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George Clooney Is Giving $1 Million to Investigate War Criminals In Africa—But Who Asked?

"If it walks like a 'white savior' and talks like a 'white savior'—it usually is."

Tuxedo in human form, George Clooney, announced today that he will give $1 million towards an investigation into governments and authorities that benefit from continued support of conflict in Africa. He's doing so through his "The Sentry" initiative which the actor launched in 2015 to "end wars" in Africa.


"Our focus is to make sure that war crimes don't pay," said the actor in a statement. "We want to make it more difficult for those willing to kill en masse to secure their political and economic objectives." "When we're able to go after the warlords' wallets and bankrupt those who choose the bullet over the ballot, suddenly the incentives are for peace, not war; transparency, not corruption."

As BBC Africa reports, this is far from the first time that Clooney's inserted himself in African affairs. Clooney along with the likes of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, was part of the bizarre 2012 honey trap scheme to arrest Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony. In 2011, the actor took part in a program that used satellites to monitor the Sudanese-South Sudanese border. He was also one of the most vocal celebrity advocates during the 2006 crisis in Darfur.

His constant involvement in African politics comes across as a fixation with aiding "poor, helpless Africans"—an approach more rooted in self-seeking, white maleness than anything it might purport to be. And since when has male whiteness ever benefited Africa? What proof is there that any of his actions have ever truly payed off? Has he helped end a single war? Did Clooney save Darfur? I'm sure we all remember how "Kony 2012" turned out.

This is not to say that his efforts are completely in vain, it's merely a suggestion that he not regard the continent as a playing field that he can visit whenever he wants to practice being a good samaritan, especially when he lives in a country with an excess of its own political troubles. It's as if for him, fighting social ills within an African context give his efforts more validity, which, once again, plays into the ever-harmful, "Africa as foreground for despair" trope.

As Clooney is all too aware, there are indeed very real issues affecting the continent that deserve our vigorous action and unreserved attention. What he should, perhaps, be more cognizant of is the fact that his efforts come off as if he is relentlessly vying to be the captain of "Team Save Africa," and he cannot humanly fulfill that role, nor is anyone asking him to.

How Technology Is Playing a Crucial Role in the #EndSARS Protests

Young people in Nigeria have successfully managed to use technological innovations to organize and make the #EndSARS protests run incredibly efficiently and easily. This moment will go down in history as a revolution that was birthed via technology.

It has been more than a week since young people in Nigeria took to the streets to demand that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, infamously known as SARS, be scrapped for good. Created in 1992, this police unit was originally set up to beat back armed robbery, the use of firearms and rising cases of kidnappings that grew in the late eighties. However, the unit went rogue, becoming more notorious for its savagery than actual crime-fighting. With a rap sheet ranging from profiling, harassment and assault to, in more extreme cases, slaughtering innocent citizens, these quasi-officers have unleashed terror on the nation for more than two decades.

Their victims are predominantly young Nigerians profiled on appearance—whether they drive exotic vehicles, use the latest gadgets, have their hair dyed or locked, or have piercings. In some cases, working in tech often gets conflated with financial fraud. For people who don't meet the absurd criteria, the mood of the officer can often become the difference between life and death.

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Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Emile YX? Wants to 'Reconnect The String'

The father of South African hip-hop's latest book release is here to teach you about the culture.

As a father-figure in South African hip-hop, there's a lot Emile Lester Jansen, aka Emile YX?, knows. He'll also tell you, there's a lot he doesn't. But the knowledge Emile has gained, over his 3 decades in music, he's always tried to share with others. His latest project is no different. The Black Noise founder is working on a book that identifies the similarities between Bushmen expression and hip-hop, and how this knowledge can help empower anyone who has a love of the culture.

The book, which will be called Reconnect The String, comes on the back of this year's 21st anniversary of the African Hip Hop Indaba, one of the landmark hip hop events in Cape Town created by Emile, which has helped many an artist launch their career. As a teacher and a musician, he's long been involved in using hip hop to uplift communities—first through the seminal group Black Noise, founded in the late 1980s, with its rhymes rallying against Apartheid, and then through the Heal the Hood organization, a non-profit that grew out of the group's efforts to use its love of hip hop to fuel youth development initiatives in townships on the Cape Flats.

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Interview
Photo: Nick Beeba

Interview: Sango's ‘Da Rocinha 4’ Is a Polished & Grinding Take On Baile Funk

We speak with the Seattle-based DJ and producer about his new album and the music bridges connecting Brazil, the US and the world.

It's a common joke in Brazil: once three or more Brazilian people gather together, they will start a WhatsApp group. The producer and DJ Kai Wright, who goes by the alias Sango, is well aware of that. While he is giving this interview through a Zoom call, a sound notification pops from his computer. "Do you hear that?" he says, amidst laughs. "It's WhatsApp, this album was made through WhatsApp groups."

Once and for all, Sango is not Brazilian. "I am an ambassador for that sound, but I am a Black American," he says. "That sound" is baile funk, the most prominent Brazilian electronic and popular music of the past decades. Born in Michigan and based in Seattle, Sango became a beacon for a new strain of baile funk around 2012, when he released the album Da Rocinha—a suite that he revisits in his new release, Da Rocinha 4.

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In Conversation with Candice Chirwa: 'Menstruation is More than Just Bleeding for Seven Days.'

South African activist Candice Chirwa, the 'Minister of Menstruation', speaks to us about what a period-positive world looks like, the challenges menstruators face even in 2020 and her important advocacy work with QRATE.