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For this week, we have picked a biopic drama ‘King Richard’ as our movie of the week.

The movie, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, looks at how the sisters from Compton, California, became two of the greatest athletes in tennis history and the role that their domineering dad played in helping them get there.

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Armed with a clear vision and a brazen, 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his two daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on tennis courts in Compton, California, Richard shapes the girls’ unyielding commitment and keen intuition. Together, the Williams family defies seemingly insurmountable odds and the prevailing expectations laid before them.

Over the course of nearly three decades, the Williams sisters have gone from being teen phenoms to sport icons, winning 30 Grand Slam titles between the two of them. However, Serena said her father was the driving force behind her and Venus’ success — which is why the film is named after him.Will Smith King Richard Everything We Know So Far

The Louisiana native didn’t play tennis himself, but “he stayed up many nights watching films so he could teach us,” Serena said in a 2003 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “He taught our mom and then they taught us. … Our father doesn’t get enough credit. He showed us how to serve, and we have the biggest serves in women’s tennis.”

The film covers a seven-year period in the ‘90s when Richard was trying to get his daughters noticed by elite coaches — but Serena admitted that the things happening on screen still felt real to her now.

“There’s a scene where my dad says…” she said in a November 2021 interview with Smith before catching herself. “Well, Will says that you’re doing this for every Black girl. And that really hit me in a different way because obviously at the time we didn’t know.”

Check out the trailer below to get started:

Buried and forgotten for almost 200 years, a cemetery of enslaved Africans who arrived in Rio de Janeiro in the 18th and 19th centuries has been turned into a museum.

Discovered in the 1990s during a renovation process of an abandoned house in Rio de Janeiro, the Museum of Pretos Novos Cemetery(Newly Arrived Blacks Cemetery Museum) now lies in Rio’s downtown area, and it is one of the most painful sites from the slavery era in Brazil.

Pretos Novos was the name given to the enslaved Africans who had recently arrived from the continent and disembarked in Rio de Janeiro. The so-called Cemitério dos Pretos Novos operated between 1769 and 1870, a few blocks from the old slave market, located in Valongo, a stretch of the Rio’s port area.

The enslaved African cemetery was built by the Brazilian government for burying enslaved Africans who arrived in Rio extremely ill from the terrible conditions on slave ships, and died in the first days after arrival in Brazil. It is said that roughly 30,000 newly arrived men and women were buried there, which makes Pretos Novos Cemetery the largest enslaved Africans cemetery in the Americas.

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Merced Guimarães dos Anjos, bought the house in the mid-90s where the bones were discovered, and said that she and her husband decided to open the place for visitors, when they found out that it was a former cemetery.

“We had never heard of a cemetery in the area where we bought the house. When we found the bones, we contacted local authorities. It was doomed to be forgotten for eternity if we had done nothing to preserve the place,” she said in a documentary about the museum that was released on YouTube.

The examined teeth of people buried in the Pretos Novos Cemetery reflects this diversity of Africans who were brought to Brazil as slaves.

“Enslaved Africans came from all over the continent to Brazil. It also indicates the huge dimensions of the slave trade carried out by the port of Rio,” said Ricardo Ventura Santos, researcher in the sector of Biological Anthropology at the Brazilain National Museum. He coordinated the excavation group.

The research work showed that the bodies were thrown in ditches and burned, and the place also functioned as a waste dump, indicating the treatment reserved to enslaved Africans. Besides human bones, some belongings of the “pretos novos” were also found, like food scraps and everyday objects discarded by the city’s inhabitants.

The analysis of the site showed that the majority of the remains belonged to children and teenagers. However, the first bone found in the archeological site was from a woman, in 2017. Archaeologists estimate that she died at about 20 years old.

One of the aspects that caught the attention of the researchers was finding teeth with signs of polishing, which is the result of a form of oral hygiene practiced by many African peoples.

By analyzing polish marks it may be possible to identify which species were used, where they existed, and thus where the person using them came from. The work continues, and they are still revealing more remains and seek to reconstruct other personal dramas that are part of one of the most painful moments in Brazilian history.

The Pretos Novos Museum is open for visitors, but only for scheduled groups to ensure safety during the continued pandemic.

To schedule a visit, you can visit here.

Source: Travel Noire

Racism, poor education systems and lack of opportunities bring problems that Afro-Brazilians have to face during their lifetime. However, there are some who challenge this and reach heights beyond those they have dreamed about. This is the case for Ingrid Silva, a Black ballerina and activist from Rio de Janeiro who is revolutionizing the professional ballet scene in New York.

The mother of a 1-year-old girl, works as a lead ballerina with the Dance Theater of Harlem.

