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Why Are There Still Nipsey Hussle Murders Taking Place in Black America in 2019? – Your Black World



By Bashir Muhammad Akinyele

As I read and watched the reports on the murder of our brother Nipsey Hussle this past Sunday in the media, I thought about how South Central, Los Angeles’ African American community loss a good Black man. He was a brother of many gifts. He was a father. He was husband. He was a friend. But he was also a Hip Hop artist, entrepreneur, and community actvist. His untimely death also made me think about the many victims of senseless  violence in Newark, NJ over the years. Some of them were just like brother Nipsey. Some of them were fathers. Some of them were mothers. Some of them were artists. Some of them were community activists. Brother Nipsey’s situation personally hits home for me because I have spent a large part of my community activism fighting against senseless violence.

For instance, In response to a Black mother named Nekeisha Allen being innocently killed in the crossfire on Meeker and Elizabeth Avenues back in 2009 in broad daylight on her way home from her neighborhood store. I then helped to co-establish the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition (NAVC). (The founder of the NAVC is community actvist Brother Ras Baraka. He is now the Mayor of Newark, NJ). Our first demonstration was in the community where sister Nekeisha loss her life. We walked in the middle of the intersection of Meeker and Elizabeth avenue and successfully shut traffic down on Wednesday of July 20th. After that rally, every Wednesday, our organization  committed itself  to leading 155 straight weeks of anti-violence protests  in the middle of intersections all around the city. Every time a shooting, or a murder occurred, we would go into the middle of the intersection, near where the violence took place, shut down traffic, and all activity around the block, to bring attention to the neglected issues of senseless violence plaguing our community in good and bad weather.

We eventually became the premier anti-violence organization in the city of Newark. Our members brought our movement to schools, churches, community centers, parks, and playgrounds.

With this being said, we must tell the truth about why senseless violence is plaguing Black people all over the Black community in America.

Brother Nipsey’s murder is a widow into Black disunity, Black self-hatred, the ongoing struggle against oppression in the Black community, and the problems stemming from the absence of a movement for Black Liberation in the African American Community. But most importantly, brother Nipsey’s murder is a deeper look in the schisms between elder Black people and younger Black people. You may say to yourself, Nipsey’s death has nothing to do with him Bashir. But this is where we are all wrong dear family. Our young people in today’s Black America have been left without real movements and leaders for them to find direction in racist America. Unfortunately, these are the same conditions my generation experience when my youthful Blackness grew up in racist America. We were left without a movement to find direction to challenge White supremacy and Black self-hatred in every hood in America. Although some brave Black elders came forward to forward to give us some direction in America, they were criticized for helping us find a way to define a Black liberation movement in our time. If we are truly going to change oppressive conditions in the African American community, we former Black youth, who are now elders ourselves now in the 2000s, must not be like the elders in our day. We must in turn give true guidance to our next generation to ensure a better future for our people. This is why my commentary, and all our efforts, must be dedicated to the millennium generation.

Here is what has been going on for the last 44 years since 1975. I picked 1975, because it was a pivotal moment for Black Liberation. This was when the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad died, and the light of Black consciousness was almost dimmed. He was the leader of the Nation of Islam. This movement was the largest Islamic and Black conscious organization in America. Its’ members consisted of leaders such as the following: Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Clarence 13 X (founder of the Nation of Gods and Earths), Clara Muhammad, Imam Suraj Wahaj (Jeffrey X), the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad. The Nation of Islam had thousands of members in each Masaajid (Mosques) in every hood in Black America. Every week, oppressed Black lives were revolutionary transformed into Black and proud productive human beings. As a result of the great work of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam became a target for complete destruction by the United States Government. The United States consistently sent agents into the organization to neutralize its leaders and the Black liberation program of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  However, within the circles of the leadership a crisis insured. With the death of the Most Elijah Muhammad, a new leader had to be selected to keep the Nation of Islam movement going into the future.  The Nation of Islam selected his seventh son, Wallace Muhammad, to be the next leader of the Nation of Islam. But instead of keeping the Black liberation teachings of his father, he decided to lead the movement into the mainstream Muslim Ummah (Community) of Al-Islam without a plan for Black empowerment. He was given the title chief Imam. Then all the programs for Black empowerment, that were establish by the Most Elijah Muhammad, were abolished by Wallace Muhammad. By the late 1970’s, the Nation of Islam had cease to exist. Wallace would later change his name to Warith Deen Mohammad. Eventually, the Honorable Louis Farrakhan would disagree with the direction of the Imam. He departed from Warith Deen Mohammad to re-established the Nation of Islam as tool for the liberation of Black people in 1978.

While this was going on with Nation of Islam in the 1970s, other Black power groups will eventually cease to exist as well in the African American community. The onslaught of the United States war on Black groups were too much for organizations such as the Original Black Panther Party. Many of the leaders of the Black Panther Party experienced political assassinations of their leaders, murder by America’s policing agencies, imprisonment, and forced political asylums in countries around the world. This organization folded by 1980.

On the other hand, the Civil Rights Movement will eventually become irrelevant to the masses of oppressed Black people in America. In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated. The most fearless and articulate leader of the movement for social justice was gone. The Civil Rights movement would experience co-optation by the power structure in the 1970s. Its’ leaders will focus on integration as opposed to continuing the fight for fare housing, jobs, poverty, health care, better education, the reduction of the high incarceration rates of Black people, reparations, freeing political prisoners, fighting for real Black political power, and fighting for progressive public policies.

Therefore, as a result of the racist power structure’s destruction of Black Liberation Movement of the 1950’s, 60’s and the early 70’s, the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements in the African America became irrelevant. The poor conditions facing Black America, such as the high concentration rates of Black men and Black women, poverty, the proliferation of drugs, mis-education, joblessness, police brutality, racism, classism, and Black self-hatred have gone unchecked for decades. The absence of a real Black agenda, that is rooted Black Liberation to force the power structure and elected officials (Blacks and Whites) to address Black oppression, was abandoned.

The destruction of the Black Liberation Movement, and the inability of elected officials to find solutions to Black oppressive conditions created genocidal and violent conditions within the African American community that Black youth came to experience on a daily basis! Black families became dysfunctional. Black fathers left their families. Black mothers became heads of the Black family. Without Black Liberation organizations (i.e. the Original Black Panthers, the Original Nation of Islam, US, etc) in the hoods across Black America, many disorganized Black youth turned to Hip Hop, the streets, and gangs. Rap music, Crips, Bloods, and other Black gangs became the movements in the African America community.

Without these movements, and leaders and organizations dedicated to protecting the Black community from these oppressive conditions, it has been a struggle to liberate our people from a racist system. However, despite these pitfalls, brothers and sister have almost on our own worked to eradicate from the Black community oppression, racial violence gang violence, Black on Black Violence, police violence, domestic violence, and all senseless forms of violence my brothers and sisters!!!

Despite these horrible conditions, Black youth still found ways to help empower the Black community. There were very strong conscious Hip Hop songs / rallies / demonstrators / activists / demonstrations / street protests / town hall meetings / actions from back in day that spoke to ending the senseless violence and oppression plaguing the Black Nation from Jersey to Cali!!!!

