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He Who Wears Death in his Pouch: FELA! Rises at the Shrine


Photos by Niegel Smith

Fela has risen again. FELA! cast member Abena Koomson wrote in again from Lagos, where the performances have officially begun with a first show at Fela's New Afrika Shrine. She emailed this skin-tingling report:

"The performance at the Shrine was unbelievable. It felt like that performance was the sole reason why this play was every created: to pay homage to Fela in his home, to give an offering and to receive a blessing. It's such a remarkable thing that the entire Broadway cast had a chance to experience it. I was talking to Femi (Kuti) backstage during one of our rehearsals and he was wowed. He said first of all, that the Shrine audience does not clap. That he had never seen that happen. And even during our rehearsals we were getting uproarious applause. By the time we got to the actual tribute, it was tenfold. The people I talked to were proud of us. It was a homecoming."

Check out this article for an inspired play-by-play of the entire experience.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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