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Hip Hop and R&B come alive at Day N Vegas 2021, the highs and lows!

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It was good returning to Las Vegas for a second time for Goldenvoice’s Day N Vegas (DNV) Festival, featuringperformances from hip-hop and R&B acts at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, from November 12-14.

I was first there in 2019 for the inaugural festival and of course, due to COVID-19, the festival could not hold in 2020. I left day 3 of the 2019 festival early to catch a flight, so I missed Kendrick Lamar’s hit performance. So I was happy that this time, he was headlining Day 1 of the festival and I wasn’t going to miss it.

 

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Although I was also looking forward to seeing Travis Scott headline Day 2, the November 5th crowd surge and mass-casualty at his Astroworld Festival forced Scott to pull out of DNV. He was replaced by Post Malone. Performances averaged around 45 minutes, except for the headliners — Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone and Tyler, The Creator each got 90 minutes.

Yves-Tumor-Dean-Tent-Saturday-Credit_Demian

 

While the emphasis on fan safety struck a hyper-vigilant chord, I was particularly watchful for the spread of Covid. But I was happy with the measure the organizers put in place at the festival grounds. A negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination was required on all three days of the festival.

 

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I went in always with my mask on and took it off while things picked up. It was hot and humid so very difficult to keep a nose mask on all the time. Thankfully there was water refill point for festival-goers. I had good tips from this website before my trip to Vegas, regarding water issues.

Day N Vegas 2021

As a traveler from Ghana to the festival, one of my other worries was finding the right accommodation but I picked the Downtowner Hotels & Apartments, just like I did in 2019. If you want good places to stay in Las Vegas and other cities in the USA, click here.

Day N Vegas 2021

One other difference between my first DNV experience and this year’s event was the fact that I went out more to explore Vegas. This time I was more familiar with the festival grounds, and I also downloaded the Day N Vegas app to help me streamline which shows I really wanted to see, since there were three different stages on the festival grounds.  Appropriately named Frank, Dean and Sammy in honor of the city’s Rat Pack godfathers, the stages of DNV never skipped a beat.

 

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I went around the city beyond the strip and downtown to explore the landscape a little more, in addition to the festival itself. Las Vegas also boats of home developments as many homeowners want to be close to the grandeur of the greater Las Vegas area. This city offers a wide selection of luxury homes fit for an exquisite lifestyle marked by an exclusive set of architectural styles. I saw many houses being put up, and the use of a temporary bridge in most setups could not be missed.

Day N Vegas 2021

Day 1:

Friday brought standout sets in the Dean Tent, from Thundercat to veteran Madlib. One of my personal highlights  Day 1 was seeing Crenshaw-bred rapper, apart from his obvious skills as a rapper, he also has Ghanaian origins.

Nana at Frank-Stage-Friday-Credit-Julian Bajsel

 

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Over at the Frank main stage, Ari Lennox delivered passion and soul and she was followed by rapper YG. Finally there was the biggest event of the night,  the return of Kendrick Lamar, which was also his only live set of 2021. It was an amazing set not just for his rap skills but also the theatrics and dramatization that characterized each song was simply game-changing! Lamar was joined on stage by 16 men in red suits and bowties with different variations of white face paint.

 

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He was clad in a gauzy white fabric, long hair parted in the middle and topped with a crochet cap. The night closed with an appearance by his cousin, protégé and Las Vegas rapper Baby Keem, with whom he performed “Family Ties” and “Range Brothers.” Then, all the players from the 90-minute extravagance came onstage as he beautifully hymned, “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” striking a vignette fitting of a Baroque masterwork.

 

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The much smaller Sammy Stage, saw Isaiah Rashad excite fans and getting personal with them.  My R&B highlight for the night was seeing Jazmine Sullivan perform her hits back-to-back with massive participation from the crowd.

 

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Day 2:

Saturday at DNV was punctuated with dynamic talents such as Don Toliver, Baby Keem, Doja Cat and Tinashe.

 

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Toliver, who performed at Astroworld hours before the catastrophe, asked the crowd for a moment of silence for the victims just after sunset on the Frank Stage.  Baby Keem, making his second appearance at DNV, hit the Sammy Stage with a packed crowd that quickly turned into a mosh pit. Security feverishly handed out water to the crowd.

 

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My favourite R&B highlight of the night was from Lucky Daye, he had moments that made me feel I was at least listening to Chris Brown.  Doja Cat dominated her Frank Stage set with a parade of dancers and sultry moves that had fans screaming.  Meanwhile, Victoria Monét drew a major audience and rave reviews for her first-ever festival appearance in the Dean Tent. Tinashe continued the R&B love at Sammy, sharing a whole new idea on how to use a trampoline while onstage, giving her golden goddess look a little extra bounce.

Day N Vegas 2021

Lil Baby was fun to watch, but he’s not much of a performer for me. He literally just rapped his lyrics to his teeming fans until his set ended.  Headliner, Post Malone gave a solid last-minute performance, considering he was added to the bill only a few days prior.

