Coréon Dú

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Coréon Dú
Birth name José Eduardo Paulino dos Santos
Born (1984-09-28) September 28, 1984 (age 33)
Luanda, Angola
Origin Luanda, Angola
Genres Pop, funk, soul, jazz, R&B, kizomba, kuduro, semba
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, creative director, designer, screenwriter, television producer, film producer entrepreneur
Years active 2001–present
Labels Da Banda

José Eduardo Paulino dos Santos (born September 28, 1984) better known by his stage name Coréon Dú, is a multilingual Angolan artist, creative director and producer.[1] He is known for his distinct musical style, bold fashion choices and his contributions to projects inspired by Angolan Pop culture in the realms of music, dance, fashion, TV and film.[2]

Among his works are various acclaimed projects such as the writing and production of Seoul International Drama Award-winning and International Emmy-nominated series, Jikulumessu, as well as the International Emmy-nominated telenovela, Windeck, the ever-growing I Love Kuduro multi-media experience, as well as his current work with his independent entertainment company Da Banda bringing Angolan-inspired projects to wider audiences.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Coréon Dú was born in Luanda, Angola, to Maria Luísa Abrantes Perdigão and José Eduardo dos Santos.[5] He spent the first years of his childhood in Luanda, Angola. A few years after his parent's separation, Coréon moved to Lisbon, Portugal and began living with his maternal grandparents at the age of 8. Coréon later moved to the U.S. to be educated. At the age of 11 he moved with his mother to Northern Virginia near Washington D.C.. While in middle school, he found his voice and began to pursue singing. During high school he became a soloist in the school choir, and developed a keen interest for musical theatre.

Coréon continued to perform in choirs during his time at Loyola University went on to gain a BA in Mass Communications. In 2010 he pursued a master's degree in Dance Theatre: The Body in Performance from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.[6]

Coréon Dú comes from a musical family. His grandfather's cousin, Liceu Vieira Dias was a founding member of Ngola Ritmos. His son, musician Carlitos Vieira Dias played a role in introducing Coreon to Filipe Mukenga and Filipe Zau, two of Angola's most iconic composers. They wrote Serpente and Ilha, respectively, which became one of Coreons biggest songs to date.

Liceu's nephew, André Mingas was also a guiding force as he wrote Lemba, which was well received in Angola.

His father's first cousin, Beto Gourgel, was one of Angola's most well known comedians & musicians. His son, Kizua Gourgel, is also a successful singer-songwriter from Angola. In the early 2000s, his first public performances happened with Kizua's band, during some of his cousin's gigs in Luanda nightclubs.


Inspired by his trip the Huíla province of Angola in 2000 during his summer holidays, Coréon started designing clothing using the local Samakaka print and other African inspired textiles. These designs mainly worn by friends and family, started generating buzz in Luanda and led to the start of his first business venture Z|E Designs with his cousin Emilia Abrantes in 2001. Z|E Designs presented collections in the inaugural Angola Fashion Week in 2001, as well as other local events such as the Moda Luanda Fashion Awards. Another notable participation, as a costume designer, includes the stage play, Jato de Sangue, which featured Brazilian actor Sergio Menezes and Angolan teen TV series Sede de Viver.[7] Z|E mainly focused on event production after 2004, having their last fashion presentation in 2007 at the Trienal de Luanda.

On returning to Angola in 2006, Coréon Dú started Semba Comunicação as a boutique branding and communications agency. Overtime Semba has evolved into one of Angola's premiere content production company's in the Angolan market through projects such as Bounce and Windeck.[8] Windeck premiered with great success in Angola in August 2013 and then went on to conquer record ratings in Portugal's RTP 1 channel afternoon primetime slot. Windeck is just one of the projects that Coréon Dú has been involved in, but is potentially the most innovative and provocative of them all. Having been nominated for the best Telenovela at the 2013 International Emmy Awards, it is expanding into the international market with translations into English and French.[9][10]

Another recent production includes the documentary I Love Kuduro named after his ever-popular festival. This documentary follows the most idolised stars of this urban phenomenon, including appearances from trans performer and advocate Titica, Nagrelha, Eduardo Paim e Cabo Snoop.[11]

