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Arts & Culture

Kenyan Director Wanuri Kahui Wins Best Narrative Feature at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival for "From A Whisper"

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The Jury, Audience, Festival, and other special award-winners of the 2010 PAN AFRICAN FILM & ARTS FESTIVAL (PAFF) were announced tonight at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony hosted by actress CCH Pounder (Avatar) at the Culver Plaza Theatres.  The Kenyan narrative FROM A WHISPER won for Best Narrative Feature.  A three-way tie was announced for the Audience Favorite Narrative Award for films SOUL DIASPORAA STING IN A TALE, and SPEED-DATING.  The documentary on the L.A. Black Panthers 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS won the Audience Favorite Documentary Award.

With the theme “Get Involved,” this year’s PAFF featured 135 films representing 36 countries, including 40 in competition, 64 feature length films, and 12 world premieres.

The films receiving Jury Awards were selected from six categories: Best Feature Documentary, Best Documentary Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Feature Narrative, and First Time Narrative Feature Directing.  All films in competition were also eligible for the PAFF’s Audience Awards as selected by Festival audiences.  The PAFF Board of Directors and Programmer Festival Awards were awarded to their pick for Best Documentary and Best Narrative film.  A special award from the BritishAcademyof Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles Festival Choice Award was awarded to the film FROM A WHISPER.

The , is America’s largest and most prestigious Black film and arts festival that takes place annually in Los Angeles during the month of February.  For more information, please visit www.paff.org.

2010 PAFF FILMMAKER AWARD WINNERS

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

From A Whisper (Director: Wanuri Kahiu; Screenwriter: Wanuri Kahiu) – One of the most important films made in the world in this historical period. This stunning narrative revolves on one hand around a Kenyan family that was caught up in the bombing of the American Embassy by Islamist terrorists a few years ago. On one hand it revolves around a daughter’s experience to the bombing, on the other it revolves around Abu, a Muslim intelligence officer who is investigating the bombing. Abu has a complex and deep friendship with one of the terrorists. This film gives riveting and enriching insight into the complex narrative that is our life. Winner of the best picture in Africa last year at the Africa Movie Awards (AMAA).  Los Angeles Premiere.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Stolen (Directors: Violeta Ayala & Daniel Fallshaw) – Set against the backdrop of the Sahara, in the Polisario-governed refugee camps, two unsuspecting filmmakers find themselves in the middle of a high-stakes political thriller when the Black Saharawis start talking about a forbidden subject: their freedom. Against the threat of severe consequences, the Black Saharawis reveal to the documentary filmmakers that they are enslaved. This story is all the more frightening because it is true and the issue of modern day slavery is proven to be a widespread reality.  US Premiere.

BEST NARRATIVE SHORT

Cred (Director: Sherman Payne; Screenwriter: Sherman Payne) – What do you do when your upstairs neighbor refuses to stop the 24-hour party? You get your homies and prove that you have some cred. Stars Al Thompson.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

For the Best and For the Onion! (Pour Le Meilleur et Pour l’Oignon!)(Director: Elhadj Magori Sani) – The Galmi purple, an onion from Niger, pervades West African markets with 400,000 tons a year. In Galmi, Salamatou has been waiting for her wedding for two years.  Her father Yaro, on advice from both her future in-laws and the village gossip, makes a decision: The wedding will take place during the harvest! Yaro is aware that to follow through on his commitment this time, he has to produce more and sell at a higher price…Los Angeles Premiere.

BEST FIRST TIME NARRATIVE FEATURE AWARD FOR DIRECTING

The Harimaya Bridge (Director: Aaron Woolfolk) – Daniel Holder’s father was killed fighting the Japanese during the Second World War…something he thought he had made peace with long ago, until a recent discovery revealed to him the cruel and brutal way in which his father died. So when Daniel’s beloved artist son Mickey takes a job in Japan teaching English, it creates a rift between them. Mickey dies in a traffic accident, and Daniel’s profound regret at their estrangement is matched only by his increased resentment towards Japan…a country he thinks took not only his father, but now his only child as well. Despite these feelings, Daniel goes to Japan to retrieve Mickey’s final paintings. But despite the kindness he is shown and the evidence of the happy life his son led, he cannot let go of his hatred. But some unexpected discoveries about Mickey’s life and legacy change everything for Daniel, forcing him to reassess his feelings and the life he will henceforth lead. Starring Ben Guillory, Saki Takaoka, Misa Shimizu, Danny Glover, Victor Grant.