I have lived long enough to witness all of the poor conditions going on for years in every hood in Black America. I know, and overstand the racist, evil, immoral, violent, and repressive F.B.I secret Counter Intelligence program (COINTELPRO) worked to kill Black Civil Rights leaders and Black Power leaders. However, by the grace of Allah (SWT), some of our elders survived COINTELPRO. But they did not carry on the mission of Black liberation, nor did they support Black liberation efforts by Black youth. They began a generational set trip (a generational rift between Black elders and Black youth). Unfortunately, due to the generational set tripping of our own Black leaders, we have not been able to come together in unity to organize for real Black liberation with the help of the old guard Civil Rights leaders and the old guard Black Power leaders. Many of them became gate keepers, preventing young Black activists from emerging in the 1980’s, 1990’s and in the millennium, from addressing the issues of our generation. Unfortunately, many of our elders have worked day and night to help discredit anything that would resemble real Civil Rights and real Black Power in modern Black America. I am one of those victims of our Black leaders continued war of Black leaders set tripping. And our community has been the victims of the continued war of the generational Black leaders set tripping. Because of these things family, we are going to lose more Black people to violence and oppression of every kind, including more Nispey Hussles.

I have been an activist for over 30 years in the Newark/NYC tristate area, but still I am struggling with our elders of my day for the need of youthful forces and voices of Civil Rights and Black Power. Fortunately, I have lived long enough to know that there were, and are modern efforts, to confront these oppressive conditions in our Black Community. With the help of Allah (SWT), some tremendous effects were, and are being made, by Black underground leaders. Such actions have been, and are being lead, by conscious Hip Hop artists, Chuck D of Public Enemy, KRS-1, Paris, X-Clan, Brand Nubians, A Trip Called Quest, Hakim Green, Arrested Development, Professor Griff, Rev Conrad Tillard (formerly Minister Conrad Muhammad), Kwame Ture’ ( Stokely Carmichael), Imamu Amiri and Sister Amina Baraka, Baba Zayid Muhammad, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam, the Million Man March, Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, the Million Youth March, the Million Woman’s March, Dr. Maulana Karenga, the New Black Panther Party, the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, African People’s Socialist Party, the Nation of Gods and Earths, Malik Zulu Shabazz, Unity Nation, Ras J. Baraka, Black Nia F.O.R.C.E, Dr. Molefe Asante, Dr. Ron Danials, the Institute for the Black World, the December 12th Movement, Omawale Clay, Viola Plummer, Lumumba Bandele, Monifa Bandele, Afrocentricty, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, N’Cobra (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America), Eric Toure’ Muhammad, brother Minister Craig Muhammad, Minister Khadir Abdul Muhammad, Captain Majied Muhammad, Captain Dennis Muhammad, Chokwe Lumumba, the Republic of New Afrika, Imam Talib. Imam Jamil Al Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown), Imam Suraj Wahaj, the Mosque of Islamic brotherhood, Lawrence Hamm, the People’s Organization for Progress, Dhoruba Ibn Wahad, Sudiata Acoli, Assata Shakur, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Bashir Hameed, Mumia Abu Jamal, Dr. Clarke, Dr. Ben, Dr. Cheik Anta Diop, Dr. Amos Wilson, Dr. Joy Degruy, Dr. Naim Akbar, Sister Souljah, and the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee just to name a few.

Please study these things my millennial brothers and sisters!!! You have access to information everyday at your fingertips. Use your cell phone to help you develop a real Black revolutionary political analysis. Go and research these people, organizations, and movements. Despite the attacks from the power structure, and from the Black gatekeepers, these people they laid a foundation for what you call today Staying Woke. In my era, we called it Black Consciousness.

We must find a way to re-build the Black Liberation Movement to prevent more Nipsey Hussles from dying senselessly in the hoods of Black America.

Your new elder in the struggle for Black Liberation,

Bashir Muhammad Akinyele
-Community Activist
-Co-Founder of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition (NAVC)
-Radio Show Producer and Radio Show Talk Show Host


Kenya: Emergency services in Nairobi can be hailed as easily as a cab on



The response times for emergency services in Kenya are extremely slow, drastically decreasing patient chances for successful intervention. Ironically Nairobi is reported to have at least 100 ambulances in operation in a city of about 3 million which is well above the rate the World Health Organization recommends of 1 ambulance per 50,000 people. The availability of emergency services is therefore not the hindrance behind emergency care in Nairobi. is an app powered by Flare technology whose tracking and dispatch features have put Nairobi’s best responders onto one map so they can locate and dispatch the closest ambulance within minutes. The available services on the app include: the advanced life support ambulance, basic life support and the medical taxi service manned by a paramedic.

Flare founders Caitlin Dolkart and Maria Rabinovich said at the time of the apps launch that their web-based service ‘Rescue’ responds to alerts round the clock.

“We wanted a service that saves lives via prompt response and we have tested the service, bringing down emergency rescue service to eight minutes from the traditional two hours,” Dolkart is quoted saying by the Business Daily.

Read: Ghana starts using drones to deliver blood products

“Swift response means less health complications to a patient who receives first aid from paramedics and evacuation to a hospital of choice,” she said. The 40 ambulances are spread across the city according to locations.

Dolkart, who according to the publication studied her MBA at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said the service has created a phone contact database for all participating hospitals where an alert is sent to a patient’s hospital of choice — if they are conscious — ahead of their transportation to the facility.

Sammy from Avenue Rescue with his #motorbikeambulance.Photo credit. Emergency Services/Facebook

“We are averting a situation where a specialised doctor is called from other locations when an ill patient arrives at a hospital; with our medical alert service, the hospital is fed with information on the patient’s condition when the patient is on the way. Time wasted means loss of life or a patient going into a coma while swift response means cheaper treatment for the patient and the community,” said  Rabinovich.

“Competition among the various ambulance companies will mainly hinge on offerings such as presence of paramedics, type of vehicle, service level and price,” she said, adding that a patient’s condition and location will determine the type of ambulance released to the scene.

Challenges in emergency services

Although the app has streamlined the process of receiving emergency services, cannot however tackle the issue of cost. An ambulance can cost between 3,500 and 8,500 Kenyan shillings, about $35 to $85 an amount that is not manageable for the average person. This means the app is mostly targeted to the middle class or wealthy elite of Nairobi.

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Nigeria’s Frances Ogamba and South Africa’s Resoketswe Manenzhe win 2019 Writivism Prizes



Nigeria’s Frances Ogamba, and South Africa’s Resoketswe Manenzhe were announced as the 2019 Writivism Prizes winners. The Koffi Addo Creative Nonfiction Prize went to Ogamba, for “The Valley of Memories,” and the Writivism Short Story Prize went to Manenzhe, for “Maserumo”.

Commenting on winning the coveted Kofi Addo Prize for Creative Non Fiction, Ogamba wrote on Facebook: “I have no words really, it’s been two days and I still swim in overwhelming disbelief. In my thoughts I always ask myself where these stories were born, these tales that the world adopted and owned, and fell so genuinely and deeply in love with”. 

“I tell these stories in a small room space that brims with a toddler’s squeals by day, and at night with ideas that spring to life. It is beautiful that our private efforts become a public song,” Ogamba posted.

Manenzhe couldn’t hide her excitement at clinching the Writivism Short Story Prize, posting on Twitter: “so, i can now call myself an award winning writer. maserumo did the things! it did the things and i’m sure even my ancestors are amazed. #writivism #unbreakablebonds”. 

Her piece Maserumo is such a powerful story with a strong and interesting narrative. Manenzhe’s poems and short stories have appeared in various online magazines and journals. In 2017, two of her poems were shortlisted for the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Anthology, and were later published in the anthology of selected poems.

The two winners will each receive $500 and the opportunity to work on their manuscripts in a one-month residency at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. The shortlisted pieces for the Koffi Addo Prize appear in Arts and Africa; those for the Short Story Prize appear in Munyori.

