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Arts & Culture

The 5 African Acts who took home awards at the 2017 BET Awards



No longer is African music customized to African ears. African songs have matured getting well distilled to be alcoholically consumed by a global audience. Major hits from the continent have turned worldwide sound-storms.

Most notorious among the pack of African artists who have perfumed the global audience with the aroma of African music is the Nigerian mega-act Wizkid (real name Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun). And to firmly reinstate his chieftaincy in Africa music, he scooped home the recently held Best International Act: Africa at the 2017 BET Awards.

The announcement comes from the special ceremony which convened on in the United States, Los Angeles.

“Congrats to #BETAwards17 ‘Best International Act: Africa’ winner @wizkidayo ”.

The BET event was hosted by regular face Eva Marcille (this time marking her second appearance as a BET host). She was accompanied in her hosting by co-host South African TV actress and model Nomzamo Mbatha. Nomzamo Mbatha as we know is a popular face of South Africa TV.  Nomzamo Mbatha crept into international fame for her performance in the romantic comedy film, Tell Me Sweet Something. For that she bagged an Africa Movie Academy Award in the category of Best Actress at the 12th Africa Movie Academy Awards

Actress Nomzamo Mbatha arrives at the 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)

This latest achievement from Wizkid sees the serial winner kidnap the award for the second time. The first time he had won it was some five years  ago in 2012.

The highly coveted award pits Wizkid against his eminent musical colleagues with fierce competition coming from the Nigerian duo Tekno, Davido, Ghanian Mr Eazi as well as the South African trio of AKA, Nasty C and Babes Wodumo.

For Tekno and Mr Eazi, this happened to being their debut nomination. This is a testimony to the great works they did last year with ear-rattling singles.

Well for Wizkid, it is all about consolidating his place in the international sphere with major collaborations like One Dance and Come Closer with Drake cycling his name around earth. The One Dance he wrote with Drake was eminently a world banger nicking seven nominations and bagging three.

20 year South African Nasty C, frenetically excited with his nomination, was beaming with praise for Wizkid:

“Wizkid congratulations, it’s for Africa, you took it home man, I’m proud of you, everyone that’s coming up you just got to keep your head up, thick skin, just keep working, keep on your toes, keep it up.”

At the moment, he has his hand filled with his sophomore album, “Sounds from the Other Side” which he dropped in July spiced deliciously with major collaborations like “African Bad Girl” where he colluded criminally with American superstar, Chris Brown, “Daddy Yo” as well  “Sweet Love”.


Yvonne Chaka Chaka (South Africa)

Taking a moment off Wizkid and his exploits, Yvonne Chaka Chaka also earned a lovely night winning the Global Good Power award as a meritorious reward for her immortal strides in African humanitarianism.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the BET Awards

Chaka has carved her philanthropic mark on history. She deploys her fame in combating health concerns in Africa. Her notable Princess of Africa Foundation commendably makes giant efforts in tackling HIV, malaria, tuberculosis in vulnerable African communities challenged with paucity of infrastructure.


Rayvanny (Tanzania)

Rayvanny from Tanzania also went home with the Viewer’s Choice Best International Act. Previous winners in this categories spreads across the enigmatic Falz, Kenzo and others. Rayvanny is popularly a musical descendant of super Tanzanian singer Diamond Platnumz.

Rayvanny at the BET Awards

And in befitting gratitude he pays plaudits to Diamond Platnumz. Yo guys, we did it,” he proudly crested on social media. “Thanks everybody who voted for me. My brother Diamond Platnumz, I know you are waiting for this. This is not mine bro, this is yours because you sacrificed yourself for me. Yo my brother. This one is for you. Thanks a lot BET Awards, this means a lot to me.”


Ilwad Elman (Somalia/Canada)

Another winner that night was Canadian Somalian Ilwad Elman who deservedly takes home the Global Good Star Award.

Ilwad Elman at the BET Awards

Ilwad Elman has made her mark in getting Somalia back on track after the destabilizing war which ravaged Somalia. A war which also took her father peace activist and entrepreneur Ahmed Ilwad. She energetically works with the UNICEF in championing the protection of children and women from the violence Somalia is experiencing.


