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Egyptian American Rami Malek’s Oscar Win Is A Win For Movie Diversity

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It was a star-studded gathering of the Hollywood’s biggest stars on Sunday, February 24, 2019, for the 91st Oscar Academy Awards. The 91st annual red carpet had its surprises too. However, it is understandable that with 7,900 voting members, the odds can swing anywhere. From having no host to an African-American winner, the tales will reverberate for a long time.

Kevin Hart was supposed to host the Oscar this year. However, he withdrew over past tweets that were considered homophobic. The last time the Oscars held without a host was about three decades ago. The absence of a host quickly shifted the attention to tennis superstars like Serena Williams, comedian Trevor Noah, Jennifer Lopez and many more.

Rami Malek wins Best Actor in Leading Role

Rami Malek has always been the favorite to win in the category for his role in the movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Before heading to the Oscars, Malek had earlier bagged the British BAFTA award, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Golden Globes award for the same role. He dedicated the award to all the young people struggling to find their voice. On accepting the award Malek talked about his experience as an immigrant. He said,

'I am the son of immigrants from Egypt. ...a first-generation American, and my story is being written now. I cannot be more grateful to each and every one of you.' - Rami Malek at the Oscar 2019 Click To Tweet

Egyptians on Monday hailed the 37-year-old actor as the new ‘Pharaoh’ following the award. Malek’s parents originally from the Upper Egypt province of Minya are immigrants in the United States. In the movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Rami Malek also played the role of a gay son of immigrants. His cousin, Fady Essam said,

“[The] entire village was up until 5 o’clock in the morning. We called his mother to congratulate her and urge her to bring him to Egypt to hold a huge celebration for him.”

The ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

The movie, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, is based on the true story of the ‘Queen’ rock band and the life of their lead singer Freddie Mercury (played by Rami Malek). The events of the movie portray the buildup to their performance at the Live Aid concert (1985) in Wembley Stadium. The movie portrays Freddie Mercury’s journey from a struggling immigrant to a world-famous artist.

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

‘Black Panther’ took home three awards

Rami Malek made many African proud but he was not the only beacon of the night. ‘Black Panther’, the first black superhero movie also shone at the 91st annual awards. The movie about Wakanda, a mythical country in Africa received seven nominations and won three. Black Panther took the award for the best original score, costume design, and production design. The movie broke box office records becoming the second highest grossing movie of 2018 with over $1.3 billion in revenue worldwide.

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Art

Check Out The Song That Took ‘Song Of The Year’ At The 2019 NAMA

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It was a night of glitz and glamor on Saturday 13th April 2019 at the Harare International Conference Center for the 18th National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA). Celebrities and dignitaries were spotted at the center in scintillating outfits. There were musical performances by music stars like Enzo. However, the climax of the event was the award of plaques in different categories for outstanding works.

The music category always draws the most attention. However, this year had lots of surprise entries. The gospel sensation, Mai Patai was voted the best in the People’s Choice category. Patai recently broke the jinx in the Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 by becoming the first woman to make it to the top three. Another female gospel musician whose hard work continues to pay off is Janet Manyowa. Manyowa won the Outstanding Female Musician award.

ALSO READ: Zimbabwe Artists Unite To Raise Funds For Cyclone Idai Victims

A Battle For Experience And Fame

One of the keenly contested categories at NAMA is the Outstanding Male Musician. Three superstars Baba Harare, Enzo Ishall and ExQ contended the award. However, many believe the ‘Nzenza’ crooner ExQ’s longevity and experience set him apart from his competitors. It was double honors for ExQ as his album ‘Tseu Tseu’ won the Outstanding Album. Although losing out of this category, Enzo’s hit track, ‘Kanjiva’ won the ‘Song of the Year’. Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style Enzo said,

“It is such a great honor to receive this award which I dedicate to my son and I would like to thank friends, family, and my fans as well as my producers for supporting me.”

Surprise Name On The Award List

Long John

One of the surprise names on the NAMA Award list was Long John, a rib-cracking comedian. Not many saw this coming. From John’s reactions, it is obvious he did not see it coming too. The vibrant comedian took to his Facebook to share his joy.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m in shock. I’ve never won anything in my life. But today I am so happy to announce that I’ve just Won the Outstanding Comedian Award. This is so unreal. I even have a certificate and everything. Thank you so much, everyone, for your support #VillageBoy.”

