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Entertainment

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: El Gouna film festival postponed- Organisers

The Gouna Film Festival, scheduled for October, will be held next year, organisers announced on Sunday evening, saying that “global challenges” were not conducive for the event in Egypt, which has been hit by soaring prices due to the war in Ukraine. Africanews reports

No specific date has been set for the sixth edition of the Arab film festival, which each year brings in stars from across the region and beyond, including Forest Whitaker and Owen Wilson in previous editions.

In 2017, real estate tycoon Samih Sawiris founded the festival in the town of el-Gouna, on the Red Sea, 450 kilometres southeast of Cairo. This posh seaside resort was itself created in 1989 by the Sawiris family, the richest in Egypt.

Actors and members of parliament accused the half-absurd, half-social portrait of “tarnishing the reputation” of the country where, according to the World Bank, two out of three inhabitants live below or just above the poverty line.

Stricken by galloping inflation, huge public spending on infrastructure and a brutal devaluation, Egypt is discussing a new loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while the country’s budget of about $160 billion is burdened by a public debt that reaches 90% of GDP

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Africa

ANNOUNCEMENT: AFRIK Ultimate Hero Search to Start Audition July 1- August 30, 2022- Organiser

AUHS organiser has announced that the online audition will start in July and run through August 30, 2022.

The announcement was made recently during a briefing held in Lagos, by the convener, movie producer, and host of the new TV reality show, Thompson Ukeki.

Arrangements have been made for the premiere of AFRIK Ultimate Hero Search (AUHS), an initiative of a Nigerian movie producer, Thompson Ukeki, which aims to create a platform for multi-tasking Nigerian youths to hone their cooking skills and showcase African dishes and culinary culture.

According to him,  AUHS online audition will start in July and run through August 30, 2022. The show will commence on September 1 and end on September 30, 2022. The online audition will take place in all the state capitals across the country, including Enugu, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Abuja, Ondo, Edo, Kaduna, Rivers, Benue, Delta, Imo, Uyo, Jos, C/River, Anambra, Kwara, Ebonyi, Osun and Katsina States.

“With 30 contestants and six local chefs as judges, the show will be viewed all over Nigeria through Dstv, Gotv and Startimes channels with contestants from different backgrounds living together, undergoing rigorous training daily and carrying out tasks,” he said.

Ukeki said the show was aimed at promoting cultural decency, enlightening Nigerian youths and encouraging them to focus on their dreams and aspirations.

He noted that one of the objectives of the reality show is to improve the wellbeing of the average Nigerian youth, help to build capacity for multi-talented Nigerians.

He said, “This show is targeted at youths who are multi-talented, but not sure of their cooking skills direction. It will also enable them to gain access to what the society has denied them in terms of religion, ethnicity, responsibilities, family pride and life balancing effect.

”AFRIK Ultimate Hero Search makes a strong statement, showing that the world can be properly entertained without an iota of nudity and promiscuity, which have characterised our recent reality shows.”

“In the history of every nation, there are times when products and brands like this come up. First when I was accosted, I was very reluctant to support this programme, knowing very well that we abuse brands, and for me, anything Nigerian is my project.

“I would like to say that we the organisers of this programme have made history at a time when we are talking of the worrisome state of morals, morale and the upbringing of our youth in a country like Nigeria. The AFRIK  Hero Ultimate Search is a wakeup call and an indication that there is hope for this country.

“There is also the saying that some men like women a lot. Any man who does not like women cannot get a good wife. Because to get a good wife, you must know who is a woman. So for me, AUHS is a unique brand that has come to tell us that when others are developing programmes that show nudity among others,  we  are here to bring the best out of our youths.’

”I know that this is just meant to be a very fantastic event, a fantastic show. Which is going to bring you the real house hands as this course is going to encourage a lot of youths.

“And if you have not started at all, you begin to find yourself learning to do something. This is a very lovely initiative.

Let us believe in our African food and cultural heritage. The New reality TV show, AUHS, is to promote our cultural heritage and decency values.”

To be part of the historic event; Kindly log on to: https://www.africultimateherosearch.com

Registration is Free

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Entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: Kaas drops new single, set to perform at James Currey Literary Festival

Nigerian-born, UK-based music sensation, Mr Kaas, whose music video, Gum Body, was released today, will be performing at Heat African Restaurant in Oxford, on the 1st of September, 2022, as part of the opening of the James Currey Literary Festival billed to take place at University of Oxford between 1 and 3 September.

Mr Kaas is an artiste who combines elements of pop music with Afrobeats.

His dreamy vocals sets the bar higher in terms of genre definitions and sonic aesthetics, and he is always looking for new ideas and ways to reach the audience.