Ingrid Silva gained global prominence by becoming the first Black ballerina to have her pointe shoes painted in her skin color. Seen during her performances in New York, the ‘afro’ pointe shoes have become so popular, that in 2018 they were sent for exhibition in The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

But, this Black ballerina has more to offer than dancing itself. She has also become an important voice for more diversity within the ballet world.

She is the co-founder of Blacks in Ballet, created with the purpose of highlighting black ballet dancers and sharing their stories.

“Every Black ballet dancer has a different background, a different path, a different story to tell, and that’s what Blacks in Ballet wants to share with the world,” Ingrid Silva told Travel Noire.

In 2017, she founded EmpowHer NY, a non-profit organization that aims to amplify women’s voices in matters regarding various areas, while fostering female sorority.

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“We are a platform that generates opportunities for education and network for those aspiring to claim their own path.”

Last May, she returned to perform “The Movement of Motherhood,” now available on video on her YouTube channel.

Silva’s story is remarkable, indeed. It started when her mother, a house maid, decided to put her in a dance school in order to take her away from the streets at the age of 8.  The dance school was part of a social project located in a slum in Rio de Janeiro.

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“Although I have always been involved in sports, it was there that one of the neighbors introduced me to the social project called Dançando para Não Dançar (Dancing for not being in Trouble, in Portuguese), created by Thereza Aguilar. I didn’t think much of it, but I took the test and passed. I was only 8 years old. Little did I know that, later, that simple activity would take me to the United States,” Silva told Vogue Brazil Magazine during a past interview.

It was at this Dance School that Ingrid Silva’s life changed.

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Seeing her remarkable talent as a ballet dancer, one of her instructors told her to send a video to the Dance Theater of Harlem School for a scholarship opportunity.

She got her place out of 200 girls who had auditioned when she was 19.

The next step was to find the means to survive in New York. Without knowing a word in English, she had to think not only about the classes, but also finding a job. She worked as a dog walker, nanny, at events, among other occupations.

Often times, she thought about quitting. Feeling upset and frustrated, she called her mother to share her feeling.  Her mother’s answer was always the same, “Daughter, there is nothing for you in Brazil.”

But soon after,  things started to change for the better, after she was noticed by the director of the Dance Theater of Harlem,  Arthur Mitchell. Since then, Ingrid Silva has become one of the most prominent Black dancers, with several good reviews from dance experts who pointed her as one of the most talented dancers in the US.

Now, she is committed to promoting her book in order to inspire other Afro-Brazilians to pursue their dreams.

Photo Credit: Courtesy

“Dancing was able to take me to other areas that made me grow not only as a professional, but as a human being. My book is not just about ballet. This is the story of my life, which led me to be this woman who, today, is very sure about her importance and her place in the world”, said the Black ballerina.

The book was written during the pandemic, and it is only available in Portuguese.

Amsterdam’s Kwaku Festival is one of the most exciting times in the city and is known as a summer staple. Held every year in Nelson Mandela park, it is held for consecutive weekends throughout the summer.

It’s marketed as a “multicultural fun event” that takes place in the Zuidoost community where fest-goers enjoy live music, dance, sports, and more. But the real reason why people come together is to celebrate the abolition of slavery in the Dutch Antilles and Suriname in 1863.

The thousands of people who worked on the plantations in the Dutch West Indies were finally released. The Dutch were reportedly among the last to abolish slavery, after Denmark in 1803, Britain in 1834, and France in 1848.

Kwaku Festival History

The Kwaku Summer Festival is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in Amsterdam, attracting around 300,000 visitors each year.

The festival (formerly Kwakoe) originally began as a small soccer tournament for youth, primarily those of Surinamese descent, in the Southeast neighborhood of Amsterdam, who could not go on a summer vacation.

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Soon after, it became a big deal attracting soccer teams from all over the Netherlands, and became a tournament that not only fostered sportsmanship but community as players would share food.

In 1983, the event became a full-blown festival celebrating Surinamese culture.

“Under the inspiring leadership of Winston Kout, Kwakoe grew in the 1990s into the current mega happening that has become an integral part of the annual festive calendar,” the event’s website reads.

Kwaku Festival has become a beloved and lively celebration of art, food, sports, and culture, that now includes a diverse mix of ethnicities and backgrounds.

There are hundreds of vendors where fest-goers can indulge in the flavors of Suriname, Caribbean, African, and Creole cultures.

The Kwaku Festival program changes each year but what remains consistent are the concert stages, Caribbean market, and one of the most beloved events: the soccer tournament. Amateur teams of all ages compete against each other for the Kwaku Cup.

Food certainly does play a huge part and is a key draw of the festival. Its street vendors are legendary and offer a huge variety of cuisines from

African food, to Surinamese, and Middle Eastern food to name but a few. Many of the street vendors offer their delicious dishes exclusively for the festival so don’t miss out!

