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MUSICIANS OCCUPY WALL STREET: Talib Kweli Wants Us To Spread The Word

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*video shot and edited by Kevin Ornelas

Talib Kweli joined the protesters at Occupy Wall Street last night, giving an impromptu speech and performance using the People's Mic - an awesome invention to amplify sound and spread messages after PA systems and megaphones were outlawed by New York's finest down at the protest (violators can be sent to prison for up to 30 days). To use the People's Mic, the speaker calls out "mic check! mic check!" and the crowd responds with a "mic check!" and then grows silent, waiting  for the speaker to begin. The crowd then repeats what the speaker says, sentence-by-sentence, so that everyone in the area can hear it - rippling it back to the far reaches of the park. Check it out above.

Politicaly-engaged Kweli has been on board with the protesters from the beginning, tweeting about it several times in the past few weeks - although this was his first trip down to the park. Using the People's Mic, Kweli said the following:

I'm at a loss for words. But even me being at a loss for words, is amplified. They want to know what the end game is? This is the endgame. You doing your job, everybody here with a camera, everybody here with a camera, everybody here with a smartphone, everybody here with a voice. Do your job, and spread the word. For the people who are sleeping here, you inspire us. If you are inspired by them, make it grow. This is the endgame. It's about growth now. We have to grow. And that's the point. I love y'all.

Kweli later added, "this is the most American thing I've seen in my lifetime. I had to come down and see it for myself, so I could tell everyone about it."

Okayafrica encourages you to get involved. More details to come soon, but for now, we can all bite Kweli, and tweet the following: "Here with the 99% #occupywallstreet.”

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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