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Nigerian music stars dominate first ever US Afrobeats Billboard Chart top 10 songs

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Nigerian music stars showed the stuff they are made of when the first ever Billboard Afrobeats most popular songs went live on Tuesday, by dominating the top 10 chart of Afrobeats popular songs in the United States.

The Afrobeats Billboard, a brainchild of US music magazine, Billboard, and Nigerian festival company, Afro Nation, which was launched last Saturday, and will rank the top 50 Afrobeats songs based on streams and downloads every month.

In its very first edition, Nigerian CKay topped the ranking with his smash hit, “Love Nwantiti.”

Also on the top 10 are Fireboy DML with the track Peru where he featured Ed Sheeren, in second place, while Wizkid’s song, Essence, featuring Justin Bieber and Tems, taking the third spot on the chart.

The partnership between Billboard and Afro Nation owned by Obi Asika, is seen as a significant breakthrough for the Afrobeats music genre which was created by late Nigerian icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

The genre has been made popular by young guns like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Ckay, Davido, Seun Kuti, Fireboy, and a host of others.

Here is the Afrobeats Billboard Top 10 chart:

1. Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah), CKay

2. Peru, Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran

3. Essence, Wizkid featuring Justin Bieber & Tems

4. Attention, Omah Lay & Justin Bieber

5. Free Mind, Tems

6. Finesse, Pheelz x Buju

7. Ameno Amapiano (You Wanna Bamba), Goya Menor & Nektunez

8. Found, Tems featuring Brent Faiyaz

9. Calm Down, Rema

10. Emiliana, CKay

Culture

How South Sudanese singer John Frog moved from child soldier to Afrobeats star

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John Frog may be one of South Sudan’s most successful musicians at the moment, but a little over 10 years ago, he was a child soldier conscripted to fight in the country’s civil war at the age of eight.

John Frog was born during the civil war and his parents were soldiers in the SPLA – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army but fortune later smiled on him as he realised his true calling of making music.

Today, the youngster has forged an international reputation and has collaborated with artists from other African countries, including Uganda’s Eddie Kenzo, Bahati from Kenya, and recently, Iyanya from Nigeria whom he featured in his latest song, “My Bed”, with the collaborations placing him as one of the most sought after Afrobeats artistes in Africa.

According to a feature story by the BBC Africa, “Frog is his real name. He was called Aguek, which means frog in Dinka, a language native to South Sudan, because he was a breech baby, coming into the world feet-first.”

“Given that his mother gave birth to him in a remote village with no hospital or doctor in sight, he was lucky to survive, as was his mother.”

Speaking on his experience in the army, John Frog said:

“They didn’t give us a gun yet, until I was 14 – that’s when I was given a gun.

“Every day, every week, there is a fight, so we have to run in the forest, in the water, so it was quite tough for me.”

He confessed that he didn’t go to school and only picked up English from the street.

Frog said he always loved music and even in the forest he would listen to traditional music.

He recalled that it was when he got the opportunity to go to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, where he met other young Africans that he started making music himself.

“We didn’t have enough producers in Juba. The producers who are here are from Kenya and Uganda, so it was a bit hard to know the kind of genre for South Sudanese music, so I decided to do Afrobeats.”

Frog noted that South Sudanese musicians who make the most money are the traditional praise singers.

“They praise people, they praise leaders, praise people who have money, so it’s the quickest way to make money here.

“But my aim is to reach the wider audience. Either this year or next year, I have to be among our brothers who are on top,” he vowed.

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Culture

Nigerian moviemakers Funke Akindele, Mo Abudu, Jade Osiberu named in Hollywood Reporter’s Powerful Women in Film list

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Foremost Nigerian moviemakers, Funke Akindele, Mo Abudu, and Jade Osiberu have been named in the Hollywood Reporter’s list of the 40 Most Powerful Women in International Film.

This list which “recognizes women who are bringing stories to a global stage and nurturing new voices despite a disrupted film market,” featured the Nollywood filmmakers as three of the top most powerful in Africa.

The Hollywood Reporter describes the three as the “most powerful African film-makers who have for the past years graced our cinemas with captivating stories and productions.”

“Africa’s production industry faced a setback when Amazon Prime Video left the African originals business. Yet, Abudu, a pioneer in African media, continues to thrive. Her recent project, the short film “Dust to Dreams” directed by Idris Elba, received funding from the African Export-Import Bank’s $1 billion Creative Africa film fund,” it said.

“Abudu emphasizes the need for the international industry to embrace diverse stories.

“In her words, she said ‘We need a systemic shift towards inclusion. Diverse storytelling isn’t just about representation; it’s about unlocking a wealth of untapped creative potential.'”

“Akindele added politician to her roles as actor, writer, director, and producer when she ran for the 2023 Lagos state gubernatorial elections. Though her party lost, her career flourished. Her latest comedy, :A Tribe Called Judah”, which she wrote, directed, produced, and starred in, became the highest-grossing Nigerian movie ever, earning $1.2 million.

“Osiberu, a leading figure among Nigerian producer-directors, created the crime thriller “Gangs of Lagos” for Amazon. Her next film, “Everything Scatter,” follows five young people during a day of protests in Lagos.”

Speaking the the recognition, Abudu said:

“This recognition is a massive win for Nigeria! Seeing our nation celebrated for its incredible storytelling potential is so inspiring.

“I’m incredibly proud to be part of a movement pushing for a more inclusive film industry that embraces the power of diverse stories.”

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