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H.O.N Weekly : Your Weekly Roundup of Trending News

Tributes continue to pour for Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman

Tributes continue to pour in for Black Panther eponymous star, Chadwick Boseman, who sadly passed away Friday 29 August. The public was shocked to hear that, Boseman, 43, was battling cancer for 4 years, shortly before his big break. Ex-co-stars and associates are coming forward with heart breaking tributes and anecdotes that only testify how amazing Chadwick was and how he deeply lived for his craft, his passion for the arts, his heritage and love for his community. He truly lived with passion and purpose. Read Ryan Coogler, The director or Black panther’s beautiful tribute to Chadwick here.

“Do safari companies really want African tourists”?

The COVID-19 pandemic, the closures of borders and numerous travel restrictions have put a strain on the hospitality and tourism industry. More specifically, the safari industry in Africa which cater mostly, if not exclusively, to international tourists. The prospect of long months of empty lodges have made, this luxury industry to review their strategy and target local customers.  The move didn’t go down really well with locals who felt overlooked for a long time.

A Tanzanian man, who committed himself to travel extensively his country, after living for many years abroad, says: “Even though places are becoming more accessible to us right now, the experiences are still not equal to those offered to foreigners,” he said. “When I stay someplace, they aren’t as invested in me as a guest. They don’t give suggestions for places nearby to see or excursions to go on and things to try, but foreigners — that’s all provided at length.” He then adds: “But since Covid started I’ve found myself wondering, ‘Why don’t I support really local business, especially when the foreign ones never wanted my money before?’”. Interesting read via the New-York Times.

Congolese’s virologist Dr Muyembe lifelong work on Ebola is coming to screen

After several pictures of American actors Richard T. Jones (Why did I get married and owner of Prophecy Pictures Entertainments) visiting Kinshasa, it has been reported that Jones and Eric Kasongo, owner of the production house, Emotive are currently working on a biopic for Dr Muyembe.

Dr Jean-Jacque Muyembe-Tamfum, is a world-renowmed microbiologist, and the actual director of the INRBM, the Institut National de la Recherche BioMedicale. In 1976, he was part of a medical team that discovered Ebola in at a hospital in a small northern village in Congo (then Zaire). In 2016, Dr Muyembe, played again an essential role in the most recent outbreak, in researching a treatment protocal, including testing trial vaccines. He is currently heading the national outbreak response of COVID-19.

Despite being the first doctor to collect Ebola sample, his crucial role in the discovery and long life research against Ebola was overlooked. For the longest time, all the credits went to a Belgian microbiologist doctor, Dr Peter Piot. This raises again, the question of erasing African Black scientists of their important contributions in the sciences and medical field.

It’s time Dr Muyembe get the worldwide recognition he deserves. (Full story in French via Zoom Eco. net. )

Watch: Anthony Mmesoma Madu, future ballet prodigy from Lagos

I’m sure in June you’ve came across the beautiful video of a young ballet dancer from Nigeria, dancing under the rain. Anthony Mmesoma Madu, 11, has now received a scholarship offer from Cynthia Harvey, former Prima Ballerina and now director of the American Theater Baller of New-York. Hopefully, this will be a long-term partnership with Daniel Ojala, the self-taught ballet teacher, from the Leap of Dance Academy, a school that provides quality ballet education to indigenous young artists. Follow them on their Instagram page.

Jerusalema : let’s dance with the South African hit taking the world by storm!

Jerusalema is one of the biggest global hits that came out of South Africa this year. It is a song by South Africa DJ and record producer Master KG. It features gospel singer and vocalist Nomcebo. The gospel-afropop song was first uploaded in November 2019 on YouTube. A video followed in January 2020. However, the song became a global sensation, after the #Jerusalemachallenge quickly went viral on social media. The challenge started when a group of dancers from Angola, uploaded a choreography of them dancing to the song, with plates of food. The rest of Africa, then the world, quickly joined in the fun. On September 8, it has broken the record of the most ‘Shazamed’ song. The news was posted on Shazam twitter account.

The dancer group Fenomenos do Semba from Angola started the challenge
A Flash mob dancing to Jerusalema in Bucharest, Roumania

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Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman dies at age 43 from cancer

This morning, the world woke up to the tragic and unexpected news of Black panther actor, Chadwick Boseman’s death. Boseman’s publicist confirmed that he died of cancer at his home in Los Angeles earlier today, surrounded by his wife and family. He was 43.

