It was raining and pouring but Los Angeles film makers, celebrities, city officials and media came out among others to show their strong support for the #Pan African Film Festival (#PAFF) on Thursday night. Guests graced the Director’s Guild of America where the opening event was hosted, with their beautiful and colorful outfits. Among the guests was African Vibes Magazine Editorial Director, Amabel Niba.
The evening was kicked off by Ayuko Babu, PAFF’s founder, and hosted by the charismatic and ever so charming #Blair Underwood. Marla Gibbs was given the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award with a fun acceptance speech asking Babu to rename the award because she was not done yet. Also honored was Actor #Omar Benson Miller (“Miracle at St. Anna”) for PAFF’s Canada Lee Award. The funny actor left the podium saying “I do not want to be one of those actors who are disillusioned by Hollywood. Instead of letting Hollywood work me, I will work Hollywood”.
California Assembly Speaker #Karen Bass flew in from Sacramento where she and her colleagues were working hard to get a very late state budget together, so she could be at this event. She was recognized for her commitment to supporting the exhibition of film, art and creative expression with the Community Service Award. Also awarded for her support and commitment to the festival was South Africa Consulate General Honorable #Jeanette Ndhlovu who made guests laugh when she told everyone that Blaire Underwood had made a commitment to go Shark diving in South Africa. A scary prospect for such a favorite among women but a good faith gesture all the same.
After the awards was a screening of the movie “Jerusalema”. When asked about her impression of the festival and opening movie, African Vibes Editorial Director said “This festival is so necessary. You can tell from the fliers and filmmakers who are here tonight and promoting their films, that they have worked really hard. We need to come out and show our support for them by watching their movies. We all owe our gratitude to Babu and his team for making it possible for black fim-makers from all over to expose their work, in effect sharing our stories with the community.
“As far as Jerusalema is concerned, I think Ralph Zinman made me proud. The story was engaging even though it was a little longer than I expected. Rapulana Seiphemo played his character, Lucky Kunene, quite convincingly. South Africa is definitely taking the lead in film-making with films that can truly compete with the West; a reminder that the world has gotten smaller. I am sure there are many African filmmakers who are hot on the heels of Hollywood, working with less but making the most out of the tools and finance they have to produce some compelling films.”
Niba’s statement rings true indeed and can be seen in the diverse story telling of the filmmakers who made submissions this year. After the screening, film makers wasted no time in promoting their movies and encouraging guests and media representatives to screen them. The evening progressed with buffet style dinner, cocktails and a live music presentation from George Clinton’s band. Overall the night was a success and a reminder that the success of those telling our stories need the support of the community; our support.
PAFF SCREENING DATES
South African Actress Thuso Mbedu Lands A Lead Role In Hollywood’s Amazon Series
South African sensational actress, Thuso Mbedu has made history by becoming the first South African actress to land a lead role in a Hollywood TV series. Consequently, the 28-year old actress will be playing the role of Cora in the TV series ‘The Underground Railroad’. The premiere will be later this year.
Barry Jenkins, the award-winning director took up the challenge to direct the series. Jenkins is also the co-writer of Moonlight, an Academy Award-winning film. Reliable reports hint that Jenkins will be the director of all the eleven episodes. Each of the episodes has a one-hour duration. Subsequent announcement about the cast and project by Variety Magazine said,
“The cast will be led by Thuso Mbedu as Cora, with Chase W. Dillon as Homer and Aaron Pierre as Caesar. The project was first set up more than two years ago, on the heels of Barry Jenkins’s Oscar win for the film Moonlight, with Amazon officially ordering it to series last June.”
A sneak peek into cast and story
‘The Underground Railroad’ is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead. The Underground Railroad is a 2016 publication that tells the story of Cora. Thuso Mbedu will be playing the role of Cora, a young slave girl working on a cotton plantation in Georgia. However, Cora faces rejection among Americans and her African peers. A slave, Caesar, arrives from Virginia and beckons on her to join him on the Underground Railroad. Cora seizes the opportunity to escape with him.
