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Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew Start FREE Download Series With "War Don Don"


War Don Don - Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew

In the run-up to their upcoming self-titled release on Nat Geo Records, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew - Sierra Leone's biggest superstars - will be releasing a series of tracks for FREE. The first one in the series, "War Don Don," was written as the title track for the multi-award winning documentary which explores and debates the UN-backed war crimes tribunal that took place after the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone. Listen to "War Don Don" above, and enter your email address to get the track and alerts for the next free downloads.

Below, Bajah, A-Klazz, and Dovy talk about their personal experiences during the war.

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My African Mother Is...

Angélique Kidjo, Mapei, Sinkane, Toya Delazy and more honor their African moms for Mother's Day 2015.

For Mother's Day this year we asked some of our favorite artists for their help honoring all the moms out there.

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Happy 55th Independence Day Sierra Leone From Bajah Of Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew

"Today we just have to celebrate and keep showing love to Mama Salone, because we still believe Mama Salone is the Athens of Africa."

Original photo by Ridhima H Hegde
Sierra Leone turns 55 today. To celebrate, our friend Bajah of Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew has a special message to share for Salone:

I want to wish Mama Salone and all the people of Sierra Leone a very happy Independence Day. We’ve been through a lot, from the war to Ebola, but thank god that we can celebrate Independence Day with no disaster. It’s a good thing. It’s a blessing. Sierra Leoneans we just need to continue to be courageous and keep the faith. One day we’ll get the right leader that’s going to make a change for each and every Sierra Leonean. We’ve been through the worst for a long time. But for today we just have to celebrate and keep showing love to Mama Salone, because we still believe Mama Salone is the Athens of Africa.

Happy Independence Day to all Sierra Leoneans.

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Photo by Hamish Brown

In Conversation: Lemn Sissay On His New Book About Re-claiming the Ethiopian Heritage Stolen From Him by England’s Foster Care System

In 'My Name Is Why,' the 2019 PEN Pinter award winner passionately advocates for children in the institutional care system, and in turn tells a unique story of identity and the power in discovering one's heritage.

It took the author Lemn Sissay almost two decades to learn his real name. As an Ethiopian child growing up in England's care system, his cultural identity was systematically stripped from him at an early age. "For the first 18 years of my life I thought that my name was Norman," Sissay tells OkayAfrica. "I didn't meet a person of color until I was 10 years of age. I didn't know a person of color until I was 16. I didn't know I was Ethiopian until I was 16 years of age. They stole the memory of me from me. That is a land grab, you know? That is post-colonial, hallucinatory madness."

Sissay was not alone in this experience. As he notes in his powerful new memoir My Name Is Why, during the 1960s, tens of thousands of children in the UK were taken from their parents under dubious circumstances and put up for adoption. Sometimes, these placements were a matter of need, but other times, as was the case with Sissay, it was a result of the system preying on vulnerable parents. His case records, which he obtained in 2015 after a hardfought 30 year campaign, show that his mother was a victim of child "harvesting," in which young, single women were often forced into giving their children up for adoption before being sent back to their native countries. She tried to regain custody of young Sissay, but was unsuccessful.

Whether they end up in the foster system out of need or by mistake, Sissay says that most institutionalized children face the same fate of abuse under an inadequate and mismanaged system that fails to recognize their full humanity. For black children who are sent to white homes, it often means detachment from a culturally-sensitive environment. "There are too many brilliant people that I know who have been adopted by white parents for me to say that it just doesn't work," says Sissay. "But the problem is the amount of children that it doesn't work for."

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News Brief
(Screenshot from "Every Woman" video)

Check out Cameroonian Crooner Vagabon’s New Ode to Female Power

The singer dropped a video for new single "Every Woman" today, shot by fellow Cameroonian director Lino Asana.

Cameroonian-born singer-songwriter Laetitia Tamko, better known as her stage name Vagabon, has been spoiling us with delights as of late. First, the crooner teased us with two singles, "Flood" and "Water Me Down" from her forthcoming sophomore album, Vagabon, a work she wrote and produced herself. And today, she surprised us with a new single and video for "Every Woman"—a track Tamko claims is the "thesis of the album," as per a press statement reported by The Fader magazine

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