Organisers have cancelled two concerts that were supposed to feature Nigerian pop-star Burnaboy over “increasing threats of violence”, Vanguard reports.
Burnaboy was billed to appear in what was referred to as Africans Unite concerts in Cape Town and Pretoria at the weekend.
The announcement of him going to feature drew mixed reactions from South African musicians and politicians who took their arguments from Burna Boy’s comment during a wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa. At the time, Burnaboy had vowed never to step foot in South Africa again until the government “wakes up”.
According to Burnaboy, he had his share of xenophobic experiences at the hands of South Africans in 2017 and nothing would take him there again.
After changing his mind about going to South Africa, Burnaboy had earlier this month, said he would donate part of the proceeds from the concert to the victims of xenophobic attacks.
The South Africans who were having none of it, led by rapper, AKA, demanded an apology from Burnaboy or total cancellation of the event. AKA’s response in one tweet read ” One thing that has been particularly worrying is the silence from my own leadership, especially the department of arts and culture. It truly is up to us, the people, to solve our own problems. I have not been led, I have been left to lead.” In another tweet he wrote, “to be honest, the department owes YOU an apology for funding the concert in the first place.”
Last week, a group calling itself the Tshwane Entertainment Collective wrote a critical letter to the government over the concert, Times Live reported.
“Whoever may have deemed that the country needs a PR exercise of this nature would have done so largely as a result of the callous, misleading and unwarranted incitement by this very artist,” the Collective is quoted as saying.
“Not only did he spread falsehoods through his extensive platform, he literally incited violence and hate,” it added.
Announcing the cancellation of the concerts, Phambili Media said its decision came after the Tshwane Entertainment Collective’s call for a boycott and the “increasing threats of violence from other unfortunate segments of the public”. But the company did not specify what those threats were.
“The safety of all attendees, artists and crew comes first,” it added.
In what could be taken as a reaction to the news, AKA took to twitter to write “Hayi no. South Ahhh doesn’t play.”
Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has also been recognised, with Someone You Loved picking up a nomination for song of the year.
And Lil Nas X received multiple nominations for his country-rap crossover Old Town Road, which spent a record-breaking 19 weeks at number one in the US this year.
The nominees for the main categories are:
Album of the year
I, I – Bon Iver
Norman Rockwell – Lana Del Rey
Thank U, Next – Ariana Grande
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish
Cuz I Love You – Lizzo
I Used To Know Her – HER
7 – Lil Nas X
Father Of The Bride – Vampire Weekend
Song of the year
Always Remember Us This Way – Lady Gaga
Bad Guy – Billie Eilish
Bring My Flowers Now – Tanya Tucker
Hard Place – HER
Lover – Taylor Swift
Norman Rockwell – Lana Del Rey
Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi
Truth Hurts – Lizzo
Record of the year
Hey Ma – Bon Iver
Bad Guy – Billie Eilish
7 Rings – Ariana Grande
Hard Place – HER
Talk – Khalid
Old Town Road – Lil Nas X ft Billy Ray Cyrus
Truth Hurts – Lizzo
Sunflower – Post Malone and Swae Lee
Best new artist
Lil Nas X
Tank and the Bangas
British nominees include Ed Sheeran, whose No. 6 Collaborations Project is up for best pop album; Ella Mai, whose debut record is nominated for best R&B album; and violinist Nicola Bendetti, who is recognised for a new concerto, written especially for her by jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.
There are also posthumous nominations for The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, and murdered rap star Nipsey Hussle.
Lizzo was understandably excited to cap off her breakthrough year with so many nominations.
She tweeted: “This has been an incredible year for music and I’m just so thankful to even be part of it. “We are all winners.”
Lil Nas X posted a simple but explosive: “NO WAY” (with an expletive in between those two words).
The Grammys were mired in controversy in 2018, after only one woman, Alessia Cara, won an award during the televised ceremony.
Asked to respond to the lack of female representation, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said women needed “to step up because I think they would be welcome.
“I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us – us as an industry – to make the welcome mat very obvious.”
His comments sparked outrage, and this year’s ceremony rang the changes, with Kacey Musgraves’ space-age country album Golden Hour taking home the main prize, presented by a new female host, Alicia Keys.
As she picked up the best new artist trophy, British star Dua Lipa drove home the point, saying: “I guess this year we really stepped up.”
To be clear, the 2020 nominees all earned their place on merit. There’s no quota system in place. Instead, artists like Billie Eilish and electro-flamenco star Rosalía, have written some of the most forward-thinking, head-turning records of the last 12 months.
The Recording Academy’s new president, Deborah Dugan, commented on the phenomenon as she announced the shortlist for best pop solo performance in Los Angeles.
“Wow, that’s a lot of women,” she quipped. “Just sayin.'”
We’ll discover who wins when the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards take place on Sunday, 26 January 2020, hosted again by Alicia Keys.
