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Arts & Culture

South African Comedian Trevor Noah wins Emmy for his YouTube Comedy Special

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South African comedian Trevor Noah walked away with his first Emmy this weekend at the award’s Creative Arts ceremony in LA, taking the top prize for his YouTube comedy special, The Daily Show: Between the Scenes.

The special won the Emmy for Best Short Form Variety Series, beating out Behind the VoiceEpic Rap Battles of History, Honest Trailers and The Star Wars Show.

His Debut

Noah took the reins from well respected host Jon Stewart  in 2015 and has held his own, growing the viewership numbers  by 17% since last year. 

Controversy

However, Noah’s time on the show has not been without controversy. While he has used satire to take on some really important conversations about US politics, policy and social issues, he has not been able to do so without stepping on some toes. Following violent clashes between right-wing white supremacists and the left in Berkley, California, the comedian was accused of being out of touch and pandering to right-wing propagandist after making comments on the “violent” leftist group Antifa, a group that claims to fight against fascism and neo-Nazis.

“When people see that, all they think is, ‘Oh shit, it’s Vegan ISIS.’ Because you don’t realise when you think you’re punching Nazis, you don’t realize that you’re also punching your cause. Because your opponents, they’ll just use every violent incident to discredit your entire movement,” he said on his show earlier this month.

Rising Star

But controversy aside, the funny man’s latest win comes on the back of his taking home a Best Host award at the 2017 MTV Movie and TV Awards in May, so he’s definitely on the right track.

His brand of satire has a growing audience, with a Youtube following of over 2.4 million subscribers.

 

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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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TV and Movies

Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman To Play Yasuke, The First Black Samurai

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The popular opinion is that only Asians become samurai. Apparently, there were a few non-Asian samurais in history. However, the person that started it all was Yasuke, the first black samurai. The story of Yasuke has been a secret for a long time. However, that is about to change. Black Panther star, Chadwick Boseman, will play the role of Yasuke. According to a report on Deadline, Boseman said,

“The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best-kept secrets. That’s not just an action movie… That’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.”

Yasuke’s biography

Perhaps, one of the best insights into the personality of Yasuke is through the book by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard. The book is titled “African Samurai: The True Story, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan”. According to the book, Yasuke was taken from his village. Subsequently, he was sent to India to work for the Portuguese. However, he came to Japan in 1579 working as the bodyguard of Alessandro Valignano, a powerful Portuguese Jesuit missionary.

Furthermore, to get favor from warlord Oda Nobunaga, Valignano offered Yasuke as “a weapon bearer and novelty” to Nobunaga. Impressed by Yasuke’s loyalty, Nobunaga gave him a prestigious samurai status. Consequently, as a samurai, he was revered by everyone around him. According to the biographers, “People in the streets did not only gape at him. They bowed, heads to the earth, as they addressed him.” However, there is a slightly different version of the biography according to Deadline.

“Yasuke was a native of Portuguese Mozambique who was brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries. [Consequently] the first black man to set foot on Japanese soil, Yasuke’s arrival aroused the interest of Nobunaga, a ruthless warlord seeking to unite the fractured country under his banner. [However] a complex relationship developed between the two men as Yasuke earned Nobunaga’s friendship, respect—and ultimately, the honour, swords, and title of samurai.”

Movie development

Yasuke is a 16th-century Japanese samurai. However, the talk about the STX film dates back to 2017. Stephen L’Heureux and Mike De Luca were co-producing a movie on Yasuke’s story at that time. According to Deadline, Doug Miro (‘Narcos’ co-creator) was in charge of the script writing.

However, this is not the first time Boseman will be starring in biographical movies. He featured in ‘Get On Up’ (as James Brown), ‘42’ (as Jackie Robinson), and ‘Marshall’ (as Thurgood Marshall). However, fingers are already pointing at Boseman’s next project, ’21 Bridges’. He will be playing a detective hunting down a pair of cop killers. The Black Panther star is already becoming a fan’s favourite.

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