Stormzy (UK)

As said, it was not entirely Wizkid’s day, UK based Ghanaian Stormzy still had a very memorable day to remember. Stormzy bagged the ‘Best International Act: UK.

This was one fiery category contested by the cream of black artistes featuring the intimidating likes of Craig David, Emeli Sande, Skepta, and Giggs. This would be the second time Stormzy is repeating this feat. Two years back in 2015, Stormzy also won the BET award for ‘Best International Act: UK’. This was a strong reminder of how well his music has been globally absorbed and a rewarding testament to the hardwork he has been exerting behind the scenes.

International BET Award Winners 2017:


Wizkid (Nigeria)


Stormzy (Ghana/UK)


Rayvanny (Tanzania)


Ilwad Elman (Somalia/Canada)


Yvonne Chaka Chaka (South Africa)


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TV and Movies

Netflix Will Release It’s First African Original Series in 2019 Starring This African Actress



South African Actress Pearl Thusi

Netflix has ordered its first African original series, “Queen Sono,” a drama about a secret agent who fights crime while dealing with crises in her personal life. The series will launch globally in 2019.

“Queen Sono” stars veteran South African actress Pearl Thusi, who tweeted in an emotional video that she “cannot wait for…every woman on this continent, and actually on this planet, to meet Queen Sono.” Of the deal with Netflix, she added: “It’s going to change the game for every artist on this continent.”

ALSO READ: 5 Must Watch African Centered Movies Streaming on Netflix (January 2019)

The announcement came last month, barely a week after Erik Barmack, Netflix’s vice president of international originals, told a gathering in London that the company would begin commissioning original series in Africa starting in 2019.

Speaking about “Queen Sono” with South Africa’s Independent Online, Barmack said: “Taking talent like this and telling stories to the rest of the world puts Pearl in the same category as other strong female characters like Claire Underwood in ‘House of Cards’ and Jessica Jones.”

He added: “Over time, our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we’re moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content.”

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TV and Movies

5 Must Watch African Centered Movies Streaming on Netflix (January 2019)



We are tickled with excitement as more and more African stories make their way into streaming giant platforms like Netflix. As African stories are told by Africans, the world can take a sneak peak into our diversity.

ALSO READ:10 African Movies Streaming On Netflix (September 2016)

So with that said, let’s get right into it. Here is my short list of movies that you should check out this month. My picks are from 2017/2018 releases only, however, there are many more exciting movies from prior years that have been added to Netflix’s growing African Movie genre. I want to know what you think and if there are other notable mentions that I missed, please let me know. 

#1 – Lionheart: Released 2018 (Watch It Here)

This is Nollywood’s first ever Netflix original … AND it is really a BIG deal for the industry; Certainly one to watch. It is a refreshing story and worth making an evening of it.

  • Directed By: Genevieve Nnaji
  • Starring: Genevieve Nnaji, Nkem Owoh, Pete Edochie

Lionheart Synopsis

In order to save her father’s ailing bus company, competent but perennially overlooked Adaeze must find a way to work alongside feckless uncle Godswill, in the sharp and comically observed directorial debut from Nollywood star Genevieve Nnaji. 

Determined to fight her way to the top, but not wanting to go against her father’s wishes, Adaeze feels like the proverbial bus has left the station without her. She must quickly shift gears, however, when she and Godswill discover that Lionheart is running on fumes, financially. Together, the unlikely duo must come together to save the company and their family name. Sharply and comically observed, Nnaji’s film deals with the everyday sexism that saturates workplaces everywhere, and captures the delicate balance between honoring one’s family while finding the courage to strike out on one’s own.

Lionheart Trailer

#2 – Sarah’s Notebook: Released 2018 (Watch It Here)

This is one of those impactful social dramas that will awaken the western conscience. The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles and takes you on a journey into the darkest sides of human nature.