According to a statement posted on the actor’s Instagram page, Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and was privately battling the illness all these years. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.” The statement said. “It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther” statement continues.

Boseman’s most acclaimed role is King T’Challa in the blockbuster, the comic marvel, Black Panther. The film is one of the biggest box-office hits of all time, generating more than 1.3 billion dollars worldwide.

More than any other marvel comic movie character, Black Panther was a cultural revolution, a milestone in the film industry, as it brought to big screens worldwide a movie with a black superhero supported by a predominantly black cast and director.

Beside Black Panther, Boseman brought to life other iconic black figures such as baseball hero Jackie Robinson, who broke the racial barrier by becoming the first African-American to play in the Major League Baseball, James Brown, the Godfather of Soul music and Thurgood Marshall, the lawyer and civil rights activists, who became the first African-American Justice to the Supreme Court.

On numerous occasions, a tired-looking Chadwick drew internet users’ comments joking that he was tired of obliging to do the Wakanda salute to fans; last year, pictures of a noticeably skinnier Chadwick surfaced online, raising worries on his health and leaving some to wonder if the dramatic weight loss was for an upcoming movie role.

Chadwick is survived by his wife Taylor Simone Ledward, whom he reportedly married earlier this year.

Watch below an emotional video of fans telling the impact watching the movie had on them.

H.O.N Weekly : Your Weekly Roundup of Trending News

Welcome (back) to H.O.N Weekly, your weekly roundup of the top lifestyle, current affairs and enter/edutainment trending this week.

Nicholle Kobi’s illustration of the upcoming animated series on Africa queens. Nicholle Kobi Instagram.

1. COVID-19: is South Africa losing the battle against COVID-19?

After what seems like a great start at managing the pandemic, South Africa is unfortunately now ranking 5th worldwide, on an international COVID-19 chart. Cases in the country are spiraling, despite a strong involvement of the government. The country was first praised by the WHO for its early strict measures and national testing program . What went wrong then? According to an opinion piece published in Quartz Africa, it’s because South African’s leaders want to emulate the” First world” while it is a country being ‘both first and third world”. The article points out to a capacity problem to correctly execute the wide-scaling testing initiative, elitism and exceptionalism views. (Source : Quartz Africa)

2. Edutainments: Artist Nicholle Kobi teams up with Erick Barmack to bring animated African queens’ series to life

French Artist and illustrator Nicholle Kobi, known for her empowering illustrations of black women on social media, is teaming up with Erick Barmack, a former Netflix executive, who is credited with overseeing the streaming giant ‘s game-changing drive into production around the world, on the production of “Queens” a high-concept, stylish animated series about six extraordinary real-life African queens. They will mesh real-life events ranging over thousands of years of history and authenticated by historians with a dash of magic and, as the series’ central visual look, Kobi’s character art. The pair is working on another animated project, a series called ‘La femme noire’ for BET. The series will feature stories of Queen Amanirenas of Kush (Ex-Sudan), Queen Nandi the mother of Shaka Zulu (South Africa) and Queen Amina of Zaria (Nigeria) among others. While waiting for the series learn more about these amazing African queens here. (Source : Variety)

3. Tech/business: The faces of startups in Kenya

An info-graphic of start-ups in Kenya has been making the rounds on social media and causing a stir because it is revealing the demographic of start-ups founders : they are mostly whites. Unlike South Africa and Nigeria, (along with Kenya, these countries make up the three most-funded start-ups hubs in sub-Saharan Africa), expats founders are more likely to be funded more than locals.

As per data compiled by WeeTracker, Kenya-based start-ups raised a total of USD 428.9 Million in total disclosed funding deals recorded in 2019. Expat-founded start-ups were the recipients of 87.8 percent of that sum, raking in a staggering USD 376.7 Million. (Source /digest Africa)

4. Viral/US Politics: Watch US presentative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brilliantly shut down misogynistic slurs

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is often referred to by her initials AOC, is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district. AOC is fearless and outspoken while defending her points of view. Earlier this week, she reportedly was accosted and called a ‘fucking bitch’ by a republican congressman, Ted Yoho. Watch belowAOC’s poignant and classy response, a real masterclass in standing up to your bullies and handling misogynistic bullies in the workplace or elsewhere. Her speech has stricken a chord with many women across the world, as the majority of us have, one way or another, had to deal with such mistreatment. Watch the full speech here. (Source: HuffPost)

