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Anti-Government Protests Engulf Liberia Amid Economic Crisis

Thousands of Liberians have taken to the streets to protest against the country's spiraling economy under President George Weah.

A few hours ago, the Liberian police was deployed after at least 3000 Liberians took to the streets of Monrovia in anti-government protests.

Aljazeera reports that the police fired tear gas and water canons on Liberians protesting the country's spiraling economy under the leadership of President George Weah. The protest is the second massive demonstration to take place in less than year.


Initially, the protests were dubbed the "Weah Step Down Campaign" in an effort to force the footballer-turned-president to step down. However, many called the move "undemocratic" and Liberian protesters have since called on President Weah to account for the inflation and corruption plaguing the West African country.

Henry Costa, a protest organizer and the head of a group called the Council of Patriots described the Weah's government saying, "They have performed dismally and created the worsening economic situation we are in." Costa also added that, "We presented a petition containing demands to the president to address the issue of corruption...bad governance, violation of the constitution - and the president refused to act on any of our demands."

Back in June of last year, Liberians protested for the first time since President Weah took office in 2017. Failing to adequately address an investigation which uncovered the disappearance of millions of dollars, the government then allegedly restricted internet and social media access shortly before the protests took place.

According to The Guardian, President Weah issued a warning to protesting citizens saying that, "If you think you can insult this president and walk in the street freely, it will not happen. And I defy you."

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Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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