The historical significance of The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad has a historical significance. It is not just a metaphor but a network of engineers, secret tunnels and tracks underneath the Southern soil. The Underground Railroad also has a network of people who aid fugitives to escape to the North of Canada. One of the key figures in the Underground Railroad network is Ohio’s John Fairfield, an abolitionist and former slave.
Fairfield became famous for employing inventive techniques to help fleeing slaves make it to Free-States. However, Fairfield is not the only one in this practice. Another key figure in this practice was Levi Coffin. The Quaker aided over 3,000 slaves. Harriet Tubman accompanied over 300 slaves on a perilous journey to freedom.
Mbedu shot into the spotlight with her role in ‘Generations: The Legacy’. However, her role as Winnie in ‘Is’thunzi’ earned her two International Emmy Award nominations in 2018 and 2019. The gorgeous actress took to her Instagram page to share good news. She shared a picture of her and three other characters followed by a long outpouring of gratitude and emotion.
View this post on Instagram
My thumb and neurons are failing me right now so I'll just do as most South Africans do when this happens: I GOT THE JOB!!!! It was such an amazing process and experience. Like, true story, just prepping to audition for this role made me grow so much. It's such a blessing and honour to tell this story… Again, words fail me so I'll stop there for now. Read the full article on @variety .com #chapter27 #becomingthepromise God of creation There at the start Before the beginning of time With no point of reference You spoke to the dark And fleshed out the wonder of light And as You speak A hundred billion galaxies are born In the vapor of Your breath the planets form If the stars were made to worship so will I I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made Every burning star A signal fire of grace If creation sings Your praises so will I God of Your promise You don’t speak in vain No syllable empty or void For once You have spoken All nature and science Follow the sound of Your voice And as You speak A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath Evolving in pursuit of what You said If it all reveals Your nature so will I I can see Your heart in everything You say Every painted sky A canvas of Your grace If creation still obeys You so will I – @hillsongunited
South African actresses like Pearl Thusi and Terry Pheto are big names in Hollywood TV series. However, none has ever played a lead role. There seem to be a lot of accolades coming out of South Africa. A few days ago, Manthso by Palesa Mokubung made history as the first African fashion brand to land a global collaboration with H&M. This is not an individual success but a collective national success.
Famous Talent Show Comes To East Africa
The famous TV series ‘Got Talent’ is coming to East Africa. Tagged ‘East Africa Got Talent’, the show will seek to identify exceptional talent in the region. The show which is the brainchild of Simon Cowell’s SYCOtv Company is now featured in over 50 countries across the globe. Cowell is famous for his strict judgments in the initial seasons of American Idol. However, Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent are the most famous. A statement from Safaricom’s Chief Customer Officer, Sylvia Mulinge read,
“The famous ‘Got Talent’ reality TV series is coming to East Africa! We are on location at Movenpick to launch the series, as we announce our title sponsorship for East Africa’s Got Talent. We are happy to announce our sponsorship of this iconic show which has been lauded as one of the world’s most successful reality TV franchise.”
The host for inaugural East Africa Got Talent
The hilarious comedian Anne Kansiime has been named the host for the inaugural edition of the show. The show will search for the best talents across Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Some of the talent-acts the judges will be on the lookout for are comedians, dancers, singers, and more. The audition is open for anyone with any form of talent irrespective of age. In a message shared on her social media, Kansiime said,
“Oooh Ninjas, am struggling to contain this excitement. I doubt there is an Emoji I can use to illustrate it. This is it; “The famous ‘Got Talent’ reality TV series is coming to East Africa. Yes, as “East Africa’s Got Talent”. Am so happy and excited to announce my association with this iconic show which has been lauded as the world’s most successful reality TV franchise as the Host.”
A preliminary audition will hold across the four countries in major cities between from May 11 to 26. However, those who are successful will head to Nairobi, Kenya where they will perform in front of judges. They will compete until the semifinals where six people will compete for $50,000. The screening of the show is scheduled to begin in August. However, the show will have ten episodes besides the semifinal and final. The last two stages will be aired live.
