Today in #TheLagosReview

For This Choreographer, the Traditional Is Contemporary

New York is getting to know the work of Gregory Maqoma, which borrows from Western and South African traditions.

Gregory Maqoma is bringing “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro” to the Joyce Theater.
Gregory Maqoma is bringing “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro” to the Joyce Theater.

Someone is weeping. You hear sobs, sniffles, the usual noises. Soon, though, the whimpering grows more elaborate, lengthening into song. The sound is beautiful and strange, yet perhaps the oddest thing about it is how a few notes sound familiar, as does the rhythm of a drum that softly joins in. Is this wailing person quoting Ravel’s “Boléro”?

He is. Which is less surprising if you know the name of this production: “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro.” Still, this is no ordinary “Boléro.” Ravel’s relentless orchestral crescendo has been rearranged in the South African style called isicathamiya, the a cappella song-and-dance form popularized by groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

The whole production is South African. It borrows the first part of its title, and the character of a professional mourner, from a South African novel (“Cion” by Zakes Mda). But rather than telling a story, it functions as a danced requiem, one of stylized violence and choppily articulated motion reminiscent of hip-hop popping and locking.

Source: nytimes.com

Akon finalises agreement to create his own ‘Wakanda’ City in Senegal

Record label executive and entrepreneur, Akon, has finalised an agreement with the Government of Senegal to create own city, Akon City. The city is being built on a 2,000-acre land, which was a gift from the Senegalese president, and upon completion, the residents and businesses would trade in Akon’s Cryptocurrency, AKOin, which he founded in 2017.

What’s the big deal about Akon City? The City would be the first in the world to trade only on cryptocurrency in a continent where physical cash still holds sway on the population.

AKON

@Akon
Just finalized the agreement for AKON CITY in Senegal. Looking forward to hosting you there in the future.

The Akon City will also operate on renewable energy with Akon Solar project with own international airport, which is not far from Senegal’s capital, Dakar. The music start explained that the city, which is expected to take-off in 10 years, would witness several developments in stages, as the first stage already underway since March 2019, while the second stage will start in 2025.

The city has been likened to Marvel’s fictional-superhero movie, Wakanda, which is uniquely different from the world.

How much will it cost? While Akon has been tight-lipped as to the cost of the City, it is believed that the building of the futuristic city can only be afforded by a billionaire since it’s not state-sponsored.

The Grammy award nominee is rated as a millionaire with about $80 million worth. But in his response to the worth of the project, he said, “I always felt like if you have to label yourself a billionaire, I don’t even think billionaires label themselves one. Because you have no idea [how much you’re worth],” he said in an interview with Nick Cannon.

Akon also said Billionaires, who can’t cater to the needs of the people and solve a problem, are wasting their billions. Akon’s source of income could be traced to his career as an artist, his music label, and endorsement apart from other investments like Konvict clothing line and AKOin, which he envisioned will become an official trading currency in African years from now.

Akon finalises agreement to create his own ‘Wakanda’ City in Senegal
President Macky Sall and Akon
Is Akon taking a big risk? Cryptocurrency hasn’t gained much ground in Nigeria. Although South Africa and Nigeria are leading the park on the penetration of cryptocurrency, African countries still prefer physical cash as the internet-enabled currency has often been flagged as a scam.

New York is getting to know the work of Gregory Maqoma, which borrows from Western and South African traditions.

Gregory Maqoma is bringing “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro” to the Joyce Theater.
Gregory Maqoma is bringing “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro” to the Joyce Theater.

Someone is weeping. You hear sobs, sniffles, the usual noises. Soon, though, the whimpering grows more elaborate, lengthening into song. The sound is beautiful and strange, yet perhaps the oddest thing about it is how a few notes sound familiar, as does the rhythm of a drum that softly joins in. Is this wailing person quoting Ravel’s “Boléro”?