The annual Writivism Short Story Prize was started in 2013 to recognise “brilliant short fiction by emerging writers living on the African continent”. The Koffi Addo Prize was founded in 2016, and it is awarded annually for “outstanding non-fiction by emerging writers living on the African continent”.

The winners were announced at the Writivism Festival in Uganda, an annual literary festival organised by the Centre for African Cultural Excellence. The organisers aim “to bring together established writers from the African continent and beyond to groom young talent in the writing craft and also to engage in workshops and panel discussions revolving around critical issues on creation and dissemination of African literature”.

Last year, Kenyan writer Mbogo Ireri won the Writivism Short Story Prize with his story “Hopes and Dreams”. Previous winners of the Koffi Addo Prize for Creative Nonfiction since its inception are Ghana’s Yvette Tetteh (2016), South Africa’s Charles King (2017), and Zambia’s Chisanga Mukuka (2018).

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The best African films of 2019 so far… – African Arguments



There’s a lot of debate about what constitutes African cinema. For a film to be truly African, does it need to be made by Africans? Does it need to be funded from Africa? Does it need to be aimed at an African audience and screened primarily on the continent? Or is a film African simply by virtue of reflecting on African experiences?

In this list of the finest African films so far this year, we include any film that centres on African stories. The list ranges from feature lengths to hybrid documentaries and boasts smart storytelling, technical virtuosity and cultural relevance – sometimes, all at once:

Premiering in Cannes, Maryam Touzani’s poignant debut is a thoroughly enjoyable slow burner that employs show-stopping performances to demonstrate compassion and the unbreakable bond of female friendships. In Adam, Touzani creates the perfect habitat to unpack her character study, a gentle observation of the shifts in the relationship between two ordinary women.


This is a stark, unflinching look at the sex trafficking industry that operates from Edo state in Nigeria and stretches across the Mediterranean to Europe. Sudabeh Mortezai’s prize-winning drama, acquired by Netflix, astounds with its rounded and complex depiction of the life of its heroine. It deftly paints the grim reality that countless girls like her find themselves in when they make the journey to Europe. Mortezai may be an outsider to Nigerian culture but Joy is proof that stories are universal and sensitivity is always key to making the best movies. 


Keeping up with the Kandansamys, a play on that other famous family from America, became South Africa’s highest-grossing locally-made film in 2017. Its sequel arrives just in time to give the local box office a much-needed shakeup. As blockbuster sequels go, Kandasamys: The Wedding is perfect lightweight fun even when it doesn’t have to be. It is a breezy and humorous inside look at Indian sub-culture in Durban.

(South Africa)

When streaming giant Netflix decided to make a play for Nollywood, it only made sense that they would turn to Genevieve Nnaji, its biggest star and leading lady. On Lionheart, Nnaji makes her directorial debut. The result? A tenderly observed and sentimental drama about family, feminism and the ties that bind. Lionheart had its world premiere last year at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and opened up the industry to alternative modes of distributing original content. 


In Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s strange but unique hybrid, a woman walks through the streets of an African country, carrying a wooden cross on her back. The image is a metaphor for the continent as the receptacle of multiple traumas. The black and white visuals, with accompanying sterile voice-over narration makes it clear that even while in exile in Berlin, Africa is on Mosese’s mind. A blend of the personal with the political, Mosese’s film is a reflection on migration, corruption and more. What it lacks in originality, Mother I am Suffocating… makes up for in its unique style.


In conservative Casablanca, a woman who gets pregnant outside wedlock is seen as a menace to society and must be punished accordingly. 20-year old Sofia must deal with the consequences when her unplanned baby is due. Directed by first-timer Meryem Benm’Bareka, Sofia is a subversive take on feminism and what it feels like for a girl in a man’s world. The titular heroine, played with a lethal mix of vulnerability and cunning by debutante Maha Alemi, makes some shrewd calculations but as in such a restrictive society, we learn in a heartbreaking way that everyone is a victim, regardless.


For a group of retired film directors in Sudan, the theatre is an endangered culture. Suhaib Gasmelbari’s Talking About Trees is a compassionate chronicle of the efforts of four directors, collectively known as the Sudanese Film Club, and their near-heroic attempts to reopen a theatre in the city of Omdourman outside of Khartoum. Dogging their every step are Islamist fundamentalists in positions of authority, determined to ensure that cinema remains proscribed.


Debuting in Rotterdam in January, this documentary presents a constrained narrative of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Directed by veteran Joel Zito Araújo, My Friend Fela situates Carlos Moore, Fela’s official biographer and author of the book Fela: This Bitch of a Life as the film’s anchor. Moore, who met Fela back in 1974, condenses several hours of interviews – with Fela but also with many of the people who knew him best – into a uniquely compelling if cluttered biography. Fela is man, myth and legend and Araújo’s film skilfully navigates all these perimeters.


The inspiring real-life account of William Kamkwamba, the Malawian teenager who used his brains and determination to solve a pressing community problem, is the kind of story ready made for a Hollywood adaptation. But instead of going for shiny gloss and sentimental manipulation, debut filmmaker Chiwetel Ejiofor, adapting the story from Kamkwamba’s 2009 autobiography, digs deeper to find empathy and a quiet dignity in the characters. This is indeed cause for celebration. Ejiofor’s film is a convincing exploration of bonds that exist between fathers and sons and, while the narrative is pretty conventional, it is never less than rousing.


Composer and musician Samuel “Blitz” Bazawule’s tiny labour of love, The Burial of Kojo, caught the eye of Ava DuVernay who guided the film to a deal with Netflix. Employing elements of magical realism and blending them with an oral storytelling format that is widely recognised on the continent, The Burial of Kojo is a visually stunning, aurally distinct winner that isn’t just specific to Ghana but rooted in some of Africa’s wider challenges, both ancient and modern.


When a movie combines heavy themes such as religious extremism, domestic abuse, institutional decay and paedophilia, it becomes easy for it to crumble under the weight of its own importance. Not The Delivery Boy, the stunning action thriller by Adekunle Adejuyigbe that says a lot – perhaps too much – in just under 70 minutes. Adejuyigbe, one of the most in-demand cinematographers in Nigerian film, makes his directorial debut with a flawed but ambitious poetic study of violence and the toll it takes on people and community alike.


Joël Karekezi’s road movie, set in the Kivu jungle, considers the futility of war through the eyes of two Rwandan soldiers left behind by their colleagues. Eschewing needless violence and bloodshed, the film provides a reflective look at trauma and the effects of war on different generations of soldiers. Karekezi takes his film’s characters to the edge and back as they confront demons long since buried. While trapped behind enemy lines, the characters navigate both the dangers of the wilderness as well as the horrors of the mind. The film emerged winner of the Golden Stallion at the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO).


French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop was one of the biggest successes at this year’s Cannes film festival. Her film, Atlantics, a poetic and mystical meditation on migration, was warmly received. By the end of the festival, Diop was armed with both the Grand Prix and a distribution deal. Atlantics, which was recently screened publicly in Senegal and is headed to the Toronto film fest next, arrives on Netflix by the end of the year, in time for an awards season push.


Based on the practice common in 1960s-70s England, where Nigerian parents paid white families to foster their children, thespian Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje recounts a troubled childhood marked by passages of self-loathing and internalised racism. Unflinching and occasionally harrowing, Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s autobiographical debut gathers a formidable mix of British and Nigerian actors.


