Category: People

Lupita Nyong’o, A Gracious Role Model for Our Times

Photography– Willy Vanderperre   Styling-Olivier Rizzo     Text-Lynette Nylander

It’s been just six years since her Oscar-winning turn as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave but Lupita Nyong’o has already redefined what screen actresses might be, what they might achieve, what they might represent, and how they might inspire others. In fiction, she has inhabited different worlds, told different stories. In reality, she has affirmed the beauty of millions of black women across the globe, reaching way beyond the limitations of cinema.

Last year, as special-forces operative Nakia in Ryan Coogler’s Oscar-nominated Black Panther, Lupita Nyong’o and her accompanying all-black lead cast – unprecedented in the superhero-movie genre – caused a seismic shift.

Marrying the black experience, which in Hollywood is rarely seen through the African lens, with fantasy fiction, the resultant epic carries an enormous cultural significance that will be its legacy. It was wildly popular:

Black Panther was the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time. 2018 also saw Nyong’o reprise her performance as Maz Kanata in the Star Wars franchise, due for release later this year. Both roles – pivotal to megawatt, mega-buck productions – transcend any vague notion of Nyong’o as an ingenue, a rising star.

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Otrude Moyo, Zimbabwean academic at University of Michigan awarded Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship

By Ashley Schafer

Otrude Moyo, chair of the Department of Social Work at the University of Michigan-Flint has been named a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship from the Institute of International Education.

She joins a prestigious group of 385 scholars who have been awarded African Diaspora Fellowships to travel to Africa since the program’s inception in 2013.

Moyo received the fellowship for her project, “Internationalizing the Social Work Curriculum: Breathing Life into New Possibilities, Integrating Local-Global Thinking about Social Problems to Rebuild Healthy and Vibrant Communities.” Moyo will collaborate with faculty at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa on the project.

Moyo, an assistant professor, specializes in social welfare, critical multiculturalism, diversity and social justice, understanding quality of life, and inequality issues. She currently teaches social policy, diversity and social justice courses at University of Michigan-Flint.

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The Congolese-American activist who scaled the Statue of Liberty isn’t backing down from taking on Trump

By Chidinma Irene Nwoye

As a child in the Congo-Brazzaville, Therese Patricia Okoumou loved climbing things, particularly houses. No one else, not even her brothers, joined her in these escapades; feats that decades later came in handy as she scaled New York City’s revered Statue of Liberty on July 4, 2018, in protest of President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.

By doing this, Okoumou became the first woman in history to successfully climb Lady Liberty’s pedestal but she could spend up to 18 months behind bars for doing so.Last December, a federal district court in Manhattan found Okoumou guilty of three misdemeanors: disorderly conduct, trespassing, and interfering with government agency functions.

Each charge carries a sentence of up to six months in prison. Ruling in The United States of America v. Therese Okoumou, Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein asserted that Okoumou’s political motivations did not override the law.

Continue reading “The Congolese-American activist who scaled the Statue of Liberty isn’t backing down from taking on Trump”

Meet Ibra Ake, the Nigerian-American who produced Childish Gambino’s “This is America”

BY AMARACHI NWOSU

Ibra Ake is a Nigerian-American visual artist, creative director and writer based in Los Angeles, California. Living in cities around the world from Lagos to New York has played a major role in his unique approach to visual art.

From shooting covers of magazines to being the creative director for artist’s like Childish Gambino as well as writing on the hit show Atlanta, Ake is no stranger to expressing himself through different mediums.

Having been introduced to art through animation and drawing, he later picked up photography through a class in art school before he decided to leave, and go into creating full time.

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Lamin Sanneh: The Gambian-born Yale Professor who was a foremost African theologian

BY FRANCIS ANEKWE OBORJI

Lamin Sanneh (1942-2019), a foremost African theologian of our time from Gambia in West Africa, was called to great beyond on January 6, 2019, the Feast of Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ to the gentile world. Sanneh suffered a stroke and died at the age of 76, in his place of abode, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut in the United States of America.

Until his sudden demise last January, Professor Lamin Sanneh was the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale Divinity School and Professor of History at Yale University. Sanneh is internationally, respected and acknowledged as the world’s foremost theologian of World Christianity and Islam.

He was also a co-founder and joint convener of the Yale – Edinburgh Group on the History of Missions and World Christianity. The Group’s annual Conferences, meeting in Yale and Edinburgh alternately, have been an input feature of the academic contribution of this illustrious son of Africa to the world. Continue reading “Lamin Sanneh: The Gambian-born Yale Professor who was a foremost African theologian”

Talking With Ambassador Nominee Lana Marks, Who’s Ready to Ditch Palm Beach for Pretoria

By Tish Durkin

“I am not the female Donald Trump,” demurs Lana Marks in the very polite, very firm way that you can tell she does many things.