He is. Which is less surprising if you know the name of this production: “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro.” Still, this is no ordinary “Boléro.” Ravel’s relentless orchestral crescendo has been rearranged in the South African style called isicathamiya, the a cappella song-and-dance form popularized by groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

The whole production is South African. It borrows the first part of its title, and the character of a professional mourner, from a South African novel (“Cion” by Zakes Mda). But rather than telling a story, it functions as a danced requiem, one of stylized violence and choppily articulated motion reminiscent of hip-hop popping and locking.

Source: nytimes.com

Akon finalises agreement to create his own ‘Wakanda’ City in Senegal

Record label executive and entrepreneur, Akon, has finalised an agreement with the Government of Senegal to create own city, Akon City. The city is being built on a 2,000-acre land, which was a gift from the Senegalese president, and upon completion, the residents and businesses would trade in Akon’s Cryptocurrency, AKOin, which he founded in 2017.

What’s the big deal about Akon City? The City would be the first in the world to trade only on cryptocurrency in a continent where physical cash still holds sway on the population.

AKON

@Akon
Just finalized the agreement for AKON CITY in Senegal. Looking forward to hosting you there in the future.

The Akon City will also operate on renewable energy with Akon Solar project with own international airport, which is not far from Senegal’s capital, Dakar. The music start explained that the city, which is expected to take-off in 10 years, would witness several developments in stages, as the first stage already underway since March 2019, while the second stage will start in 2025.

The city has been likened to Marvel’s fictional-superhero movie, Wakanda, which is uniquely different from the world.

How much will it cost? While Akon has been tight-lipped as to the cost of the City, it is believed that the building of the futuristic city can only be afforded by a billionaire since it’s not state-sponsored.

The Grammy award nominee is rated as a millionaire with about $80 million worth. But in his response to the worth of the project, he said, “I always felt like if you have to label yourself a billionaire, I don’t even think billionaires label themselves one. Because you have no idea [how much you’re worth],” he said in an interview with Nick Cannon.

Akon also said Billionaires, who can’t cater to the needs of the people and solve a problem, are wasting their billions. Akon’s source of income could be traced to his career as an artist, his music label, and endorsement apart from other investments like Konvict clothing line and AKOin, which he envisioned will become an official trading currency in African years from now.

Akon finalises agreement to create his own ‘Wakanda’ City in Senegal
President Macky Sall and Akon
Is Akon taking a big risk? Cryptocurrency hasn’t gained much ground in Nigeria. Although South Africa and Nigeria are leading the park on the penetration of cryptocurrency, African countries still prefer physical cash as the internet-enabled currency has often been flagged as a scam.

Standard chartered
So how the musician will lure Senegalese and other Africans to situate in the futuristic city remains unseen except if his target are not Africans but as he as often said his investment is to lift Africa and Africans through development.

Source: nairametrics.com

Randy Weston- Photo and Art Exhibition Opening Ceremony

The late, Great Randy Weston (4/6/26 – 9/1/18), was remembered in a photo and art exhibition at the stately Stuyvesant Mansion in Brooklyn on December 12. Performing at the opening reception were Grammy-nominated musicians Hassan Benjaafar and Amino Belyamani. Benjaafar plays Sintir, a 3-string bass guitar/lute. Belyamani plays percussion.

Among the many guests was acclaimed sculptor, painter, printmaker Otto Neal. A few years younger than Weston, the two budding artists grew up on the same Bedford-Stuyvesant block. Neal said, “I knew Randy for more than 70 years. He was always the genuine, kind, upbeat person you were glad to be able to call a friend. There aren’t a lot of people with these traits. “

Michael Howard of Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium was in Weston’s company on numerous occasions, and was responsible for rounding up a group of jazz aficionados for this exhibit by simply mentioning Randy Weston’s name.

Even guests who did not know Weston personally liked his music. One such guest and artist was Michael Chamblee, who drew three mixed medium paintings for showing at exhibits honoring Weston and his African infused music style.

Larry Weekes of the Fulton Street Art Festival favored a tune Weston wrote “Blue Moses” and interpreted the music in a striking painting by the same name.

The opening reception featured numerous paintings, photographs, entertainment, and light refreshments. Kim Weston-Moran, Randy’s daughter, hosted the event and was able to meet and greet the many admirers. Weston’s trademark piece, African Village Bedford-Stuyvesant was the recorded music prelude to the entertainment portion of the evening. The art pieces are for sale. Some have already been sold.

