Oluwadamilola Akintewe, a 21 years old law student, feminist activist and social entrepreneur from Nigeria was crowned Miss Speaker at the just concluded Miss Career Africa 2020 grand finale which was held on the 27th of November, 2020 at the Marriot Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda
Her project, a not-for-profit social enterprise ‘Forbidden Topics’ was an initiative birth during the COVID-19 pandemic with a need to amplify voices of women who were muffled during the pandemic lockdown in Nigeria. A whole lot was happening but the world was oblivious to it; the increased rate of sexual gender based violence because victims could not run away from their assaulters who are mostly their sexual partner or husband, period poverty and femicide which was rampant in countries like Nigeria and South Africa. She started the blog to give African women a platform to air their social issues, influence people’s thoughts, governmental policies for gender equality and change the narrative. Also, she wants to help adolescent girls and young women with skills acquisition for financial inclusion. So, she had to create a revenue generation aspect to the project through a statement T-Shirts fashion collection called ‘Forbidden Topics’.
As a feminist activist and social entrepreneur, she is focused on feminist organising and movement building, disrupting and dismantling systems of oppression against women and girls, raising empowered females, inspiring them and bridging the gender inequality gap. She run several projects including Rebirth to help women from rural communities in Ondo State, Nigeria gain entrepreneurial skills through fashion designing for financial equality.
During the pandemic lockdown in Nigeria, Oluwadamilola also organised ‘Project Safe School’ for kids in underprivileged communities who couldn’t afford Internet, electricity and digital devices for virtual learning and ensure educational equality.
All these experiences fueled her passion to apply for Miss Career Africa 2020 as she went from being a top 10 from West Africa to winning the Miss Speaker Africa 2020 title and a $500 seed funding for her project at the end of the competition.
Her intention is to forever inspire young people to reach for the sun and dare. There’s a whole world and universe out there open to supporting a resilient spirit. And for girls, entrepreneurship and business world shouldn’t be a male dominated industry. Oluwadamilola Akintewe believes there’s more honour in being a rich woman and not just a rich man’s wife.
Other Crowned Contestants include;
Miss Career-West Africa: Eze Ifunanya Nneamaka (Nigeria)
Miss Career- Central Africa: Mabula Manganze Grace (DRC)
Miss Career-East Africa: Seraphine Akoth Okeyo (Kenya)
Miss Southern Africa: Nothabo Ncube (Zimbabwe)
Miss Art &Talent: Atosha Genevieve Iranyuze (Rwanda)
Miss Career-Agriculture: Gisele Mignone Irankunda (Rwanda)
Miss STEM: Delica Izere (Burundi)
Miss Career- Hospitality: Maloka Prudence Mohlago (South Africa)
Miss Career-Conservation: Ineza Nice Cailie (Burundi).
The Africa Channel Brings Nollywood Films to US and Global Audiences
The Africa Channel (TAC), the longest-running independent, minority-owned media company focused on presenting pan-African content to global audiences, announces a wide-ranging licensing and distribution deal with ROK Studios, a Canal+ company, bringing premier Nollywood films to US and global audiences.
The licensing and distribution partnership will encompass current releases and hundreds of hours from the catalog of Nollywood releases ranging from 2015 to 2020. Popular movies premiering in North America for the first time, include The Secretary, Ovy’s voice, Picture Perfect, Dear Mummy B, A Woman‟s Scorn and more.
Select premium content from over 370 licensed titles will be programmed on The Africa Channel platform cable platform in North America and the Caribbean, while majority of the catalog will be made available on Demand Africa through subscription video on-demand (SVOD) as well as the Free AdSupported Streaming (FAST) platforms globally outside Africa.
“We are delighted to partner with Rok Studios to bring North American audiences this expanded selection of content from Nollywood – the second-largest movie industry in the world‟ said Narendra Reddy, Executive Vice President & General Manager, The Africa Channel. “Canal + and Thema TV‟s commitment to presenting multicultural content to global audiences aligns with our own, and this is a first step in building an expanded relationship with one of the preeminent media companies in the world.”
