Humanities Now: Lady Jaydee & Chigozie Obioma

9.26.23 | 4:30pm–6pm
September 26, 2023 | 4:30pm–6pm |
The Underground


This event takes place in The Underground located on the lower level of Yale Schwarzman Center, 168 Grove Street, New Haven, CT 06511. 

This event is free and open to the public. Registration required. 


The music of Tanzania’s “Queen of Bongo Flava,” Lady Jaydee has long inspired the literary work of Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma In this inaugural Humanities Now event, we bring together in conversation the novelist and the singer—Chigozie and Jide—to reflect on the landscape of African music and literature.

Lady Jaydee in a straw floral hat with a fur collar on her jacket.

Lady Jaydee

Lady Jaydee, born Judith Mbibo in Tanzania, is widely known as the “Queen of Bongo Flava”—the East African modern pop genre. Jide, as most of her fans call her, has released nine studio albums, with the latest—Love Sentence—released in 2023. She has won more than thirty local and international awards: multiple Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards (KTMA) for best female artist, an M-Net Award for best female artist of the year, and a BBC Radio Music Award for best song of the year for “Distance.” Lady Jaydee holds the East African record for the fastest-selling album, selling nearly one million copies within a few days of the album’s release. She has performed in Tanzania, across Africa, and around the world, including at Nelson Mandela’s ninetieth birthday in 2008. Currently, she stars as a coach on the inaugural season of The Voice Africa, a Pan-African edition of the reality TV singing competition.

Obioma smiling in a headshot, wearing a pinkish red and black plaid shirt.

Chigozie Obioma

Chigozie Obioma was born in Akure, Nigeria. His two novels, The Fishermen (2015) and An Orchestra of Minorities (2019), were shortlisted for the Booker Prize and have been translated into thirty languages. He has received the 2016 L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction, the prestigious Internationaler Literaturpreis, the inaugural FT/Oppenheimer prize for fiction, an NAACP Image Award and has been nominated for two dozen prizes for fiction. He is the James E. Ryan Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the program director of the Oxbelly Writers retreat. He is currently a Distinguished Writer in residence at Wesleyan University. His third novel, The Road to the Country, will be published in June 2024.

With support from Yale Schwarzman Center, Whitney Humanities Center, and the Council on African Studies. 

Featured image:

Lady Jaydee