 

Source: Travel Noire

Keeping its promise to release more African content, Netflix ’s South African series, Jiva , is finally set to debut on the streaming platform.  South African culture and society take center stage in Netflix’s ‘Jiva’, a drama series centered on aspiring street dancer Ntombi. Juggling between family obligations, a dead-end job, and a less-than-ideal love life, she realizes that her talents may be her way out of Durban. Ntombi cobbles together her dance crew, The Trollies, with her sights set on winning a lucrative cash prize at the Jiva Loxion dance competition. Of course, there are obstacles and conflicts on the path to success.

Netflix’s ‘Jiva’ might be a derivative of Jaiva or township jive, an African dance form and music subgenre believed to have influenced Western breakdancing. It is closely associated with the development of the rhythmical Zulu music style of Southern Africa, mbaqanga. But it is also affiliated with contemporary trends due to the homogenization of the artform in the US and the UK that makes the dance style seem watered-down and less traditional. Whatever its origin, Jiva speaks to the broad appeal of dance not just in South Africa but globally.

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“It will resonate with people because dance is just so much a part of our lives in South Africa and it resonates all over the world,” said showrunner Busisiwe Ntintili in an interview. “We dance at funerals and weddings. We dance when we graduate. At good and bad times, we dance. It is a joyful reminder, especially in these times where we didn’t expect this to happen; it’s a reminder that there is still joy to be had in life.”

The story is a work of fiction but is rooted in real-world issues. The Netflix original is a glimpse into modern African youth culture and but also addresses the challenges and resistance that women worldwide face in pursuit of their ambitions. At its core, this is a story of humanity that many can identify with irrespective of nationality. Ntintili hopes that this common thread will pique interest in more programming from the continent.

“Global audiences are hungry for African content. For a long time, they never saw it. Before we had streaming platforms, you only got to see what was broadcast in your country. People in America and Asia never saw any African content. There is a hunger for seeing how people in the rest of the world live.”

All five episodes of Jiva are streaming now on Netflix.

 

 

Soul Cap, a Black-owned brand that creates swimming caps for natural hair, was denied certification for approved Olympic swim gear.

The hats, made by the company Soul Cap, have been rejected by the International Swimming Federation (Fina) for use during the olympics, citing: “the athletes competing at the International events never used, neither require to use caps of such size and configuration,” adding the caps deviate from “the nature form of the head.”

Soul Cap, created in 2017, is a company that designs swimming caps specifically for natural hair in order for athletes to compete easily without struggling with cap size or the threat of damaging their hair. Following the decision to not be allowed at the olympics, Soul Cap released a statement explaining their disappointment and what it means for inclusivity within the sport.

“We hoped to further our work for diversity in swimming by having our swim caps certified for competition, so swimmers at any level don’t have to choose between the sport they love and their hair.”

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SOUL CAP founders Toks Ahmed and Michael Chapman were understandably disappointed, calling out FINA’s “failure to acknowledge the diversity of competitive swimmers.” The duo established SOUL CAP in 2017 when they took adult swim lessons and found that they couldn’t buy caps to fit over their hair. The brand also partnered with Alice Dearing, the first Black woman to compete in swimming for Great Britain at the Olympic level.

“For younger swimmers, feeling included and seeing yourself in a sport at a young age is crucial,” Ahmed told Metro. “‘How do we achieve participation and representation in the world of competition swimmers, if the governing body stops suitable swimwear being available to those who are underrepresented?’ There’s only so much grassroots and small brands can do — we need the top to be receptive to positive change.”

On Twitter, the brand noted that they’re not considering the decision as a setback, just an opportunity to open the dialogue around inclusion in swimming.

 

Youtube Music is opening applications to the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022, with the aim to enable Black artists to commercialize their work.

Launched last year, YouTube’s $100 million #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund was created to support emerging Black musicians to produce art that amplifies the voices, perspectives, and stories of all Black artists around the world

Applications for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022 will open on 21 June 2021.

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YouTube Music is also launching a new partnership with music education institution 1500 Sound Academy, founded by Grammy-award-winning songwriters and producers, James Fauntleroy and Larrance “Rance” Dopson. Through the inaugural #YouTubeBlack Music Future Insiders Scholarship, YouTube will fund ten full scholarships to the Academy’s Live Online 1500 Music & Industry Fundamentals programme.

Alex Okosi, Youtube’s EMEA managing director for emerging markets, said, “The YouTube Music team is excited to expand the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund and create new opportunities while also reflecting on the progress made to date.The six-month scholarship term will see recipients undertake courses in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing, music business and much more.”

