A Bunny Mack Retrospective: Sierra Leone’s Music Icon

July 15, 2015 § 2 Comments

"Let Me Love You" single cover

“Let Me Love You” single cover

Let’s just be honest: “Let Me Love You (My Sweetie)” by Bunny Mack has one of the funkiest bass lines ever laid down on a dance track. Composed by Bunny Mack (producer Akie Deen shares writing credits on the song as well), it was a continuation of a style of music he had developed with Deen, where he fused disco with calypso, African and funk grooves. “Let Me Love You (My Sweetie)” became one of the biggest African releases; it made the British pop charts in early 1980, reaching Number 76, and cracked the top 10 dance chart there, where it stayed for about 4 weeks. With its slamming bass line and infectious chorus, the melodic tune became a dance classic throughout the African diaspora, generating in the process a certain confusion about who sang it and which country it originated from. Play it for virtually anyone from the African diaspora, and the odds are that they have either partied to it, or played it themselves if they are DJs. When an African American friend asked me excitedly a few years back if I had heard “this new African song” as she put it, and sang “Let Me Love You,” I had to patiently inform her it’s old, but it’s a classic, and that’s why it seems new.

Bunny Mack with Akie Deen (Photo credit:Sewa News)

Bunny Mack with Sierra Leonean music producer Akie Deen

It has been a few decades now, but I do remember well when Bunny Mack was interviewed by a radio show host back in either late ’79 or early ’80s Sierra Leone. This was fascinating to me because I had never really considered Sierra Leone music in terms of solo artists. We had a bunch of semi-successful bands with decent hits, like Afro National, Sabanoh 75 and Supercombo, and each had solid musicians that were very talented in their own right. But the last really « 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 »

Mother Africa and her Talents

June 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

Mother Africa and her Talents was a night of African Fashion and music last Sunday, with a diverse array of fashions from designers around the diaspora. MCeed by talk show host Sinota Odu, and radio personality David Vandy, it was headlined by Sierra Leone singer Shady, and featured performances that ranged from pop to Gospel to dance. According to founder Fatmata Koroma, the annual event which takes place in the Washington, DC area aims to showcase the beauty, sophistication and diversity of African style and African culture. Be sure to check out the gallery/slideshow of photos that Afrofusion took at the event. Bless…

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Sierra Leonean Filmmaker holds New York Premiere for his Award-winning Feature Film

July 27, 2011 § 5 Comments

The movie is called The Three Way, and it nabbed three awards at the San Diego Black Film Festival this past January. Written and directed by New York-based filmmaker Julian Renner, the film is a comedic drama “where lovers and friends are forced to reveal their secrets and confront their own lies.” On Saturday July 30 Renner’s movie will have its New York premiere at the Manhattan Film Festival, starting at 2:30pm. Renner will be in attendance, as well as a few of the cast members like Medina Senghore, Sofia Rodriguez and Karmia Berry. The 86-minute movie won Best Comedy Feature and the Filmmaker’s Choice Award at the San Diego Black Film Festival, and Julian « Read the rest of this entry »

Africa Fashion Week New York: Sierra Leone’s Madam Wokie hits the stage Saturday

July 14, 2011 § 2 Comments

Africa Fashion Week New York started it’s runway shows July 14, featuring a who’s who of African fashion designers. Project Runway‘s Korto Momolu from Liberia, Rouch, Jo Black Craze and Blackbird designs are all on schedule for day one. One of the newest designers is a young Sierra Leonean designer who just established her brand two years ago. Madam Wokie’s Couture is the brainchild « Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Tim Reid Offers Scholarships to Diaspora Filmmakers in London

March 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

Tim Reid addresses filmmakers at the British Film Institute Southbank in London

It certainly feels like an age since I posted here; my apologies. Travel sometimes does that to you. I spent a few days in the UK on my way to Sierra Leone, and as you may know, the internet in Freetown is pretty patchy…. In any case I was invited to a great event by my friend Makeda in London just before I left. It was an event organized by the Black World Cinema Collective and the Legacy Media Institute. Producer, filmmaker and actor Tim Reid, popularly known for his role in the TV series Frank’s Place, was talking extensively about the African Diaspora. Delivering a presentation entitled “Cultural Propaganda for Purpose and Profit,” he asserted that emerging black filmmakers have the advantage of a unique cultural experience in telling their own stories. Reid was at the British « Read the rest of this entry »

Tinie Tempah at Arise Magazine Fashion Week, + Sierra Leone Designer Madam Wokie’s Collection

March 16, 2011 § 4 Comments

Tinie Tempah performing at AMFW

The closing day of Arise Magazine Fashion Week featured an awards night with a fashion show and two exciting acts, Nigeria’s Mo Cheddah and Britain’s Tinie Tempah, performing in Nigeria for the first time. Tinie ripped up the place with renditions of several of his hits including “Written in the Stars” and “Invincible,” then closed out with his Brit Award-winning smash “Pass Out”. Tinie expressed his joy at coming home to his native Nigeria for the first time in several years, and produced a rousing performance that saw virtually the whole crowd on their feet. South Africans Kluk CGDT won designer of the year, and Tanzanian model Cjika was model of the year. Veteran Nigerian designer Deola Sagoe won the first Lifetime Achievement award. Among the award presenters was Nigerian business mogul Alhaji Aliko Dangote, ranked as the « Read the rest of this entry »

Estelle Shines at Arise Magazine Fashion Week!

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

As Arise Magazine Fashion Week 2011 strutted toward a finale in Lagos, Nigeria, it became clear that African designers have indeed staked their claim to the top runways of world fashion. And Afrofusion is keeping tabs on those developments. Here’s a brief report on Day 3 from our correspondent on the scene…

Estelle on Stage at AMFW 2011

Grammy Award-winning British singer Estelle brought the curtains down at Day 3 of the Arise Magazine Fashion Week in Lagos, rounding out a day of exciting designs by several African designers. Dressed in a Korto Momolu piece and coming on after Deola Sagoe’s impressive collection which was dedicated to the Japanese people, Estelle rocked the crowd with a rendition of several early recordings, culminating in a rousing performance of her 2008 smash hit, “American Boy.” But the highlight of her performance came when she broke into a version of the popular Nigerian track “Sweet Mother”, which saw several elder members of the audience get up off their seats and get down, some even joining her on stage. Estelle, who has Sierra Leone heritage (last name, Swaray), even paused to show solidarity and take photos with Sierra Leone’s Madam Wokie entourage! As the closing act on the last day, Tinie Tempah reportedly tore up the place! Stay tuned… You can see photos from AMFW day 3 below. Bless…

Madam Wokie's Mary-Ann Kai Kai (left) and crew with Estelle

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