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Morocco rapper, Toto, given eight months suspended jail term for threatening Belgian journalist

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Controversial Moroccan rapper, ElGrande Toto, has been given an eight months suspended jail term for allegedly insulting and threatening a Belgium-based journalist with “insults, defamation and threats”, his lawyer, Abdelfattah Zahrach, told reporters in Friday.

ElGrande Toto, whose real name is Taha Fahssi, was accused of threatening the journalist in an online row after the star made controversial comments about cannabis last year which got him into trouble.

The Casablanca-born 26-year-old rapper who is unarguably the biggest musician in the North African country, reportedly told the journalist in an Instagram post:

“We’ll meet in Belgium and you won’t know what happened to you.”

The suspended jail term, according to the lawyer, comes with a fine of w50 000 dirhams ($4 900) to be paid in damages, Zahrach said.

Zahrach said that though he was “partly satisfied” by the ruling, he however objected to the requirement to pay compensation.

“Toto has not committed any criminal act against the plaintiff,” the lawyer said, adding that they would discuss whether to appeal.

The hiphop artist had sparked controversy in September when he told reporters after a concert:

“I smoke hash – so what?… It doesn’t mean I set a bad example.”

His remarks had triggered anger in Morocco, a conversative country which has banned the recreational use of the drug despite being its biggest producer.

He was accused of “inciting drug use, defamation”, but he later tendered public apology to people he felt were “offended” by the comments.

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South African actress, Thuso Mbedu, wins Outstanding Breakthrough Actress at Black Reel Awards

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South African actress, Thuso Mbedu, has hit off 2023 in grand style with another international honour under her belt, when she won the Outstanding Breakthrough Actress at the 23rd Black Reel Awards held on Monday in the US.

The Black Reel Awards, also known as The Bolts, is an award that recognises the excellence of African-Americans and the cinematic achievements of the African diaspora in the global film industry.

The KwaZulu-Natal-born star actress who won the award for her stellar performance as Nawi in “The Woman King,” was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress but lost to Angela Bassett for her role as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.

“The Woman King” which was shot was shot in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape in South Africa as well as other locations in West Africa, dominated the Black Reel Awards with six awards including “Best Picture” while Gina Prince-Bythewood won the Best Director, and Viola Davis scooped the Best Actress award.

“The Woman King” tells the remarkable story of the trials and tribulations of the fierce Agojie warriors and Dahomey.

Mbedu, a multiple award winner, has won the Independent Spirit Award, a Gotham Award and a Hollywood Critics Award for her breakout international starring role in “The Underground Railroad”.

Thuso Mbedu made her international debut in 2021 with the Amazon Video limited series “The Underground Railroad,” making her the first South African actress to lead an American TV series.

The role earned her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series and Outstanding Performance in a New Series at the Gotham Awards, and was also recognised in the New York Times’ list of top 10 best actors of 2022.

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South African trio, Zakes, Wouter, Nomcebo celebrate historic Grammy win

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Three South African entertainers, have made the country proud after winning an award at the 65th annual Grammy Awards held at the Cryto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday night.

The trio of producer and singer Zakes Bantwini, flutist Wouter Kellerman and vocalist, Nomcebo Zikode, won the Best Global Music Performance award for their hit track, Bayethe.

To celebrate their win, the group leader, Zakes, took to social media to thank fans for their support and praised God for the win.

“Being in LA for the Grammys and being able to network and connect with other fellow African artists, music executives and entrepreneurs is such an amazing thing.

“I’ve been busy here with meetings with music executives, taking part in a Grammy Week panel discussion at the Grammy Museum, and later today I’m going to the studio to do some song programming and writing music, and of course getting ready for the big night,” Zakes wrote.

Wouter also shared the moment he and industry colleagues learnt they had won and dedicated the win to the whole of South Africa, while Nomcebo also expressed her gratitude to God for enabling her to grace the world stage.

“Look at God. From Hammarsdale to the world. I never imagined God would take me to such heights and platforms. I want to give a special shoutout to my fans,” she posted.

Before the Grammy Awards, the super stars were honoured on Saturday at an African nominees brunch at Spring Place in Beverly Hills hosted by Guba Enterprises to celebrate outstanding individuals from Africa.

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