Ever wondered what the results would look like should Nollywood’s energetic aesthetic meet film noir? Look no further than La Femme Anjola, the reunion of director Mildred Okwo with her long-time creative partner Rita Dominic. Dominic, one of the most bankable stars in Nigeria, plays a mysterious lady who following a chance encounter with a young, naive fellow, turns his world upside down.


Auteur Jahmil X.T Qubeka’s fourth film may well be his most accessible yet. The boxing drama which opened the Durban International Film Festival in July and is headed to Toronto, explores toxicity in a violent, male-dominated sport and explores the psychology of a fighter in South Africa’s Mdantansane township. Knuckle City stars Bongile Mantsai as an ageing boxer who must lift his family out of depressing circumstances by making it through one more fight.

(South Africa)

When the studio behind some of the most profitable Nollywood films of the last decade decides to make a push for prestige, the go-to director would be Kenneth Gyang, the auteur behind Confusion na wa, one of the most influential films to come out of Nollywood. Oloture, produced by the formidable Mo Abudu, details the experience of a young reporter who goes undercover to expose a sex trafficking ring.


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‘Using Her Name for Clout’: Fans Scold Alexis Skyy’s Boyfriend After He Publicly Takes Credit for Her New Hairdo



Backlash to Trouble’s response comes days after a video surfaced of him seemingly putting Skyy in a chokehold.

A short Instagram clip posted by the rapper himself, showed the Atlanta native caressing his girlfriend with both hands around her neck. At one point, she seemingly tried to remove herself from his grip, but he wouldn’t let go.

It’s unclear how long Skyy and Trouble have been dating, but according to an old picture posted on his page, they were spotted together around July 16. The “LHHNY” actress publicly announced they were dating on August 3.

Skyy is the ex-girlfriend of singer Fetty Wap, whom she shares 1-year-old daughter Alaiya Grace with.

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‘Damn Sourpuss’: ‘Black Ink Crew’ Fans Slam Puma’s Wife Quani After She Side Eyes His Renewed Friendship with Ceaser



It seems not everybody is exactly onboard with “Black Ink Crew

(From left) Quani, Ceaser Emanuel and Paul “Puma” Robinson. (Photos: @vh1 screen grabs)

Quani, her husband and Emanuel decided to meet for Emanuel’s 40th birthday party, and, needless to say, she wasn’t here for the two old friends reuniting.

“I don’t know why Puma came back to your shop. Like, I actually don’t trust you,” she told Emanuel. “He’s promoting your business while he’s not promoting his own business. It seems like it benefiting you more than it’s benefitting him.”

Emanuel explained that he gave Robinson “half” of his shop and that they planned on “taking over Harlem.” His comments were apparently enough to make an already frustrated Quani angrily storm out of his birthday party.

Robinson apologized to his reconnected bestie before following his wife out of the door.

“Black Ink” viewers felt Quani was being melodramatic and slammed her for still holding a grudge Emanuel.

“She’s always been a damn sourpuss lol always miserable 😩 but I am happy puma and ceaser are friends again”

“Quani gets on my f-cking nerves bruh!! Like she one of the most extra mfkas I know. Girl get tf over it already their beef was like 5 years ago!”

“Quani keeping her storyline. Im over it. She is drama she hate Cesar but still eating off of his show.🤡 girl it was hella long ago let it go.”

Others felt indifferent.

“I don’t think she’s Trippin. I would never be cool with someone who I thought, got a female to come fight me. Her feelings are valid 💪🏽”

“Love Quani Ceas is fake so I understand her point”

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‘Whew, Chile’: Former ‘LHH’ Star Hazel-E and Her Boyfriend Allegedly Throw Hands With Day 26’s Willie Taylor and His Wife Amid Filming of ‘Marriage Boot Camp’



Last year, the “Actin Up” rapper appeared on “Iyanla: Fix My Life” to apologize for the hurtful post she wrote, but social media still hasn’t forgiven her.

As for “MBC”, no details about the premiere date or cast have been released. Joseline Hernandez, a close friend of Hazel-E, and her boyfriend DJ Balistic Beats are rumored to be on there.

A few social media users have added their input regarding the Hazel and Denyce showdown:

“Wheeeewww Chile the ghetto and I’m ready for it 😂”

“🙄 Hazel e say anything about color cuz she KNOWS it’s an attention grabber and people will fight and act a fool over it”

“Thats What Her Nosey Pale Ass Get 💯👏🏾 I hope Shanda dragged her!”

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Black Louisiana Judge Issues Sentence to Three Alton Sterling Protesters for Blocking Highway



Even though a Black Baton Rouge judge convicted three Black protesters who blocked a Louisiana highway in a protest following Alton Sterling


figcaption>From left: Krystal Sonia, Deon Fountain, Kiara Jones. (Photos by The Advocate)

State District Judge Bonnie Jackson found Krystal Sonia, Deon Fountain and Kiara Jones guilty by of simple obstruction (Photo: Bonnie Jackson’s Facebook page)

The judge said she respects Jones’ passion but that dialogue is the key to resolving disputes, the newspaper reported.

“What is anger changing?” Jackson asked. “Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

Jones was acquitted of the battery charge involving the spitting allegation, and Fountain, who was also charged with resisting an officer, was found not guilty of that charge.

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‘Built Different’: Fans Drool Over Angela Simmons’ Natural Curves in Sexy Attire



Before her fitness and health journey, Simmons had an apparently overweight body in her teen years. Her exercise regime is a part of her daily routine which consists of several upper and lower body exercises.

“Before I got pregnant I was really into health a lot,” the 31-year-old mother explained to E News in a May 2018 interview. “Just juicing, green tea, working out, cardio and all of that.”

The mother of one said her fitness routine was even implemented throughout her pregnancy in 2016 with her now 2-year-old son Sutton Joseph Tennyson. She also battled with weight fluctuation a few months after giving birth, adding that it was a struggle to exercise some days.

“I have to constantly find my inner strength in me to work for what I want,” she said via Instagram in August 2017. “I have watched my body go up and down in weight. I gained in different areas .. it’s such a different battle after child bearing. Weight doesn’t drop as quick . It takes true dedication and strength to lose it !!”

Simmons shared 2-year-old SJ with ex-fiancé Sutton Tennyson, who was tragically shot and killed last November.

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‘It’s Not Even a Question Anymore’: Spike Lee Speaks on Donald Trump Being a White Supremacist



Spike Lee

Spike Lee said he’s baffled as to why people still wonder if Donald Trump is a white supremacist. (Photos: Nicky J Sims/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

The 62-year-old filmmaker then brought up August 2017’s “Unite the Right” rally, organized by white supremacists, where burning torches were carried and chants like the Nazi slogan “blood and soil” were yelled.

James Alex Fields Jr., a self-proclaimed white supremacist, purposely drove his car into a crowd at the rally and killed a woman named Heather Heyer and injured many others, a crime for which he was sentenced to life in prison.

Additionally, a Black man named DeAndre Harris was beaten by a group of white men as well, who struck him with poles as he laid helpless on the ground. Last year two of the men, Jacob Scott Goodwin and Alex Michael Ramos, were sentenced to eight and six years, respectively.

Trump later said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the rally, which he still receives heavy criticism for.

“And then Charlottesville, we have marching, the KKK, the alt-right, Neo-Nazis and he can’t make a decision between what’s right and wrong. What’s love and hate,” Lee told Cooper. “He’s going to be on the wrong side of history and that’s going to be the first thing that’s attached to him.”

Lee also said Trump gave white supremacists and similar groups the “dog whistle” to bring their racist ideology to society’s forefront.