  • Directed By: Norberto Lopez Amado
  • Starring: Belén Rueda, Marian Álvarez, Iván Mendes

Sarah’s Notebook Synopsis

Laura has been looking for years for her sister Sarah, who disappeared in the middle of the Congo jungle. Neither the NGO for which she worked nor the Embassy had news of her whereabouts… until a photo of a mining town in Eastern Congo appears with the blurred image of Sara. Without hesitation, Laura travels to Kinshasa ready to enter the territory of the warlords, leaving behind the differences that separated her from her sister.

She goes through an unsuspecting journey that reveals and reveals disturbing, violent and hidden backrooms of some great Western powers operating in Africa.

#3 – Catching Feelings: Released 2017 (Watch It Here)

This South African movie captures a South African couple’s relationship and life. It is a captivating ‘dramedy’ as someone put it certainly makes our list. What I like about this movie is that it takes you into what contemporary South African life could look like.

  • Directed By: Kagiso Lediga
  • Starring: Kagiso Lediga, Pearl Thusi, Andrew Buckland

Catching Feelings Synopsis

Catching Feelings is a dark romantic comedy which follows an urbane young academic and his beautiful wife, as their lives get turned upside down when a celebrated and hedonistic older writer moves into their Johannesburg home with them.

#4 – He Even Has Your Eyes: Released 2017 (Watch It Here)

This subtitled French movie uses humor to explore the racial, cultural and social challenges that come with interracial adoption. Thing is people have gotten ‘almost’ comfortable with the idea that white parents can adopt black children even though I suspect there are still raised eyebrows and challenges as these parents go about their business of raising their child. What is rarer to find are black African parents adopting white children and that is the backdrop of this movie which explores this topic with comedy while tackling very legitimate challenges and issues along the way.

  • Director: Lucien Jean-Baptiste
  • Stars: Lucien Jean-Baptiste, Aïssa Maïga, Zabou Breitman

He Even Has Your Eyes Synopsis

In their mid-thirties, Paul and Sali, a Parisian couple of Caribbean and West African origin, are happily married and the proud new owners of a flower shop. The only cloud on their horizon is the long wait to adopt a child. Just when the couple has given up hope, the adoption agency calls with good news. The couple’s new baby boy is six months old, his name is Benjamin, he’s beautiful, he has lovely blue eyes…and he’s white. Director and star Lucien Jean-Baptiste explores what race and ethnicity mean when it comes to being a family; where love is concerned, do they mean anything at all?

#5 – Black Panther: Released 2018 (Watch It Here)

I want to believe that every one of our readers has watched this movie, but I suspect there are still a few that just didn’t care about all the fuss this movie made when it was released last year. Well I have it here to nudge you a little to check it out. It is now on Netflix so you don’t have to deal with any crowds and you can just immerse yourself in the story in the privacy of your home.

  • Director: Ryan Coogler
  • Staring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira

Black Panther Synopsis

After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.

ALSO READ: The Looks That Afronized The Black Panther Hollywood Movie Premiere

What Are Your Favorites This Month?

Just so you know, there are some really good movies out there but for this short list, I didn’t go further than 2017 even though I was itching to. So please share some of your favorite movies.

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Egypt Is Confirmed As Host for The 2019 African Cup Of Nations After Cameroon Loses Its Spot



Egypt beat South Africa, the only other nation to bid, by 16 votes to one with one abstention at a CAF executive committee vote in Senegal to become the 2019 hosts of the tournament in Cameroon’s place.

Cameroon team players hold up the winner’s trophy as they celebrate beating Egypt 2-1 to win the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final football match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Stade de l’Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on February 5, 2017. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

ALSO READ: Egypt Lands Top Spot For Where To Invest In Africa

Since stripping Cameroon of this year’s event, Caf has offered the country the chance to stage the finals in two years’ time, which has meant that the original hosts for both the 2021 and 2023 finals have been asked to delay their tournaments.

Ivory Coast, which was set to host the 2021, has protested against the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Guinea’s football federation announced on Monday that it has agreed to move its staging of the Nations Cup from 2023 to 2025.

The Cup of Nations will take place from June 15 to July 13 and Egypt is hosting the competition for a fifth time, having also done so in 1957, 1974, 1986 and 2006.

Egypt has just six months to prepare for the expanded 24-team finals, which kick off in June.

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