African creativity radiates excellence on the international stage

African creativity radiates excellence on the international stage

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#music
Whether it's the World Music Awards, the Emmys, the Grammys, or one of the many awards at Cannes, African talent is shining bright in an increasingly diverse range of creative categories.

Bonface Orucho, bird story agency


The global stage has become a platform where African creatives are increasingly gaining recognition, showcasing their exceptional talents, and receiving accolades that underscore the continent's rich creative value.


News of Trevor Noah bagging an Emmy award in the Outstanding Talk Series category is the latest recognition of African creativity being appreciated by global audiences. 


The South African comedian, who hosted The Daily Show until September 2022, also won the 2017 Emmys in the Outstanding Short Form Variety Series. According to the Emmys website, Noah has been nominated 18 times and won two awards.


"It's amazing that I get to be a part of this journey. It feels like being part of a winning football team," Noah said after securing the win on Monday, January 15.


Social media erupted in celebration of Noah's victory, with netizens pouring out congratulations and admiration for the 39-year-old comedian.


“Well deserved! Big congratulations, TREV! You are a great guy and legend,” Rhyda Antetokounmpo wrote on the X platform.


Nigerian-born American actress Ayo Edebiri also received her first-ever nomination in this year’s Emmys and went on to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2023 for her role in The Bear, a comedy-drama series.


Other notable African nominees for the 2023 Emmys include wildlife filmmaker Paula Kahumbu. Her 2023 wildlife documentary, Secrets of the Elephants, was nominated in two categories in the 75th edition of the Emmy Awards: Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program and Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.


Apart from individual nominations, South African shows such as Takalani Sesame Season 13, the sports documentary Two Sides, and The Mandela Project, a short-form series, were also a representation of the many impacting film projects created on the continent.


Beyond the Emmys, a series of African creations have in recent years been recognized in global award-winning stages. From film to music, fashion to creativity, African creations are being recognized.


Last year, at the 76th Cannes Film Festival Awards in Paris, four African filmmakers were nominated in some of the top categories, including the Palme d'Or, which has not been awarded to an African film in nearly 50 years. The two included Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania for her documentary Les filles d'Olfa and Senegalese Ramata Toulaye-Sy’s debut feature film Banel et Adama.


According to the award's website, last year saw the largest number of films set in Africa featured in its official selections. These were set in Algeria, the DRC, Morocco, Sudan and Cameroon.


In the realm of music, particularly the global rise of Afrobeats, African artists are achieving remarkable success on the international stage. The Recording Academy, host of the prestigious Grammy Awards, introduced a new African music category for the 2024 Grammy Awards, reflecting the genre's monumental impact.


Artists like Burna Boy, who have previously won Grammys, are poised to continue their winning streak, with nominations extending beyond the African category.


Even in the field of design and construction, the world is recognizing the innovation emanating from Africa.


Burkina Faso architect Francis Kere was honoured with the 2024 Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum, adding to his impressive collection of international accolades, including the Pritzker Prize in 2022, the Praemium Imperiale in 2023, and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004.


This recognition at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos underscores that the world is awakening to African innovation and inventiveness, whether in music or design. 


UNESCO projects the continent’s film and audiovisual industries could fetch up to US$20 billion per year for Africa.


With the amount of investment into all economic sectors on the increase, the opportunity for talent to shine - whether that be in entertainment, film production or architecture - is only likely to rise.



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