitors.

“Coronavirus has had an impact on the attendance here at the Palais des Sports this year compared to the previous year. But you know that at the moment there are many events that Cameroon is organising, preparing the CAN. And there are many people who preferred to reserve themselves to better invest in the CAN”, said filmmaker Gerad Bessoko.

More than 70 films were screened and 25 films were in competition at this edition which highlighted the richness of African cinema.

Africanews correspondent Lambert Ngouanfo adds:

“The great event for film lovers ends on a note of hope. A hope that prefigures a better future for African cinema. However, we noticed less enthusiasm from visitors this time compared to previous editions. For the organizers of the festival, the pandemic of Covid-19 has left a mark.

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Entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: Will Smith, Serena and Venus Williams at ‘King Richard’ movie premiere

Tennis star Venus Williams didn’t just cry the first time she saw “King Richard,” the new biopic about her family starring Will Smith as her father, she started weeping when she read the script.

“I cried on the script,” Williams said at the movie’s world premiere at the American Film Institute Fest on Sunday night (14 NOVEMBER 2021) in Hollywood.

“I’m like, watery-eyed on these moments. So that was translated already in words. And then the film, just like, watery eyes, and it was the family moments of togetherness and like, the father-daughter moments. Those moments were just like, uhhh, you know.”

Will Smith in action

Smith said he grew to love the Williams sisters’ father Richard during filming.

The film shows how it was his dream and plan to raise Venus and Serena to be tennis stars, and how he paved their own unique path to that destination, including declining to allow them to play in junior tournaments before going pro in an effort to protect their childhoods as long as possible.

Some called him crazy.

“I was like, ‘What’s crazy about that?'” Smith said. “Like, that is exactly how you’re supposed to defend and protect your children. So I loved him from that point, and I’m excited to bring some of the nuances and intricacies of his life, his story and the Williams family in general to the screen.”

Inside the theater before the screening, Smith said it had been “a long road” to bring the film to audiences.

“We got shut down in the middle of the film with COVID,” he said, adding that during the four-month lull, the young actors playing Venus and Serena (Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton) grew an inch and a half taller.

“So, you know, this film has been just a pure joy and a pure labor of love,” he said. “The opportunity to honor the Williams family for all of us has been one of those just rare career opportunities.”

“King Richard” opens in U.S. theaters on Friday 19 November. It will also be available on HBO Max.

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Discuss

Singer AKON Meets Merck Foundation CEO, Dr. Rasha Kelej to Discuss Programs to Support Africa’s Development

AKON, who is a Senegalese-American singer, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur was impressed to know about the work being undertaken by Merck Foundation across the African continent especially the programs that aim to support girls’ education and transform patient care in Africa.

Speaking about her meeting with the global superstar Akon, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized, “I personally love his songs. As an African woman, I’m proud of his global achievement and status as an African artist. I am looking forward to future collaboration to further support and build capacity in our beloved continent, Africa”.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in the world for 2019, 2020 & 2021. She has also been appointed by The President of The Arab Republic of Egypt as Senator at The Egyptian Senate (2020 – 2025).

During their meeting, the superstar mentioned that he is looking forward to collaborating with Merck Foundation through his Foundation.

Merck Foundation through their ‘More Than A Mother’ campaign has been empowering infertile women through access to information, health, change of mindset, and economic empowerment. More than 20 African First Ladies have been appointed as Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More than a Mother”.

I am looking forward to future collaboration to further support and build capacity in our beloved continent, Africa

Merck Foundation has also been contributing to the future of hundreds of African girls through their ‘Educating Linda’ Program by supporting the education of many of the high performing girls by providing scholarships and grants that can cover school fees, school uniforms, and other essentials including notebooks, pens, and mathematical instruments, so they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams.

“Empowering women starts with education, to enable them to be healthier, stronger, and independent”, explains Senator, Dr. Rasha.

Moreover, Merck Foundation has been transforming Patient care in Africa. More than 1200 doctors from 44 countries are benefiting from Merck Foundation scholarships in critical and underserved fields such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Embryology & Fertility specialty, Rheumatology, Clinical Psychiatry, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Critical Care, Neo-Natal Medicine, Pain Management, Urology, General & Advanced Surgical, Clinical Microbiology & Infectious diseases, Opthalmology, Internal Medicine, Trauma & Orthopedics and many more.

Please watch this video of the meeting: bit.ly/3GdX0Jy

Edited by Winnie Botha from ‘For Africa’ Media

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CelebritiesEntertainmentLifestyleMusicNews

ENTERTAINMENT: Finally, R. Kelly found guilty of sex-trafficking and racketeering charges

R. Kelly on Monday was convicted of leading a decades-long sex crime ring, with a New York jury finding the superstar singer guilty on all nine charges, including racketeering.

After six weeks of disturbing testimony, the jury deliberated just nine hours before finding the incarcerated 54-year-old celebrity, trailed by sex abuse allegations for decades, guilty.

R. Kelly’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 4, 2022. He could spend the rest of his life in prison, representing a remarkable downfall for the singer who once stood atop the world of R&B.

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CelebritiesEntertainmentMusic

ENTERTAINMENT: SOUND SULTAN IS DEAD

Popular singer, Lanre Fasasi better known as Sound Sultan, is dead.

The 44 years old ‘Jagbajantis’ crooner, lost it to his battle with cancer of the throat.

The family announced his death on Sunday saying he died after a “hard fought battle with “angioimmunoblastic t-cell lymphoma”, a rare form of cancer.

“He is survived by his wife, three children and his siblings.

“We his family will appreciate the utmost privacy as we come to grips with this tragic loss,” said Dr Kayode Fasasi, on behalf of the family

Obituary

 

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