His film exploits have gained some notice including competing with Moments of Glory in the Oxaca Film Festival for Best Experimental short. His audiovisual dissertation "Festa de Quintal" also gained some attention not only academically but also some festival circuits. The film is divided into two parts, a documentary and a conceptual dance film about the worldwide tradition of house parties using the traditional Angolan backyard party as a template.[12] Njinga- Queen of Angola has been one of Coréon's most ambitious productions to date. The period film about 17th century regent Queen Njinga Mbande premiered with enormous buzz in Angola in November 2013.

As a musician, he released his debut album, The Coréon Experiment, in 2010. The album was produced by Latin Grammy-winning Brazilian producer Luiz Brasil. Among the album's contributors include famed musicians such as Luciana Abreu, Irina, Jeff Brown, and Heavy C.

After the album was released, he performed at several events including the XXIX Madrid Jazz Festival where he displayed his diverse fusion of sounds, which include influence from Semba, Pop, Funk, Bossa Nova, Rock, Kuduro and Kizomba. The performance has been one of the highlights of his musical career.[13]

In 2013 Coréon celebrated his fan club, WeDú – The Coréon Dú Creative Community with a commemorative remix album "The WeDú Experiment", which features remixes and original material produced in collaboration with Phil Asher, DJ Satellite, DJ Spooky, Daniel Haaksman, Simmons Massini, DJ Manya, Luiz Brasil, Jerry Charbonnier, Lenni Sez and Nuno Mendes. This project was accompanied by a series of conceptual music videos shot using natural and urban landscapes from his home country and some avant-garde that a gained positive response from both fans and critics.[14]

Due to his affinity with Caribbean and Latin music, Coréon has enlisted Grammy-winning producer Andres Levin to produce his next album. They are currently in the production phase for the project, working in several cities including New York, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Miami, and Austin to develop Coréon's sophomore album. "Bailando Kizomba" the first single from his sophomore was released in February 2014 and remained within the top 30 positions of the Billboard Latin Charts from the Spring of 2014 to the Fall of 2014.


After a hiatus since 2007, Coréon Dú has made his return to fashion design with the release of his label "WeDú by Coréon Dú". Though the line has been carried in Angola, Namibia and other select African territories, its premiere outside of Africa happened in the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of New York Fashion Week at the Nylon Magazine official fashion week party on September 10, 2015. According to the artist's recent interviews, WeDú's main objective is to provide comfort and allow each individual to express his or her own creativity in the everyday though how they wear it.[15][16]

WeDú started as the artists show and appearance merchandise inspired by some of the fan's favorite Coréon Dú stage and street style looks. In 2013 it started being carried as fashion line by an Angolan retailer with shops in Angola and Namibia.[17]

Coréon Dú's model scouting efforts have also led to great success. He is a regular contributor as judge of Elite Model Look contests in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, & South Africa.[18][19][20] It is an ongoing collaboration between Elite Model World and his talent management company Da Banda. The contests have made international breakthroughs with several local models that have appeared in catwalks for Vivienne Westwood, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Prada and other well-known fashion houses.

Coréon's scouting efforts yielded him Amilna Estevão, the first African model in 30 years to be in Elite Model Look World Final top 3.[21]


Among his activism efforts include the 2009 documentary series Delinquência Estou Fora, a documentary series to raise awareness juvenile delinquency in Angola, its causes, and alternatives.[22] This was a follow up to the Droga Diga Não ("Drugs - Just Say NO") project where he toured the country on speaking engagements to educate and motivate youth groups and local institutions to be more engaged on the issue.[14] He also helped organize free concerts attended by more than 40,000 people at a time. In an effort to advocate gender equality he established the Divas Angola Awards in 2007 to celebrate the achievements of women in business, education, fashion, sports, music, music and philanthropy. Notable international artists such as Latin legend Juan Luis Guerra, the award-winning Adriana Calcanhotto, and Paula Lima have performed past editions of the event in support for the cause of gender equality.[23][24][25]

