African music for the world

This week, The Times published a profile of Tems, a 28-year-old Nigerian singer-songwriter who, in recent years, became the first African artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, appearing on Beyoncé’s album chart “ Renaissance” and earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” He will release his debut album next month.

For me, Tems’ music, which spans R&B and Afrobeats, has honesty: its tone is earthy and its lyrics are direct, often set to production that isn’t particularly ornate. His hooks, however, are the murderers; apparently they are designed to be hummed around the house or shouted over speakers. These elements come together to vividly capture a feeling – whether it be anguish (“Damages”), defiance (“Crazy Tings”) or pity (“Me & U”).

It was not surprising, then, to learn through the piece about his vibration-based composition process. “I just have a feeling, I have signs,” he told Times reporter Reggie Ugwu. “You’re just the vessel, it just comes out of your mouth.”

Tems is one of several artists from African nations who have joined the Western mainstream. Burna Boy sold out New York’s Citi Field last year; In February, the inaugural Grammy for Best African Music Performance went to South African singer Tyla for “Water.” And Western artists (including Beyoncé, Drake, Usher, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez) have included African artists in their music or appeared in remixes of already popular songs.

Last year, for Old World, Young Africa, a Times project about Africa’s youth demographic boom, I spoke with Nigerian artist Eazi. He told me that one of the benefits of the growing popularity of African music was that Africans had been able to wrest some control over the narratives about their continent. “People are discovering Africa first, not through the lens of CNN or The New York Times,” he said, but “through the lens of music.”

There are several reasons for the global interest – talented artists, the power of the internet to melt borders, collaborations with Western stars – but one I can personally speak to, as a Brit, is the role of the diaspora.

My relationship with the music of the continent began with my father, who often played highlife (songs that crackle with age and feature piercing guitar riffs) sung in the Nigerian language Igbo. (Here is an example). As my peers and I grew up, we developed an appreciation for African music independently of our parents. Songs by artists like D’banj, Wizkid and Burna Boy rotated frequently at house parties.

There is a vibrant cultural exchange between the continent and its diaspora. Young Africans in the diaspora attend concerts and music festivals like Afro Nation, and many travel to Nigeria and Ghana to party during the Christmas season, affectionately referred to as “Detty December.” Eazi told me that the diaspora in places like Britain had played a role in popularizing African music globally: “These were the ones who defined what it is to be cool and embrace your Africanness,” he said.

Here’s a playlist for your holiday weekend cookout; includes big names from the continent and some artists from the diaspora. Amapiano, a house genre of South African origin, makes an appearance, as does “1er Gaou,” an Ivorian song that is a staple at African parties. Enjoy.

Related: Hip-hop, which dominates the French music industry, is injecting new words and phrases from Africa into French suburbs and cities.

Cinema and television

Other great stories

  • Countries at the World Health Assembly failed to agree on a treaty on how to handle a future pandemic, including how to ensure equitable access to vaccines.

  • Families of victims of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, are suing Instagram, a gun manufacturer and the publisher of “Call of Duty,” accusing them of “grooming” the teenage gunman.

  • A gang attack in Haiti killed three members of an Oklahoma-based missionary group.

  • Donald Trump has preemptively questioned the fairness of the 2024 election once a day, on average, since he launched his campaign, a sharp increase from 2020 and 2016, according to a Times analysis.

  • The drugs Ozempic and Wegovy reduced the risk of complications, heart problems and death in people with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease, according to a study.

🎬 “Hit Man” (out now): This is the year (years?) of Glen Powell. After making a big splash in “Top Gun: Maverick,” he starred opposite Sydney Sweeney in the romantic comedy “Anyone but You” and has now delivered what our film critic Alissa Wilkinson calls a “romantic, sexy, hilarious, satisfying movie.” and genuine star-getting turn” as a philosophy professor with an exciting side job in “Hit Man.” Directed by Richard Linklater (“Boyhood,” the “Before” trilogy), the film will begin streaming on Netflix in June, but , as Alissa says, “if you can see it in the cinema, it’s worth it.”

If you’re planning a picnic or cookout this weekend, potato salad may be on your mind. As much as I love the classic mayonnaise-dipped version, these can backfire when temperatures rise, especially if you’re planning an all-day feast. But fear not! I have the perfect alternative, a herbed potato salad made with olive oil and dressed with lemon and mint. This one also contains plenty of scallions, which give it a crunch and a nice spiciness, while a pinch of chilli adds a bit of heat. And he won’t suffer from staying out for hours, if he doesn’t swallow it all first, of course.

The hunt: A French-born, Canadian-based fashion brand owner wanted to find her American dream in the Hamptons. Which home did she choose? She plays our game.

What you get for $1.6 million: A Queen Anne Revival house in Durham, North Carolina; a two-bedroom condo in Palm Beach, Florida; or a modern country house in Barrington, Rhode Island, USA

Your next home: After publishing our updated Rent vs. Buy Calculator, The Times wants to hear from readers who recently chose between renting and buying. Tell us your story here.

Instagram Pans: A few years ago, direct-to-consumer cookware was all the rage on the internet. Now you can probably find it for free.

Dance like it’s the 80s: TikTok users may skew Gen Z, but some of today’s most popular videos feature the moves of their Gen X parents.

As: A guide to becoming vegetarian or simply incorporating more vegetables into your diet.

At work: He meets a woman who keeps a candy factory running.

There’s one packing essential that Wirecutter travel expert Kit Dillon recommends to anyone who asks: packing cubes. Is the idea of ​​small zipper bags inside a larger bag a little silly? Maybe. But in practice it’s pretty good. Our experts suggest imagining your suitcase as a dresser and the cubes as individual drawers. Pack each cube the same way you would organize your drawers (for me, it’s swimsuits and underwear in one; shirts in another; pants in a third) and take out only what you need as you go. Voila. Packing and traveling, made easy. — Sofia Sokolove

Monaco Grand Prix, Formula 1: There is a chasm between the appeal of the Monaco Grand Prix and the race itself. Monaco is a centerpiece of the Formula 1 season and perhaps the sport’s most famous event. But, as Ian Parkes explains in The Times, the race has become more predictable over the years as Formula 1 cars have gotten bigger, making it harder to overtake other racers in the tight and winding streets of the small country. Of course, for many spectators the competition is secondary to the spectacle of futuristic cars whizzing past extravagant yacht parties.

Pro tip: More exciting than the grand prix is ​​the qualifying event, where drivers travel the course in isolation, trying to record the fastest lap. Their times determine the starting order of the race, which may well reflect the final classification. Qualifying is today at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2; the race is tomorrow at 9am on ABC

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