The most successful reality TV
The episode of Got Talent was on June 21, 2006. Twelve years on, the show is coming to East Africa. The Guinness World Records on April 2014 named the show the ‘World’s Most Successful Reality TV Format’. South Sudan and Burundi are part of East Africa but omitted from the list. However, there is no formal statement restricting them from participating.
Those who cannot make it to the pre-audition venues can still participate online through www.rapidblue.formstack.com. Alternatively, you can record your act in a one-minute video and send it to the WhatsApp number +254 (0)703 437 903 with your name, age, and country.
SZA Surprises Fans With The Adoption Of Nigerian Names
American music sensation Solana Rowe aka SZA made eyes pop on her Instagram page recently. However, this time it wasn’t just about stunning pictures. The music star on Thursday, April 11th, 2019, adopted two Nigerian names, “Amarachi Chinonso”. The names which are peculiar with the Igbos in Southeastern Nigeria means “God’s grace” and “God is close” respectively. The Instagram sensation has over 5.7 million followers. Mix reactions followed SZA’s name change. There were the positives, negatives and the neutral.
The 29-year old singer was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in St. Louis. Fans immediately began to pour out their admiration for the African-American artiste’s willingness to identify with her African heritage. However, not every fan loves to make assumptions. A few fans were keen to find out the motive for her actions.
Some of the reactions trailing SZA’s name change
A picture posted days after the name change has over 618k likes and 4k comments. In addition to admiring her stunning beauty, a number of the comments revolves around her name change. However, a few of the inspiring or eyebrow-raising comments include;
Zizilords.xo; “Chineke such beauty!!! Daluu ooh#igbo_sister”
Majesty_lyn; “Omg, you’re Nigerian!!!!!!! I’m screaming”.
Itslavivi; “Can you please tell us the inspiration behind the Igbo name in your bio?”
Kelechikakesss; “If you (‘re) Nigerian, can you tell us because we wanna know ASAP?”
Obsessed_style; “Shoutout to @SZA for being an absolute queen. We’ve always love you but now our love for you is x3. Igbo kwenu!”
Carolinetheshe_; Nice fit but please we need clarity on your new Nigerian names
Derinfromisaleeko: We need to know, are you Nigerian? Are you one of us.. We love you still if you aren’t.
Recent and past musical projects
The Grammy-nominee songstress performed recently at Dreamville festival. The event was also graced by Nigerian Afrobeat star, Davido. For the past few weeks, the artist has been teasing her fans on social media about her upcoming project. Apparently, SZA featured alongside ‘Travis Scott’ and ‘The Weekend’ on Game of Thrones official soundtrack. On Thursday 18, April, SZA finally shared the Game of Thrones soundtrack with the caption ‘POWER IS POWER OUT NOW”
SZA shot into limelight in 2017 with the release of her debut album, ‘Ctrl’. The album made its debut on the US Billboard 200 at number 3. Consequently, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) gave the album platinum certification. The album got four Grammy Awards nominations. SZA, on the other hand, bagged the ‘Best New Artiste’ nomination at the 60th award ceremony.
- Explore Africa2 months ago
20 Modern African Women Leaders Who Are Opening New Trails For Women
- Explore Africa2 months ago
There Is A Growing List of African Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship
- Arts & Culture2 months ago
Beyonce Wears Ankara Suit By Nigerian Designer to UTA Artist Space Event
- Celebrities2 months ago
20 Most Influential African Actresses On Instagram
- Fashion2 months ago
DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Sheelah Garbrah Gives The Kente Cloth A Stunning Makeover With Her Ohemaa Collection
- Lifestyle3 months ago
Ethiopian Prime Minister and Wife Set An Example With Adoption From Kibebe Tsehay Orphanage
- African Ingenuity2 months ago
2019 Africa Owned Car Brands Manufactured In Africa
- Arts & Culture2 months ago
Davido Just Released A New Remix Of His Song “Fall” With Busta Rhymes