AUDIENCE FAVORITE-NARRATIVE FEATURE

Soul Diaspora (Director: Odera Ozoka) – Saidu, a Nigerian immigrant living in Los Angeles, must overcome sleepless nights due to his family’s tormented lineage inAfrica. He is alone in the world, often hearing voices in his head. The film interweaves through color and black & white to illustrate Saidu’s erratic behavior and mental state. The souls of the characters are stripped to the core by one searing event which gives them all a fresh perspective, exploring the varying shades of grey in life.  Los AngelesPremiere.

Speed-Dating (Director: Joseph A. Elmore Jr.)This high-energy romantic comedy follows three bachelors, speeding through life and scheming on women. When it comes to the opposite sex, it’s about the “chase” and “finish line.” Dog and Beaver spend their last dime on a nightclub, while Too Cool devises the ultimate scheme to get women and money – SPEED-DATING! Stars Wesley Johnathan, Chris Elliot, and Holly Robinson Peete. World Premiere.

A Sting in A Tale (Director: Shirley Frimpong-Manso; Screenwriter: Shirley Frimpong-Manso) – Two young couples are striving to survive the harsh realities of life after university; unemployment, uncertainty, desperation and in the middle of it all, love. Kuuku is frustrated with unemployment and is faced with the possibility of losing his true love Frema because Frema’s mother sees no good future in their relationship. With these pressures, Kuuku moves heaven and earth trying to find a good job and a means to provide the future he so desperately seeks for himself, his future wife and kids. He takes the most drastic measure by resorting to rituals and soon after that, Frema passes away. After her death, Kuuku gets a well paying job and becomes a millionaire almost overnight. With the new fortunes comes a new set of problems as his best friend, Nii Aryee starts to envy Kuuku’s wealth and starts asking questions. The ghost of Frema will not rest until the mystery surrounding her death is cleared. What unfolds is a series of unpredictable and hilarious events that would take viewers on a roller-coaster of emotions from laughter to tears and even pity.  US Premiere.

AUDIENCE FAVORITE-DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

41st & Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers (Director: Gregory Everett) – 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS is the first part in a documentary series that follows the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party from its glorious Black Power beginnings through to its tragic demise. Despite the Party’s formation of free medical clinics and a successful breakfast program for children, the L.A. chapter was also known as the most violent Black political group in the United States. 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS explores the Black Panther ethos, its conflict with the L.A.P.D. and the US Organization, as well as the events that shaped the complicated and often contradictory legacy of the L.A.chapter. 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS contains interviews with former Black Panther Party members along with archival footage detailing the history of racism in Los Angeles, including the Watt’s uprising from the perspective of the participants who “engaged with the L.A.P.D.” 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS is the most in-depth study ever of the L.A. Chapter founder Alpretice “Bunchy Carter” and features first hand accounts of the Party’s formation as told by the original surviving members. This film gives the viewer an eyewitness account of Bunchy and John Huggins murders at U.C.L.A. in 1968 and includes exclusive interviews with Black Panther Party leaders Geronimo Ji Jagga and Elaine Brown. Also featured are former Black Panther members Ericka Huggins, Roland & Ronald Freeman, Wayne Pharr, Jeffrey Everett, Long John Washington, Muhammad Mubarak, former L.A.P.D. Chief Bernard Parks, US Organization member Wesley Kabaila, U.C.L.A. Professor Scot Brown, and many others.

PAFF PROGRAMMER AWARD-NARRATIVE

Everyday Black Man (Director: Carmen Madden) – Since closing the door on a violent past, quiet and thoughtful Moses Stanton’s everyday existence is running a small neighborhood fruit and vegetable store. When a young man, Malik, comes in with a business proposition, Moses takes him on as a partner but soon realizes that Malik is selling more than just baked goods. Produced by Dwayne Wiggins, formally of Tony, Toni, Tone.  Los Angeles Premiere.

PAFF PROGRAMMER AWARD-DOCUMENTARY

Sweet Crude (Director: Sandy Cioffi) – A scathing look at the politics, the people and the spin surrounding the policies in the Nigerian Delta. Although it is one of the most oil rich regions on Earth and the source of much of oil the products used in the U.S., the people living in the area do not share in the enormous wealth generated by the precious natural resource.