He then stated those following Trump will also be on the wrong side of history and suggested the people who’ve endorsed him have a financial incentive to do so.

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New Rule Requires Phoenix Police to Document Every Single Time They Point Guns at Citizens



The city of Phoenix announced this week a new rule requiring officers to track and document every single instance in which they aim their guns at citizens.

The new changes would also require Phoenix officers to undergo eight hours of mental health training and to wear body cameras while on duty. (George Doyle / Getty Images)

“Our updated record management system now allows us to track these incidents, [and] will allow us to have a real idea of how many times our officers are able to successfully de-escalate an incident and a situation with the potential of deadly force,” Williams said in a statement.

As part of the new changes, Phoenix officers must also complete at least eight hours of mental health training and wear body-worn cameras while on duty, according to Gallego.

The move comes just months after the Phoenix Police Department faced intense scrutiny for their violent treatment of an African-American family suspected of shoplifting. Officers faced allegations of excessive force after videos from the May 27 incident showed police threatening and assaulting 22-year-old Dravon Ames, then pointing their guns at his pregnant girlfriend, Aisha Harper, and their two young children.

The confrontation was reportedly sparked over a toy doll taken from a local Family Dollar store.

Bystander video showed Ames, lying face-down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. An officer then yanks him off the ground before slamming him against a police cruiser.

RELATED LINK: Illinois Cop Shoots Unarmed Black 12-Year-Old in Bed With His Hands Up in Botched Raid, Then Blatantly Tries to Cover It Up

Seconds later, the cop sweep-kicks the young man’s leg out from under him, causing him to stumble.

“When I tell you to do something, you f—–g do it!” the officer screams, later threatening  to “fucking put a cap in your fucking head.”

“You’re going to get f——g shot,” the officer tells Ames, who showed no signs of being uncooperative.

Meanwhile, another officer approached the suspect’s vehicle with his gun drawn and orders Harper and her two daughters “to get out of the fucking car.” Recalling the harrowing encounter, the young woman said one of the officers came to their car and started banging on the window with his gun, saying “… he’s going to shoot us in our face. He hasn’t alerted us that we’re being pulled over anything.”

Ames said the officer seemed “trigger happy” and intent on shooting someone that day.

Both Gallego and Williams have apologized to Ames and his girlfriend for the incident — an apology the couple called “a slap in the face.”

Phoenix officials said they hope the new tracking initiative will increase transparency with the public by showing situations that have been de-escalated and gunfire avoided. Not everyone is on board with the idea, however.

Retired Phoenix Police commander Jeff Hynes fears the new rule could cause officers to hesitate during life-or-death encounters.

“If you have an officer take that reflective moment, that pause, it’s going to reduce your numbers, but the other edge of that sword is at what cost?” Hynes told Arizona’s CBS 5.”

He continued: ““If I pull my gun, the administration is going to look at it. The public is going to look at it, and that split second, that pause could mean the difference between somebody being injured or killed or a fellow partner being injured or killed.”

In 2018, Phoenix PD saw a record-breaking 44 police shootings — more than another other U.S. city, according to Huff Post. This year is expected to close with much lowers numbers, as there have only been nine officer-involved shootings through July 16 of 2019, an Arizona Republic database shows.

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‘Yes Natural Hair!’: Tyra Banks’ ‘Real’ Beauty Leaves Fans Mesmerized



Ever the ambassador for unique beauty, Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks. (Photo: @tyrabanks/Instagram)

“My hair color when I was a lil TyTy. Years later, @kimblehaircare and her team took me back to my baby girl roots. My real hair. My real color (many many many years ago 😉). 👧🏽” the star captioned the August 19 photo.

Fans adored the look, which saw blond and brown-colored s-shaped curls frame Banks’ face as her hair was braided into an up-do of sorts.

“Yeeees Natural hair 🔥🔥🔥😍😍😍😍”

“Oooo please wear you real hair More”

“so much better with your hair this way! Please keep it as long as you can stand to take care of it 😛 <3”

“Tyra! Have you ever thought of going natural? Think about it. You could potentially change the game even more than it has with so much marketing around natural hair. 💜”

“Absolutely beautiful.”

That Banks would show off her beauty in a stripped-down form is not surprising. The model and TV personality has long been an ambassador for girls and women celebrating their individual beauty.

On Instagram, Banks has often espoused messages of body-positivity.

“Girls of all kinds can be beautiful — from the thin, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing, and all in between,” read a meme the “America’s Next Top Model” executive producer posted to Instagram in March.

And when she initially announced her theme park Modelland earlier this year, she spoke to why she started “ANTM” in the first place.

“I created ‘Top Model’ to expand the definition of beauty based on my own pain of being told no that I couldn’t do something because I’m curvy or I’m black,” she said in February. “My empathy for women in general increased through the experience.”

Banks is also preparing to spread her message in another form. In June, the star announced plans for a docuseries called “Beauty,” which will be available on the new entertainment app Quibi, scheduled to launch in April of 2020.

“Our docuseries aims to expand and redefine the definition of beauty as we know it,” Banks said in a statement. “Challenging why we accept certain beauty parameters and reject others and examining the beliefs behind those judgments.”

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‘Soul Train’ the Musical to Make a Stop On Broadway With Questlove as Executive Producer



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‘Fire Your Stylist!’: Praise for Ciara’s Look Comes to Screeching Halt When Fan Refers to Throwback Look As ‘Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen’



Others jumped in in an attempt to school the apparent troll on the look or otherwise shut them down.

“@reickerman it was an homage to TLC,” one fan replied.

“@reickerman you don’t know nothing, go away,” said another.

“@obodochinenye you don’t know ‘anything’…that hat would probably be the snappiest thing you own! Bet you get a bowl of soup with a hat like that!” the troll hit back to the latter remark.

Ciara has been known to be a risk-taker in the beauty and fashion department. And while the final looks usually have fans singing her praises, she has missed the mark before.

When Ciara debuted a much-shorter hairdo in the form of a pixie cut earlier this summer, fans shunned the look

“Not a good look 😭”

“That’s a No.”

“No! You natural curly hair please 🙏🏽”

“Hoo nooon 🤦🏾‍♀️”

Ciara has previously opened up about her style. And as the mother of two children — 5-year-old Future Zahir Wilburn and 1-year-old Sienna Princess Wilson, whom she shares with husband Russell Wilson — she admitted her style has changed from what it was before kids came in the picture.

“It kind of makes my fashion choices, I think, better because you end up whooping things together and end up discovering something really cool,” she said to People magazine last year of how having less time to herself has transformed her look.

“Oh my gosh, getting ready, I can whoop up a fresh look in like five minutes!” she added, noting she typically lays out her clothes the night before “because you’re like, ‘If I don’t think about this then I really don’t know what may happen.’”

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Apartheid flag falls as the Equality Court rules it’s now illegal to publicly display the flag in South Africa



South Africa’s Equality Court has ruled that it is now illegal to publicly display the apartheid flag in South Africa.

The court ruled that displaying the apartheid flag constitutes hate speech. The historic ruling has been widely hailed by civic groups and members of the public on social media.

Judge Phineas Mojapelo read the ruling, which said in part: “Displaying [the apartheid flag] is destructive of our nascent non-racial democracy… it is an affront to the spirit and values of botho / ubuntu, which has become a mark of civilized interaction in post-apartheid South Africa”.

The court ruled that displaying the  apartheid-era flag in public constituted hate speech, which discriminated against Black people and violated equality laws.

