#Queens: African Diaspora Women – Esosa E.

September 3, 2017 § Leave a comment

Esosa E. performs her one-woman play at the Smithsonian Nat’l Museum of African Art

I think any black woman is a queen. It’s just, do you know it…Based on who we are and what we’ve been through and how we survive and where we stand, we are on kind of sacred ground. We stand on the backs of our ancestors.” – Ava DuVernay, Film Director

In keeping with Afrofusion TV’s mission to celebrate African diaspora people, highlight their creativity, achievements and accomplishments, we have started a new series featuring African Diaspora Women. Ms. DuVernay’s quote encapsulates the idea behind this series, which will focus on women who are making an impact in their area of professional activity –  socially and culturally – and continuing the legacy of greatness that was left by those who have passed on. In the ongoing chronicle of the progress that African descendants  have made in the diaspora, unfortunately, black women have not always gotten their due. And so we aren’t waiting, we’re celebrating.

We’re kicking it off with a feature on actor, producer, author, and raw girl vegan Esosa E. We first talked to this Nigerian-American renaissance woman back in 2014 about her role as Ngozi in the hit web series An African City; this year Esosa has been performing her one-woman play “The Woman Who Would Be King” at major DC venues after a successful showing in South Africa last year. Special thanks go the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage for allowing us to use some of their footage for this piece, and thanks a heap to Esosa for her time and for agreeing to do this feature. Check out a short promo video of our interview and watch the full feature on our website and our YouTube Channel. We’ll say no more; just be sure to follow Esosa on Instagram, Twitter, and like her page on Facebook.Watch this space for more features on dynamic African Diaspora women. Bless…

Yemi Alade: A Mama Africa for the Millennial Generation

August 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

Yemi Alade put on a party of a show at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC

Fans had started screaming for Nigeria’s music superstar Yemi Alade long before she came onstage at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC, as they endured an extra-long opening set with a multitude of dancers, rappers and singers. When she finally burst onto the stage with her dancers, electrifying the crowd with two of her hit songs “Tangerine” and “Tumbum,” one could not help but conclude that we were witnessing the evolution of a bonafide African music legend. No matter who’s top of the bill, you can always expect a party when an African musician puts on a concert, and Yemi Alade did not disappoint. She engaged the crowd in raucous call and response chants to her songs, and invited several guests onto the stage to participate in a mini dance-off. The 28-year-old singer and songwriter describes her music as “afropolitan,” or “Afro-highlife, a meld of Afrobeat, R&B, pop, and highlife.” Before her DC show, Yemi Alade sat down with « Read the rest of this entry »

Reparations, Race and Religion at 10th African Diaspora International Film Festival

August 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

This year the African Diaspora International Film Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in Washington, DC at the Marvin Center on the campus of George Washington University. Over the course of three days, from August 19-21, the festival showed narrative and documentary feature films and short films from just about every corner of the African diaspora. The biographical documentary BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, (2015) shared the opening night with another movie, Discipline. Noted Black Arts Movement poet Sonia Sanchez herself was in attendance together with one of the film’s directors Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, for a Q&A which was followed by a VIP reception where attendees

Sonia Sanchez (right) takes questions with the director of BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

Sonia Sanchez (right) takes questions with the director of BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

got to mingle, take photos with, and get autographs from Ms. Sanchez. The closing night films focused on celebrating the African religions still vibrant in Brazil and Cuba. Oggun, an old classic by Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando and Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil, (2015) directed by Donna Roberts, who participated in a lively Q&A after the film’s screening. « Read the rest of this entry »

In “Baobab Flowers,” African diaspora women challenge Education Inequality

June 2, 2016 § 1 Comment

BF Still

In the ever changing world of filmmaking, from the technologies used in its creation to the way we view the end product, a few things remain constant. For artists of color the world over, especially those of African descent, one of these is the importance of telling our own stories. Brazilian filmmaker Gabriela Watson obviously takes this very seriously; in her new documentary film Baobab Flowers, she tackles the problem of education inequality from an African Diaspora perspective by following two women high school teachers in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Philadelphia, USA. It is a film that seeks to show the endemic  problem of low quality education in underserved black communities worldwide by focusing on two unrelated women who are nonetheless similar in their approach to teaching and to their relationships with their students, and also in their struggle to overcome such abject inequality. « Read the rest of this entry »

Examining the Intricacies of Afro-Latino Identity

July 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Milena Carranza, Dash Harris and Gabriela Watson in discussion at Intersections of Afrolatinidad

Milena Carranza, Dash Harris and Gabriela Watson in discussion at Intersections of Afrolatinidad in Focus

Across cultures, darker people suffer most. Why?” That question, displayed on one of Andre 3000’s costumes from the Outkast Tour, may well have been tugging at the United Nations when they declared 2015-2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent. The resolution pledged that it would work harder to fully recognize the contributions of people of African descent to global society, to encourage and promote inclusiveness, and to vigorously combat racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia. As Afrofusion TV prepared a segment on Afro-Latinos as part of our African Diaspora series, we found that this group has had varied success in fighting some of the battles outlined in the UN resolution. Less than 4% of the more than 10 million enslaved Africans ended up in North America; the vast majority was brought to the Caribbean and Brazil. The study of Afro descendants in the Americas, their culture, and their struggle with identity led us to the work « Read the rest of this entry »

