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Iconic Samba School to Pay Tribute to Late Afro-Brazilian Activist, Marielle Franco, at Carnival

Plus, a new documentary from The Guardian seeks answers in the details surrounding her death.

One of Brazil's most iconic samba schools will pay homage to the late Afro-Brazilian activist and councilwoman Marielle Franco at this year's carnival, reports The Rio Times.

'Estação Primeiro de Mangueira' (First Station of Mangueira), have announced that this year, their production will honor Franco and her profound legacy of working to bring about racial justice for black people living in the country's favelas. The school will produce an original song that pays tribute to her.

Rio de Janeiro Has Named March 14th 'Marielle Franco Day—Against the Genocide of Black Women'

Last year's carnival champions, the 'Paraíso do Tuiuti' Samba School, also addressed issues of race, according to The Rio Times. They won for their work on the lasting legacy of slavery.

Samba schools were hit with funding cuts in 2018 according to a report from the BBC, but that did not stop groups from producing show-stopping, politically-relevant works.

This dedication to the tradition of art and storytelling at carnival—even in the face of immense odds—has carried on into 2019, as this year the country is faced with the far-right, anti-black leadership of Jair Bolsonaro.

The Seeds of Marielle: These Courageous Afro-Brazilian Women Are Running for State Office Despite the Odds

Writer Kiratiana Freelon wrote about the harmful implications of his leadership, following the murder of capoeira master and advocate for Afro-Brazilians Mestre Moa de Katendê by one of his supporters. While David A. Wilson writes extensively about racial dynamics and the new movements that are rising to help transform them in "The Assassination of Marielle Franco and the Dawn of Brazil's New Civil Rights Movement."

A new documentary from The Gaurdian follows Franco's widow Monica Benicio as she looks for answers in the death of her partner, while also battling the political tensions brought on by Bolsonaro's presidency. You can watch it here.

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Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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