Coréon was also the first production of Eve Ensler‘s The Vagina Monologues in Angola. This was done as part of his continued effort to further the social dialogue around gender equality as well as also women’s, sexual health of both women and men, and reproductive health which have long been taboo subjects in Angolan society.[26]

Since then Coréon Dú has tried to integrate his interest in pro-youth and cultural activism dynamically into his work. He developed |Bounce which is a contest to allow further study and apprenticeship opportunities to disadvantaged youths with dance talent. in 2008, Bounce started being broadcast on local television which has given opportunities for talented young individuals to study dance with dance companies and dance centers in Portugal, the United States and Brazil. The most recent edition of Bounce was held in 2013. The contest has produced some of the biggest dance related celebrities in Angolan pop culture including dancer/choreographer Manuel Kanza[27][28] who has been teaching kuduro, afrobeat and hip hop classes all over the world. Dance troupe turned girl band As Afrikanas[29] are also among notable Bounce alumni, as well as Felix Alvarez a Cuban refugee who was a finalist in the first season of Bounce and has become one of the most sought after dancers / choreographers in Angola[30][31] Success stories from Bounce are also gaining international prominence as two young Angolan dancers who earned scholarship prizes from the contest are performing on international stages. Geovany Carvalho performed in the 2016 Summer Olympics opening in Rio de Janeiro where he currently works as a dance instructor. Dilo Paulo has also relocated to Brazil where he is performing and touring with the prestigious Debora Colker contemporary dance company.[32][33]

Creative relatives[edit]

Asides from the relatives in the world of music such as Liceu Vieira Dias, Beto Gourgel, Carlitos Vieira Dias, André Mingas, and Kizua Gourgel, Coréon has several relatives from his generation and younger generations working in the creative world.

His maternal first cousins Glen Abrantes[34] and Emmanuel Abrantes[35][36] are up and coming models based in London with an impressive curriculum of work for brands such as TopMan, Adidas, Philipp Plein, Brioni and many more.[37][38]

His step-cousin Sharam Diniz[39][40] is a Portuguese-Angolan model and entrepreneur who was the first model originating from either Angola or Portugal to walk for Victoria's Secret annual fashion show. She's done campaigns for numerous clients over the years, including Tom Ford and Clinique.[41][42]


As solo artist[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
2010 The Coréon Experiment
  • Released: September 23, 2010
  • Label: Da Banda
2013 The WeDú Experiment
  • Released: September 14, 2013
  • Label: Da Banda
2014 Binario
  • Release: September 9th, 2014
  • Label: Da Banda


Year Single Chart positions Certifications Album
U.S. Tropical
2010 "Dancefloor" The Coréon Experiment
2010 "Ilha" The Coréon Experiment
2011 "Yo Soy de Otra" The Coréon Experiment
2013 "Set Me Free" The WeDú Experiment
2013 "Kuduro Luvin" The WeDú Experiment
2014 "Bailando Kizomba" 14 Binario
"Amor Robotico"[43] 26


Year Title Role
2015 Vontade de Vencer Executive producer
2014 Jikulumessu Creator, writer, executive producer
2014 I Love Kuduro Creator, executive producer, writer
2013 Njinga Rainha de Angola Executive producer, producer
2012 Festa de Quintal Executive producer, producer, writer, director, art director, composer
2012 Festa de Quintal: The Angolan Home Theatre Executive producer, writer, director
2012 Windeck Creator, writer, executive producer, creative director
2010 Story ponsultant, Co-Executive producer, Soundtrack curation
2009 Momentos de Gloria Producer, writer
2004-2005 [Sede de Diver] Costume Design / Stylist credited as Z/E Designs
2002 [Caminhos Cruzados] Costume design volunteer credited as Z/E Designs

Awards and accolades[edit]

After well known Mexican journalist and blogger Luis GyG[44] considered him Africa's best kept secret in 2014,[45] Coréon Dú has been considered by Forbes to be one of the 15 Young African Creatives Rebranding Africa the following year.[46] The media mentions are among some of the growing recognition of the artist's work by the creative industry in and out of his home country.

