Chris From 'The Wire' Runs For Africa

Gbenga Akinnagbe, or "Chris" from The Wire is running the 26-mile NYC Marathon on Sunday Nov. 6th to support All For Africa and their "Palm Out Poverty" initiative in Africa. Every $20 pledged to Gbenga's AFA running team will plant one palm tree on the continent. We caught up with him to check out his project and get word on life after the greatest tv show of all time.

OKA: What is the "Palm Out Poverty" project?

GA: It's about planting over a million palm trees throughout the continent of Africa. Palm tree oil is heavily traded and very lucrative in Africa - and it grows quickly. The palms trees are on land that is allocated to non-profits on the ground, so the non-profits have a funding source of their own.

OKA: What is All For Africa?

GA: It's a non-profit based out of New York that I've been working with for a few years. I believe international aid to Africa has been one of the most detrimental forces to the continent but AFA is different because it supports local economies.

OKA: How have you trained for the marathon?

GA: I've been running my ass off. I haven't for the past few days because I injured my right foot. It's not broken but I'm experiencing tendinitis.

OKA: Are you still going to run the marathon?

GA: Hell yes! It still hurts a great deal but I'm definitely going to run. Just have to figure out how. I've been training to get a decent time but I might be a little slower now.

OKA: What are you working on these days?

GA: I was doing a show called A Gifted Man and then I returned for another episode of Nurse Jackie this season (pictured below). I'm floating from show to show right now.

OKA: Do you miss The Wire?

GA: Yes and no. I think it ended at a good time. It was a very rare thing. It went out the way it was supposed to: under-watched and under-appreciated in it's time - but then beloved by masses afterward.

OKA: What African music are you listening to right now? Especially to train for the marathon?

GA: I went to Nigeria for the first time this past December and by chance i ended up hanging out with a whole bunch of cool African musicians like M.I (I really dig his music) and his brother Jesse Jagz. My cousin is a rapper here in The States by the name of Wale. I consider him an African musician, and I dig his music. I'm really excited for his new album.

OKA: What's your connection to Africa?

GA: My whole family is Nigerian, they're from the Ondo State a few hours outside of Lagos. I was the first one born in The States. I grew up eating Nigerian food in a very Nigerian household in Maryland. To me, Africa is like Israel, once you've been there, it infects you, it calls you, you just have to go back.

OKA: Do you plan to go back soon?

GA: I would love to. While I was there I got my passport because I want to spend more time there. Work has kept me Stateside but hopefully I can go back again in December.

News Brief
Photo: Getty

Here's What You Need To Know About The Political Unrest In Sudan

Thousands have been protesting the Sudanese government over the weekend, supporting the military's plans for a coup.

Sudan's transitional government is in turmoil as thousands of citizens conducted a sit-in protest against them, over the weekend. A group of Sudanese citizens have called on the military to disestablish the nation's current government, as the country struggles with the greatest crisis they've seen since the end of former dictator Omar al-Bashir's controversial ruling, two years ago. The weekend's pro-military protests come as anti-military protestors took to the streets earlier this month to fight for civilian-ruled laws.

Military-aligned demonstrators assembled outside of the famously off-limits entrance of the Presidential Palace located in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum on Monday. Gatherers set up tents, blocking off access to two main intersections, cutting off access to the capital for those inside. Police attempted to wave off crowds with teargas, with Khartoum state officials saying they had, "repelled an attempted assault on the seat of government," in a statement issued Monday.

The assembly was called for by a coalition of rebel groups and political parties that support Sudan's military, accusing the civilian political parties of mismanagement and monopolizing power under their ruling. Demonstrations began on Saturday, but Sunday's gathering saw a lower attendance. According to Reuters, by Monday afternoon, thousands, between 2,000 - 3,000, had returned to voice their concerns. 52-year-old tribal elder Tahar Fadl al-Mawla spoke at the helm of the sit-in outside of the Presidential palace saying, "The civilian government has failed. We want a government of soldiers to protect the transition." Alongside a 65-year-old Ahman Jumaa who claimed to have traveled more than 900 kilometers (570 miles) from Southern region Nyala to show his support.

Protesters are demanding the appointment of a new cabinet that is "more representative of the people who participated in the December 2019 revolution that eventually led to the ousting of former president Omar al-Bashir", Al Jazeera reported from Sudan. Protesters headed towards the Presidential Palace, where an emergency cabinet meeting was being held when they were met by police forces.

Pro-civilian political parties have plans for their own demonstration on Thursday, the anniversary of the 1964 revolution that overthrew Sudan's first military regime under Ibrahim Abboud and brought in a period of democracy that the country still struggles to uphold.

Sudanese Twitter users shared their thoughts online, with many drawing similarities between the current unrest and other political crises the nation has faced.

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