 

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Day 3:

Sunday started off slow for me as all the pressure of running about from stage to stage from Friday to Saturday had taken a tow on me. All eyes were on the Sammy Stage. Joey Bada$$ and Denzel Curry reminded the audience that they were there for hip-hop, pushing the crowd into a frenzy.

Day N Vegas 2021

Lil Uzi Vert came on 30 minutes late. Eye-blurring, psychedelic visuals blinded the crowd, and his attempts at inspiring everyone to “rage” got me jumping around just so I wouldn’t get stampeded by the teeming fan. It felt as if the crowd had been possessed by some evil spirit and I was happy when Uzi was cut off 20 minutes after he started, to keep on schedule and make way for SZA. He attempted to keep performing, before throwing his mic into the crowd and walking off.

Day N Vegas 2021

SZA gave one of the strongest vocal performance of the weekend. Tyler, The Creator drew the largest crowd of the three-day event, with his signature style of dark comedic hip-hop performance art.

 

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She entered the University at age 13, now Ruth Ama Gyan-Darkwa is the youngest graduating student from KNUST

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Ruth Ama Gyan-Darkwa

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) at its 55th Congregation Ceremony has graduated the youngest student who was admitted into the University in 2017.

Miss Ruth Ama Gyan-Darkwa, who now holds a BSc. Mathematics degree made waves when she was announced the first youngest student ever to be admitted into the University at age 13. This spectacular achievement brought her into the limelight creating a lot of public interest in her story.

According to her, she passed her Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) at age 9, while in her first year at Justice International School in Kumasi. As a result, at the age of 10, she was accepted into St. Louis Senior High School to study General Science and successfully graduated in 2017.

In an exclusive interview with Miss. Gyan-Darkwa, she confessed her journey has not been easy as expected. Although she had a very brilliant academic history, she experienced some of the uncertainties that come with tertiary education. There were times she felt nervous and wondered if she was up to the task. “I was able to overcome the many challenges because God saw me through, and I looked to him at all times. Also, I had my eyes focused on the end goal,” she said.

“Some of my course mates felt intimidated because they thought I was too brilliant. Others wondered if I was cut for the journey. All these brought me to the point of questioning my potential but found solace in how far I have come, the support I received and the future that awaits me.”

Miss. Ruth sharing the brighter side of her experience revealed the support of the President, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the second lady, H.E Samira Bawumia who gave her a laptop and 4-year scholarship respectively.

Her father, Mr Kwadwo Gyan-Darkwa, a Mathematics and Physics tutor at Prempeh College, expressed great delight in the daughter and how her achievements have brought joy to the family.

Miss Ruth encouraged those who are yet to begin their tertiary journey to believe in themselves, look up to God for help and be ready to embrace the challenges and lessons that come alongside.

She plans to pursue a master’s degree and a PhD.

Culled from KNUST website.

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Ini Edo welcomes baby girl via surrogacy

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Nollywood actress, Ini Edo has welcomed a baby girl.

In an interview with Stella Dimoko Korkus, the actress revealed that she used a surrogate mother to carry and birth her daughter.

She said, “I do have a daughter and I had her through surrogacy. The eggs are mine and so genetically, she’s my blood. I chose this path to fulfil my dream of becoming a mother.”

On her baby’s father, Edo said, “I opted for a donor for me and my baby’s peace of mind.”

Credit: Instagram | Stella Dimoko Korkus

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Onua FM/TV Captain Smart arrested over ‘unsavoury’ radio commentary

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Controversial broadcaster, Blessed Godsbrain Smart popularly known as Captain Smart of Media General has been arrested over his commentary on radio. (more…)

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Yvonne Nelson wins GH¢500,000 defamation case against Mona Gucci

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An Accra High Court has awarded Yvonne Nelson GH500,000 in a defamation case against Mona Gucci for malicious statements she made about the award-winning actress on Accra-based Neat Fm. (more…)

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Rock Dawuni speaks passionately against fan wars, calls for unity among Ghanaian musicians

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Two-time GRAMMY-nominated artist, Rocky Dawuni has sent out a plea to Ghanaian musicians and their fans to focus less on ‘beef’ and more on collaboration to help grow the music industry. (more…)

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Global Citizen Reveals 117 Million Lives Benefited Three Years On From Commitments Announced At The Epic Mandela 100 Festival

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To mark the third anniversary of the Mandela 100 festival, international advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, has announced that over 12 million lives have been impacted this year across Africa, and the world, adding to the 105 million lives reported last year. Impact from commitments announced at Mandela 100 now totals over 117 million people having benefited from pledges made at the ground-breaking festival in 2018 – which brought together world leaders, philanthropists, and the private sector to make commitments towards achieving the UN’s Global Goals, to end extreme poverty and its systemic causes.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $4.7 billion of the total $7.2 billion in funding announced during the Mandela 100 campaign have been disbursed and allocated to key organisations on the front line of ending extreme poverty, in all its forms, and to communities in need around the world.