The deal was facilitated and closed by Thema, a Canal+ group company and leading distributor of thematic and multicultural content.
“We are very excited to have teamed up with the Africa Channel and ROK Studios on this content partnership for the Americas. TAC‟s robust library speaks to the understating of the need for change in U.S. which will allow us to better respond to the ongoing conversation surrounding content diversity and multicultural productions,” said Patrick Rivet, CEO Thema America. “At Thema America we believe that content with a strong cultural identity is crossing boundaries to grab diverse audiences and start conversations.”
Launched in 2005 and 2017, respectively, The Africa Channel, and digital streaming platform Demand Africa, showcase the African continent’s most outstanding English-language television series, specials, documentaries, feature films, music, biographies, and cultural and historical content. The channel aspires to build bridges between cultures while reinforcing positive narratives of Africa through diverse content and programming.
TuneCore Launches Operations in Africa, Appoints Two Female Regional Executives
TuneCore Jade Leaf and Chioma Onuchukwu
TuneCore, the leading digital music distribution and publishing administration company for independent artists, has launched operations in Africa. Jade Leaf has been hired as Head of TuneCore for Southern Africa and will share responsibility for key countries in East Africa with Chioma Onuchukwu, who has been hired as Head of TuneCore for West Africa. Both Leaf and Onuchukwu will report to Faryal Khan-Thompson, Vice President, International, TuneCore.
Onuchukwu will be based in Nigeria and oversee countries in West Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. She will also look after Tanzania and Ethiopia in East Africa. Leaf’s territory encompasses Southern Africa, including South Africa, where she will be based, as well as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho. Leaf will also manage TuneCore operations in East African countries Kenya and Uganda.
Said Onuchukwu, “I am elated to be joining a renowned, independent music distribution powerhouse, especially in an incredible era for music creators in Africa at a time when we are gaining global recognition and increasing momentum. I look forward to collaborating with and supporting local artists.”
Before joining TuneCore, Onuchukwu was Marketing Manager at uduX Music, a music streaming platform in Nigeria. There she worked directly with popular African artists such as Davido, Yemi Alade, Patoranking, Kizz Daniel and more.
Commented Leaf, “I am incredibly excited to join the team in a time where the global conversation is around independence and ownership. TuneCore opens up a world of potential for independent artists at every level of their careers. Africa is home to a diverse range of artists who are seeking a reliable distribution service who understands their local needs and can ultimately give them the opportunity to turn their art into commercial success.”
Previously, Leaf worked at Africa’s largest Pay TV operator, Multichoice as the Marketing Manager for Youth & Music Channels, where she led brand re-imaging and marketing efforts for Music TV giant Channel O. Before that, she worked at Sony Music Entertainment Africa, focusing on African artists and content, as well as numerous marketing campaigns & projects for local and international artists.
There has been a meteoric rise in the uptake of streaming services in Africa, the growth has been attributed to several factors such as an increase in internet penetration via smartphones, the entrance of international and local streaming platforms in key territories and its youth population – More than 60% of African’s are under the age of 25.
In 2020, TuneCore saw an increase in music releases globally, with many African artists opting to use the DIY Distributor – DJ Spinall and Small Doctor in Nigeria, Spoegwolf in South Africa, Mpho Sebina in Botswana and Fena Gitu in Kenya to name a few.
Stated Khan-Thompson, “Africa is an extremely exciting music market with a lot of potential for growth. By hiring Jade and Chioma to lead our efforts, TuneCore is well positioned to maximize opportunities for independent artists across the continent. Both Chioma and Jade bring a wealth of experience and genuine interest in helping artists make their dreams come true. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have two incredible women representing the TuneCore brand in the continent”
Interview with Ebele the flutist, the first Nigerian professional female flutist
Ebele the flutist (Source: Ebele Ezeamakam)
Ebele Ezeamakam, known as Ebele the flutist is a versatile, creative, innovative musician and personal development coach who believes in the power of music and its ability to induce progressive positive transformation in an individual. Although her parents wanted her to study accounting so she can work in the bank. According to her, they would rather prefer her to be a banker than a musician. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola, she elaborated on how her experience playing flute and culture influenced her career journey into the superstar performer and Nigeria’s foremost female flutist she is today. Excerpt.