Weston’s music dates to the late 1940’s. While on a U.S. State Department organized tour in Morocco, Weston decided to settle there, and from 1967 to 1972 ran his African Rhythms club in Tangier. “African Rhythms” was what he did – and the name of his working band, that for many years featured Benny Powell, musical director Talib Kibwe, Alex Blake, and Baba Neil Clarke.

Weston learned Gnawa music from indigenous Moroccan musicians. Gnawa people were Sub-Saharan Africans enslaved by Arab Muslims. And, in the same way that enslaved Africans created blues, country music, and jazz in the U.S., our Gnawa cousins developed this spirited music and culture. It is now a popular music form in this area and internationally.

Weston has received numerous awards such as the Society for American Music’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2017; Legends of Jazz award from the National Jazz Museum in Harlem on June 14, 2017; added to the Downbeat Hall of Fame in 2016; recipient of the Arts Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana, the Black Music Star Award, and numerous other awards, just to name a few. He received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Brooklyn College in 2006.

Weston was named National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master in 2001. This is the highest honor given by America to jazz artists. He received the 1998 French Order of Arts and Letters, created to recognize outstanding artistic work and the cultural influence of great artists and writers in France and throughout the world.

And, in 2011 he received a commendation from Morocco’s King Hassan VI, recognizing his contributions to internationalizing Gnawa music.

Curated and produced by Gwen Black of Gwen Black Arts/Arts and Jazzfest NYC and Friends of Randy Weston in Association with the Fulton Art Fair, Inc. the exhibition and sale is at Stuyvesant Mansion, 375 Stuyvesant Avenue, Brooklyn through January 19th, 2020.

Source: blackstarnews.com

Nnedi Okorafor Futuristic Novel “Binti” Is Being Developed Into a TV Series at Hulu

From Interstellar to Guardians of the Galaxy, from Star Trek to Firefly, there’s something captivating about people moving out of the Earth’s atmosphere into other galaxies. Well there’s a new star in space, and we are excited to announce that it’s from our very own Nnedi Okorafor.

The critically acclaimed book by award-winning Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor Binti is being adapted into a TV series and set to premiere on Hulu. The three-part, science fiction novella will be adapted for screen under the studio Media Res according to Hollywood Reporter.

The script is being written by both Okorafor and writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who has previously written for Watchmen and The Morning Show.

Binti is set in a technologically and socially advanced future. It tells the story of a brilliant and rebellious young woman who is destined to lead her community in Africa. But when she’s admitted to the most prestigious academy in the galaxy, she chooses a different path and, rejecting her family’s wishes, leaves her community behind in favor of the starry skies.

The book is the recipient of both a Hugo and Nebula award for Best Novella, which are awarded to standout books in the genre of science fiction. Nnedi Okorafor took to her Twitter to share her excitement about the upcoming series, with the words:

“Finally, I can be public about it!”

Last year Nnedi confirmed that she’s writing a comic series which will focus on Black Panther‘s technologically innovative sister, Shuri.

Source: bellanaija

Lupita Nyong’o is the Cover Girl for British Vogue’s February Issue

Go behind the scenes with Lupita Nyong’o on the set of her cover shoot for the February issue of British Vogue, as she reflects on keeping her public and private lives separate, who inspires her in Hollywood, and her favourite “Cinderella moment” on the red carpet.

Watch the video below.

Source: bellanaija

We Can’t Get Over Lupita’s “Afro Clouds” Hairstyle From the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards

Lupita Nyong’o is always a delight to see on the red carpet. Whether she is stealing the spotlight in head-turning outfits, or serving major beauty inspiration – this Kenyan actress is definitely one star we look out for at every event.

At the Critics’ Choice Awards, Lupita managed to do both – win red carpet and give us natural hair goals at once. With the help of her trusted hairstylist Vernon François, the Us star waltzed down the red carpet with a gorgeous up-do which made her look very royal.