Over 70,000 Global Citizens, artists, and global leaders came together at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 2nd December 2018, united behind one mission to honour the life of Nelson Mandela in his centenary year. The event commemorated the legacy of a man whose extraordinary vision for peace and equality still resonates today with the hearts and minds of Global Citizens across the world.

Hosts of the event included Trevor Noah, Sir Bob Geldof, Naomi Campbell, Gayle King, Bonang Matheba, Tyler Perry, and Forest Whitaker, with ground breaking performances by Beyoncé & JAY-Z, Cassper Nyovest, Ed Sheeran, Sho Madjozi, and more.

During the festival Global Citizen and partners announced 60 key pledges across Health, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Food Security, Agriculture, Environment, Education, Education, Finance and Innovation.

By 2020, more than 105 million lives had been impacted by the commitments announced as part of the Mandela 100 campaign in 2018. Now one year on, Global Citizen can announce that a further 12 million liveshave been impacted from delivery of these pledges. Through pledges made at the festival, interventions have been vast, urgent, and critical for communities experiencing the compounded effects of extreme poverty and COVID-19.

Pledges have resulted in accelerated action to end child marriage, and the delivery of antiretroviral therapeutics to more than 5.1 million South Africans; efforts are underway to map the spread of river blindness in Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal, and computers and other educational equipment and facilities that enabled students to continue attending classes online during COVID-19.

Released this week, Global Citizen’s 2021 impact report highlights the latest disbursed commitments including:

  • USD $40 million has been spent by the Motsepe Foundation towards the provision of quality education, an increase of USD $20 million over the last 16 months. USD $50 million had been spent since 2018, contributing to the development and growth of agriculture and farming projects in traditional communities and poor rural and urban communities in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Free State and Northern Cape. The funding has been for tractors, farming equipment and implements, irrigation systems, the digging and construction of several hundreds of boreholes, the provision of water tanks and water storage facilities, as well as the provision of fertilisers, seeds and other agricultural and farming inputs.
  • The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Elma Foundation UK, UK Aid, Virgin Unite, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed US$105 million to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2023. Supported by the funding announced at Mandela 100, Sightsavers’ Accelerate programme has addressed neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma in 14 African countries, including Benin, Guinea-Bissau and Ethiopia. The program has delivered 7.4 million treatments for river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis and in the first quarter  of 2021, surgery activities were underway in 95 of the programme’s targeted 180 districts for the year, which has allowed for the treatment of 5,100 cases of trachoma.
  • Vodacom pledged ZAR 500 million (US$34.8 million) toward combating gender-based violence, teacher and learner digital literacy, and early childhood centers. In 2021 Vodacom’s Mandela 100 commitment has supported programmes that have had a profound  impact across key areas in gender, education, and literacy.
  • As a result of one of these programmes, more than 1,900 female farmers have been trained in relevant ICT skills to enable them to communicate with other farmers, access relevant products and services online, and ultimately provide them with access to economic opportunities by connecting them to potential buyers.
  • A Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) and website has provided victims of violence in South Africa with a source of support, by providing counselling, service referrals, and immediate response in the event of imminent danger, all free of charge.
  • Germany committed $72.4 million to support the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD).  Germany’s commitment helped support IFAD overall efforts, ensuring that from 2019 to 2021, 23.4 million people gained access to financial services, such as savings and credits, and almost 1.7 million hectares of land were brought under climate resilient practices. IFAD’s ongoing projects reached over 128 million people, surpassing the year’s goal of 120 million. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IFAD has repurposed $179 million in the form of 58 projects across 36 countries to help relieve the pandemic’s profound impacts thanks in part to funding announced at Mandela 100, in other partners. Recently in Eritrea, for instance, $1 million has been repurposed through the “Fisheries Resources Management Programme” to provide temporary cold storage to make sure those affected by COVID-19 were able to store their harvests.

Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-founder and Chairperson of the Motsepe Foundation said:
“We are pleased with the progress we’ve made relating to our Global Citizen Mandela 100 commitments despite the Covid-19 challenges. We are committed to contributing to improving the living conditions and standards of living of millions of people in South Africa, the rest of the African Continent and the world.”

Chebet Chikumbu, Global Citizen’s Africa Regional Director said:
“Despite the ongoing pandemic, we’ve been working closely with our partners to ensure funds are being dispersed to communities most in need in Africa and across the world. Over the next year, we will continue to deliver on the accountability tied to Mandela 100 campaign pledges made, helping millions of the world’s most vulnerable combat poverty daily, while mitigating the ongoing personal implications and economic impacts of COVID-19.”  ​​

Global Citizen remains committed to bring Nelson Mandela’s dream into reality by ending extreme poverty. In order to achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals, including Global Citizen’s mission to end extreme poverty by 2030, we must end poverty in all its forms.

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