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Kelela: "White People Don't Understand. Black People Don’t Have The Space To Suck"

Kelela gets real in a cover story for The FADER ahead of the release of her debut album "Take Me Apart."

Kelela laid down the truth with some choice words about her journey to releasing her upcoming debut album, Take Me Apart, in a recent cover story for The FADER.

After years of feeling as if it was "too late" to start her career, Kelela, a second-generation Ethiopian American, finally built the courage to write her first song when she was 25 years old.


The courage that she gained helped her to overcome self doubt and to persevere over misogynoir (the intersection of racism and sexism directed at black women).

The album title, Take Me Apart, demonstrates the importance she places on honest self-expression, and her belief that everyone should take risks.

Kelela knows that it's not easy and that it takes courage.

She told The FADER's Lakin Starling, “When you demand somebody take you apart, then you're the boss. It's so strong. You must have a lot of confidence to say that comfortably. It feels risky, I feel my heart pound a little bit harder, but that's who I am."

She's particularly attuned to how this struggle falls upon black women in the music industry, for whom the stakes are particularly high. It's not necessarily that black people are more "artistically inclined," she said. "It's because we don't have the space to suck."

The album, which was produced by Jam City, is true to Kelela's affinity for electronic music, but is also "fully grounded in R&B's brave emotional honesty," according to The FADER.

At a time when dishonesty goes unchecked more often than ever, this type of straight talk is unfortunately rare. We're glad to have Kelela and Take Me Apart is right on time.
Photo by Nii Kotei Nikoi.

These Ghanaian Women Artists Publicly Chart Paths to Healing from Sexual Violence

Mixtape Notes To The Shadows is a collaborative mixed media exhibition that uses art to show the complex process of healing.

How do you trap a shadow? How do you hold onto to something that slips out of your hands and appears when you step into the light? In Ghanaian society, which is predominantly patriarchal, issues like sexual violence and harassment are treated as shadows, suppressed and left to brood in the dark, unspoken and unaddressed. Despite the undocumented number of people who are tormented by these shadows, it's hard to confront something that society does not believe exists in the way that you experience it.

Dr. Sionne Rameah Neely and Josephine Ngminvielu Kuuire, who are artists and survivors of sexual violence, decided to draw out these demons and shadows by leaving notes for them through art. Mixtape Notes To The Shadows, their collaborative mixed media exhibition and performance, was an open surgery on sexual trauma inviting witnesses as they chart their respective journeys to healing.

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This Documentary Takes You Inside South Africa’s Biggest Trap Movement, ATM

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South African rapper and singer Emtee and his producer Ruff started a movement when they released "Roll Up" in 2015.

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EL’s ‘BAR 4’ Is One of the Strongest African Hip-Hop Releases of the Year

Ghanaian rapper EL declares himself the best African rapper for the fourth time, and we are tempted to believe him.

Prolific Ghanaian rapper El's Bar mixtape series is on its fourth iteration in just three years.

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