Events

Join AfroPop Worldwide For Its Inaugural Icons & Innovators Benefit Party in D.C.

AfroPop Worldwide honors host Georges Collinet, Nigerian visual artist Laolu Senbanjo and Congo-born soukous legend Samba Mapangala in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 29.

AfroPop Worldwide is hosting its first ever Icons & Innovators Benefit Party in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 29.


Like the name of the fete suggests, the occasion will honor icons and innovators of African entertainment and media industries. Cameroonian radio personality and long-time Afropop Worldwide host, Georges Collinet, is the media icon honoree; Nigerian visual artist best known for his work on Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Laolu Senbanjo, is the artist innovator honoree; and Congo-born soukous legend, Samba Mapangala, is the icon honoree.

Georges Collinet

Laolu Senbanjo

Samba Mapangala

Co-chaired by Jeffrey Sturchio, Chairman of the Corporate Council on Africa, Stephen Hendel, Producer of FELA! on Broadway, and philanthropist Rosemary Pritzker, Icons & Innovators will bring together trailblazers in African entertainment, arts, media, business and politics, and the D.C. metro area’s diverse African diaspora community to celebrate over a quarter century of Afropop Worldwide, connecting the world to Africa and the diaspora through world-class music and inspiring stories.

“Afropop is a bridge between the Golden Age of African music which continues in today’s vibrant roots pop and the phenomenally successful youth music now sweeping the continent and making inroads worldwide,” says Sean Barlow, Afropop’s Executive Director and founder.

The party also marks the return of the Afropop radio program to airwaves via D.C.'s newest public radio stations WOWD, 94.3 FM in Takoma Park, MD, and WERA, 96.7 in Arlington, VA.

Timothy and Shigeko Bork will host the Icons & Innovators Benefit party, sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering and The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), at Georgetown’s Friendship Housea National Landmark once used to entertain presidents, members of congress, and ambassadors.

Join them for an intimate evening including a rare acoustic performance from Mapangala and witness a live painting of Senbanjo’s Sacred Art of the Ori. VIP guests will have a special opportunity to be body-painted by Senbanjo.

General admission for Icons & Innovators is $100 and the 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. VIP Reception tickets are $250. Visit here for tix.

News

The Ethiopian Government Has Asked Olympic Runner In Exile, Feyisa Lilesa, to Return Home

After two years in exile, the Olympic athlete will return home and receive a "hero's welcome."

Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian runner who went into exile in 2016 after bravely protesting the Ethiopian government's brutal treatment of its Oromo population at the Rio Olympics, has been invited to return to home.

After living in self-imposed exile United States for two years the marathoner, who demonstrated by crossing his fists as he reached the finish line and claimed the silver medal, has been extended an offer to return to his homeland and compete for his country once again by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and the country's Olympic committee. According to VOA News, the runner will return home in the coming weeks with his wife and children.

"Athlete Feyisa Lilesa has scored great results at the Rio Olympics and other athletics competitions enabling Ethiopia's flag to be hoisted to great heights," read a joint letter from the two athletics organizations.

"We want Lilesa to return to his home country to resume his athletics competition and upon his return we are prepared to give him a hero's welcome."

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Politics
Image via GovernmentZA's Flickr.

Could Justice Finally Be on the Horizon for Marikana Massacre Families?

New evidence suggests that the police intended to kill all along.

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre, when 34 mine-workers were gunned down by police after several days of wage disputes at Lonmin Mine in Rustenburg, North West province. New information was recently uncovered that undermines the police's longstanding claim that they acted in self-defence. If anything, it is a glimmer of hope for the families of the victims that remain left behind in the aftermath of that tragedy.

It was the worst mass civilian killing since the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, where South African protesters were killed for opposing the Apartheid regime. The Marikana Massacre, in contrast, was the tragic consequence of week-long wage disputes and clashes between miners and the South African police.

While media footage appears to show the miners as the victims, police have always argued that they were acting in self defence. Consequently no officers involved have been charged. Instead, the surviving mineworkers face murder charges under the doctrine of common purpose. But unnerving facts have come to light that seem to make the police argument even less likely. This includes the ordering of 4000 rounds of live ammunition and several vans from the mortuary the day before the massacre.

I cannot even begin to unpack my anger and frustration at this terrible irony.

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popular

Remembering Aretha Franklin and Her Heartfelt Connection With Nelson Mandela

In honor of the Queen of Soul's immeasurable impact, we revisit her passionate support of Nelson Mandela, and the anti-apartheid movement, through her musical tributes.

Iconic singer, Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul" passed away on Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Franklin was considered by many to be the greatest singer of all time. Her influence on popular music cannot be overstated. The legendary artist sold 75 million records and earned 18 Grammys in a career spanning six decades and she was influential in many global social movements as well.

Having been a widely-embraced public figure for so long, Franklin was present for some of the biggest events of the 20th century, including the funeral of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.

Upon Mandela's release, the singer played a unique role in welcoming him to the States by performing at a freedom rally in his honor in Detroit. Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Stevie Wonder were also in attendance for the historic night. During the celebration, Franklin called the anti-apartheid leader on stage, where he spoke about listening to and appreciating "the Detroit, Motown Sound" while he was in prison.

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