List OF NAMA Award Winners

Spoken Words Award

  • Outstanding Poet: Likhwa Ncube
  • Outstanding Comedian: Learnmore “Long John” Mwanyenyeka

Literary Arts Awards

  • Outstanding First Creative Published Book: Gather the Children by Batsirai Chigama (Ntombekhaya Poetry)
  • Outstanding Children’s Book: The City Girl by Elisha July and Tendai K. Rudanda (Pass-Point Publishers)
  • Outstanding Fiction: Mazai Emheni by Daniel Mutendi (DanTs Media Publishing)

Theatre Awards

  • Outstanding Actor: Teddy Mangawa in Ukama
  • Actress: Qeqeshiwe M’thembo in The Hostel
  • Outstanding Theatrical Production: Ukama by Savanna Trust
  • Outstanding Director: Lloyd Nyikadzino for Zandezi

Dance Awards

  • Outstanding Female Dancer: Vein N Alfazema in Black Sheep
  • Male Dancer: Martin Chabuka in 100% Afro
  • Outstanding Dance Group: Real Flex Dance Group directed by Martin Chabuka
  • Outstanding Choreographer: Macintosh Jerahuni and Chaleen Chimara – Iwe Neni Tinebasa

Visual Arts

  • Outstanding 2 Dimensional Work: The Demolition by John Kotze
  • 3 Dimensional Work: Zvirimudombo by Shelton Mubayi
  • Outstanding Mix Media Work: The Watchman and the Fence by Greg Shaw
  • Outstanding Exhibition: The Grotesque by Alan Sibanda and Talent Kapadza

Film and Television Awards

  • Outstanding Actor: Eddie Sandifolo as Clive in Bhachi
  • Special Mention: Admire Kuzhangaira – in Death and Other Complications
  • Outstanding Actress: Tendaishe Chitima as Anesu in Cook Off
  • Outstanding Music Video: Dzamutsana ft. Jah Prayzah produced by Vusa Hlatshayo (aka Blaq)
  • Outstanding Screen Production (Television Series): Kuchina The Genesis directed by Blessing Gatsi
  • Special Mention: Gaza directed by Ben Mahaka
  • Outstanding Screen Production – Short Film: Bhachi directed by Shupai Kamunyaru
  • Outstanding Screen Production – Full-Length Film: Cook Off directed by Thomas Brickhill

Media Awards

  • Outstanding Journalist – Print: Fred Zindi – The Standard
  • Television: Patience Nyagato – ZTV
  • Radio: Babongile Sikhonjwa (aka uMrifiti) – Sky Metro FM
  • Outstanding Online Media: Capitalk

Music Awards

  • Outstanding Female Musician: Janet Manyowa
  • Male Musician: Enoch “ExQ” Munhenga
  • Outstanding Album: Tseu Tseu by ExQ
  • Outstanding Song: Kanjiva by Stephen “Enzo Ishall” Mamhere
  • People’s Choice Award Winner: Mai Patai

Special Awards

  • Artist in the Diaspora: Danai J. Gurira
  • Outstanding Promoter: Unplugged Zimbabwe
  • Arts Personality Award of the Year: Mokoomba
  • Arts Service Award: The Standard Newspaper
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Charles Mungoshi

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Mo Abudu Is First African To Receive Prestigious Médailles d’Honneur

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Mo Abudu

On 8th of April 2019, celebrities across the globe gathered in Cannes, France for the MIPTV ceremony. MIPTV recognizes and honors senior executives for their impact on the global television industry. Among those honored at the event is Mosunmola ‘Mo’ Abudu, the CEO of EbonyLife Media. This makes Mo Abudu the first African to receive the prestigious Médailles d’Honneur award.

Mo Abudu is one of the most prolific producers in the continent. However, she launched EbonyLife TV in 2013. The TV network became the first global network for black entertainment and lifestyle. However, EbonyLife TV is notable for a slew of original features and series including ‘The Governor’, ‘Sons of the Caliphate’ and ‘Castle & Castle’.

