May 7, 2013 § 1 Comment
What could beat a free block party in Brooklyn, New York thrown by Blitz the Ambassador and featuring French duo Les Nubians, with a film screening of the Sundance hit Restless City, a picnic, and a live DJ on a May weekend afternoon? Not much else, we figured; tack on a chance to nab an interview with Blitz, and off we went! Boy was it worth it. The Ghanaian born hip hop artist has been called the future of African music, and together with his live band he KILLED it at Fulton Park last Saturday May 4th. His brand of music is infused with Afrobeat and highlife influences, and his live performance in itself is just sheer irrepressible energy. The rest of his band seemed like they were ready to rip off the suits they « Read the rest of this entry »
July 13, 2011 § 1 Comment
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 »
January 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
The Brit Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the US’s Grammy Awards, has a young hip hopper of Nigerian origin leading the pack of nominees. Patrick Okogwu – popularly known as Tinie Tempah, has been nominated in four categories. For Best British Male Solo artist he’s in rather prestigious company, with Robert Plant and Paul Weller also making the cut. He’s also in contention for British Album of the Year, Best British Single (for “Pass Out”) and Best British Breakthrough Act.
British critics hailed this year’s nominations as being free from too much pop – then I heard that international nominees include Katy Perry, Eminem, and Justin Bieber, and I « Read the rest of this entry »
December 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
By the time young pop singer Di’Ja opened the set with a new song “Private Show,” from her upcoming album, the crowd was ready to get down. The show that was billed as a DC Diaspora Thanksgiving event lived up to its Diaspora name simply by virtue of the performing lineup. Di’Ja has Sierra Leonean, Nigerian and Lebanese ancestry, Levelz is from Nigeria, and US-born Phil Ade is from Nigerian and Grenadian stock. But even though Di’Ja amply warmed up the masses with her catchy pop « Read the rest of this entry »
November 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
The DC Diaspora of music is celebrating the creme de la creme of young hip hop talent in Washington, DC as they roll out rappers Levelz and Phil Ade for their DC Diaspora Thanksgiving Kickoff event. They are both of Nigerian descent, and together with a new crop of young rappers are poised to pull DC hip hop out of the hulking shadow of go-go music, where it has been languishing since the 70’s. We can go way back in history to radio stations not supporting quality hip hop (“Radio stations, I question their Blackness, they call themselves black but we’ll see if they play this!” – Public Enemy, “Bring the Noise” 1988) but in DC, they really take it to ridiculous levels. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 12, 2010 § 4 Comments
Back in the late 80s when some radio stations were still reluctant to play rap music, Public Enemy’s Chuck D vowed he’d one day “treat it like a seminar, reach
the bourgeois and rock a boulevard…” Hip hop’s reach has, of course, extended way past the bourgeois; beyond what most people imagined at that time. In the late 70s, a group of young kids rose from poor, seemingly hopeless conditions in South Bronx, New York to create amazingly beautiful art and become the world-famous Rock Steady Crew. Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón, one of the original members of that crew, recently took a trip to Uganda to teach seminars and workshops on breakdancing. He was invited by Abraham “Abramz” Tekya, a young visionary B-Boy who started Breakdance Project Uganda to uplift and empower disadvantaged youth using hip hop and breakdancing.
November 4, 2010 § 2 Comments
The name of the movie is curious enough to make you wonder what in the world it’s about. I’ve been hearing a great deal about Bouncing Cats, so I’ll probably catch it when it screens at National Geographic in Washington, DC next Tuesday November 9. After only a few months on the festival circuit, Bouncing Cats is already an award-winning feature, grabbing trophies at New York’s Urban World Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Festival, and an Audience Favorite Award at Doc Utah. It follows the inspiring story of a young Ugandan B-Boy “Abramz” (Abraham Tekya) and his Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU),
October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Who in here remembers State of the Union? On U Street?” asked Lady Pcoq of the audience during an interlude where her group Lady Pcoq & the Plumes was performing at Bossa Bistro in Adams Morgan. I was among a few who raised their hands. Back in the late nineties while shooting a documentary film about poetry and spoken word in Washington, DC, I spent many an evening at joints like State, Kaffa House and Mangos.
October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Amongst thousands and thousands of very good MCs, a poet will flow like the breeze…” Rhymes delivered by no less blessed an MC than KRS One, and certainly the first ones that came to mind when I heard Mello-D dropping lyrics on the mic a few weeks ago.
Now, I had seen Mello-D perform live before, even though I’d never met the rest of his band, the Rados. Well, when Afrofusion TV dropped in on one of the band’s rehearsal sessions in the basement studio of Mello-D’s house in suburban Washington, DC, I thought to myself: this is the sound of true live hip hop.
September 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
Well, disappointment and setbacks always come with this TV biz, don’t they? We had our contacts, but they were unable to come through for us at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. So, we can’t bring you good photos and video of the Distant Relatives tour. We considered this really important for our webisode on the development of Africa’s music scene, and how Africa’s cultures are featuring on the world stage. Oh well… However, while milling around outside the venue feeling rather crestfallen, we ran into hip hop intellectual and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson! We walked right up to him and thrust our camera in his face, so he proceeded to break it down for us about “Distant Relatives,” the connection between Trenton and Trenchtown and Freetown, etc., etc…
Here’s a brief preview clip of Michael Eric Dyson chatting with AFROfusion’s Khadia Conteh:
More of what he said coming soon on AFROfusion TV… Stay tuned!