IndieFEST Film Awards[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2017 Bangaologia - The Science of Style Award of Merit Special Mention[47] Won

Calcutta International Cult Film Festival[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2018 Order of The Dragon Best Television/Pilot Project or Series[48] Won

Cult Critic Magazine Movie Awards[edit]

Year Title Award Results
March 2018 Order of The Dragon Best Television/Pilot Project or Series & Best Actress - Nicole Fortuin[49] Won

Festival Écrans Noirs[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2017 Jikulumessu Best TV Series[50] Nominated

Athens International Film and Video Festival[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2017 Bangologia - The Science of Style Feature Competition[51] Nominated


Year Title Award Results
2017 Jikulumessu Best Series[52] Nominated

Warsaw Film Festival[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2016 Bangaologia - The Science of Style Documentary Competition[53] Nominated

African Entertainment Award USA[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2016 Best Male Artist[54] Won

London Fashion Film Festival[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2016 Bangaologia - The Science of Style Documentary Competition[55] Nominated

Seoul International Drama Awards[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2015 Jikulumessu (Open Your Eyes) Best Serial Drama[56][57] Won

Kora Awards[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2016 Best Male Southern Africa[58] Nominated


Year Title Award Results
2015 Jikulumessu Best Telenovela[59] Nominated


Year Title Award Results
2015 Best Male Central Africa[60] Nominated

Angolan Fashion Awards[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2015 Man of the Year[61] Won

Angola Music Awards[edit]

Year Award Results
2014 Best Music Video "Set me Free (Zouk Kizombada Remix)"[62] Won
2015 Best Music Video "Amor Robótico"[63] Won

Africa Movie Academy Awards[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2015 Njinga - Queen of Angola Achievement In Make-up[64][65] Won
Best Actress in a Leading Role - Lesliana Pereira[64][65] Won

Queens World Film Festival[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2015 Njinga - Queen of Angola Best Cinematography[66] Nom
Best Actress in a Leading Role - Lesliana Pereira[64][65] Nom


Year Title Award Results
2015 I Love Kuduro - From Angola to the World Audience Prize[67] Won

International Movie Awards[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2014 Njinga - Queen of Angola Platinum Award[68] Won
Silver Award for Cinematography[64][65] Won


Year Title Award Results
2013 Windeck Best Telenovela Nominated
2015 Jikulumessu Best Telenovela Nominated

Oaxaca FilmFest[edit]

Year Title Award Results
2010 Momentos de Gloria Best Experimental Short Nominated


There have been critics of Coréon and negative speculations have risen due to his father being the President of Angola. The common accusation is that there is a political agenda linked to Coréon work as an artist. Despite the constant attack and speculation by journalists and media outlets there is no verifiable proof has been presented to validate these accusations.[69]

Coréon has been very vocal over the years about how being related to people with political careers has negatively affected his career both in and out of Angola. He also recounts that most Angolan radio stations and DJs in his home country refuse to play his music, and most major concert promoters refuse to book him for shows. He only started gained visibility mainly through catchy songs that became favorites of Luanda taxi drivers and music pirates, and innovative music video concepts. Though most speculated Coréon Dú was referring to independent or opposition owned media, Coréon was also referring to state-owned media as well as private mainstream media and professionals. Independent radio professionals and even DJs at Radio Despertar owned by one of Angola´s large opposition parties have been claimed to be early supporters of Coréon´s music in their airwaves. Mainstream music media only started following as direct fan demand for his work grows over the years.[70][71]

Allegations of nepotism have surrounded Semba's success as a TV production company, and many other aspects his family's involvement in Angolan public business and politics.[72][73]

He has also come under fire by Angolan media religious groups and political groups for the inclusion of LGBT talent and issues in the TV shows produced by Semba Comunicação, including openly gay presenters such as Hady Lima (who started his career identifying as a gay male, but has recently shared his gender identity as a trans-woman). [74][75][76]

