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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.

 

 

Tobago-born actor Winston Duke is set to play celebrated Jamaican nationalist Marcus Garvey in an upcoming movie for Amazon Studios that will also see Nigerian filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu on the director’s chair, Deadline reported.

Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero, advocated for Black nationalism in his native country as well as the United States. While alive, he spearheaded a Pan-African philosophy which galvanized a global mass movement known as Garveyism .

Garvey died at the age of 52 in London in 1940 from complications brought on by two strokes.

Titled Marked Man, the upcoming project – which is reportedly set in the 1920s – will focus on a young Black man who joins the then J. Edgar Hoover-led FBI and then goes ahead to infiltrate Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The character’s loyalty to his race and country is tested during his assignment as he “grows weary of both men’s actions,” according to Deadline

The upcoming project was inspired by a 2008 biography titled Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey. The book is written by Colin Grant. The script for Marked Man is also written by seasoned British playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah.

In an Instagram post on Friday, Duke shared his excitement about the project and how he is honored to portray an icon whose ideology was very instrumental in shaping his development.

“As a Caribbean immigrant, activist, and global citizen, one of the most seminal stories in my development has been the words and works of Marcus Garvey,” the 34-year-old posted. “Today I am blessed to announce that I have the opportunity to bring his story to life, along with a kick ass crew of collaborators.”

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Duke added: “It’s not lost on me how important and meaningful this is, not only for the generations that already know his contributions to the Black liberation landscape but for those who have yet to know and embrace him and what he stood for. Can’t wait to step into this one and bring you all along for the amazing journey.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLxe4DdHOtY/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

 

Kunga Kihohia went to one of the best schools in Florida. He graduated, was making money, and then one day lost everything. He ended up homeless in Miami, sleeping in his car. Then a trip to Kenya would change his life.

His parents are from Kenya, but he was born and raised and spent most of his life in Florida.

He traveled to Kenya for the first time at the age of 10 and stayed there for about five years, where he learned his parents’ native tongue. He traveled back to the US for high school and college, where he graduated from Florida International University in Miami.

Kihohia didn’t travel to Kenya for more than 15 years once he was back in the states.  After spending some time working in corporate America, he told Travel Noire in an interview that he realized he was “psychologically unemployable.”

“I was in the business-world chasing money, making a lot of money, but I was really unhappy because I had moved away from my purpose,” he said, adding that he found himself overweight and overall, unhappy.

So, Kihohia went on a journey to Kenya to find himself and, ultimately, save his life.

“I started this journey of coming back to nature and coming back to my own peace, which involved coming back to Africa. The lifestyle I had gotten involved with was putting me on a path of self-destruction.”

The trip was only supposed to last for three weeks.  It took him some time to adjust, as it was his first time back to Kenya in more than a decade.  As he began to settle, he realized that people in Kenya were far more content despite some challenges, than people in America.

Back To Nature Organic Farm

Kihohia said he’s always been a serial entrepreneur, but Back To Nature Organic Farm grew out of his interests and passion.

“The farm is only part of a larger vision, and a larger movement called the “Back to Nature Movement.” It’s part of our philosophy and ideology that states, “the closer we are to nature, the more whole, happy, at peace and at ease we are.”

Through the organic farm and the movement, Kihohia said that his mission is to inspire, motivate and encourage Kenyans, East Africans, Africans, including those from the diaspora, to adopt a more natural holistic lifestyle approach towards maintaining or regaining health and wellness.

With a few other like-minded individuals, Kihohia decided that they wanted to control the food system as they saw a rise in diseases in Kenya, such as cancer, hypertension, and more.

“When there’s a will, there’s a way. We started learning all the components about the soil water systems,  harvesting and post-harvest losses,  markets, dealing with human resources, human capital […] there are so many components, but we belly-flopped into it.”

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2021 will mark the fifth anniversary of his journey back home and back to nature. During this time, Kihohia went from obese, stressed, and homeless to the founder of one of the largest organic farms in Kenya, where he’s happy and living life with no regrets.

“My advice to anyone looking to make a move abroad, especially to Africa, is to follow your heart. At the end of the day, this life is temporary. No one gets out alive. We all sign a contract unwittingly that no one leaves alive. It’s vital that while you have your time on this earth, to make it as significant as possible, give it meaning,” said Kihohia.

To learn more about Back to Nature, visit the IG page: @backtonatureafrika.

Source: Travel Noire

Late afrobeat legend and activist, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti has been nominated for induction into the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In arguably the most diverse and inclusive ballot to date, the king of Afrobeat is joined by the likes of Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and many more favorites.

Fela Kuti‘s estate has been keeping the Nigerian icon’s name and legacy alive and well over the past few months. With a recent collaborative merch drop with Online Ceramics, and the resurgence of Finding Fela! , the documentary detailing his life, the Kuti name is one that won’t be losing heat anytime soon.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (RRHOF) is a museum and hall of fame located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It documents the history of rock music and the artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have influenced its development. An act is eligible 25 years after their first commercial recording is released and this is Fela’s first nomination into the hall.

if Kuti wins, he will make history as the first Nigerian artist in the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Fela Kuti is remembered as an influential icon who was brave enough to boldly voice his opinions on matters that affected the nation through his music. At the height of his popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers.”

According to the chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, John Skyles, “This remarkable ballot reflects the diversity and depth of the artists and music the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates.

“These Nominees have left an indelible impact on the sonic landscape of the world and influenced countless artists that have followed them.”