Through the inaugural Class of 2021, the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund provided resources which included dedicated one-on-one support, seed funding, training, and networking programs that enabled the 21 grantees to achieve incredible growth – in YouTube and in their careers.

 

 

For more info visit blog.youtube.

 

Daniel Kaluuya made his Saturday Night Live hosting debut tonight, and his funny monologue skewered a serious topic, made fun of a Golden Globes glitch and served as a thank-you to a long-running cast member of NBC’s late-night staple.

The London-born actor started off by saying, “First of all, I know you’re hearing my accent and thinking, ‘Oh no, he’s not Black — he’s British.” After affirming that he indeed is both, he said, “Basically I’m what the royal family was worried the baby would look like.

”The joke — which elicited some of the biggest laughs of the night — was in reference to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s high-profile interview with Oprah in which they alleged that an unnamed palace official questioned them, while she was pregnant, about supposed concerns over their baby’s skin tone.

Kaluuya ran with the topic, saying people ask him what’s worse — British racism or American racism. “Let me put it this way,” he said. “British racism is so bad, white people left. They wanted to be free — free to create their own kind of racism. So that’s why they created Australia, South Africa and Boston.

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He then talked about his Oscar-nominated supporting role as Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in Judas and the Black Messiah, and a clip was played of his Zoomed acceptance speech.

“I was muted — can you believe that? I told the best joke of my life, and I was muted. I felt like I was in a sunken place,” a reference to his other Oscar-nominated role in 2017’s Get Out.

Turning semi-serious, Kaluuya said he was grateful to be hosting and name-checked a certain 1990s Nickelodeon series.

“When I was 9 years old,” he said, “I wrote a play that got performed at Hampshire Theatre with real actors and everything. This is a true story — that play was based on Kenan & Kel. And that play led me down a path that got me to this stage tonight with Kenan [Thompson] backstage right now. And I just want to take this moment to in front of Kenan and the whole world to say: Thank you, Mom. Thank you, God. And thank you Kel.”

Aw, here it goes.

Watch Kaluuya’s monologue

African stars, Burna Boy and Wizkid both won at the 2021 Grammys which took place last night. They join Sikiru Adepoju as the only Nigerian artists to ever win a Grammy Award.

Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album category with ‘Twice As Tall’ album. Wizkid won the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé; Brown Skin Girl.

Burna Boy was nominated alongside albums such as Fu Chronicles by Antibalas, Agora by Bebel Gilberto, Anoushka Shankar and Amadjarby Tinariwen,

Burna Boy had previously been a one-time nominee for his African Giant album under the Best World Album category at the 62nd edition of the Grammy which held in the last year,

“This is a big win for my generation of Africans all over the world and this should be a lesson to every African out there, no matter where you are, no matter what you plan to do, and no matter where you’re from you can achieve it because you’re a king,” Burna said in his acceptance speech.

Wizkid won the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé; Brown Skin Girl, from Lion King: The Gift album emerging victorious over Life Is Good by Future featuring Drake, Lockdown by Anderson Paak, and Adore You by Harry Styles & Goliath Woodkid

Burnaboy Nominated For Grammy Awards

The 63rd Grammy Awards took place in Los Angeles and was hosted by SA’s very own, Trevor Noah.

Other highlights include; Beyonce breaking the record for the most Grammy wins after picking up her 28th award  and Megan Thee Stallion won best new artist.

The ceremony had no audience, and performers were separated to maintain social distancing.

The Nigerian star is nominated in the Best Global Music category.

The African giant Burna Boy will perform at the 2021 Grammy pre-show which will be livestreamed on GRAMMY.com at 3 p.m. EST on March 14.T

The 2021 Grammy Awards were originally scheduled to take place in January before they were postponed to March due to the “deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles.” In December, it was announced that Talking Heads, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and more would receive Lifetime Achievement Grammys.

The premiere ceremony will be hosted by Jhene Aiko. It will kick off with an ensemble of previous Grammy nominees including Gregory Porter, Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra, Regina Carter, and Kamasi Washington performing “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)” in tribute to the late legend Marvin Gaye.

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Burna Boy  is nominated at the 2021 Grammy Awards in the Best Global Music Category alongside Tuareg desert rock group Tinariwen, NYC afrobeat outfit Antibalas, Brazilian-American Bebel Gilberto, and British-Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar. Previously known as the international category of Best World Music Album, the category was renamed to “make it more modern and inclusive.”

Other nominees include Beyoncé, Doja Cat, and Megan Thee Stallion up for Record of the Year, H.E.R for the Song of the Year, Buju Banton for Best Reggae Album, and more.

This is Burna Boy’s second Grammy nomination after losing to the iconic Angelique Kidjo during the last ceremony. Considering the praise Twice as Tall has received, we hope this is the year he takes the award home.