Her textured hair was pulled up into an exaggerated tousled bun and then accessorized with a gold hair wire – François called the style #AfroClouds. She definitely stood out all night adding red lipstick and splashes of bright gold eye shadow just under her eyebrows.

The renowned stylist revealed the secret behind the hairstyle and the products he used to achieve it in an Instagram post.

Source: bellanaija.com

Daniel Okechukwu: Sugar Rush is Funny but It Is Not to Be Mistaken for Comedy

The adjective sweet is rarely used to describe cinema, but it best defines the experience that is the first act of Sugar Rush—a jolly ride that features the hilarious trio of Adesua Etomi, Bimbo Ademoye, and Bisola Aiyeola at their charismatic best.

The trio play the Sugar sisters: Etomi is Susan aka Suzy Sugar, a smart conman; Aiyeola plays Shola aka Sholly Sugar, a not-so-smart scammer who might also be a high-class escort; Ademoye plays Bola Sugar, the youngest and silliest, she is all about that audio life Rudeboy was critiquing on Audio Money—she is from a poor home, but she’s wealthy on Instagram. The script from Bunmi Ajakaiye doesn’t provide an adequate backstory of the sisters’ shenanigans, but a scene is dedicated to each of them so you get their shtick.

All three sisters have one thing in common: they want to escape poverty, Shola can’t stop rambling about Linda Ikeji’s mansion in Banana Island. One night, she and Susan come across $800,000 at a murder scene, and they both convince themselves that taking the money isn’t wrong. “This is not stealing, right?” Suzy asks Sholly. “I dare say what we are doing right now is activism.” Of course, Shola agrees. It is $800,000!

They go on a spending spree — exotic cars, designers’ clothes and shoes, and a house that rivals Ikeji’s mansion.

On the night of the day the EFCC announced the murder and theft on TV, Bola and Shola throw a housewarming party, it draws all sorts of attention and lands them in hot waters. The EFCC visits the next day (with a search warrant), Susan meets them at the door and signals Shola to hide the money. After the search, the officers take the sisters in for questioning.

When they return home, they must grapple with an unknown man, who claims ownership of the $800,000. After much denial, the sisters concede they have the money, but when Shola goes upstairs to get it, the $800,000 seems to have grown legs. Angry and disappointed, he takes their ailing mother hostage and gives the sisters five days to find his money. It is at this point the film becomes less merry and shifts into something more sinister. There’s an element of class war: the sisters’ ‘victims’ are wealthy, crooked people, but this is a Nollywood holiday movie, tackling societal issues isn’t the main focus.

However, Sugar Rush hints it wants to do more than thrill you and make you laugh. After all, its central issues are Nigerian greed and our budding obsession with living a fake life on Instagram because we are collectively ashamed of our poverty. The sisters, especially the younger ones, wanted to prove they are in money now, and that leads to their downfall. But the film never fully embraces its commentary on social issues.

Sugar Rush was advertised as a comedy for apparent commercial reasons and while it is cheerful, it isn’t. It is a crime caper story, a flawed but ambitious one. As a director, Kasum shows he is an exciting talent to have on the big-budget stage, working with the Femi Awojide (cinematographer) and Jade Osiberu (production designer), he stages gorgeous scenes that aren’t shallow—a frequent occurrence in blockbuster Nollywood films.

However, his most remarkable work here is getting consistently solid performances from his actors. The leads are a riot, but who would think that in a film with an excellent Etomi, the standout performer is Aiyeola? She builds on her charming personality from Biodun Stephen’s Picture Perfect to deliver a superbly compelling performance. (Give her lead roles, Nollywood!)

The only let down is the curious case of Banky W’s non-acting. Screenwriter Ajakaiye wrote two intriguing villains: Banky’s Anikulapo and Uzor Arukwe’s Igbo gangster. While Arukwe rises to the occasion, Banky falls flat, even with the more interesting character.

Anikulapo is a feared gangster known for his brutality and his formidable juju powers and in the film’s climax—a crowd-pleasing, often messy juju-fiction heist sequence—we see him in action. It is a character that demands both great acting and charm – two qualities Banky has never convincingly shown since his Nollywood debut. He represents Nollywood big-budget films conundrum: sacrifice talent for popularity because of box office earnings. But Sugar Rush can be forgiven for escaping this problem in other areas: its director, cinematographer, and screenwriter are not widespread yet, but hopefully, the film makes them stars as it is their most impressive work so far.