The event takes place a month earlier than normal, after the Oscars moved their ceremony forward, taking the Grammys traditional slot.
That means the 2020 honours are based on a shortened, 11-month eligibility period.
Nowadays, with celebrities in particular, many of us post online tributes when someone dies, expressing sorrow as if the famous figure was a close friend or family member.
Often, if a member of the public feels they’ve grown up with a particular pop star or broadcaster, the personal connection may well feel very real indeed.
Dear Evan Hansen, a Tony-winning musical that has just opened in London’s West End, takes this idea to its extreme.
The show’s title character struggles to fit in and make friends at school. So when a classmate, Connor Murphy, takes his own life, Evan pretends the pair had a close friendship.
One lie spirals into another, as memorial fundraising campaigns are set up and Hansen becomes popular at school for the false memories he shares of his time with Connor.
“One of the things we wanted to get at was just touching on that phenomenon and presenting it, but also trying to poke at it and drill down on it and say ‘what is it that makes each of us susceptible to doing that?'” asks Justin Paul, who wrote the show’s music and lyrics with Benj Pasek.
“‘Why is grief tourism a thing? Why has it become a thing?'”
Lead actor Sam Tutty, who is making his West End debut in the show, admits it’s a familiar concept to most of us.
“Ninety percent of the time, I can identify with grief tourism,” he says. “I’ve been in situations where people have been like ‘Oh, it’s so sad’, even for celebrities. And it’s like ‘come on’, but I’m totally guilty of it as well.
“I think that whole message is kind of unspoken and taboo. It is a really interesting topic and I’m pleased it’s so prevalent within the piece.”
While the tendency towards happy endings in West End shows is understandable, book writer Steven Levenson says his priority was simply to get people thinking about their own conduct after death.
“I think we just hope that it allows people to ask questions about their own behaviour online, and how we all kind of present a certain version of ourselves to the public versus who we really are,” he says.
“I think [grief tourism] is one of the fascinating and troubling things about the internet.”
‘Everyone is struggling’
The show raises a range of other issues too, including depression and social anxiety. The themes are unusually dark for what is an otherwise fairly traditional musical.
For Pasek, the show takes on a new meaning with its London transfer. “In the UK in particular, a lot of British audiences and folks that I know that are from here have talked about the stiff upper lip in this culture.”
Dear Evan Hansen, he explains, is about “beginning to really dismantle the stiff upper lip and the idea of emotional accessibility and talking about things that are difficult to talk about, the taboo subjects.
“[It’s about] talking about therapy, depression, loneliness and not just presenting a version of ourselves that we’re okay and we’re Teflon, we’re invincible.
“Everyone is struggling with something, and if we can present and show the vulnerable parts of ourselves, we realise that so many other people are going through similar things, and that we’re loveable, even if we feel like we’re broken.”
The Broadway production saw Pitch Perfect star Ben Platt receive rave reviews in the leading role. Tutty looks set to follow suit, with the Evening Standard describing his performance as “startlingly raw and convincing”.
The standing ovation at the show’s opening night on Tuesday suggests it will go down as well in London as it has on Broadway – even if, as director Michael Greif acknowledges, one or two tweaks had to be made to the script.
“There are certain issues that don’t mean as much to a British company,” he explains. “What senior year means to a bunch of 17-year-olds in America is slightly different I think.
“The notion of one family offering tuition to another family also needed a bit of translation. We changed a couple of references, there were a few little tweaks, but the issues are the issues.
“They really are universal, and it translated beautifully.”
Dear Evan Hansen continues at the Noel Coward Theatre in London.
However, it wasn’t until he spoke to festival organiser Emily Eavis afterwards that the artist – whose real name is Michael Omari – realised his big night had in fact gone “all right”, he explained modestly.
“Then after calming down for an hour,” he went on, “Some of the people at the festival, Emily Eavis and that, gave us a memory stick to watch it back.
“And I got about halfway through and I was, like, ‘[Oh], I think it all went all right’.”
On Tuesday, Stormzy, announced his second album, Heavy Is The Head, will be released on 13 December.
The album’s cover image, posted to his 2.6 million Instagram followers, sees the bare-chested star wearing a crown and looking down at the aforementioned Banksy-designed stab vest from his June show.
The record, which features the likes of Ed Sheeran, Burn Boy, YEBBA, H.E.R. and Aitch, closes with his one of his latest number one singles, Vossi Bop.
Written by Jed Mercurio, the series has earned a devoted following thanks to its shocking plot twists, edge-of-the-seat moments and starry ensemble.
But if you haven’t watched it before or need a reminder of the plot, look no further – here’s a handy bluffer’s guide to series one to five.
Warning: this article contains plot spoilers. Do not read on if you do not want to find out what occurred in previous series of Line of Duty.
SERIES ONE (2012)
After refusing to participate in a cover-up, DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) is recruited by Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), head of anti-corruption unit AC-12.