South Africa’s Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa hailed the ruling. Commenting on Twitter Minister Mthethwa said: “We welcome the judgement handed down by the Equality Court which ruled that the gratuitous display of the #ApartheidFlag constitutes prohibited hate speech, unfair discrimination & harassment; in the spirit of the preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa”.

The governing party, The African National Congress has welcomed the judgement, describing it as a “vindication” of its position that “apartheid paraphernalia are divisive and represents a hankering for our ugly past”.

Far-left opposition party, The Economic Freedom Fighters also welcomed and celebrated the ruling. In a statement the party said: “Long have we said that the apartheid flag, as well as all another apartheid symbols [sic], must  fall. We welcome this ruling as a milestone and victory in favor of all those who’ve been calling for the apartheid and colonial symbols in society to fall”.

“It must be common cause that the apartheid national anthem must follow after its flag. The partners flag and its anthem belong to the same species. They are the two sides of one coin. When white supramacists display the flag, they salute it by singing Die Stem because they belong in the same same anti-black racism performance acts”.

However, on the opposite end of the debate stands AfriForum, who opposed the ban and strongly supported the preservation of the apartheid flag. AfriForum’s Deputy CEO  Head of Policy and Action, Ernst Roets has previously said banning the flag is a violation of freedom of speech, and it must be kept as an expression of free speech.

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Repression and dialogue in Zimbabwe: twin strategies that aren’t working



Since the November 2017 coup that toppled Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and the elections in 2018, the regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has forged two forms of rule. These have been based on coercion on the one hand, and on the other dialogue.

Following the 2018 general elections and the violence that marked its aftermath, the Mnangagwa regime once again resorted to coercion in the face of the protests in January 2019. The protests were in response to the deepening economic crisis in the country, and part of the opposition strategy to contest the legitimacy of the government.

The response of the state to the protests was swift and brutal. Seventeen people were killed and 954 jailed nationwide. In May the state turned its attention to civic leaders, arresting seven for “subverting” a constitutional government. The repressive state response was felt once again on 16 and 19 August, when the main opposition Movement for Democratic Chance (MDC) and civic activists were once again prevented from marching against the rapid deterioration of Zimbabwe’s economy.

These coercive acts represent a continuation of the violence and brutality of the Mugabe era.

At the same time Mnangagwa has pursued his objective of global re-engagement and selective national dialogue. This is in line with the narrative that has characterised the post-coup regime.

In tracking the dialogue strategy of the Mnangagwa government, it is apparent that it was no accident that key elements of it were set in motion in the same period as the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a new staff monitored programme.

The purported objective is to move the Zimbabwe Government towards an economic stabilisation programme. This would result in a more balanced budget, in a context in which excessive printing of money, rampant issuing of treasury bills and high inflation, were the hallmarks of Mugabe’s economic policies.

The dialogue initiatives also took place in the context of renewed discussions on re-engagement with the European Union (EU) in June this year.

But, Mnangagwa’s strategy of coercion and dialogue has hit a series of hurdles. These include the continued opposition by the MDC. Another is the on-going scepticism of the international players about the regime’s so-called reformist narrative.


Mnangagwa has launched four dialogue initiatives.

  • Political Actors: This involves about 17 political parties that participated in the 2018 elections. They all have negligible electoral support and are not represented in parliament. The purported intent is to build a national political consensus. The main opposition party, the MDC, boycotted the dialogue, dismissing it as a public relations exercise controlled by the ruling Zanu-PF.
  • The Presidential Advisory Council: This was established in January to provide ideas and suggestions on key reforms and measures needed to improve the investment and business climate for economic recovery. This body is largely composed of Mnangagwa allies.
  • The Matabeleland collective: This is aimed at building consensus and an effective social movement in Matabeleland to influence national and regional policy in support of healing, peace and reconciliation in this region. But it has come in for some criticisms.

One is that it has been drawn into Mnangagwa’s attempt to control the narrative around the Gukurahundi massacres. These claimed an estimated 20 000 victims in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions in the early 1980’s. Another criticism is that it has exacerbated the divisions within an already weakened civic movement by regionalising what should be viewed as the national issue of the Gukurahundi state violence.

  • The Tripartite National Forum. This was launched in June, 20 years after it was first suggested by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. The functions of this body set out in an Act of Parliament, include the requirement to consult and negotiate over social and economic issues and submit recommendations to Cabinet; negotiate a social contract; and generate and promote a shared national socio-economic vision.

The establishment of the forum could provide a good platform for debate and consensus. But there are dangers. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions warned of the long history of the lack of “broad based consultation on past development programmes”. It insists that

reforms must never be deemed as tantamount to erosion of workers’ rights.

The strategy

In assessing the central objectives of the various strands of Mnangagwa’s dialogue strategy, three factors stand out.

The first is that the Political Actors Dialogue, the Presidential Advisory Council and the Matabeleland Collective were developed to control the pace and narrative around the process of partnership with those players considered “reliable”. Major opposition and civic forces that continued to question the legitimacy of the Mnangagwa boycotted these processes.

Secondly, the formal establishment of the long awaited Tripartite National Forum may serve the purpose of locking the MDC’s major political ally, the Zimbabwe Council of Trade Unions, into a legally constructed economic consensus. The major parameters of this will likely be determined by the macro-economic stabalisation framework of the IMF programme.

When brought together, all these processes place increased pressure on the political opposition to move towards an acceptance of the legitimacy of the Mnangagwa regime, and into a new political consensus dominated by the ruling Zanu-PF’s political and military forces, thus earning them the seal of approval by major international forces.

The MDC has responded with a combined strategy of denying Mnangagwa legitimacy, protests as well as calls for continued global and regional pressure. The MDC believes that the continued decline of the economy will eventually end the dominance of the Mnangagwa regime.

As part of its 2018 election campaign, the MDC made it clear it would accept no other result than a victory for itself and Chamisa. That message has persisted and is a central part of the de-legitimation discourse of the opposition and many civic organisations. The MDC has regularly threatened protests since 2018.

What next

The MDCs strategies have not resulted in any significant progress. The hope that the economic crisis and attempts at mass protests to force Zanu-PF into a dialogue are, for the moment, likely to be met with growing repression. Moreover, the deepening economic crisis is likely to further thwart attempts to mobilise on a mass basis.

The EU, for its part, is still keen on finding a more substantive basis for increased re-engagement with Mnangagwa and will keep the door open. Regarding the US, given the toxic politics of the Trump administration at a global level, and the ongoing strictures of the US on the Zimbabwe government have contributed once again to a closing of ranks around a fellow liberation movement in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Mnangagwa’s recent appointment as Chair of the SADC Troika on Politics, Peace and Security in Tanzania will only further cement this solidarity.

There is clearly a strong need for a national dialogue between the major political players in Zimbabwean politics. But there is little sign that this will proceed. Moreover, the current position of regional players means that there is unlikely to be any sustained regional pressure for such talks in the near future.The Conversation

Brian Raftopoulos, Research Fellow, International Studies Group, University of the Free State

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Ghana and Rwanda provide deep lessons for Africa on Pan-Africanism



In September 2018, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo launched the ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ in Washington D.C. In 2000, Ghana’s parliament passed the Immigration Act, further welcoming Africans in the diaspora and providing the “Right of Abode” for any “Person of African descent in the Diaspora” to travel to and from the country “without hindrance”. There has been a flock of African-American celebrities who traced their roots back home. Many of them, in honour of their ancestors, visited the El Mina Slave Castle in Ghana. The Castle was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, and the oldest European building in existence south of the Sahara.

