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My Breasts Are Not Inappropriate: Fighting Google Censorship

An online video company called out Google for flagging videos of bare-breasted women taking part in the Swazi Reed Dance and it worked

An online media company whose mission is to 'preserve and restore African values, dignity and pride through film' recently had its YouTube channel flagged by Google for its video footage of bare-breasted women in a traditional Swazi and Zulu event known as the the Reed Dance Ceremony.

But the company, TV Yabantu did not take the censorship without a fight.

Last week, Lazi Dlamini, the head of TV Yabantu, began organizing protests. He reached out to more than 200 cultural groups in Swaziland to join forces in a campaign to protest what he deemed to be an attack on his culture.

"We don't care about the revenues, we care about the insult to our culture," Dlamini told South Africa's Mail and Guardian.

Three days ago, TV Yabantu released the first of a three part series called "Google Racist Exposed." The videos, all of which have been released, begin with a message to viewers. In bold red letters printed on a black screen, the message begins, "We have not been posting our videos because we are under attack by Google." The message goes on to ask viewers to help them "fight racism and abuse against African women by Google, Facebook, and Instagram." It then accuses the companies of upholding "apartheid racist policies" against African women.

At least a dozen women showed up bare-breasted on a rainy afternoon in Durban carrying protest signs for the first demonstration last Saturday. "Facebook stop deleting our pictures," one sign said, shedding light on the fact that Google isn't the only offender.

Before Google began flagging the TV Yabantu content as "inappropriate for some audiences" and "inappropriate for advertisers," their YouTube channel had 3000-4000 new subscribers per month, according to BBC Africa.

The inappropriate flags may have affected up to 50 videos, stated Dlamini.

But the protests proved effective. Google, which owns YouTube, has removed the flags.

"It was not [Google's] policy to restrict nudity in such instances where it is culturally or traditionally appropriate," a representative from Google told South Africa's The Mail and Guardian.

Dlamini organized the protests only after he contacted Google defending the content's cultural significance, and the company maintained that the videos were in violation of the platform's standards.

See parts two and three below:




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Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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