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 »

The 4/20 Chronixx “Chronology” Show

April 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

Chronixx at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD

The first single off his soon-to-be released debut album Chronology, “Likes,” has Chronixx warning us about the superficiality of social media hype. But, it’s evident that the most prominent artist at the forefront of the reggae revival has also made very smart use of social media to steadily grow his worldwide fan base. That – together with his critically acclaimed EP Dread and Terrible, the announcement of his Chronology tour, and his February appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show – has made his new disc one of the most eagerly anticipated reggae debut albums. We first heard of Chronixx back when we interviewed the man who coined the term “reggae revival,” author, culture activist and DJ Dutty Bookman. Naturally, seeing Chronixx and his band

Chronixx goes airborne during his performance in Silver Spring, MD

Zincfence Redemption live in concert on April 20 was a must, and although we were not able to interview the artist this time, we can share some photos and a (cell phone) video clip from his show. Fellow Jamaican artist Kelissa, who is also « 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.

Director of Ethiopian Indie Difret on his Award-Winning Film

April 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari introduces his film "Difret" at the AFI Silver Theatre

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari introduces his film “Difret” at the AFI Silver Theatre

It’s hard to imagine how one could see Difret, the independent film by Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, and not want to do something about the issue of violence against women and girls. That is how I felt after the award-winning film screened last month at AFI Silver Theatre as part of TransAfrica Forum’s New African Films Festival. And clearly that was part of the director’s intent. Difret recounts a landmark 1996 case in Ethiopia where a lawyer, Meaza Ashenafi, already a fearless advocate for women, takes up the defense of a young teen girl, Hirut Assefa, who has killed the man who abducted her. The practice of abducting young girls into marriage had been a tradition in Ethiopia for centuries, and Hirut’s reaction gets her condemned to death, prompting Ms. Ashenafi to become embroiled in an impassioned battle to save her life. Standing up to entrenched customs and beliefs is a courageous tack if you’re an African « Read the rest of this entry »

Dutty Bookman on the Reggae Revival Movement

December 9, 2013 § 12 Comments


Since returning from one of the world’s largest reggae festivals – the Rototom – in Spain this past August, Jamaican author and cultural activist Dutty Bookman has been more encouraged to spread the vibes of the new reggae revival. He was invited to speak at the “Reggae University” there about the new consciousness in reggae music, the return to the message of Rastafari and Pan Africanism, and to the live, organic sound  that has been the hallmark of roots reggae. There was so much to cover when Dutty sat down with Afrofusion TV to talk about his passion for the Reggae Revival. His book Tried and True: Revelations of a Rebellious Youth,  published in 2011, was kind of the springboard for his involvement in the « Read the rest of this entry »

DC Artists Wayna and Wes Felton hold CD Release Show, hosted by Asheru

November 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Promoted by DJ Munch’s Hedrush, Grammy-nominated Ethiopian born artist Wayna and another DC local Wes Felton are both celebrating their new album releases at the U Street Music Hall on Sunday November 10. Hosted by longtime DC hip hop artist Asheru (Unspoken Heard, Boondocks intro), the show is sure to bring out the creme de la creme of the DC indie soul and hip hop scenes. Wayna’s

Wayna (courtesy Wayna's Facebook page)

Wayna (courtesy Wayna’s Facebook page)

new release, “The Expats,” has been described as “brilliant” by none other than the Washington Post; she got the Grammy nod for her cover of the Minnie Riperton classic “Loving You,” back in 2009. “Imagine the Future” is Wes Felton’s new effort, produced by Kenny Allen, another local artist. Asheru himself is about to drop his new full length release, “Sleepless in Soweto.” Sounds like its going to be a great Veterans Day weekend in the District of Columbia. If you’re going be in DC, don’t miss this fantastic offering. Bless…

Interview: Sister Carol and Black Uhuru’s Michael Rose Live at Howard Theatre

April 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

Michael Rose

Michael Rose

When comedian Jimmy Fallon introduced Bill Cosby on his late night TV talk show earlier this month, house band The Roots broke into Black Uhuru‘s “Sponji Reggae,” and Cosby came in doing his signature boogie to the popular tune with Fallon following close behind. But drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson had to remind Cosby that the song was played on an episode of the Cosby show almost 30 years ago. For reggae fans it was a great trip down memory lane. At the Howard Theatre last Wednesday, while on tour with the “Black Cinderella” Sister Carol, by the time Black Uhuru’s Michael Rose launched into “Sponji Reggae,” we were in the middle of a more glorious trip; he was already deep into a crucial sampling of the group’s major hits. Sister Carol, clad in African regalia, opened the show at the historic DC landmark rather promptly at 9pm, with “Rastafari is my Savior,” then continued with a string of her familiar hits from the 90s. Michael Rose kicked off his segment with “Shine Eye Gal,” followed by ‘Plastic Smile” and “General Penitentiary.” Billed as the Balance Tour (the idea is apparently to correct the « Read the rest of this entry »

Kadiatu Kamara and EbonyM Magazine – Fashion and Print Match

December 31, 2012 § 2 Comments

Evelyn Beckley founder of EbonyM and Kadiatu Kamara, designer

Evelyn Beckley founder of EbonyM and Kadiatu Kamara, designer

When EbonyM Magazine founder Evelyn Beckley decided to launch her new society publication, her choice for the cover feature? Former model and new fashion designer Kadiatu Kamara. So it seemed to follow that both young ladies would choose to do a joint debut, with Kadiatu taking the opportunity to introduce a new fashion line from her boutique. A 2008 Mis West Africa UK, Kadiatu moved back to Sierra Leone in 2011 and opened Vivid Emporium, located in the Aberdeen area of Freetown, Sierra Leone. The show, held on December 27th, was an invitation-only « Read the rest of this entry »

Ms. Sierra Leone USA Women’s Leadership and Scholarship Pageant 2012

July 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

Ruby Johnson, Miss Sierra Leone USA 2012, with runners-up Fatmata Barrie and Adiatu Bangura

With most of the Washington, DC area still reeling from last Friday’s killer storm that caused widespread power outages, you had to have some sort of sympathy for the organizers of the 5th Ms. Sierra Leone USA Pageant on Sunday July 1st. The original venue was still without power, so a last-minute change had to be phoned, emailed and tweeted out to patrons and invited guests alike. Event organizer Fuambai Ahmadu and former winner Natasha Beckley had to make do with a smaller atrium at the local county civic center, and switch MCs and judges around in an effort to keep the show on schedule. The scaled-down event ended up featuring only eight ladies representing various regions in Sierra Leone, but in that sweltering atrium – fan cooled because power had to be supplied by generator – that was more than enough to keep the excitement going among patrons. Ms. Freetown, a 21-year-old Virginia Tech mining engineering « Read the rest of this entry »

Fela! Cast Members Teach Howard University Dance Class

October 13, 2011 § 3 Comments

Do the cast members of the hit broadway musical Fela! ever get  a breather? Even while on tour with the show, many of them take time out to do work in the community. US-based Life Giver Entertainment has been sponsoring a tour of master workshops and dance classes run by some of the cast members as they go from city to city. Having just left Washington, DC, the show is now on a week-long run in Atlanta, and they are heading to Connecticut next week. Afrofusion TV was able to catch two of the cast members as they ran a workshop at Howard University’s Dance Studio in Washington, DC. As djembe drummer Talu Green kept the rhythm going with his hands, Guinean dancer and instructor Ismael Kouyaté led the class through some basic West African dance steps and sequences. Talu Green, who travelled with the Broadway cast to Nigeria this past April « Read the rest of this entry »

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