His first assignment is to investigate DCI Tony Gates (Lennie James), a high-flying officer with a suspiciously impressive success rate.
With the help of undercover officer Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure), Arnott discovers Tony has indeed been covering up for a deadly hit and run.
Realising his career is over, Tony takes his own life – but the corruption does not die with him.
Another officer in his team, DS Matthew “Dot” Cottan (Craig Parkinson), is revealed to be an inside man for gangster John “Tommy” Hunter (Brian McCardle).
Yet Dot – also known as “The Caddy” – is better than Tony at covering his tracks…
Shocking moments: Tony’s girlfriend Jackie (Gina McKee) having her throat cut; Arnott being tortured; Gates killing himself.
Memorable dialogue: “You take a shot at the king, make sure you kill him, son!” (Tony Gates to Steve Arnott)
SERIES TWO (2014)
A police convoy is ambushed by two gunmen who leave three officers dead and their prisoner hospitalised.
The prisoner, who is later killed along with another officer, is revealed to be Tommy Hunter, who had been under witness protection.
DI Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes), who had been in charge of the convoy, comes under suspicion and narrowly survives a murder attempt.
It is later revealed that she’s a pawn in a plan cooked up by Cottan and his criminal associates, who wanted Tommy silenced in order to protect Dot’s secret identity.
The series ends with Denton in prison and Cottan installed at AC-12, safely hiding in plain sight…
Shocking moments: DC Georgia Trotman (Jessica Raine) being thrown out of a window; Denton attacking a neighbour with a bottle.
Memorable dialogue: “People have underestimated me my whole life!” (Lindsay Denton)
SERIES THREE (2016)
A police raid ends with Sergeant Danny Waldron (Daniel Mays) gunning down a suspect in cold blood, then making it look as if the dead man shot first.
Danny is then himself killed, but not before alerting Fleming to the existence of a list of people involved in a child abuse ring.
Finding the list and seeing Tommy Hunter’s name on it, Cottan destroys it while making it look as if Steve is the mysterious “Caddy”.
But he is finally exposed by DI Denton who, having been acquitted of conspiracy to murder, dies at his hand emailing the list to AC-12.
After a lengthy interrogation, Cottan escapes, only to die, semi-heroically, stopping Fleming being shot by one of his associates.
The series ends with Steve returning to duty, the chief abuser being convicted and Kate receiving both a commendation and a promotion.
Shocking moments: Danny’s death scene; Cottan killing Denton; Cottan taking a bullet for Fleming.
Memorable dialogue: “We gather evidence and the people decide. They’ve decided she didn’t do it because you couldn’t keep it in your pants!” (Kate Fleming to Steve Arnott)
SERIES FOUR (2016)
Under pressure to catch a serial killer, DCI Roz Huntley could do without forensic coordinator Tim Ifield (Jason Watkins) questioning the evidence against the suspect.
He takes his concerns to AC-12 and Kate Fleming goes undercover to investigate Huntley. Suspecting Ifield has shopped her, Huntley confronts him at his home.
Huntley returns to work with a concealed hand injury. Ifield is then discovered dead, with three fingers amputated.
Taking charge of the crime scene, Huntley implicates Ifield in another murder. Her husband refuses to confirm her alibi and falls under suspicion himself. A man in a balaclava throws Steve Arnott down a flight of stairs.
Huntley has to have her hand amputated and is arrested for killing Tim Ifield. Her solicitor is found to be linked to “Balaclava Man” – as is Huntley’s boss, Assistant Chief Constable Derek Hilton.
A recording of Cottan’s deathbed declaration reveals he was promoted by a corrupt copper whose name begins with H. Is this the newly deceased Hilton… or could it be Ted Hastings?
Shocking moments: Huntley and Ifield’s fight; Arnott being attacked.
Memorable dialogue: “This is beginning to feel like a life’s work!” (Ted Hastings)
SERIES FIVE (2019)
When a police convoy is hijacked by an organised crime group (OCG), AC-12 suspect undercover police are involved.
They’re right. The raid was masterminded by DS John Corbett (Stephen Graham), who has been posing as a criminal in order to identify the mysterious H.
Before Corbett can unmask H, he is betrayed by second-in-command Lisa McQueen (Rochenda Sandall) and brutally murdered.
The ensuing fall-out sees Ted Hastings suspended, investigated and charged with conspiracy by DCS Patricia Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin).
During a tense interrogation, Hastings turns the tables by exposing lawyer Gill Biggeloe (Polly Walker) as part of the OCG.
The series ends with Hastings back in charge at AC-12, McQueen given immunity and Ryan Pilkington, Corbett’s killer, inducted as a student police officer.
Shocking moments: Corbett’s murder; Biggeloe being attacked.
Memorable dialogue: “I’m just trying to get to the truth. The top brass, they don’t want me to succeed!” (John Corbett)