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Beat Making Lab's All-Female Senegalese Collective

Beat Making Lab in Dakar, Senegal, features an all-female collective GOTAL partnered with Speak Up Africa NGO.


Female empowerment through music is at the heart of the latest Beat Making Lab in Dakar, Senegal. As a part of their project to make digital music production possible for young musicians in developing nations, producer Apple Juice Kid and UNC Professor Pierce Freelon teamed up with the all-female Senegalese collective Gotal and paired them with the women-led NGO Speak Up Africa to produce songs about global health issues in their communities. The third in the Beat Making Lab web series, Dakar is the first location in the program to exclusively feature female artists.

New episodes air Wednesdays beginning May 22nd on PBS Digital Studios’ Beat Making Lab channel. Get introduced to the women of Gotal by watching the first of the Dakar episodes below. The weekly chronicles will culminate in the release of the Senegal Beat Making Lab's EP titled Gotal. Gotal, which means "unity" in Pular, is both the name of the EP set to premier July 5th on Mad Decent (released by Mal Dicen x Latino Resiste x ARTVSM) and the name of the all-women's ensemble to participate in the Senegal Beat Making Lab.

News Brief

Akon Confirms Agreement For His New City In Senegal, 'Akon City'

It's official, Akon is developing a new city in Senegal.

Akon is developing his own city in Senegal.

The musician and entrepreneur confirmed the signing of the agreement for Akon City earlier this week in an Instagram post. "Just finalized the agreement for AKON CITY in Senegal. Looking forward to hosting you there in the future," he wrote.

Akon had previously talked about his plans to launch a "Crypto City" in Senegal which would run on his own cyptocurrency, AKoin.

He's also been working on initiatives like the Lighting Africa Project, which aims to bring electricity to homes in West Africa through solar power.

Akon explained his plans in more detail last year in an interview with Nick Cannon: ""It's all renewable, the Akon-tainment solar city," he mentions. "It's a 10-year building block so we're doing it in stages. We started construction in March and stage two is going to be 2025."

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Photo: Tjeerd Braat. Courtesy of Marieme.

Watch Marieme & Melanie Faye's Beautiful Acoustic Video For 'Be The Change'

A vibrant, stripped-down new video for the highlight track from her Marieme EP.

Senegalese singer-songwriter Marieme has been revisiting songs from her self-titled EP for a new visual project.

"Be The Change," one of the standouts from that Marieme EP, is an uplifting composition about holding ourselves accountable for our actions. The Senegalese artist is now sharing a new and alluring acoustic video version of that song accompanied by Melanie Faye, which we're premiering here today.

"'Be The Change' is a song I wrote with Danny Burke that was a part of my debut EP," Marieme tells OkayAfrica, "This song is very special to me because I know it gives people hope. I am guilty of saying I'm going to do something and never do it, even if it's beneficial to humanity. We all need reminders to do better, and be held accountable to our words and intentions. It has become a sort of anthem and call to action for some and I'm grateful for that, because it means people are listening and are ready."

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Photo by Romain Chanson/AFP via Getty Images.

Three Protesters Killed During Anti-Government Demonstrations in The Gambia

These are the first deaths to be reported since the protests against President Adama Barrow began.

Ongoing anti-government protests in The Gambia have turned deadly. Aljazeera reports that this past Sunday, three protesters were killed while protesting for President Adama Barrow to resign. These are the first reported deaths since the protests began a few months ago.

Several other protesters were injured after the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the massive crowds.

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John Legend (seated at piano) and DJ Khaled perform onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Grammys 2020: Performers Pay Tribute to Nipsey Hussle In Traditional Eritrean Attire

During a Grammy tribute, featuring John Legend, Kirk Franklin, Meek Mill and more, a group of dancers paid homage to the late rapper's Eritrean heritage, by sporting traditional garb.

The 2020 Grammys have been one of great reflection, as various artists and public figures that we've lost recently have received tributes.

One of the artists commemorated tonight was the late Eritrean-American rapper, Nipsey Hussle who was killed in March of last year in his hometown of Los Angeles. His tribute featured performances from artists like John Legend, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, Kirk Franklin, as well as fellow LA rappers YG and Roddy Rich.

The tribute opened with a heartfelt performance from Meek Mill. Later, during a rendition of their collaboration "Higher," DJ Khaled and John Legend brought out a group of dancers dressed in traditional zurias and other Eritrean attire—a tribute to the late rapper's unique heritage. "I'm half American and half Eritrean—as much as I am a black person from America, I am a black person from Africa too," Nipsey once said in an interview.

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