PAFF BOARD OF DIRECTORS AWARD-NARRATIVE

Nothing But the Truth (Director: John Kani)Film written by John Kani one of South Africa’s top actors. This film is an in depth look at a major issue in South Africa today and indeed in all societies that have been created from a revolutionary struggle. The story revolves around a middle age man who did not participate in the liberation struggle. He opted to sit out the liberation struggle and remain at his post as a junior librarian in apartheid South Africa. On the other hand, his brother joined the liberation struggle and became a hero. The film deals with sibling rivalry cut across with the social political and psychological contradictions that have always played out in any liberation struggle. Los Angeles Premiere.

PAFF BOARD OF DIRECTORS AWARD-DOCUMENTARY

Motherland (Director: Owen ‘Alik Shahadah) – From the director of the internationally acclaimed “500 Years Later” comes this gem of a film. Tracing the past and with an eye to the future, the film examines the current African landscape. Featuring an all-star cast of African Presidents and thinkers including Dr. Maulana Karenga, the father of Kwanzaa, and Dr. Molefi Asante.  World Premiere.

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Music

Top 10 Most Popular Songs From Davido

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Unlike many artists that base their success on the number of studio albums they have, Davido has just one. However, since coming into the music industry in 2011 he has not shown signs of slowing down. Each year he thrills fans with solo tracks or collaborations that quickly turn to an anthem. Here are 10 of Davido’s most popular songs.

  1. Fall

Not many critics gave Davido a chance when he released Fall in 2017. Fall was his second single for the year and a follow-up to ‘IF’. However, a few weeks after its release ‘Fall’ became the top pick for most celebrations, thanks to its comic love lyrics. With over 100 million YouTube views and platinum rank by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA), ‘Fall’ is by far his most popular song.

  1. If

Released in February 2017, ‘If’ has garnered over 77 million views on Youtube. The phrase ‘30 billion for the account’ has become a popular slogan in the country and beyond. ‘If’ also earned the singer awards like Best African Act (MTV EMA), Best Worldwide Act, and Artist of the Year.

  1. Aye

Aye is a love song. Released days before Valentine’s Day gave the song a head start. The lyrics which separates true love from materialism quickly caught the attention of fans. Davido went ahead to win the prestigious Headies song of the year award in 2014 for Aye. Aye has over 53 million views on YouTube.

  1. FIA

Davido fans will not forget 2017 in a hurry. Late in that year Davido released FIA which is another love song told in a comic way. Fia has also garnered over 59 million views on YouTube

  1. Skelewu

The popularity of skelewu cannot be separated from its unique dance step. At that time people were scampering to participate in what would have been tagged ‘Skelewu dance challenge’ today. Ace footballers like Samuel Eto’o and Emmanuel Adebayo were caught dancing to the song.

  1. Assurance

Davido is familiar with drama and keeps his love affair public. Earlier in 2018, Davido broke the Internet when he released the song ‘Assurance’ dedicated to his long-time girlfriend, Chioma. What thrilled fans the most is the Porsche with a custom plate number ‘Assurance’ the artist gifted his girlfriend. The song has over 36 million views on YouTube.

  1. Dami Duro

Full of energy and new in the industry, ‘Dami Duro’ was more of a statement of his intention. The song and its strong beat quickly became a major club song. The song also won the ‘Hottest single of the Year’ at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

  1. Back When

‘Back When’ is one of Davido’s breakthrough songs. It was the first off his debut album, ‘Omo Baba Olowo’. He featured established rapper, Naeto C on the track. The single won him the 2012 ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Kora Awards.

  1. Ekuro

Davido’s history of love songs began with Ekuro which was released in 2012. After making a hard entrance the previous year, Davido showed off his romantic side in Ekuro. The success of Ekuro paved way for other romantic hits.

  1. All of You

Davido used this track to pay respect to veterans like D’banj, P-Square, and 2baba who were already household names. Released in 2012, ‘All of you’ quickly became a hit.

Which of Davido’s songs do you like the most?

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Books

Zambian Author Wins The Commonwealth Short Story Prize For Africa

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Commonwealth Short Story Prize has announced the list of regional winners. Zambia’s Mbozi Haimbe is Africa’s regional winner. However, she is the second Zambian to achieve that feat. Haimbe won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her short story, “Madam’s Sister”.

The last time someone from Zambia won a commonwealth story prize was in 2007. Ellen Banda-Aaku took home the Commonwealth Short Story Competition (now defunct) for her short story, “Sozi’s Box”. Reacting to the announcement, Haimbe said,

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as the regional winner and feel privileged to contribute to Africa’s literary landscape. Although a social worker by profession, I have always considered myself a writer. Winning the regional prize validates my aspiration. I thank the judges, and give acknowledgment to Zambia, which remains deeply influential to my writing.”

