Gripped By Nostalgia, Macron Worships At Afrika Shrine

President Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday night, made real his threat to visit the Afrika Shrine, Lagos, where he reunited with lovers of the afro culture.

A ‘threat’ because that might be the way his plan to visit the centre built by Femi Kuti, scion of afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, first seemed to Nigeria’s political establishment whose relationship with Fela was usually problematic.  He, however, got an ally in the Lagos State Government, which has not only worked closely with the Fela family but also been part of the promotion of the afro legacy.

For the 40-year-old leader, there was the need to live his liberal destiny and fulfil a rite of nostalgia, having been a faithful of the Afrika Shrine when he worked at the French Embassy in Lagos some 17 years ago. That is why the Tuesday night party would never have ended until Macron had performed what can be regarded as a kind of ritual.

After a warm reception led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Femi and Fela’s daughter, Yeni, as well as other dignitaries that included Prof. Wole Soyinka, and even after the welcome performance by Footprints of David, Macron requested a break for him to go upstairs and behold the entire shrine from the top.

The  long walk to the apex of the arena further removed the myths of offialdom that often surrounds such leaders, as all classes of people joined him, alongside Ambode, with some pausing to take selfies with their dear Macron.  The journey back to the high table was equally adventurous.

For Ambode, it was a night to ask everybody to say, ‘Yeye,’ being the slang expression with which Fela used to tickle his fans. The governor described the Afrika Shrine as a centre where cultural values are exchanged in the form of entertainment. Noting that the energy that defined Lagos was not different from what was obtainable in Paris, Ambode highlighted some of the efforts that his government has made to boost the culture, tourism and entertainment sector – as reinforced by some of the documentaries shown in the course of the programme.

On the essence of Macron’s visit, the governor said, “His ascension to office is an inspiration to Nigerian youths.”

While sponsors of the event, including Ecobank and Trace, also spoke about the values of their organisations, Macron explained that he found his trip to Lagos and visit to the arena fulfilling.

During a conversation led by seasoned presenter, Kenturah King, he spoke glowingly about the shrine, although he warned that he would not be able to share all his memories, saying, “Matters of a shrine remain in the shine.”

He told his fellow afro disciples, “It’s very emotional for me to come back to Nigeria 17 years after my stay ended. I didn’t imagine I’d be back in these conditions. The Shrine is an iconic cultural hub. And I say with a lot of humility that I recognise the importance of African culture.

He urged the youths not to allow the accident of colonialism hold them back, promising that he would mobilise Europe to support Africa, with a cultural conference already initiated for 2020. He also enjoined the youth to be politically conscious, reminding them that apart from being a music icon, Fela was involved in politics because he wanted change.

He said, “Democracy is never written in advance. I am probably a good example of that.  Nobody has to decide Africa’s future. Our role is to help the new generation seize opportunities and rise to the challenge. This is what underpins a new, balanced relationship. My most important message to Africa is that the future of Africa is here in Africa.”

There is no doubt that Macron enjoyed every bit of the artistic reception accorded him. While Footprints of David, a group of mainly children cultural dancers led by Seun Awobajo, opened the show with a Sango performance. Yemi Alade also teased Macron with her energetic performance, later ushering in Femi, who gave the august visitor the afro magic he had really missed.

Yet, the event beautifully compered by star musician, Banky W, was not all about music. While Macron was ushered into an exhibition organised by Art  X, featuring Victor Ehikhamenor, Ndidi Emefiele and Tokini Peterside (top collector Prince Yemisi Shyllon and veteran artist, Nike Davies-Okudaye were also in the building), 11-year-old artist, simply identified as Kazeem, elevated an old picture of Macron into a portrait that was well celebrated. The awed President whispered some words into the boy’s ears while Ambode also gave him kudos.

Later, some of the star Thespians and film-makers also on hand to receive Macron staged a skit, with the French leader also getting a role in it.

In the Shrine were the likes of Jide Kosoko, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Chika Okpala (Zebrudaya), Joke Silva, Desmond Elliot, Angelique Kidjo , Alex Ekubo and Ramsey Nuoah, among others.

