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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:




Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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Joeboy Shares Visuals for New Track 'Lonely'

Joeboy has dropped the music video for his latest track 'Lonely'. The endearing track features on his upcoming debut album 'Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic'.