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'The Habesha Community Lost Royalty Today': Young Eritreans Mourn the Loss of Nipsey Hussle

"I'm half American and half Eritrean—as much as I am a black person from America, I am a black person from Africa too."

The utter shock continues to reverberate as the world mourns the loss of Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle. The Grammy-nominated artist, entrepreneur and community builder was killed March 31st in front of his store Marathon Clothing in Los Angeles.

He was 33 years old.

"Extremely saddened to hear the news of the tragic and untimely death of iconic recording artist/entrepreneur Ermias Asgedom (Nipsey Hussle)," Yemane G. Meskel, Eritrea's minister of information, tweets. "RIP and condolences to his family."

Born Ermias Davidson Asghedom to an African American mother and Eritrean father, he was very proud of his upbringing and heritage. As Abraham T. Zere notes for Africa Is A Country, his pride is one of the many examples of notables in entertainment who have been reconnecting to their African roots and made it so "public and explicit."


In a March 2018 interview with Dallas-based radio station 97.9 The Beat, Nispey reflects on meeting his Eritrean family for the first time:

"I went out there for three months in 2003—met my granny for the first time, met my cousins, so it definitely had a major impact. I was raised in LA by my mom, my mom's family is Black American, but I always knew my heritage from my dad, but I never met my family. My dad was the only one in America—everybody else is back home. So when I went out there, it educated me to the other side...it just gave me an understanding of what my dad's life was like growing up, what his family was like. I got embraced and they loved me and I became aware of the culture. I'm half American and half Eritrean—as much as I am a black person from America, I am a black person from Africa too. I embraced both sides of that after I went out there."

He returned to his fatherland a few months after his interview in May. Check out his appearance on the "Open Mic" program on ERi-TV below where he speaks on his sense of pride knowing the history of his country:

ERi-TV: Interview with Nipsey Hussle Eritrean-American Recording Artist & Entrepreneur youtu.be

Fellow young Eritreans, Ethiopians, folks from neighboring countries, as well as just Africans worldwide have been reflecting on the impact he's had as one of the few to represent the habesha community in such a profound way.

Here are a few reactions that hit home:











Keep up with the developments around this tragedy, via our sister platform Okayplayer, here.

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In Conversation: Lemn Sissay On His New Book About Re-claiming the Ethiopian Heritage Stolen From Him by England’s Foster Care System

In 'My Name Is Why,' the 2019 PEN Pinter award winner passionately advocates for children in the institutional care system, and in turn tells a unique story of identity and the power in discovering one's heritage.

It took the author Lemn Sissay almost two decades to learn his real name. As an Ethiopian child growing up in England's care system, his cultural identity was systematically stripped from him at an early age. "For the first 18 years of my life I thought that my name was Norman," Sissay tells OkayAfrica. "I didn't meet a person of color until I was 10 years of age. I didn't know a person of color until I was 16. I didn't know I was Ethiopian until I was 16 years of age. They stole the memory of me from me. That is a land grab, you know? That is post-colonial, hallucinatory madness."

Sissay was not alone in this experience. As he notes in his powerful new memoir My Name Is Why, during the 1960s, tens of thousands of children in the UK were taken from their parents under dubious circumstances and put up for adoption. Sometimes, these placements were a matter of need, but other times, as was the case with Sissay, it was a result of the system preying on vulnerable parents. His case records, which he obtained in 2015 after a hardfought 30 year campaign, show that his mother was a victim of child "harvesting," in which young, single women were often forced into giving their children up for adoption before being sent back to their native countries. She tried to regain custody of young Sissay, but was unsuccessful.

Whether they end up in the foster system out of need or by mistake, Sissay says that most institutionalized children face the same fate of abuse under an inadequate and mismanaged system that fails to recognize their full humanity. For black children who are sent to white homes, it often means detachment from a culturally-sensitive environment. "There are too many brilliant people that I know who have been adopted by white parents for me to say that it just doesn't work," says Sissay. "But the problem is the amount of children that it doesn't work for."

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Asa's 'Lucid" album cover

Asa Releases Her Highly-Anticipated New Album, 'Lucid'

Listen to the celebrated Nigerian singer's first album in five years.

After a five year hiatus Asa, one of Nigeria's most celebrated artists, has released her fourth studio album Lucid.

The 14-track album, includes the previously released singles "Good Thing" and "The Beginning" which the singer dropped earlier this year to positive reviews.

The singer and songwriter took to social media to thank fans for their ongoing support over the weekend, writing "I have looked forward to sharing this with you for sometime now but I wanted it to be special, that much I owe you. For being with me from the beginning, thank you from my soul. I hope this makes you happy, brings you joy and somehow, you can find yourself in these songs."

She also shared a live studio performance of the album's first track "Murder in the USA,' check It out below.

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(Screenshot from "Every Woman" video)

Check out Cameroonian Crooner Vagabon’s New Ode to Female Power

The singer dropped a video for new single "Every Woman" today, shot by fellow Cameroonian director Lino Asana.

Cameroonian-born singer-songwriter Laetitia Tamko, better known as her stage name Vagabon, has been spoiling us with delights as of late. First, the crooner teased us with two singles, "Flood" and "Water Me Down" from her forthcoming sophomore album, Vagabon, a work she wrote and produced herself. And today, she surprised us with a new single and video for "Every Woman"—a track Tamko claims is the "thesis of the album," as per a press statement reported by The Fader magazine

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(Original movie poster for Bed of Thorns)

First All-Female Made Film in Uganda Wins Art House Prize in UK

Bed of Thorns, a movie about gender-based violence, takes home the Africa Focus Award.

This weekend saw a film from Uganda, Bed of Thorns (#Tosirika), claim the Africa Focus Award at the London Art House Film Festival. The film, directed and produced by Eleanor Nabwiso, tackles the subject of gender-based violence by weaving together the many tales of abuse within a circle of women as they prepare for their friend's wedding—not knowing that she, too, is being abused by her soon-to-be-husband. Comedian Martha Kay and media personality Malaika Tenshi made their film acting debuts to help tell the tale. The film also featured an all-female crew for the first time in Ugandan history.

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