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Nigerian-American artist Kehinde Wiley unveils bold sculpture in New York

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A bronze sculpture, "Rumors of War," by artist Kehinde Wiley. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Perpetually crowded Times Square has a new statue for pedestrians to navigate — but it’s unlike any other.

Artist Kehinde Wiley unveiled his biggest work ever Friday, a massive bronze statue of a young African American man in urban streetwear sitting astride a galloping horse.

A bronze sculpture, “Rumors of War,” by artist Kehinde Wiley, appears in Times Square at an unveiling on Friday Sept. 27, 2019, in New York. The work, depicting of a young African American in urban streetwear sitting astride a galloping horse, will be exhibited through December 1. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Called “Rumors of War,” it flips the script on traditional statutes commemorating white generals. Wiley described his bold work as a call to arms for inclusivity.

He told The Associated Press afterward that he hoped young people would see it and “see a sense of radical possibility — this, too, is America.”

The project was born when Wiley saw Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s monument in Richmond, Virginia. That 15-foot-tall bronze work portrays Stuart astride a horse and is part of the city’s string of Confederate memorials along Monument Avenue that includes ones for Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson.

“I’m a black man walking those streets. I’m looking up at those things that give me a sense of dread and fear. What does that feel like, physically, to walk a public space and to have your state, your country, your nation say, ‘This is what we stand by.’ No. We want more. We demand more,” he said. “Today we say ‘yes’ to something that looks like us.”

The horse-riding figure in “Rumors of War” — on the Broadway Plaza between 46th and 47th streets — has turned in his saddle, his attention seemingly toward an American Eagle store. His Nikes are firmly in the stirrups and his majestic horse is in movement, focused on something across the street.

“Rumors of War” will display in Times Square until December before finding a permanent home at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

For now, Wiley’s work joins other sculptures in the plaza of the so-called Crossroads of the World. There are also statues of Father Francis Duffy and producer George M. Cohan, both white men.

The unveiling was bookended by performances from the marching band from Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey. Other speakers at the unveiling included Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

“Today is a monumental day,” Stoney said. “In Richmond we have 10 Confederate monuments to the Lost Cause. I think that is 10 too many.”

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Big Brother Nigeria

Mercy Eke wins Big Brother Nigeria season four

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Mercy Eke has become the winner of BBNaija season four.

The ‘Queen of Highlights’ was crowned winner during the finale on Sunday.

This win makes Mercy the first woman to win the Big Brother Naija reality show since inception.

Popularly known as ‘Lamborghini’, Mercy was touted as the possible winner for the season by show fans and celebrities alike.

The light hearted diva made the top two with her show best friend, Mike Edwards, who emerged first runner up.

As winner, Mercy walked home with cash prize worth over 40 million Naira, brand new Innosson SUV, Dubai trip for two and other prizes.

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Entertainment

Nigerian youths partner Consulate on ‘Our Nigeria, Our Brand’ initiative

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Nigerian Youth in the Diaspora Engagement Forum (NYDEF)

An organization mobilizing Nigerian youth in the Diaspora is partnering with the Nigerian Consulate in New York to celebrate Nigeria’s 59th anniversary of Independence with a conference on how to redeem Nigeria’s image.

The Nigerian Youth in the Diaspora Engagement Forum (NYDEF) initiated the conference themed Our Nigeria, Our Brand to tackle the identity problem Nigerians face, and to showcase good things Nigerians youth in the Diaspora are doing instead of the bad image dogging every holder of the green passport.

According to NYDEF communications officer Yinka Sarayi, following the string of fraud busts in California, xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and ICE’s raids in some cities in the U.S, it became imperative to have a talk on how Nigerians can navigate the Diaspora.

“The conference will also show how Nigerian youth and their achievements can show forth instead of the stereotypes that have followed Nigerians in the Diaspora,” she told Being Nigerian in New York Sept. 30.

She revealed how so many Nigerian youth are contributing tremendously to economies of their host countries and communities in the Diaspora, though these contributions have yet to rub off on Nigeria.

The conference idea originated from NYDEF, and the Nigerian Consul in New York bought into it because, the Consulate said, the theme stands for everything the consulate does, since Nigeria’s image is its only official business.

“They were happy some youth are coming together to have this heart-to-heart talk. They asked us to host the conference at the consul in New York,” she said.

Listed to speak at the event October 3 are Nollywood stars like Stella Damasus, who will be addressing stereotypes, including divorce back in Nigeria; Seun Sean Jimoh will talk on internet fraud in the Diaspora; Rapper and activist, Lambogini on tour of U.S. in his prison reforms efforts; and former aide to a former Senate president of Nigeria, Bankole Omisore, will address Nigerian youth’s achievement in the Diaspora.

NYDEF, its communications officer said, is a platform Ope Alao founded of NYDEF to bring together initiatives and projects Nigeria youth breaking trails abroad can undertake, using their expertise and global exposure, to help development back in Nigeria.

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Big Brother Nigeria

BBNaija evicts Diane Russet on Independence Day eve

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Diane Russet

Housemate Diane Russet has been evicted from the 2019 Big Brother Nigeria reality TV show.

She was evicted after the Ultimate Veto Power Holder, Frodd, picked a coin that belonged to her.

Frodd picked Diane’s gold Bet9ja coin in the final ultimate veto-power game and Biggie gave her 10 seconds to leave the house.

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