Hot Takes: Amaarae, Meek Mill & Funke Akindele’s ‘Omo Ghetto’

Do you ever make new year’s resolutions? I’ve always thought it imperative to make one to guide your year, even if you end up abandoning it months down the line. But with last year being anything but normal, the tradition of making a new year resolutions seemed a tad redundant for such an unprecedented time. For one, we’re still battling the COVID-19 pandemic which seems to be getting way worse than it is easier, and for many of us, entering the new year wasn’t the tell-all answer to the terrors of the previous year, but really a continuation of a really shitty time in our young lives.

I think a lot of us are starting to realise how, in the grand scheme of things, nothing really matters – not time, not resolutions, and not even life itself (sorry to go all nihilistic on you). But through all the confusion and the chaos, there have been moments of hope and moments where we have felt truly at peace despite witnessing major historical events in realtime. We started this column a few months ago to give you (more ourselves tbh) a much-needed break from the constant consumption of horrible news every day, and it’s been such a journey discovering all the latest tidbits in popular culture to get our minds off our dystopian reality. So to start off the new year, The NATIVE welcomes you back to your favourite column in the world. Enjoy!

What I’m watching on Netflix: Snowpiercer

I’ve been searching through the entire Netflix catalogue for something interesting to watch since I’ve rewatched Bridgerton an unhealthy number of times, so it was quite interesting to come across a new Netflix Original series, Snowpiercer. I’d seen the trailer which was jam-packed with enough cliffhangers to pique my interest, and boy did it do just that! Snowpiercer is a really interesting series (if you have the attention span for 50-minute long episodes), as it tracks human life after global warming has caused the Big Freeze and all human life has ended – save for a few survivors who made it aboard the Snowpiercer Express.

With 1001 train carriages, we watch how human life tries to continue its existence, but rather than become a utopia where all people flourishes, society continues to show how backhanded and evil it truly can be. The rich are sectioned into first-class complete with walk-in closets, caviar, and chandeliers, second class is just as exquisite, third class is the working class and then there’s the tail where the poorest are kept, away from sunlight – they are even prohibited from bearing children. I won’t give more of the plot-line away, but if this is your beat, you should binge Season 1 right away because Season 2 is out on Netflix this weekend.

What I am listening to: Drake’s ‘Nothing Was the Same’

Drake is by definition what you would call an album artist. With over six studio albums, three compilation albums, and seven mixtapes, there is no shortage of Drake’s material out there for you to stream and enjoy. Yet the 6 God is not showing signs of slowing down any time soon. Last week, it was announced that Drake would be pushing back the release date to his highly anticipated album ‘Certified Lover Boy’, the follow up to last year’s ‘Dark Lane Demo Tapes’, and though I was looking forward to hearing how Drake has evolved since his last offering, I was more than okay waiting a bit longer for the album. This is because I have recently spent a lot of time revisiting my favourite Drake albums, ‘Take Care’ to ‘Views’‘More Life’ and my absolute favourite at the moment, 2013’s ‘Nothing Was The Same’. 

By my standards, ‘NWTS’ should be regarded as a classic – arguably the crème de la crème of all Hip-Hop/rap albums. I mean, it gave us singles such as “Furthest Thing”, the Jhene Aiko-assisted “From Time”, “Hold On,  We’re Going Home”, the Sampha-assisted “Too Much”, “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2” and many more. Revisiting this album took me way back to when I was younger, looking to the age I am now longing for what has now become my reality. I didn’t know it then but Drake’s bars would become quotables that directly mirrored some things in my adult life. Like when he sang “the furthest thing from perfect like everyone I know” on “Furthest Thing”, echoing how a lot of us feel in our twenties realising that no one has it all figured out. I guess you could say nostalgia led me to the album, but it was the timeless bars that kept me coming back for more Aubrey. Whether you fuck with Drizzy or not, there’s no denying his influence on popular culture today and the way he continuously changes the game. If you won’t take my word for it, at least revisit the project and hit me with your hottest takes (I’m available @tamimak_)

Amaarae is calling ALL the bad b*tches!!!

Shawty, and if you a bad b*tch run it up, run it up!” Attention all hot girls, the Ghanaian singer and rapper Amaarae is mid-production for the video to her standout Yinka Bernie-produced, Moliy-starring single, “SAD GURLZ LUV MONEY”, and she’s calling for you (yes, you reading this rn) to submit your video entries for a chance to be featured in the song’s video. Besides Davido, you’d be hard pressed tto find anyone more dedicated to their fans and open to collaboration in the Afropop space than Amaarae, and that’s just a testament to how great an artist and creative she truly is. I can’t imagine the video for “SAD GURLZ LUV MONEY”, not including Amaarae’s trusted Raenbow fans, just because of how involved we were in the making of ‘THE ANGEL YOU DON’T KNOW’ – particularly those of us privy to the exclusives on her finsta.

