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This Video Looks At Congolese Sapeur Culture From A Whole New Perspective

Kinshasa rapper Alec Lomami takes a look at the positive and negative influences of sapeur culture in the DRC.

Alec Lomami. Photo courtesy of the artist.


By now you’ve seen images of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s impeccably dressed sapeurs splashed across countless fashion editorials. For his new music video for “Fresh: Dans La Peau D'un Sapeur,” Kinshasa rapper and producer Alec Lomami takes a deeper look at the positive and negative influences of sapeur culture in the DRC.

“I wanted to highlight the duality of how sapeurs are viewed in DRC as opposed to how they are almost unanimously worshiped in Western publications,” Lomami explains to Okayafrica. “At the same time, I didn't want to sound preachy, so created I a fictitious character to convey the narrative [of the song].”

That duality is present in the song’s French lyrics, which feature lines like, “These clothes cost me an arm and a leg, meanwhile my stomach is crying famine. Some people see us as fuck ups. Other people see us as superstars.”

“Fresh: Dans La Peau D'un Sapeur” is co-produced by Lomami and PGMW and features backing vocals by Karun Mungai aka Runka of Cosmic Homies. The track also samples a Jay Z line (“You can learn how to dress just by checking my fresh") which Lomami mentions he’d always “envisioned sampling to touch on La Sape.”

The track’s music video compiles existing footage of sapeurs in Kinshasa and the DRC, check it out below.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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