#Okay100Women

AÏDA TOURÉ

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Artist, Sufi poet and painter Aïda Touré was born to a Malian, Muslim father and a Gabonese mother. She lived in France and the U.S., where she explored art, music and literature.




Her work is informed by her faith and “the sublimity of its inner motions inspired her to compose poetic works of a spiritual nature which reflect the state of divine remembrance,” according to her website.



She has published three books—Nocturnal Light, The Sublime Sphere, Unmanifest Poems—and her work is almost always accompanied with a painting that tells us of the spiritual and cultural importance. Her new book of love poems will be out in Spring 2017.



Touré has exhibited all over the world has been lauded by institutions like the New Orleans city council and Tulane University’s Payson Center. She is also featured in a number of textbooks. Touré even has a jewelry line, Fragrance of Light, that is made up of miniature wearable paintings that has resonated with her followers.



For honoring her faith and talents to the best of her ability, Touré is a woman to watch in 2017.



-JO

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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