News Brief

This Kuwaiti TV Show Depicting Sudanese People In Blackface Has Caused Outrage on Social Media

"Block Ghashmarah" is receiving backlash for its depiction of Sudanese stereotypes with actors in blackface.

An episode of Block Ghashmarah, a Kuwaiti comedy television show, honed in on the stereotypes of Sudanese people while depicting them in blackface, BBC Africa reports.

If the series is capable of showing us one thing, it's that it encapsulates the racial issues Africans face in the Middle East.


Block Ghashmarah stars actors in blackface who embody "lazy," Sudanese people who lay around and talk all day. What makes it more unbearable are the characters' exaggerated use of the infliction "ahh" in nearly all the dialogue.

As reported by BBC Africa, Waleed Abdulhamid, a Sudanese music teacher at Humber College in Toronto, spoke his peace, joining the outcry of Sudanese people against the nature and existence of the show.

"I wish those people, they would understand the culture, and they would understand the society, of the Sudanese people very well before you do a comedy show…you think we are integrating to a better, peaceful with a harmony in this world, right? But what I see is the complete opposite."

The show began its airing during Ramadan, a practice which capitalizes on peace, community and charity. Yet this show has managed to highlight division with its negative portrayals of Sudanese culture, as well as other cultures around the world, including the African diaspora. Although the show has seen some support, such support has been challenged with much opposition.


Hasan al-Ballam, an actor on the show, has defended the show but later apologized for any offense he may have caused. The question is, can any apology be enough anymore to excuse such productions and warrant the continuation of the show?

Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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