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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is Nominated For A Grammy

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is up for an 'Album of the Year' Grammy Award as part of Beyoncé's album.


Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie could be earning herself an unexpected accolade this weekend at The Grammys, where she's nominated for 'Album of The Year' as part of Beyoncé's self-titled LP. The credit, of course, comes from "Flawless," the Beyoncé single which uses a lengthy sample of Adichie's 'We Should All Be Feminists' TEDxEuston speech, in which the writer urges audiences to dismiss the notion of feminism being inherently "un-African." As Beyoncé explains in the video below, "I was scrolling through videos about feminism on youtube and I ran across this video of this incredible Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie. Everything she said is exactly how I feel. 'We raise girls to see each other as competitors. Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing,  but for the attention of men.'" The Grammy news comes a few days after Adichie penned 'Lights Out in Nigeria,'  a New York Times op-ed on the quality of electricity in Nigeria, and had a personal piece about her struggles with depression published without permission by The Guardian. Watch Beyoncé speaking about the influence of Adichie's words on "Flawless" below.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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