Savouring a slive of the treat, Macron said, “This is African energy. The one I discovered here in Lagos when I was 23. The one I am glad to see is still thriving several years later. The one I hope many Europeans will get to know. The one that is far from the African prejudice of misery.”

<< PUNCH.>>

Fake Friend, Home Breaker: Toyin Abraham Apologies To Mercy Aigbe

Popular actress Toyin Abraham has owned up to her mistake and finally apologized to colleague and friend Mercy Aigbe, for calling her a fake friend and home breaker on social media. The ‘Alakada’ star in an Instagram post that went viral few weeks ago called the Edo actress a gossip and also accused her of having a hand in her failed marriage. However, few days later Toyin took to Instagram yet again to refute claims that she was at loggerheads with Mercy, claiming that her previous rant was a mere stunt and had no iota of truth in it. In a swift twist of event, Toyin Abraham has reached the conclusion that she went out of line with the ‘Mercy Aigbe’s blip’ as she called it. In a series of post on her Instagram page, recounting her blessings and appreciating her fans, the actress whose movie ‘The Ghost and the Tout’ recently became the highest grossing Nollywood movie of 2018, reflected on her mistake and apologized to the ‘Osas’ actress as they both followed each other on Instagram. “I am a product of grace. Even in my deepest moments of “mess-up” and deepest hole of hell, God found me and gave me a second chance and aligned my path with grace. Do I mess up sometimes? Yes. Like the Mercy Aigbe’s blip, it was an error in judgment on my part. I was wrong and way out of line, she wrote. “I’ve since reached out to Mercy and we have sorted our differences. Today, we still had cause to communicate. I am truly sorry, it is time to focus on the goal and move on to something better than the past and the present, she added.

<<vanguard>>

Kanye West Cries As His Muse Makes Debut At Louis Vuitton

Rapper Kanye West and his friend and muse Virgil Abloh cried in each other’s arms Thursday after the US designer made his Paris debut for Louis Vuitton.

The pair embraced after Abloh — who worked hand in glove with West for more than 15 years as his creative partner — showed his first menswear collection for the world’s top luxury brand.

Relations between the pair have been tested since Abloh was headhunted by Louis Vuitton in March, with the rapper saying it was “hurtful” to lose his erstwhile artistic director.

But in a touching scene as the show ended on Thursday, Abloh ran down the catwalk to hug West after taking his bow, with the two later wiping away tears.

West has made no secret of his own ambitions to lead a major luxury brand as a designer himself.

Yet the rapper turned up with his wife Kim Kardashian to support Abloh’s first show in the formal gardens of the Palais Royal in the French capital.

It was the first time the reality television star and fashion icon has appeared in public in Paris since she was tied up and robbed in a luxury apartment there in 2016.

Significantly, she also wore a blue wrap coat with prominent pockets by Abloh, that echoed several utilitarian pieces in the collection.

Rihanna and rapper ASAP Rocky were also on the front row to cheer the American’s vision of luxury streetwear for the jetset.

And Abloh — whose parents were immigrants from Ghana — marked the changing of the guard with a show that stressed the global diversity of his vision.

– Diversity in DNA –

He dressed his first 18 models — who were black — all in white before mixing the colour and ethnic palette into a picture of the planet.

Each guest at the show was given a diagram showing his models’ birthplaces and that of their parents.

In an Instagram post explaining the gesture, he told his 2.3 million followers that “essential to my show concept is a global view on diversity linked to the travel DNA of the brand” — which began making trunks 154 years ago.

Abloh also gave guests the first issue of his “Dictionary of Terms”, a sometimes tongue-in-cheek A to Z manifesto where under K he wrote: “Kanye West. A mentor and friend to Virgil Abloh.”

Earlier this week he had described the rapper, who designs his own Yeezy range for Adidas, as “the architect of it all”.

Abloh is only the second black man to rise to the top of a major luxury brand. He did he so by studying engineering and architecture rather than fashion.

Hitting back at his critics, who dismiss the streetwear style he champions as a fad, he said, “Like some kids today I started the surreal mission without ‘fashion school’ but a blank T-shirt, a screen printed idea for it and a dream.”

