Arts + Culture

Luvvie Ajayi, Opal Tometi and More, Recognized In Essence's 'Woke 100 Women' Issue

Essence Magazine releases its inaugural 'Woke 100 Women' issue featuring Luvvie Ajayi, #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Opal Tometi, Shonda Rhimes and more.

The phrase "stay woke" like "on fleek" and "yolo" is well on its way to being inducted into the Overkill Hall of Fame. But for now "woke" still has some currency in today's climate of heightened online awareness.


For their inaugural "Woke 100 Women" issue, Essence has recognized black women who are using their awareness to become champions of social progress in their communities. Despite the over-saturation of "woke," we can't hate on a list that contains many of our favorite women. The cover features the likes of Luvvie Ajayi, and #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Opal Tometi—who were both honored on OkayAfrica's 100 Women—as well as a host of other trailblazing black women who have dedicated their careers to creating positive change for Black people in America.

"The cover stars are part of the #Woke100, an inaugural list of female creators, activists, educators, journalists, politicos and thinkers who are socially conscious and vigilant about changing our nation for the better," reports Essence.

We're all about recognizing game-changing, phenomenal women. Check out the full list, and revisit OkayAfrica's 100 Women to read about more groundbreaking Black women.

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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