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'Birthright Africa' Wants to Connect People of the African Diaspora to Their Heritage

Birthright Africa is on a mission to reconnect Africa and the diaspora.

Wouldn't it be amazing if African descendants around the globe could reconnect with the African continent in a way similar to Israel's Taglit-Birthright program? Without the questionable politics of course.


That's what the creators of Birthright Africa creators Ashley Johnson and Walla Elsheikh thought when they came together to bring the idea to life. After registering the domain Birthright Africa in 2005—Elsheikh, who grew up in Uganda, Sudan and Sweden—was given the push to take the project a step further once she heard from Johnson via Facebook. The two travelled to Ghana in 2016 and were able to finance a trip for seven young people to make the trip shortly after.

A new profile in The New Yorker, tells the full story of how the program came to be, and how it's steadily expanding to ensure that young black students are given a chance to visit the Motherland. They collaborated with the Black Male Initiative (BMI) at the City College of New York (CUNY), and now all members of the association between 18 and 30 are eligible to apply for a free birthright trip to the continent.

A major part of the program for its creators, is working to counter trite and oversimplified narratives about African countries and allowing for its descendants to experience it for themselves, especially following Trump's infamous "shithole remarks."

"So it's that much more relevant to dispel," Elsheikh tells The New Yorker.

"Because it really hits your soul," says Johnson. "We are not pushing a political agenda. But it's inherently political to educate and empower black people."

Read the full story via The New Yorker, and learn more about Birthright Africa via their website.

Photo courtesy of 1-54/SUTTON.

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Landing in Marrakech is 2018's Most Anticipated Art Event

The leading art fair dedicated to contemporary African art makes its mark on the continent for the first time this weekend.

This weekend, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the leading art fair devoted to contemporary African art, will debut in Marrakech, Morocco. The announcement of the Fair's expansion to the continent last year has left aficionados of contemporary African art in eager anticipation of this "homecoming"—this author included.

1-54 debuted in London in 2013. Although an expansion to New York followed, a presence on the continent was always part of the long-term vision of the founder Touria El Glaoui. Finally, the time has now arrived.

Here are five reasons why we're looking forward to 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Marrakech.

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This Olympic Figure Skater Blew Us Away Again By Pulling Off a Costume Change Mid-Routine

First Maé-Bérénice Méité performed to Beyoncé, now she's effortlessly slaying outfit changes mid-routine. What can't she do?

French-Congolese and Ivorian figure skater, Maé-Bérénice Méité, has pretty much been the life of the Winter Olympic figure skating competition.

Earlier this month, the athlete had the internet shook when she performed her opening routine to two Beyoncé songs. Now she's back with even more black girl magic.

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Video still via YouTube.

10 Stand Out Moments From Janelle Monáe's Powerful Music Videos

Janelle Monae came back making a statement—and we're just as obsessed as you are.

We've got to talk about Janelle Monáe.

Over the past half decade, she's embarked on a profound journey that's solidified her as an artist, creator and activist who isn't afraid to shoot down the stars—or shoot with them.

After having roles in Hidden Figures and Moonlight—two Oscar nominated movies where one won an Oscar, a stellar speech at the Grammy's and a stunning presence at the Black Panther red carpet, she's ready to grace us with "Dirty Computer," the latest musical venture in her Afrofuturistic saga.

To whet our appetites before the album, which is set to release on April 27, Janelle dropped not one but two music videos yesterday. Both are distinctly entertaining: one is a black, intersectional feminist anthem and the other a psychedelic soundtrack of sexual fluidity.

Watch both, then read some of the highlights we gathered from the hypnotizing visuals and powerful wordplay.

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