“As a nod to that” he gave everyone at the show a “T-shirt I made (during) the early days @louisvuitton once I learned how to use the photocopier in the office,” he joked.

In another self-deprecating observation in his dictionary, he defined irony as “the presence of Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton”.

The designer, however, did not stint on luxury silks and leathers that have been Vuitton’s trademark down the years.

Tellingly, he drew the line at bling, however, making a point of redefining jewellery in his dictionary. Instead of “all-that-glitters-is-gold”, he stressed that the jewellery in his spring-summer collection “appears in unrarefied metals denoting a contrasting celebration of non-precious

 

<<punch>>

 

 

 

 

 

materials”.

Black Panther Star Wins MTV’s Best Hero Award

Abuja – Superhero movie “Black Panther’ made a killing at the MTV Movie & TV Awards winning four trophies.

Black Panther,” the predominantly black movie that has taken more than $1.3 billion at the global box-office, won best movie, best villain for Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, and best performance and hero for star Chadwick Boseman. Boseman, who plays the leader of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, gave his trophy to a man with no Hollywood connections on Monday.

“An award for best hero is amazing but it’s even greater to acknowledge the heroes we have in real life,” said Boseman. He brought on stage James Shaw Jr., a 29-year-old electrician who overpowered a gunman who killed four people at a Waffle House outlet in Nashville in April to save the lives of more customers. “This is gonna live at your house,” Boseman said, handing the trophy to Shaw. “Black Panther” actor Winston Duke thanked fans for supporting the movie, which has smashed Hollywood doubts about the broader appeal of black films to become the third highest-grossing film of all time in North America. “Thank you all for investing not just in a beautiful story but for investing in a continued conversation on what this industry and what this culture can achieve,” Duke said. The youth-oriented MTV network, known for its irreverent award shows, again dispensed with gender classifications, placing men and women together in performance categories in a move to embrace equality and gender fluidity. “Stranger Things” was named best TV show and Millie Bobby Brown, 14, won best TV performance for her role as Eleven. The British teenager, who deleted her Twitter account last week after a slew of hate-filled comments, used her acceptance speech to speak out against bullying. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say it. There should be no space in this world for bullying and I’m not going to tolerate it, and neither should you,” Brown said. The MTV awards feature blockbuster movie and popular TV shows and has established itself as an antidote to the winter Hollywood awards season, which honors more serious fare. Winners are chosen by fans voting online. “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot won for best fight, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” was voted best reality show, and the popular best kiss category was won by actors Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale for their Ferris wheel scene in gay teen movie “Love, Simon.” MTV Movie & TV Awards host Tiffany Haddish won best comedic performance for her breakout role in the raunchy 2017 movie “Girls Trip.” “Jurassic World” and “Avengers: Infinity War” actor Chris Pratt was given the annual Generation Award, joining the ranks of previous winners Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock and Will Smith. Actress and writer Lena Waithe, who last year became the first black woman to win a screenwriting Emmy and who is also gay, was awarded the Trailblazer trophy.

<<vanguard>

SA-Based Singer, Producer, Mr Dutch Out With “Gang Shxt”

Dutch Dreams Records is taking things to another level as they bring together a power squad on one track, “Gang Shxt.”

This new tune led by Mr Dutch features Kel-P and Hugo Flow, who are producers and Afro-pop musicians, hip hop recording artists, Raf Don, Yung OG and Ello as well as dance hall recording artists, Black Angel. Produced by Kel-P, “Gang Shxt” is a song that expresses unity that reigns amongst the Dutch Dreams artists. Their ability to mix genres to create a fusion of dope, unique sounds is well presented on the epic afro hiphop-tune. “Gang Shxt” is out and available for download

<<vanguard>>

Nigeria Sees A Rush To Get Nollywood Online, Creates Netflix Of Africa

A glamour blogger, a filmmaker and a tech mogul are competing to create a homegrown African rival to Netflix, but poor internet connections and intense competition are proving daunting obstacles.