Alaba: When did you start playing the flute? Why did you choose the instrument?
Ebele: I started playing the flute at age 14. I was exposed to music at a very young age and we learn music in general. I have a very high pitch voice (Soprano), and when it comes to choosing a musical instrument, flute blends with my high-pitched voice. Also, my teacher was a Philippine lady who plays the flute, she motivated the flute playing also.
Alaba: As a Nigerian-African, would you say your culture influenced your love for music in any way?
Ebele: In a way I’ll say yes. But the truth is; music is a gift, an ability given by God. Many learn and are being trained to know music, but you can’t compare something you learn to do with another person who is born with the ability to do so. Notwithstanding, even if one naturally poses the ability, one still need to master your craft. It’s a God-given ability to me.
Alaba: When did you transcend to become a professional musician?
Ebele: For a long while playing the flute was just something I love to do. While working as an accountant in an Oil Firm, I attended musical training for contemporary music because my background was classical music genre. Even developing myself on contemporary music, I still didn’t know I’ll be a professional musician. It all started when I never felt fulfilled as an accountant anymore, and didn’t mind how lucrative my job was, I left to pursue where my heart is music.
Alaba: Did you always want to be an orchestral flutist? Can you imagine your life as a non-flutist?
Ebele: I am not an orchestral Flutist, am a contemporary musician who plays and sing different genres of music, i.e., classic, R&B, high life, gospel etc. this makes me a professional Flutist. An orchestral Flutist is one who plays in an orchestra setting only. I was like that, but I break the norm that Flute cannot be used outside orchestra setting. I used the flute to play different genres of songs, this makes me a professional Flutist, and the First and Foremost Female Flutist in Nigeria. I can’t imagine a life as a non-flutist, I thank God I pursued my passion.
Alaba: You’re also a personal development coach? Kindly tell me more about it and which came first?
Ebele: I started playing the flute in a very young age, never actually supported by my parents. I normally escaped from extra moral classes to learn the flute. A time came when they set an example for us to qualify us a Flutist, my parents were invited. They saw me play the flute so well and my dad bought me my first flute at age 14. Even after this, they refused I further much on music, they insisted I read accounting so I can work in the bank. They would prefer me be a banker than a musician. I did their bid but never left music. I continued learning and mastering my craft. In the long run, this is who I am.
I choose to help young men and ladies discover and develop their gift on time because I was graced to do so for myself. I help them by organising and attending Personal Development Coaching.
Alaba: Can you remember how you felt the first time you played it?
Ebele: Great really! Especially when my parents were amazed at my playing.
Ebele the flutist (Source: Ebele Ezeamakam)
Alaba: How are you keeping yourself positive and inspired in the current crisis? Can you share your thoughts
Ebele: It’s really not been easy going through 2020 lock down, but somehow, we survived it. So far God has been faithful to me, hence I still get involve in some training online and some program’s still call me to perform, though with high restrictions due to covid19.
I believe “This Too Shall Pass”. I believe we will get through it but much more I pray we learn and step-up, to be a better people and nation who succeeded and overcame such crises.
Alaba: How do you feel as Nigeria Foremost Female Flutist?
Ebele: It feels great but with much responsibility. I believe I should do more and especially invest in others so we can have more Flutist. Am doing that already and in not much time a lot of Flutist will emerge, female ones also.
Alaba: What is your plan for the year? Any new projects you’re working on?
Ebele: Oh yes, my long-awaited album. Planning and trusting God it’s going to be a national one because it’s really taken some time. Planning on releasing some singles as well in addition to my previous once.
Alaba: What causes are closest to your heart?
Ebele: I love helping the less privilege, I have been involved in A lot of program’s were I assisted in less privilege works. We had one very beautiful one we did for the patients in Lagos state university some time ego, titled “Music and Medicine “. It was a musical concert for patients.
Alaba: Your top picks to read, watch and listen?
Ebele: Hmm! Hard to answer really because I have a lot of them and don’t really know which to mention. I’ll plead you spare me on this one.
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