Fans vote for up to five nominees daily from today till the 30th of April on the Rock Halls website while the winners of the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which will take in Cleveland, Ohio will be inducted in May 2021.

“The Greek Freak” can’t wait to go learn more about his roots.

His roots in Lagos, Nigeria.

“Obviously, a lot of people don’t know where I’m from,” Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo told The Undefeated. “A lot of people think my mom or my dad are from Greece, but no. Both of my parents are black. Both of my parents are Nigerian.”

Charles and Veronica Adetokunbo moved from Lagos to Greece in 1991 in hopes of a better future for themselves and their family after struggling to find employment. The Adetokunbos’ eldest son, Francis, was left behind in Lagos to be raised by his grandparents. Charles Adetokunbo worked as a handyman and wife Veronica as a baby sitter in their struggle to make ends meet for their family, which was the only black one in the area, according to The New York Times. The Adetokunbos had four more sons, all born in Greece, including Giannis on Dec. 6, 1994. (Antetokounmpo became Giannis’ surname after it was spelled that way on his Greek passport instead of his birth name of Adetokunbo.)

Antetokounmpo grew up in Greek culture learning the language, going to school and eventually starting to play basketball at age 7. But when he was home with his family, he learned and lived the Nigerian way.

“I grew up in a Nigerian home,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, I was born in Greece and went to school in Greece. But at the end of the day when I go home, there is no Greek culture. It’s straight-up Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, having morals.”

Veronica Adetokunbo spoke to her sons in the Nigerian language of Igbo, which is one of the four official Nigerian languages and is spoken by about 18 million people in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, according to several websites

“I can understand it a little bit. I can count. It’s not like I’m fluent,” Antetokounmpo said of Igbo. “It’s not like I can go back home to Nigeria and they can understand what I am saying. It’s kind of funny.

“Both my parents are from Nigeria. But Nigeria is like 250 dialects, so my mom and my dad don’t speak the same language.”

Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, who is arguably the greatest international basketball player of all time and one of the greatest NBA players, also has a Nigerian connection with Antetokounmpo. Olajuwon told The Undefeated that he and Antetokounmpo are Yoruba.

“I know from his last name that we are from the same tribe, the Yoruba tribe. His last name, which in Yoruba is spelled Adetokunbo, means ‘the crown has returned from overseas,’ ” Olajuwon said.

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With the Bucks owning the best record in the NBA, Antetokounmpo appears to be the front-runner for the 2019 NBA MVP award, competing against the likes of the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.1 points, 12.6 rebounds and six assists and led the Eastern Conference in All-Star votes.

“I’m sure Nigerians are very proud of him, especially because of the way he has conducted himself and how he is dominating the league,” Olajuwon said. “He has accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time.”

Antetokounmpo wasn’t projected to be a superstar when he was selected 15th overall in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft by the Bucks. But former Warriors center Festus Ezeli, also a native of Nigeria, believed Antetokounmpo would be special after seeing him score a game-high 22 points for Team Africa in the first Africa Game in Johannesburg, on Aug. 1, 2015. The exhibition was Antetokounmpo’s first trip to Africa.

“Oh, my God, he took over for Team Africa in South Africa,” Ezeli said. “We were talking about it on the bench, ‘This kid right here. …’ I was thinking, ‘Yo, this kid is really special.’ Just the ease of how he did things and the way he was getting to the cup, the athleticism was there. And in a friendly game in Africa, the competitiveness and edge were there.”

Read More : TheUndefeated

Netflix has reportedly cited filming challenges that have been brought on by the pandemic as the reason for their decision to cancel the second season of the spy-thriller series, ‘Queen Sono’

According to The Citizen, Netflix has decided that Africa’s first Original Series, Queen Sono, will not go ahead for a second season. This comes after initial reports in April of this year that Queen Sono had been given the thumbs-up for a second season. Speculations on the possible reasons for halting the show vary, according to IOL. However, Netflix cited difficulties in filming due to challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queen Sono lead, Pearl Thusi, released a bittersweet statement to The Citizen in response to the news.

“It’s so incredible that we as a team got a lifetime opportunity to make history together as there will never be another ‘first’ African Netflix original series. I’m proud of the work we did, but everything happens for a reason. I am excited about what the future holds.”

The Netflix team reportedly stated that axing the show was a difficult decision because of the “dream vision” achieved through the show. According to The Citizen, Netflix’ spokesperson thanked Queen Sonofans from around the world for their continued and fervent support of the production. Furthermore, Queen Sono creator, Kagiso Lediga, commented on the recent news saying, “We wrote a beautiful story that spanned the continent but unfortunately could not be executed in these current trying times.”

Queen Sono is the first Netflix African Original Series to come out this year. The series follows an action-packed story about a South African spy played by Thusi.

Queen Sono is one of many productions to be halted due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira’s Americanah series was recently cancelled by HBO Max before it went into production. South Africans, however, can still look forward to the second season of popular Netflix Original Series, Blood and Water

“It’s so incredible that we as a team got a lifetime opportunity to make history together as there will never be another ‘first’ African Netflix original series. I’m proud of the work we did, but everything happens for a reason. I am excited about what the future holds.”

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The Netflix team reportedly stated that axing the show was a difficult decision because of the “dream vision” achieved through the show. According to The Citizen, Netflix’ spokesperson thanked Queen Sonofans from around the world for their continued and fervent support of the production. Furthermore, Queen Sono creator, Kagiso Lediga, commented on the recent news saying, “We wrote a beautiful story that spanned the continent but unfortunately could not be executed in these current trying times.”