Ghana has benefited hugely, not just in terms of foreign exchange, but the shaping of the narrative around Pan-Africanism. President Akufo-Addo’s initiative to reconnect African Americans to the continent is a continuation of the Pan-African movement which is central to the progress of Africa and Black people.

W. E. B Du Bois and his wife Shirley moved to Ghana in 1961 and died there. Du Bois founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) alongside other African-Americans. The constant bickering on social media between Africans on the continent and African-Americans is nothing but an unnecessary distraction that doesn’t move Black people forward.

Read: Paul Kagame’s inauguration speech and its message to Africa: “The governance and prosperity of Africa cannot be outsourced.”

Read: What exactly does Paul Kagame have to explain to the West?

There are individual achievements  that Black people have made, and continue to make both across the continent and in the Diaspora, which are worth celebrating, but progress which benefit Black people as a group is what we need to continue striving for. Rwanda’s Paul Kagame having cited the importance of the continent growing together, charting and redefining its own way without interruption from outside has unfortunately been a lone voice urging other African leaders to unite for the social, economic and political progress of the continent. In a number of speeches, President Kagame has reiterated the importance of Africans doing things on their own terms, defining our own culture, politics and governance.

The economic progress Ghana is recording comes from equally embracing Black people not just on the continent but from all over the world. The  act of opening up Ghana’s borders has led to many African-Americans, many who have suffered injustice under the flag of the United States, to relocate back to the continent, and many others are considering retracing their roots.

Unfortunately, many African countries are not open to embracing each other, with numerous restrictions existing which inhibit the movement of Africans on the continent.. Travelling on the continent is not just expensive but hugely cumbersome. Africans can definitely benefit from each other, socially, culturally and economically. The very base of Pan-Africanism should be a realisation that all Black people have at a point in time suffered a similar oppression from a common oppressor.

Ghana’s progress, and Kagame’s speeches and continued action need to be replicated all over the continent. It first starts with African countries opening their borders and being receptive of each other.

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Can a Chinese import ever be authentically African? – African Arguments



Kitenge is made in China, but sold, worn and inscribed with meaning in Kenya.

kitenge in Kenya

A stall sells a wide range of kitenge in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: April Zhu.

On Gaborone Road in Nairobi’s central business district, you can find at least a couple multi-storied pavilions like the Nairobi Textile Building, packed with dozens of stalls, each lined from floor to ceiling with African fabrics, their spines stacked like books in a library. These fabrics are generally referred to in Kenya as kitenge, a term that usually encompasses Dutch wax print, ankara, hollandais, and other more modern takes on traditional patterns from around the continent.

The most popular brand of kitenge in Kenya – or certainly the most widely distributed – is Anningtex. This company name immediately gives away its origin: not Africa. “An” stands for Anhui, “Ning” for Ningbo. Sold in packs of six yards, each Anningtex product also bears a gold-foil label with a contact number that starts with +86, the country code for China.

Anningtex is hardly the only Chinese company that produces “African fabrics”. In fact, the vast majority of kitenge in Kenya is made by a few Chinese companies and includes brands like Buwanas, Hitarget, Sanhe, and Orientar Java. Some are discreet about their origin; others print “Made in China” right on the label.

For many, this fits perfectly into a familiar globalisation horror story – one in which authentic cultural production fails to survive cheap, mass-produced imitations manufactured abroad. We might think of Kano in northern Nigeria where centuries-old indigo dye pits, incapable of competing with cheaper alternatives, sit choked with trash. Or Ghana’s textile production centres, once a symbol of self-sufficiency and built to localise African textile production, but now shuttered. At best, a valuable craft is dying; at worst, outsiders are both killing and profiting off cultural work at once.

Kenya’s Chinese-made kitenge seems like another example of this, but is it? To whom does kitenge belong? A deeper look suggests the reality is more complex. In fact, there are three stories we can tell about kitenge. Each suggests a different way to think about ownership and authenticity.

Story 1: Culture has many parents but no owners

The first story says that culture is far less pure than we usually assume. It suggests that cultural objects can rarely be traced to a single source and that, as a result, no one can really claim ownership over anything.

The first company to produce wax print was a Dutch outfit called P.F. van Vlissingen and Co. (Vlisco). Established in 1846, the company developed a mechanical method for reproducing handmade Javanese batik prints, intending to sell these cheaper products back to colonial subjects in the Dutch East Indies. This endeavour failed because Indonesians preferred the handmade originals to the machine-made copies, so European printers turned to the British Gold Coast (modern day Ghana) and honed designs to local tastes. Even though wax print production was localised in some cases, as in Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah, tracing this quintessentially “African” fabric to its “true origins” takes us to Holland or Java rather than the continent.

This first story sees China’s manufacturing of kitenge as an echo of this history. It points out that kitenge was never produced in Kenya and has only been popular for a few decades. Culture is created by agents of “contamination”, the argument goes, especially in today’s increasingly connected world. The conclusion then is that Kenyans should not question Anningtex’s authenticity or that there is little use in doing so since there is no such thing as a pure cultural product anyway.

Story 2: Culture is inscribed with meaning by its users

The second story we can tell about kitenge says that ownership does not lie in where an object happens to be made, but in the collective relationship that people have built into it.

To explore this story, we need to go back to 1963 when Kenya gained its independence. Under British colonialism, traditional wear had been banned, but post-independence, dress became part of a national intention to shift the centre of gravity from Europe to Africa. Neither Western nor “backwards,” kitenge soared in popularity.

According to this reading, one could argue that while kitenge is not made in Kenya, it is Kenyan in that it is African – and thus it belongs to Kenyans. For Kenyans, kitenge tells a story of pan-African belonging, solidarity, and identity. In this reading, Kenyans are not victims of Anningtex’s domination but rather agents with a valid claim to ownership of their own. Following this logic even further, one could even suggest that, since the 1990s, when new printing technologies made kitenge cheaper and more accessible to the working class, Chinese companies have actually facilitated Kenyans in expressing their African-ness.

This story says that a cultural object’s authenticity lies in its ability to embody both personal and national memories, stories, and pride. Writing about West Africa, anthropologist Nina Sylvanus suggests that the reason Chinese-made wax prints aren’t considered authentically African (while Dutch-made ones are) is because they have not been around long enough for a social infrastructure – for example, mother-to-daughter inheritances, fabric as investment and as dowries – to have been built around them. In other words, African-ness forms within the alchemy between global goods and local people over time. At the end of the day, the second story goes, kitenge in Kenya are an archive of stories, which do not become less valid depending on where they are made.

Story 3: Power, production, and profit matter

The third story insists that, regardless of how much the user embraces it, we must consider the direction in which capital flows and who ultimately profits from the consumption of a product. While the case of kitenge may be more complicated than other examples of globalisation running roughshod over local culture, power, production, and profit do matter.

The importance of this power differential can be felt in the way Kenyan kitenge vendors tense up if you ask them where their products are really from. It can be felt in the fact that most Kenyan consumers do not know where the fabric is made. It lies also in the intuitive loss felt when seeing stacks of “African wax print” sold in Guangzhou by vendors with little knowledge of the rich stories woven into each of these designs or any connection to the ways in which they will be used. If Chinese-made kitenge is so empowering and authentically Kenyan no matter where it’s from, why does it still feel dirty to tell people it’s from China?

The deception is part of what tips the power balance. Even though Chinese-made kitenge is a fragile secret kept not only by Chinese manufacturers but Kenyans along the supply chain – from the sole Kenyan distributor based in Eastleigh, to stall owners on Gaborone Road, to individual vendors – consumers are not in on the secret. Lacking this information strips consumers of their agency to choose whether to continue using kitenge or not.