5. Music : Aya Nakamura is the most listened to French singer

According to Spotify’s world ranking, artist Aya Nakamura is the “most listened to” French singer. She is ranked 288th, in particular thanks to her massive hits like “Djadja”, “Pookie” or “Copines”. With 13 million monthly listeners, Aya is way ahead of the other top 3 most successful French artists on the platform, the rappers Jul (3.3 million per month), Booba (2.3 million) and the duo PNL (2 million). Of Malian descent, Aya has been dominating the French airwaves and international festivals with her unique blend of French pop and afro-inspired beats. Unfortunately, Aya is regularly the target of cyber-bullying and frequent racist attacks highlighting the issues faced by black women in the show-business (misogynoir). Allez Aya! (Go Ava!). (Source

Et voila for this week’s round up. What’s happening on your side of the world that we should know.

PS: Before you go, do not forget to check the latest blog posts

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How “Black Lives Matter” re-ignited my blog’s purpose

Last time I checked with you for my monthly musing, was in May when I did a round-up of the 2020 first quarter. I mainly discussed the rise of the COVID -19 pandemic and the top events, thus far, of the year. Today I’m telling you how world’s events of the past week, the Black Lives Matter movement especially, have helped me re-ignite my blog’s purpose.

A mural in honor of George Floyd.
A mural in honor of George Floyd.

Things have been even more eventful (and draining) with the eruptions of the Black Lives Matter protests, following the senseless killings of black people in the USA. So draining that I could not put my feelings and emotions into words (considering that we’re still battling the pandemic).

I can’t breathe”

On May 25, the killing in Minneapolis (USA) of Georges Floyd, an-African-American man, by 3 policemen, sparked national anger. The videophone footage shows Derek Chauvin, one of the policemen, kneeling on George’s neck for almost 9 minutes. Two other policemen are seen pinning his body on the floor, while George was repeatedly imploring them to stop, by saying “I can’t breathe”. He later lost his consciousness and subsequently died.

The shock and exasperation spread worldwide, with protests erupting around the world.

Black Lives Matter

Protestors around the world have rallied across the slogan Black Lives Matter, that first started as a hashtag created in 2013, in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the murderer of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed teen back boy. Since then, the hashtag is getting used widely on social media to highlight the senseless, and often racially motivated killings, of black people, especially young black men.

A few weeks before Floyd’s killing, Breonna Taylor, a 26 years-old female, was shot and killed in her bed, while police officers entered her apartment, to execute a ‘no-knock warrant search’. Her family is still seeking justice.

Before Breonna, Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man was killed while jogging in his neighborhood. He was pursued, confronted and killed by 2 white residents. His killing was recorded by another neighbor, who was later charged alongside the other two.

The shock and exasperation of these killings spread worldwide, with protests erupting across many cities around the world. In France, the movement has found resonance with the killing of Adama Traore by French policemen, in a condition similar to George Floyd.

#BlackLivesMatter goes global

This year people from every background of life, race and nationality have joined the movement. It has also sparked conversations about racism and prejudice in our society. Social media in particular, has become a very powerful platform, because it has given black people all over the world a platform to share their painful experiences with institutionalized racism.

Powerful brands and companies have all been forced to reflect and enforce changes in their organisations to actively combat racism. Ex-colonial powers such as France, Belgium and the UK are also facing a growing discontentment with Afro-descendants wanting them to be accountable for practicing slavery and colonization. They want these countries to recognize the atrocities committed under such practices and discuss reparations. Symbols and statues of colonization and slavery are being toppled in major cities across Europe and the US.

If anything, the events of these past weeks, have shown us that racism is one of the most enduring pandemic that black, and other non-white people, have been subjected too for centuries. It has permeated, in the most insidious ways every aspect of our lives.

A renewed purpose and re-commitment to my blog’s vision

The tragic killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests have reignited my purpose and the vision of House of Nzinga. It reminded me that, I created this platform to contribute to an afro-centric and afro-optimistic worldview and narrative.

My mission, when I started this blog, was to counter all the negative, stereotyped portraying of black people, especially women, by amplifying our voices and stories, while celebrating our past.

Although my platform and voice, is a tiny one in this world wide web, I strongly believe every voice counts in the fight against institutionalized racism and Neo-colonialism.  Every signed petition, every tweet, every post changing the narrative counts. As I read somewhere “activism has many lanes”, and social media activism is certainly become a powerful modern tool for activism when used correctly of course).

So stay tuned for more inspiring, educating and empowering content.

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