News Brief

America In 2017: A Florida Mayoral Candidate Told Black Activists to "Go Back To Africa"

A mayoral candidate from St. Petersburg, Florida told members of the community's Uhuru Solidarity Movement—to "go back to Africa" during a debate on Tuesday.

DIASPORA—A mayoral candidate from St. Petersburg, Florida told members of the  community's Uhuru Solidarity Movement—to "go back to Africa" during a debate on Tuesday.


In a video shared on Twitter, candidate Paul Congemi can also be seen telling attendees who were advocating for reparations for America's black population, that they had already received their reparations in the form of Barack Obama's presidency.

"My advice to you, if you don't like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa Airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!" Congemi said.

His comments were reportedly made in a "salty" rage after he was told that he was a "non-factor" in the race.

The crowd at the debate were expressly angered by his overtly racist comments, and so were many folks across social media who are rightfully bashing the shit out of Congemi.

Needless to say, this man should not be running for office. But, as many of us so painfully experienced back in November, being woefully unfit for office doesn't mean you can't win it anyway.

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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