Funke Akindele’s “Omo Ghetto” is the highest-grossing Nollywood movie

The devil works hard but Funke Akindele-Bello, the brainpower behind the Jenifa series, works even harder. Despite the changes to cinema culture this year, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the pivot to more digital forms of streaming, Funke Akindele’s recently released film ‘Omo Ghetto’ has broken the record as the highest-grossing Nigerian movie of all time in Nigerian cinemas.

Estimated at a whopping 468 million naira, the film has now surpassed ‘The Wedding Party’ and ‘The Wedding Party 2’ which previously held the title until this year. This is no small feat as the world vastly changed at the time when this Nollywood film was released, and cinema ticket sales had taken a huge plunge in the face of the never-ending virus. Though I am yet to watch the film in cinema, it certainly could not be glossed over that a female director is breaking a 5-year old record (previously held by another woman) with her film. Give Funke Akindele-Bello her flowers, now.

Meek Mill wants to collaborate with young Nigerian artists

(Written by Debola Abimbolu)

Although the ongoing pandemic has limited performers from touring around the world, social media has allowed artists to continue expanding their audience across the globe. Earlier this month, we saw a young Nigerian talent, Hyzah featuring on international media headlines after getting the coveted Drake co-sign for the videos of him freestyling in the streets of Lagos. The video went viral on Twitter and he quickly became an overnight sensation, growing from having just 2 followers to 77,000 followers in a matter of hours.

While we can only imagine what’ll happen if they co-sign leads to a proper collaboration between the two talents, it’s certain that Nigerian Twitter is fast becoming the go-to place for discovering young talents. Over the weekend, another American rapper, Meek Mill tweeted Link me with the new young Nigerian artists. Though the 5 framed art emojis he included in the tweet suggested that he was referring to visual artists, both music and visual artists responded to the prompt by replying with images and links to their works. Even fans responded with suggestions like Laycon, Tems, Rema, Blaqbonez and more.

Davido, who previously worked with Meek Mill on the 2015 hit single, “Fans Mi”, which saw the two artists stand side by side in the video, in one of the earliest indications that Afropop was a globally competing genre, also responded to the call, saying, “stop playing, hits r us!!!” We wouldn’t mind an encore given how much the two have grown since. Although Twitter has now taken down Meek’s account, we doubt that it has anything to do with the overwhelming number of people who responded to his call.

Let’s talk about PLT

Just before 2020 ended, it was announced in December that a Black woman, Teyana Taylor would be taking over as the new creative director and ambassador for Pretty Little Thing (PLT), a UK-based fashion retailer that has been known to profit off the ideas of black women and underpay for their labour (side-eye to everyone who shopped their black Friday sale). While this was a historic moment for Black women, I couldn’t help but think that it was a bit tokenistic. This hire doesn’t erase the wrongs that the company has done to Black women, and it feels, to me at least, like PLT’s attempt to assuage their guilt and court their Black buyers with feigned allyship. It’s no secret that Black culture remains the blueprint for many of the trends in popular culture today and this also persists in fashion where fast fashion companies take Black creations and claim it as their own, only to profit from the frenzy caused by that theft in the long-run. When the online Black community voices their anger over Black inventions or creations being stolen, we are largely ignored or given mediocre responses by these companies who persist in stealing designs.

Recently, creative designer and blogger, Fisayo Longe complained about her brand’s legendary Gai dress being imitated by fast fashion companies in the UK and even here in Nigeria, where you can easily find a dupe on stalls in Balogun market. PLT was one of the brands to have copied the design and style of the Gai dress, but rather than stop production of these dupes, PLT have only doubled down by ignoring these complaints and hiring a Black woman in a high profile role. So what exactly has been done to make sure Black creatives aren’t stolen from? It’s only skirted around the issue and given a similar retort to ‘but I have black friends,’ [intense eye-roll]. Brands like PLT need to do better, but it’s up to each and every one of us to speak up when Black people get their ideas stolen. If they won’t stop, we at least have to make them uncomfortable to profit off Black creatives.

Meet Kenya’s Spy Queen

You’ve heard of James Bond but have you heard about the latest spy detective in Africa? If you haven’t, then I am here to give you the scalding hot tea. A documentary on the popular Kenyan private investigator Jane Mugo is coming to the BBC, and it seems very entertaining by the look of the trailer. Jane Mugo is a spy that gets the job done, she’s been responsible for bringing many criminals to the law but was forced to go into hiding when she was named a wanted criminal by the Kenyan police.

The documentary is said to track her life in hiding, and the rigorous practices she has to undertake to evade a criminal sentence in her home country. While the rest of the world laughed at the comical trailer released yesterday, it seems that Kenyans, on the other hand, found the BBC Africa trailer far from entertaining. Many Kenyans were not impressed and poked at the gaps in the trailer. Whether or not you’re familiar with the story of Jane Mugo, there’s no denying that her methods are hilarious, so watch the trailer and watch your day go from bad to great :)).

Featured image credits/NATIVE


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