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'Birthright Africa' Wants to Connect People of the African Diaspora to Their Heritage

Birthright Africa is on a mission to reconnect Africa and the diaspora.

Wouldn't it be amazing if African descendants around the globe could reconnect with the African continent in a way similar to Israel's Taglit-Birthright program? Without the questionable politics of course.


That's what the creators of Birthright Africa creators Diallo Shabazz and Walla Elsheikh thought when they came together to bring the idea to life. After registering the domain Birthright Africa in 2005—Elsheikh, who grew up in Uganda, Sudan and Sweden—was given the push to take the project a step further once she heard from Johnson via Facebook. The two travelled to Ghana in 2016 and were able to finance a trip for seven young people to make the trip shortly after.

A new profile in The New Yorker, tells the full story of how the program came to be, and how it's steadily expanding to ensure that young black students are given a chance to visit the Motherland. They collaborated with the Black Male Initiative (BMI) at the City College of New York (CUNY), and now all members of the association between 18 and 30 are eligible to apply for a free birthright trip to the continent.

A major part of the program for its creators, is working to counter trite and oversimplified narratives about African countries and allowing for its descendants to experience it for themselves, especially following Trump's infamous "shithole remarks."

"So it's that much more relevant to dispel," Elsheikh tells The New Yorker.

"Because it really hits your soul," says Johnson. "We are not pushing a political agenda. But it's inherently political to educate and empower black people."

Read the full story via The New Yorker, and learn more about Birthright Africa via their website.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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