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Arts & Culture

Meet Our Host: the Lovely and Talented Tangi Miller

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African Vibes magazine is rolling out the red carpet in style to celebrate its fourth anniversary of shining a positive spotlight on Africa and Africans. This year, hosting with Editor In Chief, is the beautiful actress/filmmaker .  Miller is best known for the role of the smart, spirited and stylish Elena Tyler on the J.J. Abrams hit show, “#.”

The Miami-native is also a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee for her work on the small screen, grabbing nods in 2002 for “Best Actress in a Dramatic Series” and again in 2005 for “Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie” for her work in “Phantom Force”. She was named as “one of the sexiest stars on television” by TV Guide, and Ebony Magazine dubbed her as one of the “most beautiful people of the millennium.”

She’s set to appear in the upcoming comedy, “#,” directed by Amber Benson and Adam Busch, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. And this spring, she stars in the romantic comedy, “#,” co-starring Malik Yoba (Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married”) with a supporting cast of  award-winning veterans, Guyanese-American  CCH Pounder and Obba Babatunde. Filmed in Miami and Los Angeles, “My Girlfriend’s Back” is an intelligent romantic comedy that chronicles the social and economic rise of Derek Scott (Yoba), and how the arrival of his ex-girlfriend (Miller) changes everything!

As an independent filmmaker, she has produced and starred in several independent films, including “After School,”  “#,” and “Love … & Other 4 Letter Words,” as well as  the upcoming release, “My Girlfriend’s Back.”

A Conversation with Tangi Miller

AV: Is it true that you weren’t allowed to watch television as a kid?
TM: Yes, my mother felt that television might be a bad influence on me and my brothers and sisters. (She is the eldest of five.)  She just felt like anything that wasn’t edifying God or anything that wasn’t speaking to your spirit in a positive was negative.

AV: How did you get into acting?
TM: Well, I began acting in stage productions while in high school. It was a wonderful outlet. It gave me a chance to release my feelings, my emotions, and have fun at the same time. It became a fun hobby.  I left Miami and majored in the more practical field of marketing at Alabama State University. It wasn’t until I realized that I spent all of my free time acting in theater productions that I decided to pursue an acting career after graduation. I realized that I wanted to figure out a way to make a living doing it because it made me so happy. I continued my studies and got a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine.

AV: As luck would have it, you landed one of your first gigs on the hit-show “Felicity,” created by uber-producer-writer  J.J. Abrams. How excited were you to land the job, playing Elena Tyler?
TM: It was a whirlwind because it was my first gig, and it was a BIG job for my first job. I was kind of blown away and thrown right into Hollywood almost immediately.

AV: How was it working with J.J. Abrams?
TM: I was very fortunate to work with such a talented visionary as Abrams, who at the time was very young in his career.  He was very open and welcoming of any suggestions and input. It was a pleasure to work with him. He also  gave me a blueprint of how I wanted to run my own production company, Olivia Entertainment.

AV: Yes, you’ve turned your attention to filmmaking. Why?
TM: I just wanted the chance to tell the stories I wanted to tell.

AV: You’ve produced several films, including “Hurricane in a Rose Garden,” a comedy, which centers around a Nigerian family. What was that like?
TM: I had a great time working on that film. The film is directed by Ime Etuk with Pascal Atuma, Yun Choi, Oris Erhuero.  It’s a comedy about what happens when the life of  a happily-married couple is suddenly interrupted and turned upside-down because of an unwelcome visit from a very traditional and opinionated Nigerian mother-in-law.

AV: Where does the title of the movie come from?
TM: Pascal Atuma came up with the title. I believe the “hurricane” represents the mother, and the “rose garden” symbolizes the relationship of the couple.

AV:  What message do you hope audiences will gather from the film?
TM: I hope people will see the love that the couple has for one another, and learn that despite cultural differences, we can learn from each other and make this world a better place.

AV: Did you experience any cultural differences working with Nigerians on the project?
TM: Well, yes and no. Ordering lunch on the set was a little different; (she laughs) but as artists, we all  wanted the same thing – a chance to flex our creative muscles.

AV: So what do you enjoy more – acting or filmmaking?
TM: That’s a tough one. I enjoy expressing myself as an actor and bringing life to a character. But, as a filmmaker, I loves taking a concept or an idea and bringing it to life on screen. It’s very satisfying and fulfilling.

AV: You’ve been involved with Africa in many ways including movies and African dance. What is it that draws you to Africa?
TM: I am drawn to Africa because I am African. Yes, I’ve been kissed by America, but there is no question where my ancestors came from. This fact alone constantly draws me to the Motherland. As a dancer, I became deeply entrenched into the African community in Los Angeles, and those connections and ties has brought me even closer to the Motherland.

AV: What are your thoughts on African fashion?
TM: I love the colors and the bold style in many of the designs. I am excited that contemporary African style is making an impact on fashion.  Styling with Western designers mixed with touches of African accessories — or vice versa — brings a new and fresh aesthetics to contemporary African style.

AV: Which designers do you usually wear?
TM: Of course, I have my favorite Western designers. However, in my travels to Africa, I like to buy headwraps and skirts, and incorporate them in my wardrobe. I really enjoy pairing a colorful African accessory with my jeans and t-shirts, blending fabrics for a new interpretation of American style. Since Korto Momolu’s appearance on “Project Runway,” I’ve been really impressed with her point of view on fashion with an African flair.  I also love her jewelry, and will be wearing some of her accessories at the anniversary event. I can’t wait!

AV: What made you decide to the “#” runway show?
TM: I love fashion! Plus, I’ve been blessed to participate in various fashion shows – showcasing the designs of African Americans, Latins and Europeans. This is my first time participating in a runway show, featuring African designers, and it’s so exciting and new.

AV: What kind of look will you be going for on the red carpet of the anniversary event?
TM: Well, I haven’t decided on a particular look per se, but I am going to rely on the styling efforts of a designer featured in the “I Wear African” fashion show. I would like to represent today’s African woman – a style that’s global and can be worn by anyone.  I’ve been flipping through African Vibes magazine for inspiration.

AV: What does the “I Wear African” mean to you?
TM: It’s an opportunity to wear, support and celebrate talented African designers and their contributions to fashion.

AV: You have come a long way from the days when you were not allowed to watch television. Since your success in film and television, has your mother changed her opinion about watching television?
TM: Yes, and she’s very proud of me!

To Learn more about Tangi, Visit http://www.tangimiller.com/

Watch a Clip from Hurricane in the Rose Garden: http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi690749977/
Register for African Vibes Magazine 4th Anniversary Event: The Celebration of Contemporary Africa in Hollywood, CA on Eventbrite

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TV and Movies

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

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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)

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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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Sports

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

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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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