Source: bellanaija.com

Stormzy is the Cover Star of L’Uomo Vogue’s February 2020 Issue!

Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. popularly known as Stormzy is one of the six cover stars for the new L’uomo Vogue issue. This February 2020 edition of the Men’s style publication is tagged “The Utopia Issue” and spotlights a cast of new creatives and visionaries who imagine and plan a better future.

Styled by Melissa Holdbrook-Akposoe for the cover feature, Stormzy talks about his upbringing, his career, and being one of Britain’s brightest stars all round.

Read the full issue on www.vogue.it

Source: bellanaija.com

Credits
Photography: Daniel Sannwald
Styling: Melissa Holdbrook-Akposoe
Editor in chief: Emanuele Farneti
Creative director: Thomas Persson
DOP: Krzysztof Trojnar
Grooming: Maria Comparetto @ Emma Davies Agency
Hair: Mark Maciver @ Slider Cuts
On set: Somesuch

lure Senegalese and other Africans to situate in the futuristic city remains unseen except if his target are not Africans but as he as often said his investment is to lift Africa and Africans through development.

Source: nairametrics.com

Randy Weston- Photo and Art Exhibition Opening Ceremony

The late, Great Randy Weston (4/6/26 – 9/1/18), was remembered in a photo and art exhibition at the stately Stuyvesant Mansion in Brooklyn on December 12. Performing at the opening reception were Grammy-nominated musicians Hassan Benjaafar and Amino Belyamani. Benjaafar plays Sintir, a 3-string bass guitar/lute. Belyamani plays percussion.

Among the many guests was acclaimed sculptor, painter, printmaker Otto Neal. A few years younger than Weston, the two budding artists grew up on the same Bedford-Stuyvesant block. Neal said, “I knew Randy for more than 70 years. He was always the genuine, kind, upbeat person you were glad to be able to call a friend. There aren’t a lot of people with these traits. “

Michael Howard of Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium was in Weston’s company on numerous occasions, and was responsible for rounding up a group of jazz aficionados for this exhibit by simply mentioning Randy Weston’s name.

Even guests who did not know Weston personally liked his music. One such guest and artist was Michael Chamblee, who drew three mixed medium paintings for showing at exhibits honoring Weston and his African infused music style.

Larry Weekes of the Fulton Street Art Festival favored a tune Weston wrote “Blue Moses” and interpreted the music in a striking painting by the same name.

The opening reception featured numerous paintings, photographs, entertainment, and light refreshments. Kim Weston-Moran, Randy’s daughter, hosted the event and was able to meet and greet the many admirers. Weston’s trademark piece, African Village Bedford-Stuyvesant was the recorded music prelude to the entertainment portion of the evening. The art pieces are for sale. Some have already been sold.

Weston’s music dates to the late 1940’s. While on a U.S. State Department organized tour in Morocco, Weston decided to settle there, and from 1967 to 1972 ran his African Rhythms club in Tangier. “African Rhythms” was what he did – and the name of his working band, that for many years featured Benny Powell, musical director Talib Kibwe, Alex Blake, and Baba Neil Clarke.

Weston learned Gnawa music from indigenous Moroccan musicians. Gnawa people were Sub-Saharan Africans enslaved by Arab Muslims. And, in the same way that enslaved Africans created blues, country music, and jazz in the U.S., our Gnawa cousins developed this spirited music and culture. It is now a popular music form in this area and internationally.

Weston has received numerous awards such as the Society for American Music’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2017; Legends of Jazz award from the National Jazz Museum in Harlem on June 14, 2017; added to the Downbeat Hall of Fame in 2016; recipient of the Arts Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana, the Black Music Star Award, and numerous other awards, just to name a few. He received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Brooklyn College in 2006.

Weston was named National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master in 2001. This is the highest honor given by America to jazz artists. He received the 1998 French Order of Arts and Letters, created to recognize outstanding artistic work and the cultural influence of great artists and writers in France and throughout the world.