Semba was also the only production company that did not ban Angolan superstar Titica from their programming after the singer publicly revealed that she was a transsexual and not born a biological woman. She was also prominently featured in Coréon Dú's I Love Kuduro Festival in Angola, Berlin and in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the eponymous documentary, which has helped her ascend into international success and further visibility to her commercial and non-profit efforts.[77][78]

Windeck, the soap series written and produced by Coréon, has had some similar issues due to well-known actors, such as leading man Freddy Costa, playing gay characters.[8][79][80][81]

This controversy was reignited after a brief kiss between two of the male characters of Semba Comunicação's soap opera Jikulumessu on January 28, 2015. As series creator Coréon Dú and production company Semba came under fire, being accused by religious groups, conservative politicians on all sides and conservative local press alleging he was trying to “corrupt moral values”, as well as "promote" and "expand" “deviant behaviours ” and “homosexual behaviours” in Angola and especially among young viewers. On February 2, 2015 the show's broadcaster in TPA (Televisão Publica de Angola) suspended the show's broadcast at 9 PM its TPA 1 channel alleging "technical difficulties".

In a public statement posted to the show's Facebook page and sent to press services in Angola, Semba Comunicação declared that the shows intention in portraying sensitive social issues such as : polygamy, substance abuse, sexual violence, as well as LGBT issues like violence against LGBBT people, same-sex relationships, and suicide in the gay community; was intended to generate a healthy dialogue around these subjects while without the intention to shock or offend. The company also offered the possibility to edit the show for it not to clash with their client's audience's views and values. Though conservative viewers celebrated this, the fans of the showed voiced their discontent especially through social media.

This incident became headline news nationally and caught the attention of international media outlets.[82][83] On February 5, 2015, TPA returned Jikulumessu to the air after fans pleas for its return. Despite of this politically motivated censorship of Coréon Dú´s work, Jikulumessu has become one of the most beloved television shows amongst many African viewers in the continent and in the diaspora having been broadcast in Portuguese, French and English Language in many regional broadcasters and in France on France Televisions and Canal+, among others.[84][85]

Coréon also criticized lack of support from Angolan communities during Hurricane Katrina, which upset Angolan diplomats both in Luanda and U.S.[86]

Coréon produced a sex education program, Sexolandia hosted by singer/actress Tatiana Durão. The program caused conservatives in Angola to complain that the show was perverting young minds, though the program was still popular. It featured psychologists, healthcare professionals, and other specialists answering questions from studio and street audiences, as well as local celebrities sharing personal stories about themes including infertility, relationships, sex toys, teen pregnancy, and STD prevention.

Name Change[edit]

When Coréon started his professional career in 2001 he was known professionally as his childhood nickname Zé Dú using “Zé Dú dos Santos” as his professional name. He later changed his name to make clear he does not desire any political connotations or confusion associated with his work and name.

Before the release of his first album in 2010 he briefly used the José, and his full last name Paulino dos Santos dropping Eduardo from his first name.

Since 2010 he has been using the name Coréon Dú exclusively in most of his professional and artistic work.

Prior to the 1992 Angolan election, very few people used the name “Zé Dú” to refer to Mr. José Eduardo dos Santos (Coréon Dú´s father, and second president of Angola). Election campaign marketers popularized this name since then and this branding of the name “Zé Dú” associated to Mr. Dos Santos has become a part of pop culture especially after Angola reached peace in 2002.

Coréon Dú has established himself as somewhat of an independent thinker focused on arts, empowerment of young Angolans with creative talent, as well as creating visibility opportunities for LGBTQ professionals locally and regionally. As the “black sheep” of the Dos Santos family is often considered politically incorrect by the status quo. His lack of desire to associate himself with politics led to his name change, and remains politically neutral. Speculators presume what his political affiliation may be, but Coréon refuses to publicly endorse anything political as seen in his social media, Interviews / public statements and most public appearances.[87]

Political controversies[edit]