Recipients of the MIPTV Award

Mo Abudu is not the only media executive to receive the award. She shared the stage with Jane Millichip (managing director of Sky Vision), Ilene Chaiken (producer, writer, and showrunner), and Stephane Courbit (chairperson of the Banijay Group). While on stage to receive the award, the obviously emotional Abudu said,

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank MIPTV for this incredible award. My big dream was and still is, to change the narrative about my continent. As a continent, Africa has remained creatively silent for centuries. Our stories seldom told outside of our families and villages and often from the perspective of ‘someone’ looking in. It is therefore with great pride that we, at EbonyLife Media, bring our stories to the world with our TV series and our films.”

Mo Abudu’s Previous Recognitions

Mo Abudu is not a stranger to accolades and awards. CNN described her as “Africa’s Queen of Media who conquered the continent”. Forbes, on the other hand, labels her “Africa’s Most Successful Woman”. Consequently, she also featured on the 2018 Powerlist, a selection of the most influential people of Caribbean and African heritage.

Mo Abudu

In 2018, the convener of the Emmy Awards, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, named Mo Abudu as a director. However, in the same year, she was honored with the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts by the University of Westminster. The honorary degree was in recognition of her contributions to the Nigerian broadcasting industry.

Achievements and Future Projects

Mo Abudu currently heads five divisions of the EbonyLife Media which encompass EbonyLife Productions Limited (UK), EbonyLife Studios, EbonyLife ON, EbonyLife Films, and EbonyLife TV. Consequently, she has produced Nigeria’s highest grossing movie including Chief Daddy (2018), The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai (2017), The Wedding Party (2016), and Fifty (2015).

Mo Abudu has international collaboration with Netflix. However, she recently entered a 3-project deal with Sony Pictures Television (SPT). The deal is the first of its kind in the continent. A movie based on the women soldiers that served in present-day Benin over 200 years ago.

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Zimbabwe Artists Unite To Raise Funds For Cyclone Idai Victims

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Cyclone Idah

Cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe

Last week Thursday, cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe destroying human and properties on its path. It is said to be one of the worst disaster to hit the south-eastern African region. According to statistics, over 2.6 million people are affected across the three countries. Subsequently, the cyclone led to devastating flooding. The cyclone hit the port city of Beira in Sofala province at over 177 km/h (106 mph). Consequently, the port city of Beira which was once home to 500,000 people is now an ‘island’.

The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday announced three days of national mourning. The official death toll as of Monday across Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are 56, 98, and 200 respectively. However, many are still missing. President believes over 1,000 people may have been killed in the disaster. Consequently, the real death toll may remain unknown for many months as the disaster unfolds.

The urgent need for humanitarian services

There is an urgent need to rescue people still trapped within the devastated cities hit by cyclone Idai. Also, the survivors will be relying on humanitarian aid for survival. In the ‘new island’ people are clinging to trees and house roofs for survival. Speaking about the disaster, Manuel Rodrigues, Manica province governor, said,

“We saw people besieged and asking for help… on top of their roofs made up of zinc sheets. Others under flood waters. We can only imagine that they had been there for more than two or three days, without food and without clean drinking water.”

Several aid agencies in Mozambique are complementing government efforts in the distribution of food. Over 3,800 families are taking refuge in Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management.

Zimbabwe musicians rise for cyclone Idai victims

Veteran Zimbabwe musicians have taken to their social media pages to solicit for donations to assist the victims. They also used the medium to share their condolence with the victims. The hip hop icon, Ex Q, Jah Prayzah said,

Jah Prayzah soliciting for donations for victims of cyclone Idai

“Let’s join hands and help those who have been affected by the cyclone Idai. No donation is too small to make a change. Anything you think can assist those in need right now in Chimanimani please bring it over… to 31 Hebert Chitepo in Belvedere.”

Michael Mahendere, a renowned gospel musician wrote,

“Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the cyclone Idai. The scenes are saddening but we know that there is Hope in the God we pray to. The relief that comes from Him is permanent and we stand with them during this devastating season.”

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