And, in 2011 he received a commendation from Morocco’s King Hassan VI, recognizing his contributions to internationalizing Gnawa music.

Curated and produced by Gwen Black of Gwen Black Arts/Arts and Jazzfest NYC and Friends of Randy Weston in Association with the Fulton Art Fair, Inc. the exhibition and sale is at Stuyvesant Mansion, 375 Stuyvesant Avenue, Brooklyn through January 19th, 2020.

Source: blackstarnews.com

Nnedi Okorafor Futuristic Novel “Binti” Is Being Developed Into a TV Series at Hulu

From Interstellar to Guardians of the Galaxy, from Star Trek to Firefly, there’s something captivating about people moving out of the Earth’s atmosphere into other galaxies. Well there’s a new star in space, and we are excited to announce that it’s from our very own Nnedi Okorafor.

The critically acclaimed book by award-winning Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor Binti is being adapted into a TV series and set to premiere on Hulu. The three-part, science fiction novella will be adapted for screen under the studio Media Res according to Hollywood Reporter.

The script is being written by both Okorafor and writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who has previously written for Watchmen and The Morning Show.

Binti is set in a technologically and socially advanced future. It tells the story of a brilliant and rebellious young woman who is destined to lead her community in Africa. But when she’s admitted to the most prestigious academy in the galaxy, she chooses a different path and, rejecting her family’s wishes, leaves her community behind in favor of the starry skies.

The book is the recipient of both a Hugo and Nebula award for Best Novella, which are awarded to standout books in the genre of science fiction. Nnedi Okorafor took to her Twitter to share her excitement about the upcoming series, with the words:

“Finally, I can be public about it!”

Last year Nnedi confirmed that she’s writing a comic series which will focus on Black Panther‘s technologically innovative sister, Shuri.

Source: bellanaija

Lupita Nyong’o is the Cover Girl for British Vogue’s February Issue

Go behind the scenes with Lupita Nyong’o on the set of her cover shoot for the February issue of British Vogue, as she reflects on keeping her public and private lives separate, who inspires her in Hollywood, and her favourite “Cinderella moment” on the red carpet.

Watch the video below.

Source: bellanaija

We Can’t Get Over Lupita’s “Afro Clouds” Hairstyle From the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards

Lupita Nyong’o is always a delight to see on the red carpet. Whether she is stealing the spotlight in head-turning outfits, or serving major beauty inspiration – this Kenyan actress is definitely one star we look out for at every event.

At the Critics’ Choice Awards, Lupita managed to do both – win red carpet and give us natural hair goals at once. With the help of her trusted hairstylist Vernon François, the Us star waltzed down the red carpet with a gorgeous up-do which made her look very royal.

Her textured hair was pulled up into an exaggerated tousled bun and then accessorized with a gold hair wire – François called the style #AfroClouds. She definitely stood out all night adding red lipstick and splashes of bright gold eye shadow just under her eyebrows.

The renowned stylist revealed the secret behind the hairstyle and the products he used to achieve it in an Instagram post.

Source: bellanaija.com

Daniel Okechukwu: Sugar Rush is Funny but It Is Not to Be Mistaken for Comedy

The adjective sweet is rarely used to describe cinema, but it best defines the experience that is the first act of Sugar Rush—a jolly ride that features the hilarious trio of Adesua Etomi, Bimbo Ademoye, and Bisola Aiyeola at their charismatic best.

The trio play the Sugar sisters: Etomi is Susan aka Suzy Sugar, a smart conman; Aiyeola plays Shola aka Sholly Sugar, a not-so-smart scammer who might also be a high-class escort; Ademoye plays Bola Sugar, the youngest and silliest, she is all about that audio life Rudeboy was critiquing on Audio Money—she is from a poor home, but she’s wealthy on Instagram. The script from Bunmi Ajakaiye doesn’t provide an adequate backstory of the sisters’ shenanigans, but a scene is dedicated to each of them so you get their shtick.