The other part is the fact that most African textile producers are simply unable to compete with Chinese producers: in other words, for many Kenyans, there’s no real “choice” anyway. Early Dutch wax prints did not emerge from innocuous cultural mixing on an equal playing field. Far from it: wax prints were a profitable product built for a colonial system in which producers had control over production and markets. While Chinese companies do not operate in a strictly colonial way, it is nonetheless the case that, for now, Kenyans can only choose between Chinese-made kitenge or no kitenge at all. This is hardly empowering.

Says who?

Where do notions of ownership, authenticity and power lie? In a cultural object’s history (a long story with no one source), its usage (sold, sewn, and worn by Kenyans), or its production (Made in China)?

These questions feel particularly sensitive and salient around kitenge, a material literally worn on the body and one which is personal, cultural and political all at once. The three stories we can tell take us in wildly different directions. One spirals us down into history and leaves us in colonial Holland, Java, or somewhere else altogether. A second shows us how Kenyan- and African-ness came to be inscribed indelibly onto kitenge, even as an imported product from the beginning. And a third points to how imbalances of power interact with claims to ownership.

This leaves us with the question of which of these stories is the most convincing. However, it also leaves us with a second, and perhaps more important question: Who gets to decide?

According to Kenyan stylist and designer Sunny Dolat, the authenticity of Kenyan fashion is often defined by people outside the country. He says that, rightly or wrongly, kitenge has become a visual shortcut for “quintessentially African”, while items actually made in Kenya are often dismissed as “not African enough”. These decisions, he writes, are informed by the white gaze, the Black diaspora, and others.

“Is it odd that fabrics that have been made by others and travelled so far have a belonging to our sense of self that supersedes that of textiles actually woven or fabricated on our shores?” asks Dolat.

For Dolat and other Kenyan artists then, questions around kitenge are not purely philosophical, historical, or backwards-looking. Rather, examining the many stories of kitenge is a necessary first step in re-imagining and re-defining what can be considered Kenyan today and tomorrow. A big part of this endeavour, which includes paying attention to who makes these decisions, is recognising both how Kenyan and un-Kenyan kitenge really is.

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Insiders Insight: Huawei accused of helping governments spy – African Arguments



huawei office

Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine.

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Table of contents:

  • What everyone is talking about
    • A spying scandal rocks two continents
  • What we are talking about
    • Protests resume in Zimbabwe…and crackdowns too
  • Conflict focus
    • Rwanda to resettle migrants trapped in Libya
  • Continental health corner
    • UNAIDS has a new leader
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    • Nigerian ‘businessman’ arraigned for wire fraud
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Free segment: What everyone is talking about

A spying scandal rocks two continents

The essentials: The Wall Street Journal published an explosive investigation last week alleging that technicians from Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, helped officials in two African governments spy on their political opponents.

The background: The WSJ reporters detail unconnected incidents in Zambia and Uganda. In Lusaka, they allege that Huawei officials helped Zambian security officers access social media accounts run by regime opponents. In Kampala, company technicians allegedly helped the government crack encrypted chat groups organised by opposition politician Bobi Wine.

Everyone alleged to have been involved — officials in Zambia, Uganda and from Huawei — deny the charges.

But they have still gained traction, especially given that the Ugandan regime has been accused of spying on its political opponents in the past. The possible involvement of the Chinese megafirm is even more disturbing and it could add to mounting backlash in some parts of the continent against China’s involvement in Africa.

The good: In the sense that sunlight is the best disinfectant, perhaps raising the allegations will prevent something like this from happening in the future. And from a reporting perspective, it’s a pretty impressive feat of investigative work.

The bad: This just raises more concerns about privacy on the continent, particularly if administrations are able to rely on or compel multinationals to participate in efforts to subvert democratic norms.

The future: Most likely? Everyone involved denies it and then things go back to normal.

Discuss with @_andrew_green on Twitter

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The Africa Insiders’ Newsletter is a collaboration between and @PeterDoerrie, with contributions from @_andrew_green, @shollytupe, and assistance from Stella Nantongo. Part of the subscription revenue is funding in-depth and freely accessible reporting and analysis on African Arguments.

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Nigerian teenage girls win Technovation People’s Choice Award in Silicon Valley



A group of five Nigerian girls, who call themselves team Brain Squad  are this year’s Global Technovation, People’s Choice award winners for their app, Hands Out. The girls won the award at this year’s global Technovation awards in Silicon Valley, California following a week of online voting.

The girls came up with the impressive and innovative idea to develop a user-friendly fundraising app for people to make donations for various causes which include helping poor children to finance their education, and other basic needs.

The girls, Ayomikun Ariyo, Ivana Mordi, Jadesola Kassim, Munachiso Chigbo and Pandora Onyedire, attend the Standard Bearers School in Lagos, Nigeria, and they are between the ages of 10 and 11.

Technovation offers interactive learning programs in which young people aged between eight and 18 and adults in their community learn how to use AI and app-based technologies to solve real-world problems. Every year, girls are given the opportunity to work on a problem in their communities and provide a solution to solve the problem by developing Andriod applications.

“Every year we are blown away by the dedication and cognizance of girls around the world tackling issues concerning the environment or mental health with such creativity and agency, and this year was no different,” said Tara Chklovski, CEO and founder, Technovation. “This competition has always been much more than an avenue to promote STEM education — it is a platform that empowers young girls to make an impact in their communities and foster their entrepreneurial spirit.”

Read: Nigerian teenage girls dominate the world in Technovation World Pitch Summit

12 finalist teams traveled to Silicon Valley to pitch mobile app solutions tackling various pressing issues such as sustainability and domestic violence.

In the senior division,Team D3c0ders from Albania won the first place for their app GjejZâ. GjejZâ helps women who are survivors of domestic abuse, by providing information about domestic violence, offering legal, psychological and medical consultation options, and connecting users with an SOS emergency hotline.  Second place in the senior category went to Uproot from the United States for their app, Uproot, which helps identify and control invasive weed species negatively impacting California agriculture by making use of machine learning technology.

According to Techovation, more than $50,000 USD was awarded across all finalist teams to put towards bringing their product to market or to fund further education in STEM.

Watch Team Brain Squad’s video

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Trevor Noah ranked fourth highest paid comedian in the world on Forbes list



South African comedian, Trevor Noah, who hosts The Daily Show  has been named as the fourth highest paid stand-up comedian in the world, according to Forbes list.

According to the magazine, the comedian earned the bulk of his $28 million income through stand-up shows.

“Despite the demands of hosting a late-night show, Noah made more than 70 stops across the world and had his second Netflix special last fall. In addition, his 2016 book, Born a Crime, is still ranked No. 1 on the New York Times’ bestseller list for paperback nonfiction,” the magazine reported.

The Daily Show host’s star continues to rise. Noah was named one of “The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media” by The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world and this year he bagged four nominations at the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) awards.

Full list of the World’s Highest-Paid Comedians Of 2018:

10. Aziz Ansari

Earnings: $13 million

9. Jeff Dunham

Earnings: $15 million

8. Terry Fator

Earnings: $17 million

7. Amy Schumer

Earnings: $21 million

6. Gabriel Iglesias

Earnings: $22 million

5. Sebastian Maniscalco

Earnings: $26 million

4. Trevor Noah

Earnings: $28 million

3. Jim Gaffigan

Earnings: $30 million

2. Jerry Seinfeld

Earnings: $41 million

1. Kevin Hart

Earnings: $59 million

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