What’s Trending brings you a variety of the latest trends from and around the continent.  Expect to find your usual dose of news, categorised by country, alongside WOA’s handpicked song of the week!

South Africa; the home of Africa’s first openly gay radio station.

GaySAradio is one of the first of it’s kind. Broadasting form SA’s capital Pretoria, the radio station takes bold steps to create and produce content for Africa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex communities. The radio show hopes to tackle homophobia, open the dialogue on the topic of tolerance and strengthen marginalized communites through the relentless break down of stereotypes. The BBC’s Christian Parkinson visited SA to spend the day at the station in the capital, Pretoria. We hope the radio station’s bold moves towards a more accepting society are well received!

Photographer Brittani Sensabaugh captures the American struggle

Brittani Sensabaugh is one of many talented photographers from Oakland in California. Though she makes her living in the Big Apple, Brittani takes it upon herself travels across the states documenting life in urban cities.

She recently told True Africa: “I’ve made it my business to go and shoot all the places around the world that the media talks down on.” With racial tension in the US rising with each police brutality case, Brittani’s work provides a much needed narrative in terms of the portrayal of those marginalized racially and socially.

IMG_7107She also told True Africa: ‘I not only document the story and emotions they never show but I make sure I get to the reasons why these things are happening. I feel this is a way to create a new version of history. Each picture I capture is a piece of history I am giving back to my people.

It’s a reminder that no matter how much pain we go through, we find ways to shine and rise above it.” Her beautifully profound work can be found brittsense.com and she can be followed on @BrittSense 

Nina: A critique of Zoe Saldana’s role as Nina Simone


From left to right: Zoe Saldana and Nina Simone

A few blog posts ago, avid readers will remember What’s Trending featuring news of Zoe Saldana playing the role of Nina Simone in the new biopic, just released.

The film prior to it’s release was already receiving harsh reviews for the use of Zoe Saldana as Nina due to differences in skin tone an age. The general opinion was that the film casters could have found a more

appropriate actress for the role – their insensitivity and lack of eye for detail created an angry buzz across blogs and social media.This week, What’s Trending took to the Internet to find out how viewers were feeling about the film since it had been released. We have featured an extract from the Guardian, where Jordan Hoffman writes on A “blackfaced Zoe Saldana commanding her portrayal of the High Priestess of Soul which relies too heavily on cheap shots.

 “The chorus from the most famous Nina Simone song never heard in the Nina Simone biopic is the one that rattles around in your head most as you watch it: “Goddam!” Cynthia Mort’s long-in-development Nina has been the focus of considerable casting controversy, but the light-skinned Zoe Saldana wearing dark makeup and face-altering prosthetics is only the film’s surface problem. At its core it is an inept, cliche-ridden story edited together in a treacly and cheap manner. Set 20 years ago, Nina feels like a made-for-television movie of the era, the type which, thankfully, we rarely see any more.

Casting is paramount in a biopic, and there’s a lot to unpack with Nina. Were the subject not Nina Simone, for whom the representation of unadulterated blackness is so key to her art, this would be less of a thing. Hispanic John Leguizamo can play Italian-American Vinny in Summer of Sam and Italian-American John Turturro can play the Jewish Barton Fink. But L’Oréal Paris endorser Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone? That’s going to raise eyebrows. Moreover, she’s playing Simone in 1995 and subsequently, when the great musician was not at her most slender. The producers of Nina were wise to limit their prosthetics above the neck and refuse a fat suit.

 That being said, even with this rancid script, Saldana is, at times, a commanding presence. A scene in which she lashes out at audience members for talking during a nightclub gig is particularly heartbreaking, as is the moment in which she listens to and sings along with a tape of Four Women, a song written about the complexities and struggles of living as a black female. I wouldn’t exactly call it the performance of the year, but it certainly shows more range than her work in, say, Colombiana or her brief appearances in Star Trek Into Darkness. “ Read the full review here. Soul, but the movie relies too heavily on cheap shots.

Film Africa Artwork Competition begins!


Film Africa is looking for emerging contemporary artists with style and vision to create the Film Africa 2016 festival publicity design. A jury of industry experts will select three artworks that will then be entered into a social media competition – Film Africa fans will vote for their favourite and the winning artwork will then be used across festival publicity materials, including our brochure and official festival poster.

\Film Africa 2016 will take place in venues across London from 28 October to 6 November. Both amateur and professional artists from anywhere in the world are welcome to submit and we accept all 2D media including drawing, painting, print, illustration, collage, mixed media and photography. Film Africa welcome artworks from all and encourage artists of African heritage to apply. Click here for details on the Film Africa site.

African App of the week

This week, What’s Trending has a look at an African mobile app. African technology developers are quickly on the come up with award winning innovative farming, social and health-themed mobile-phone apps specifically tailored to Africa’s unique challenges and opportunities.

 Refugees United

Estimated figures reach the millions when it comes to the number of people separated from their families through refugee crisis’s across Africa. There are millions of people especially across Sudan, Somalia, and North Africa that have been separated from family and friends due to conflict or disaster. These situations mean these people find themselves desperately looking for their loved ones. Refugees United is an organisation that works to reconnect refugees with their loved ones. An app makes the difficult task a little easier – their app, (Refugees United,) helps users locate the people they have been separated from as the details of many are stored on the NGO’S database for lost family or friends in the NGO’s database.  With it you can create a profile and search for family or friends in the Refugees United database. The app is accessible to all refugees – no official papers need to be filled in, and best of all, its free of charge. Download it here.

Book of the Week


From Pasta to Pigfoot: Second Helpings

From Pasta to Pigfoot: Second Helpings follows Pasta-fanatic, girl-next-door Faye Bonsu. She is back for another adventure in love, life and culture in Second Helpingsthe brilliant, romantic sequel to the top-selling debut From Pasta to Pigfoot

Faye Bonsu seems to have it all; a drop-dead gorgeous and successful boyfriend, a bourgeoning career as an interior designer and a rent-free mansion in leafy Hampstead to call home. But with all her friends shifting into yummy-mummy mode, a man who seems to have no desire to put a ring on it, tricky clients, and a very attractive and single boss, things are not quite as simple as they might appear.

Hoping to escape from her suddenly complicated life and revive her wilting romance, Faye returns to sunny Ghana for what she hopes will be the time of her life. But life doesn’t always offer second chances and when disaster strikes, she is forced to confront the biggest question of her life and to make a choice that comes with consequences she will have to live with forever. Written by Frances Mensah Williams, this brilliant novel is available on Amazon.  Grab your copy now!

Song of the week

After a 5-year hiatus, widely popular Nigerian artist Burna Boy has finally returned to the UK for his first major concert at the Eventim Apollo on October 1st, 2016. Burna Boy is known for dominating local charts with hits such as Yawa Dey, Like to Party, Don Gordon and from his just released sophomore album including Soke and Rizzla. What’s Trending decided that there was no better way to celebrate the up and coming return of this amazing artist but to feature one of his best tracks. Get your headphones ready for ‘Soke”, a timeless track with summer vibes.

Happy August and enjoy your week from the WOA Team!