Between 2017 and the present the election of Angola´s new president, the new leader of the country and former vice president of the ruling party MPLA have started a veritable witch hunt against anyone with the "Dos Santos" last name including campaigns of public intimidation campaigns and now attempting to jail his older siblings who served in public companies.[88] Despite Coréon Dú´s father being a historic member of the party in question, the new leader of the country and MPLA have been running a large campaign against all the Dos Santos family, including Coréon Dú. Angola´s leadership have vehemently denied any witch-hunts in all public press releases locally and internationally, however their actions consistently prove otherwise. Following the new government´s very public decision to end the content production and brand consulting agreements between public station TPA with Coréon´s company Semba Comunicação, they invoked several false and contractually inaccurate allegations. The main allegations were that the channels were returning to the "public ownership" when they were always publicly owned and only using Semba´s services. Semba never owned any of the three TPA channels, and has had to clarify many years its position as a service prouder.

After public dismay of the new programming and cancelation of some favourite television shows in January of 2018 the Angolan Government´s new leadership tried to save face and approval ratings by throwing Coréon and his company under the bus. The company responded with a public statement clarifying it´s role and even how much it was earning for it´s content services in comparison to the publicly published yearly national television budget ( Semba produced most of the entertainment and promotional content for two of the three TPA channels repertordly charging under one fifths of the budget spent on the main TPA channel).[89] To excuse their poor image quality and the embarrassment of being exposed the new government used all the national public media to announce that Semba had stolen the HD equipment previously used to make TPA´s channel 2 and international channel programming, however many well known employees of the channel have all throughout the year posed and posted pictures boasting about that exact same HD equipment having always been in TPA´s studios and currently in use. To which the station and Ministry of Information and Propaganda of the country then made a public statement with the excuse the lack of image quality was due to a temporary technical difficulty that was soon to be resolved.[90][91] They alleged using a series of news stories and social media fake news campaigns that companies allegedly linked to Coréon were receiving large sums of money to produce content for TPA, while for years it´s been publicly knowledge of TPA´s history of late or non-payments to Semba and many of its private sector vendors. There was even recent controversy involving the administration admitting that due to lower ratings they would need to rehire former Semba´s former talent/ employees due to significantly lowered ratings after all Semba-produced content was taken of the TPA airwaves. This was followed by some protests by TPA employees claiming the decision to publicly shame the company and associated talent and then rehire talent individually has put the station in the position where they are now paying very expensive reparations to get that talent back.[92]

In addition, the party in power has continued a very intense campaign now also using the famous micro-targeting and social media trolls trying to provoke the more right-wing conservative and religious homophobic population to turn against Coréon by generating various blog and social media troll campaigns targeting Coréon´s sexuality and even having spreading a rumor that Coréon was to wed a same-sex partner in Angola ( where same sex-unions are still illegal) in the year of 2018. This is not a new campaign, as members of the ruling party of Angola similarly attempted to prove conservative public opinions against Coréon Dú and his company for several years due to his open support and inclusion of women's issues and LGBT issues in his work. A noteworthy case was the telenovela Jikulumessu which was pulled off the air by command of high-ranking government officials on the public broadcaster due to their non-negative portrayal of same sex relationships and of "sexually liberated " female characters ( also seen in a past incident when host of sex education TV show Sexolandia was refused membership to the ruling political party.[93]) Some infer that this move was not only to attempt to denigrate Dú´s image amongst the more conservative population, but also due to fear that especially the LGBT community would start to organize socially to advocate more aggressively for their civil rights. This move by government officials failed, as TV viewers and social groups massively protested the decision to take the show off the air, and that move motivated LGBT activists who have become more vocal and active since that time. [94] [95]

[96] [97]

[98] [99] [100] [101] [102] [103] [104] [105]

Part of this campaign also involved building a narrative of character assassination by spreading wide speculation of involvement in allegedly shady business dealings without ever showing any proof. A recent news story "leaked" to Angolan media outlets alleged that Coréon was involved in some sort of unusual agreement with a well-known Angolan businessman to help him set a bank using his "influence", however in a later official interview to a local newspaper the same business owner stated he has never been involved in any business dealings with Coréon Dú[106]and that he has never been his business partner despite having met Dú in person.[107]


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