Mr Kaas is indeed amazing. He has, over the years, developed a distinctive lyrical style, which feels like a combination of various influences. One of the distinctive features of his music, which makes him unique, is the rich layering of instruments and vocals in his music.

Mr Kaas hails from Edo state in Nigeria. A child prodigy, he started his music career at seven by laying musical instruments such as pianos and drums, with Michael Jackson being a pivotal influence.

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Entertainment

Netflix Plans ‘Squid Game’ Reality Show, To Generate $900Million With Record $4.56Million Cash Prize

Netflix has announced a new reality TV show, Squid Game: The Challenge.

The company disclosed this in a statement, adding that the “Squid Game” will be without any of the blood and gore and contestants will not lose their lives, CNBC reports.

The streaming platform said the game will pit 456 contestants against each other in a series of games inspired by the hit show.

Up for grabs is a $4.56 million reward — which Netflix says is the largest cash prize in reality TV history.

“The stakes are high, but in this game, the worst fate is going home empty-handed,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Netflix has opened casting for the show to English-language speakers around the world. Filming will take place in the U.K. The series is being co-produced by production firms Studio Lambert and The Garden, which is part of British broadcaster ITV.

Released in 2021, “Squid Game” quickly became an international success.

Squid Game is Netflix’s most-watched show of all time with people dedicating 1.65 billion hours of viewing time in the first 28 days of its release.

Set in South Korea, “Squid Game” sees 456 players in financial hardship risk their lives through various deadly children’s games for a large cash prize. Hwang Dong-hyuk, the show’s creator, took inspiration for the show from his own family’s struggles after the 2008 financial crisis. A second series is now officially in the works.

Netflix said “Squid Game: The Challenge” will feature games from the original series as well some “surprising new additions.” It will comprise 10 episodes in total.

The show could be a way for Netflix to use some of its lucrative content to bring more users to the platform. The company is facing headwinds from the impact of rising inflation, the removal of Covid-19 restrictions and competition from rival firms like Disney.

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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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Africa

ENTERTAINMENT: Global Afropop star Yemi Alade urges vaccination in Africa

Today, global Afropop star Yemi Alade was appointed Global Ambassador for It’s Up to Us— a pan African campaign driven by the Africa CDC and Mastercard Foundation (www.MastercardFdn.org). The campaign encourages Africans to unite and get vaccinated against COVID-19. The announcement was marked by the release of a campaign video featuring the singer (https://bit.ly/3hvlwLj).

It’s Up to Us comes at a critical time in Africa’s fight against COVID-19. The continent continues to bear the brunt of global vaccine inequity, with cases and deaths rising quickly across the continent. To date, less than 12 percent of the continent has been fully vaccinated against the virus. The AVAT, African Union, and Africa CDC, with the support of partners like the Mastercard Foundation, have made significant strides in securing vaccines. Ensuring vaccine adoption is the next step towards increasing vaccine coverage on the continent. Given that nearly 60 percent of Africans are under the age of 25, targeting young people is key to ensuring Africa reaches its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of its population by the end of 2022.

“COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is important to achieving herd immunity and safeguarding citizens in Africa and globally against the virus and its variants. That’s why Africa CDC and the Mastercard Foundation are joining efforts in ensuring access to vaccines for Africa,” said Dr. John Nkenagsong, Director of the Africa CDC.

Global Afropop star Yemi Alade
Global Afropop star Yemi Alade

Vaccines remain critical for providing protection against the virus, massively reducing the chances of serious illness, hospitalization and death. COVID-19 vaccines protect everyone—including public health workers—and enable economies to recover.

Since COVID-19 began, the Mastercard Foundation has been working to ensure communities across Africa access accurate information about how to protect themselves. “Vaccines remain critical for saving lives and livelihoods. But, misinformation spreads fast, so we need to be smarter and more creative to spread the right information faster. People make the right choices to protect themselves and their families when they have the facts,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.

Yemi is no stranger to the global vaccine conversation. For over a year, she has been vocal about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the importance of vaccine equality, and the need to dispel myths around COVID-19 and vaccines—particularly in Africa. Yemi’s involvement aims to remind Africans of the power they have to make change in their communities, and in the lives of their friends and families, by getting vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is important to achieving herd immunity and safeguarding citizens in Africa and globally against the virus and its variants

“I’m delighted to be a part of #ItsUptoUs, a movement that encourages Africans to take up the responsibility in making the world safe again,” Yemi remarked. “I’m happy to lend my voice to this important issue and moment.”

In addition to the video released today, Yemi is releasing a campaign Unity Anthem on March 9, 2022 that will be accompanied by an #ItsUpToUs dance challenge choreographed by 21-year-old Zambian social media star and choreographer, Mooya Musunga.