At this moment, she certainly seems right about that. Perfectly coiffed, polished, and pearl-necked at her desk in the office behind the Palm Beach boutique that bears her name, Trump’s nominee to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to South Africa appears exactly as trim, sunny, and measured as her would-be boss is stout, grouchy, and combustible.

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DJIMON HOUNSOU, the Hollywood star who remembers his roots in Africa

Djimon Hounsou was born and raised in Benin Republic. The actor came to America as an adult to work in the fashion industry before landing his leading role in Amistad that changed everything. He has since gone on to star in Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park  and Guardians of the Galaxy   .

He dated fashion and reality TV star, Kimora Lee Simmons, with whom he has a son, Kenzo Lee Hounsou. Last summer, Hounsou took Kenzo to Benin Republic to acquaint him with his African roots. This report by Sarie on bckonline.com
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Frances Tiafoe, Sierra Leone immigrant’s son who is the next big thing in US tennis

Frances Tiafoe has had a phenomenal rise in the rankings of mens tennis. He is now a regular in Grand Slams and recently played in the Hopman Cup alongside Serena Williams.

But his exploits for America would not have happened without the sacrifice of his immigrant father. A janitor from Sierra Leone. This report in from the BBC tells his story.

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South African Beauty Queen set to marry America football star

South African beauty, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the winner of the 2017 Miss Universe Crown, is set to marry Tim Tebow, the  Heisman Trophy winner, national champion, first-round NFL draft pick, minor-league baseball player. Continue reading “South African Beauty Queen set to marry America football star”

Meet The Young Nigerian Robotics Entrepreneur Who Got A Dream Deal With Apple

Last September, news of a young Nigerian  robotics engineer, Silas Adekunle, who had just inked a deal with Apple hit the airwaves after he developed “MekaMon” the worlds first gaming robot. The deal reportedly made him one of the highest paid robotics engineers in the world. But even before he hit the limelight with that report, Forbes had noted his potential in the 30 under 30 list for European Technology. This report by Parmy Olson introduced the Nigerian prodigy to the world. Continue reading “Meet The Young Nigerian Robotics Entrepreneur Who Got A Dream Deal With Apple”

Meet Dr Trebi-Ollenu, the Ghanaian-born team lead of NASA InSight space rover on Mars

On Monday, November 26, 2018, InSight, a spacecraft belonging to America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) landed the on Mars. Since the landing Africans in America, especially those with affiliations with Ghana, have also been celebrating. This is because at the heart of the historic landing on Mars is the remarkable work of Ghanaian-born engineer, Dr Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, who is the team lead for InSight at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Trebi-Ollennu builds robotic components for planetary exploration, a dream that began as a young child in Ghana. He is in charge of the InSight mission’s robotic arm and hand.

Continue reading “Meet Dr Trebi-Ollenu, the Ghanaian-born team lead of NASA InSight space rover on Mars”

Eulogy Gambian-born Howard University Professor Sulayman Sheih Nyang

By Dr. Tijan M. Sallah

The news of the passing away of Professor Sulayman Sheih Nyang at the United Medical Center in Washington, DC, on Monday, November 12, 2018 came to me as a stab in the back. It was sad, disconcerting and painfully unbearable.

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Kassy Kebede: the Ethiopian private equity guru who was married to a super model

Kassahun (Kassy) Kebede is founder and Managing Partner of Cepheus Growth Capital, an Ethiopia focused private equity fund started in 2016. He has been a player in the private equity business in New York for over twenty years. He is also famous for the former husband of Ethiopian super model Liya Kebede.

Continue reading “Kassy Kebede: the Ethiopian private equity guru who was married to a super model”

Dr. O Boachie-Adjei: The Ghanaian who is a world leading orthopedic surgeon in New York

Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei  is a Ghanaian orthopedic surgeon. He specializes in spinal reconstruction and the treatment of kyphosis and scoliosis. He is professor of orthopedic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, in the United States, and is an attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, all in New York City. He is recognized as one of the best in his field globally.  Continue reading “Dr. O Boachie-Adjei: The Ghanaian who is a world leading orthopedic surgeon in New York”

Global Health Professor Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa Participates In Carnegie Fellowship In Kenya

Nigerian-born Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, assistant professor of global health in Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts, was selected for the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) this summer and traveled to Kenya, where she co-developed an undergraduate curriculum in gender and climate change for Egerton University. This report by Kyle Sears of Mercer News tells the story of her sojourn in Kenya

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