A brief biography of Mbozi Haimbe

The story of Mbozi Haimbe is a reassurance that you can aspire any height irrespective of your background. Notwithstanding Haimbe was born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia she believed she could make it to the global stage. Consequently, her passion for writing led her to the University of Cambridge where she completed an Mst in Creative writing in 2018. Mbozi Haimbe is currently working on a short story collection inspired by African events. The summary of her Commonwealth Short Story Prize-winning story, “Madam’s Sister” says,

“The arrival of madam’s sister from London causes upheaval within the household but has an unexpected bonus for the guard, Cephas.”

Each regional winner will get £2,500. However, the global winner selected from the regional winners will get £5,000. Till date, only one African has been able to will the overall prize. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi went ahead to win the overall prize in 2014 after winning the regional prize for her short story, “Let’s Tell This Story Properly”.

About the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award open from 1st September to 1st November every year. Authors from commonwealth regions are encouraged to submit unpublished short story between 2,000 and 5,000 words. Now in its 8th year, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize received a total of 5,081 entries. However, this was streamlined to 21 shortlists. Sixteen of the 53 British Commonwealth nations made it to the shortlist. Speaking about the regional winners, Caryl Phillips, one of the jurors for the 2019 competition said,

“The regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize explore a remarkably diverse range of subject-matter, including stories about war, love, abuse, and neglect. What unites the stories is a common thread of narrative excellence and dramatic intensity. The voices of a truly global cast of characters enable us to engage with, and recognize, universal emotions of pain and loss.”

Submission of entries for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize can be in Turkish, Tamil, Swahili, Samoan, Portuguese, Malay, Greek, English, Chinese, and Bengali. However, English translations of shorts stories in other languages are also eligible. The Digital Director and Online Editor and Granta, Luke Neima, said,

“This year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize-winning stories showcase the short story in a range of guises, innovations of form that stretch but never exhaust the potential of the short story to address the regional and universal questions this gifted crop of authors seeks to address. These outstanding stories capture the breadth of talent writing today across the Commonwealth.”

Other regional winners

In total, there are 5 regions considered for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. This includes Africa, Asia, Canada & Europe, Caribbean, and Pacific. The other regional winners and their stories are;

  • Asian Winner: Saras Manickam from Malaysia for “My Mother Pattu”
  • Canada and Europe Winner: Constantia Soterious from Cyprus for “Death Customs”
  • Caribbean Winner: Alexis Tolas from The Bahamas for “Granma’s Porch”
  • Pacific Winner: Harley Hern from New Zealand for “Screaming”.

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TV and Movies

Nigeria’s Uzo Aduba Plays First Black Female Congress Member In Upcoming FX Series

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Uzo Aduba, the Nigerian-American sensational actress will play Shirley Chisholm in upcoming FX series, ‘Mrs. America’. Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to gain entry into the United States Congress. From 1969 to 1983, she represented New York’s 12th congressional district. However, this is not the only ‘first’ in her record. Breaking the news on her official Instagram page @uzoaduba she said,

“Telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Excited to share! Link in bio”

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first black candidate to run for president of the United States under the Democratic platform. Joining Uzo Aduba in this epic series are Sarah Paulson, Rose Byrne, James Marsden, and Cate Blanchett.

A peek into Mrs. America

Mrs. America tells the story of how a group of conservative women fought for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Undoubtedly, this is one of history’s toughest cultural wars. Leading the war was Phyllis Schlafly, a role played by Oscar-winning actress, Blanchett. However, the culminating events changed the political landscape forever. It also led to the rise of the Moral Majority.

Dahvi Waller, the Emmy-winning producer will also be the executive producer of Mrs. America. Waller will share this role with Blanchett, Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden, Coco Francini, and Stacey Sher. The directors of the first two episodes will be Boden and Fleck. The duo is famous for co-writing and directing Captain Marvel. Mrs. America will premiere as a nine-episode series. However, there is no release date for the series just yet.

Uzo Aduba’s career and awards

Uzo Aduba came to limelight in 2007 after starring in ‘Coram Boy’. She is currently the first actress to win an Emmy in drama and comedy. She won the 2014 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for her role in Netflix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’. The following year she won the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. The other person to have won Emmy in comedy and drama is Ed Asner. However, these are not her only achievements.

Uzo Aduba has also won the SAG Award in 2015 and 2016 for Best Actress in Comedy. Three times, she has won the Best Ensemble in a Comedy (2015, 2016, and 2017). This is a rare opportunity to tell the story of past heroes to future generations.

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