They dream of popularising access to films made in Nigeria, which is home to the world’s second biggest movie industry in terms of production behind Hindi-language Bollywood. With nearly $4 billion in revenue and almost 2,000 productions every year, films made in what is known as Nollywood are largely sold on the streets and to idling motorists caught in traffic as pirated copies for just a few dollars.
Local start-ups and Nollywood stars understand the interest in changing the distribution of films that are hugely popular across Africa, where cinemas are few and far between. With such a huge potential market, video-on-demand platforms have sprung up in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital and home to the country’s film industry. And competition is already fierce. – Netflix of Africa? – Blogger Linda Ikeji — one of Nigeria’s biggest names on social networks — recently launched Linda Ikeji TV (LITV) to great fanfare. It offers dozens of films, series and programmes inspired by US shows but with a Nollywood twist for a monthly fee of 1,000 naira ($2.80, 2.35 euros). “We are hoping to be to Africa what Netflix is to the world,” Ikeji wrote on her Instagram page, which has some two million followers. She promised glamour, sass and humour, particularly with reality shows such as “Football Wives” or “Highway Girls of Eko”, “a show on real-life prostitutes” in Lagos. The 37-year-old former model-turned-businesswoman made her fortune through advertising revenue on her site, which tracked the lives of Nigeria’s rich and famous. She said she had invested “half-a-billion naira” of capital in the project. As well as buying video, she is also making original content from her own studios in Lagos. Before the end of the year, Nigerian company Envivo is expected to launch its own platform with an initial investment of more than $20 million, said filmmaker Chioma Ude, who is the firm’s marketing director. “(US telecoms giant) Cisco wants a big footprint in Africa, and as our technical partner, they will provide all the tecnology, from the network to the video compressions, etc,” the founder of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) told AFP. – ‘Prohibitive’ data costs – A viable economic model for the promoters of Nollywood online still needs to be found, given the lack of widespread high-speed internet coverage. Only 34 percent of Africans have internet access compared with more than 50 percent in the rest of the world, according to the 2018 Global Digital report. But Africa showed the biggest progression in internet users last year, especially through mobile telephones. Serge Noukoue, organiser of the annual Nollywood Week in Paris, said price was everything and the African consumer wanted to pay “as little as possible” to watch a film. “Even iROKOtv, the pioneer on the continent, doesn’t really make a profit,” he said. “They have had a lot of success in fundraising but what subscribers actually bring in is less conclusive.” Jason Njoku founded iROKOtv in 2010 but said he made a mistake to count on streaming from the start. “It simply couldn’t work,” he explained. “Data costs were prohibitive, as is access to reliable broadband across huge swathes of the continent. Our customer service team was inundated with queries. “We totally rebuilt our product and rebuilt our entire company around the African consumer and their habits.” That led to an application that ate less data and which allows free mobile downloads of video files. There is original content, while films have also been subtitled in French, Swahili and Zulu to make them more accessible to other African countries. – Fierce competition – Competitors have emerged elsewhere in Africa in recent years, including Kenya’s BuniTV ($5-a-month) or South Africa’s Magic Go ($8-a-month). “If these online platforms don’t make money yet they’re a bet on the future for when connections are better,” said Noukoue. “A lot of projects have been created but there will not be room for everyone in the market in the long term. Competition will be fierce.” Giants of the sector such as Netflix, which in 2016 launched in Africa, could outshine the continent’s video-on-demand pioneers in years to come. “Netflix doesn’t yet have a real Africa strategy but it’s started to produce original African content. That will be a gamechanger. “It has considerable means at its disposal that the others don’t have.”

<<vanguard>>

BREAKING: Legendary Raggae Artist, Ras Kimono Dies At 60

Nigerian music legend, Ras Kimono is dead. He died on Sunday 10th June aged 60. Ras Kimono who was known for hit songs like ‘We no want’ and ‘“Rum-Bar Stylée” was said to have concluded plans to travel to the United States last night, and he complained of feeling funny. According to reports, the legendary raggae artist was rushed to a hospital in Ikeja, where he was later taken to Lagoon Hospital on the Island where he died.