The Divine Comedy: African Artists explore Dante’s Epic at the Museum of African Art

April 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Aida Muluneh, part of The 99 Series. Photo courtesy the artist

Aida Muluneh, part of The 99 Series. Photo courtesy the artist

What do you envisage when you think of heaven and hell? Most people’s imagination of the afterlife is tied to something written in a novel or depicted on screen. At the Smithsonian’s Museum of African Art until August 2nd you can see a refreshing new take on Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, collected and curated by noted art critic Simon Njami, and featuring a host of contemporary African Artists from the continent and the Diaspora. Divided into themes of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell, the exhibition takes up all three floors of the museum, with art also displayed on the entry pavilion and

Wangechi Mutu, "The Storm has finally made it out of me"

Wangechi Mutu, “The Storm has finally made it out of me”

the stairwells. Forty women and men that include both established and emerging artists have their work displayed here, and it ranges from paintings to textiles to sculpture to collage to photography and video. Well known names like Kenya’s Wangechi Mutu and the UK’s Yinka Shonibare share the space with up and comers like Angola’s Edson Chagas, who was one of the breakout stars at the Venice Biennale in 2013. On Wednesday at the opening of the exhibition, Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh (Howard University alum), Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr, Senegalese painter Pélagie Gbaguidi and Benin’s Dmitri Fagbohoun were part of a discussion panel led by the guest curator Simon Njami.

Moataz Nasr, Aida Muluneh and Simon Njami at the opening of The Divine Comedy Exhibition

Moataz Nasr, Aida Muluneh and Simon Njami at the opening of The Divine Comedy Exhibition

(Nasr was later kind and accommodating enough to grant us an interview for Afrofusion TV’s upcoming web series.)

Students and artists alike are invited to submit an original poem inspired by three of the works from the exhibition, by Abdoulai Konaté of Mali, Wangechi Mutu, and Edson Chagas. For more information about submitting work to the contest, go their website. The deadline for submission is April 17. Bless.

A Conversation with “An African City” actress Esosa E.

April 21, 2014 § 2 Comments


Ghanaian Restaurant and bar Bukom Cafe was perhaps the apt setting for a recent interview we did with actress Esosa E., one of the stars and producers of a new web series An African City. The gorgeous Ivy Leaguer, also a model, writer, director, and radio show host joined us at the Washington, DC joint – a staple in the Adams Morgan neighborhood for decades – to discuss her role in the popular series set and shot in Accra, Ghana. Created by Nicole Armateifio, a Ghanaian American with a background in International Development and Communications, the series follows five successful African women who return to Ghana after living in the west, seeking primarily a rich and rewarding love life. It’s « Read the rest of this entry »

The Afropolitan Presence at the African Diaspora Awards 2013

December 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

Yaya Alafia talks with Afrofusion TV on the red carpet at the African Diaspora Awards 2013

Yaya Alafia talks with Afrofusion TV on the red carpet at the African Diaspora Awards 2013

It wasn’t quite the coincidence – or was it? – that at Applause Magazine‘s African Diaspora Awards in New York City last Saturday, the award for musician of the year went to a Ghanaian hip hop artist whose upcoming album is called “Afropolitan Dreams.” But yes, indeed, the Afropolitan scene was in full effect as the aforementioned musician Blitz the Ambassador, Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu, rising star filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu, and the brilliant actress Yaya Alafia all took home honors for work in their craft. Andrew Dosunmu (Restless City) was awarded Film of the Year for his new movie Mother of George, a visual arthouse delight shot right there in New York City. Wangechi Mutu, whose  first US survey exhibition entitled Wangechi Mutu: a Fantastic Journey recently opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, was honored with the Creative Artist of the Year award. All of these artists and other awardees were proud of the impact « Read the rest of this entry »

Shattering The Silence: Benefit for the 1st World Summit of African Descendants

July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

At the start of the year, the United Nations pronounced 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. In recognition of the resilience and power of African Descendants all over the world, the US International Coordinating Committee for the 1st World Summit of African Descendants is holding a benefit concert Friday July 15 at Bloombars in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC. This concert aims to raise funds for those who cannot afford the cost of travel to La Ceiba, Honduras where the summit will be held from August 18-21 2011. Some of the artists performing will be DC Casineros, a duo from African diaspora group Sahel, DC Mambo, and Vicky Leyva. Afro-Cuban painter Lazaro Batista will also showcase his art. Bloombars is at 3222 11th Street NW. The show starts at 9:00pm. Check out a quick preview above featuring DC Mambo, Lazaro Batista and Adrian Valdivia from DC Casineros. For more information check out the summit website here. Bless…

Celebrating African Hip Hop at the Kennedy Center

July 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

Maimouna Youssef performs with her band at the Kennedy Center

At the Kennedy Center July 12, it was an evening that music site Okayafrica called a celebration of hip hop’s new African renaissance. As part of the 10th Anniversary of the Hip Hop Theatre Festival, the show started with a “warm up” dance class led by Zimbabwean dancer Rujeko Zumbutshena (Fela!) to prep the audience for the rest of the night. She guided a fairly sizable group through hip-hop and African dance moves. Local rap star Tabi Bonney was the host of the show, and introduced Baltimore native Maimouna Youssef, an amazing grammy-nominated singer, MC and poet. Youssef got the crowd on its feet, taking them through an energetic mix of African infused hip hop and soul, « Read the rest of this entry »

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