All three sisters have one thing in common: they want to escape poverty, Shola can’t stop rambling about Linda Ikeji’s mansion in Banana Island. One night, she and Susan come across $800,000 at a murder scene, and they both convince themselves that taking the money isn’t wrong. “This is not stealing, right?” Suzy asks Sholly. “I dare say what we are doing right now is activism.” Of course, Shola agrees. It is $800,000!

They go on a spending spree — exotic cars, designers’ clothes and shoes, and a house that rivals Ikeji’s mansion.

On the night of the day the EFCC announced the murder and theft on TV, Bola and Shola throw a housewarming party, it draws all sorts of attention and lands them in hot waters. The EFCC visits the next day (with a search warrant), Susan meets them at the door and signals Shola to hide the money. After the search, the officers take the sisters in for questioning.

When they return home, they must grapple with an unknown man, who claims ownership of the $800,000. After much denial, the sisters concede they have the money, but when Shola goes upstairs to get it, the $800,000 seems to have grown legs. Angry and disappointed, he takes their ailing mother hostage and gives the sisters five days to find his money. It is at this point the film becomes less merry and shifts into something more sinister. There’s an element of class war: the sisters’ ‘victims’ are wealthy, crooked people, but this is a Nollywood holiday movie, tackling societal issues isn’t the main focus.

However, Sugar Rush hints it wants to do more than thrill you and make you laugh. After all, its central issues are Nigerian greed and our budding obsession with living a fake life on Instagram because we are collectively ashamed of our poverty. The sisters, especially the younger ones, wanted to prove they are in money now, and that leads to their downfall. But the film never fully embraces its commentary on social issues.

Sugar Rush was advertised as a comedy for apparent commercial reasons and while it is cheerful, it isn’t. It is a crime caper story, a flawed but ambitious one. As a director, Kasum shows he is an exciting talent to have on the big-budget stage, working with the Femi Awojide (cinematographer) and Jade Osiberu (production designer), he stages gorgeous scenes that aren’t shallow—a frequent occurrence in blockbuster Nollywood films.

However, his most remarkable work here is getting consistently solid performances from his actors. The leads are a riot, but who would think that in a film with an excellent Etomi, the standout performer is Aiyeola? She builds on her charming personality from Biodun Stephen’s Picture Perfect to deliver a superbly compelling performance. (Give her lead roles, Nollywood!)

The only let down is the curious case of Banky W’s non-acting. Screenwriter Ajakaiye wrote two intriguing villains: Banky’s Anikulapo and Uzor Arukwe’s Igbo gangster. While Arukwe rises to the occasion, Banky falls flat, even with the more interesting character.

Anikulapo is a feared gangster known for his brutality and his formidable juju powers and in the film’s climax—a crowd-pleasing, often messy juju-fiction heist sequence—we see him in action. It is a character that demands both great acting and charm – two qualities Banky has never convincingly shown since his Nollywood debut. He represents Nollywood big-budget films conundrum: sacrifice talent for popularity because of box office earnings. But Sugar Rush can be forgiven for escaping this problem in other areas: its director, cinematographer, and screenwriter are not widespread yet, but hopefully, the film makes them stars as it is their most impressive work so far.

Source: bellanaija.com

Stormzy is the Cover Star of L’Uomo Vogue’s February 2020 Issue!

Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. popularly known as Stormzy is one of the six cover stars for the new L’uomo Vogue issue. This February 2020 edition of the Men’s style publication is tagged “The Utopia Issue” and spotlights a cast of new creatives and visionaries who imagine and plan a better future.

Styled by Melissa Holdbrook-Akposoe for the cover feature, Stormzy talks about his upbringing, his career, and being one of Britain’s brightest stars all round.

Read the full issue on www.vogue.it

Source: bellanaija.com

Credits
Photography: Daniel Sannwald
Styling: Melissa Holdbrook-Akposoe
Editor in chief: Emanuele Farneti
Creative director: Thomas Persson
DOP: Krzysztof Trojnar
Grooming: Maria Comparetto @ Emma Davies Agency
Hair: Mark Maciver @ Slider Cuts
On set: Somesuch

More Stories
Today in #TheLagosReview