<<vanguard>>

Actress Dakore Akande Reveals Dreadlocks Struggles

Nollywood veteran actress Dakore Akande has revealed the struggles she went through during the course of her dreadlocks journey. •Dakore Akande, who wore long dreadlocks for 13 years until 2011, opened up during the third edition of the African Hair Summit held in Abuja on Saturday. Akande, who is an envoy of the summit, came into limelight with the 2002 film ‘She Devil’ and currently plays one of the lead characters in hit TV series ‘Fifty’. She revealed that at the time she had the hairstyle, only few other people had the courage to do same, adding that people thought she had mental issues or was possessed with a marine spirit, which were stereotypical for people with dreadlocks. She added that she still went on to carry the hairstyle because she was influenced by the length and beauty of late reggae legend Bob Marley’s hair. Akande said: “People were wondering all sorts of things and wondered if my hair wasn’t dirty. I made sure that I kept it neat and with a nice smell and soon people started warming up to the hair. “Soon, other people started to try it and now natural hair lifestyle is a movement, ” she said. Akande, encouraged participants, especially women, to accept themselves and the uniqueness in being African with the hair textures and skin tones as everyone has the power to influence. “You are an influencer, you influence people. When you do your natural hair, it can inspire the next person. I didn’t know I could inspire anybody to do anything. “I just liked locks and decided to do it. I became the woman who had locks and it made it identified. It differentiated me from everybody else. “When you follow your inner spirit, it’s God pushing you down your path,” she said. She condemned the usual subtle fights between natural hair enthusiasts and processed hair wearers, adding that what one does to the natural hair matters the most. “No fights, let’s stop all the team weaves versus team natural hair fight. Because when you enlighten, you don’t have to discriminate or disrespect other people’s choices,” she said . Akande commended the organisers of the summit, government and other stakeholders for organising the event. She said she was satisfied with the support received by healthy lifestlye movement. The 2018 African Hair Summit featured deliberations on ways to grow the hair economy, role of the government in the beauty industry and natural hair products exhibitions and sales.

<<vanguard>>

I Knew Ubi Franklin Before He Married Lilian Esoro –Tboss

Former Big Brother Naija housemate, Tokunbo Idowu, popularly known as TBoss, has been questioned for getting too close to Lilian Esoro’s embattled husband, Ubi Franklin.

It has been reported that Franklin and Esoro are finally heading for a divorce after being separated for a while.

When a male follower attacked TBoss during the week for spending time with Franklin, she told him to mind his business. According to the man, she could have waited for Franklin to formally divorce his wife before getting attached.

However, TBoss told Sunday Scoop that she had known Franklin for 16 years, even before meeting Esoro. She said, “I don’t see why I should not respond to people whenever they say rubbish on my page if I feel like doing so. I don’t understand why people are concerned that I was hanging out with my friend.

“I don’t follow blogs; I don’t follow gossips; so, I don’t know what was written online. He is my friend and we didn’t talk about any issues with his wife and I didn’t know if they had divorced or not. I have known Ubi for 16 years, which was before he met his wife. I don’t have to justify anything to anyone.”

The former BBN contestant also insisted that Franklin was already separated before they started hanging out. She said, “I don’t know why people are always on my case. Does it mean I cannot talk to a man without people insinuating I am having an affair with him? I don’t make mean comments about people or throw shades online. I keep my opinions to myself as it will not put food on the next person’s table or change him or her. I don’t even care about what people choose to put on social media. If something goes on my page, it means I want people to see it.”

<< PUNCH.>>

Fashion Designer, Kate Spade Found Dead

55-year-old fashion designer, Kate Spade has been found dead in her New York apartment.

She was found dead on Tuesday in her Park Avenue apartment at 10:20 local time (15:20 BST) by her housekeeper, a law enforcement official told BBC.

The designer, whose name is Katherine Brosnahan, co-founded Kate Spade Handbags in 1993.

The company now has hundreds of branches around the world and recognisable for its spades playing cards symbol as her logo.

 

The firm was bought by rival New York designer Coach last year in a deal worth $2.4bn (£1.8bn).