It’s Up to Us is driven by the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with the Africa CDC under their Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative—a $1.5 billion partnership to enable vaccination in Africa by purchasing vaccines for more than 65 million people and providing logistical support to enable the vaccination of millions more. The partnership also aims to support vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on workforce development, and to strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity to oversee a historic vaccination effort and to better respond to future outbreaks.

 

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Entertainment

ENTERTAIMENT: Socially conscious rap in Senegal

Climate change has been an ongoing topic that constantly circulates in the news. Today, CNN reported that U.S. sea levels will rise rapidly in the next 30 years due to climate change.

Unfortunately, not a lot of people are educated on issues like climate change, deforestation, and more. In addition, others are not aware of the long-lasting consequences of damaging our environment because we don’t see it every day.

Hip-Hop duo JT Rappé (formally known as Kyeti and Xuman), who are largely known on the Hip-Hop rap scene in Senegal, have created a segment called Journal Rappé, which translates into Rapped Newspaper/Journal.

This segment is used to disclose current events to their audience in a musical fashion and to increase civic engagement in the media. In this video, Kyeti and Xumen talk about the ecological state that Africa is in.

He speaks on wasteful nature, pollution, and deforestation and how that affects their communities. He also points blame to the businesses and corporations responsible for draining the continent of its beautiful nature.

By breaking it down simplistically, Xumen and Kyeti allow the audience to immerse themselves in the crisis in a way for them to understand. They also perform the rap in a newsroom setting that lets us know that the story they tell will be informative and necessary.

The visuals of the crisis are also a nice touch, it accurately portrays the harmful ways we contribute to pollution that affects our everyday lives, and he does it so that we visually see those harmful effects because they’re usually ignored.

He unintentionally calls for the audience to be more aware of how they care for the environment and make a conscious effort to prevent the ecological damage from furthering.

While watching this, It reminded me to remember to be careful and mindful of how I care about my environment and to continue to push for legislation that protects the future of the planet.

Check out their video below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/journalrappe

Youtube: JT Rappé

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Africa

DRC, Seychelles, South Africa, Others to benefit from Netflix $1 Million Scholarship Fund

Netflix the world’s leading entertainment streaming service, has announced a commitment of US$1 million towards the newly-established Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) for film and TV students in Sub-Saharan Africa. The scholarship fund forms part of Netflix’s global Netflix Creative Equity Fund (https://bit.ly/3FEu4Jv) launched in 2021 to be allocated to various initiatives over the next 5 years with the goal of developing a strong, diverse pipeline of creatives around the world.

The scholarship fund will cover the costs for tuition, accommodation, study materials and living expenses at institutions where beneficiaries have gained admission to pursue a course of study in the TV & film disciplines in the 2022 academic year.

The Netflix CESF is targeted for rollout across the region in the academic year commencing in 2022, starting with an open call for applications in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in partnership with social investment fund management and advisory firm Tshikululu Social Investments (https://bit.ly/3qLORX2) as implementing partner/fund administrator in Southern Africa. Fund administration partners for East Africa and the West and Central Africa regions will be announced in due course.

“Netflix is excited by the potential of the next generation of storytellers and we’re committed to investing in the future of African storytelling in the long-term,” says Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Content in Africa. “We believe there are great stories to be told from Africa and we want to play our part by supporting students who are passionate about the film and TV industry so they too, can ultimately contribute to the creative ecosystem by bringing more unique voices and diverse perspectives to African storytelling that our global audiences find appealing.”

Netflix is excited by the potential of the next generation of storytellers and we’re committed to investing in the future of African storytelling in the long-term

How it works:

The Netflix CESF is designed to provide financial assistance, through full scholarships, at partner higher educational institutions (HEI) in South Africa to support the formal qualification and training of aspiring creatives from a SADC region country that wish to study in South Africa, and are able to obtain the necessary permissions to do so. The following countries will be eligible: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In the SADC region, the fund will be available to students who have obtained admission to study in various film & TV-focused disciplines, for the 2022 academic year, at the following partner institutions:

Students interested in applying for scholarships for the 2022 academic year will be able to find additional information, application criteria, a list of partner higher education institutions (HEI) and will be able to apply online on our fund manager and advisory partner, Tshikululu’s website (Tshikululu.org.za). Applications are now open until 04 February 2022 at 23h59 CAT.

The Netflix CESF will also benefit students from other parts of Africa – particularly East Africa as well as West and Central Africa. Fund administration partners for East Africa and the West and Central Africa regions will be announced, along with the calls for applications, in due course.

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