News Brief

A Federal Judge Just Ruled That Black Lives Matter Can't Be Sued

A federal judge has ruled that the Black Lives Matter movement is not an entity that can be sued.

On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that the Black Lives Matter movement is a social cause that cannot be taken legal action against.

The decision came after an anonymous Louisiana police officer attempted to sue Black Lives Matter and one of its most prominent figures, DeRay Mckesson, after he was injured by a rock that was thrown during a protest in Baton Rouge following the police killing of Alton Sterling.

U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson dismissed the suit, in a 24-page ruling, which likened the Black Lives Matter movement to other social movements like the Tea Party and the Civil Rights Movement, stating that, "Although many entities have utilized the phrase 'black lives matter' in their titles or business designations, 'Black Lives Matter' itself is not an entity of any sort."

Jackson also dismissed the officer's attempts to add the hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter as another defendant in the case. “For reasons that should be obvious, a hashtag—which is an expression that categorizes or classifies a person’s thought—is not a ‘juridical person’ and therefore lacks the capacity to be sued,” Jackson wrote.

Mckesson, who was arrested along with 200 other demonstrators during the Baton Rouge protests, responded to the ruling on Thursday. “It’s clear that I did nothing wrong that day and that the police were the only violent people in the streets. The movement began as a call to end violence and that call remains the same today.”

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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