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France Still Doesn't Know How Racism Works and the Vilification of Nick Conrad Proves It

The French rapper is currently on trial for his music video "Hang White People," which depicts what life might be like if the racial tables were turned.

When the music video "Pendez les Blancs" ("Hang White people") by French rapper Nick Conrad was released, the backlash was intense. The video shows what life would be if black people had enslaved white people. "Hang white people… arm them and let them kill each other" Conrad raps. He is not the first artist to think about a life where Black people would dominate white people. Todric Hall's music video "Forbidden" and Malorie Blackman's novels "Noughts and Crosses" did it before. But in France, a country that still tries to stop Black people from organising as a community, Nick Conrad had to pay the price.

First, he received countless death threats and lost his job at a prestigious French hotel. Everyone, from French personalities to the government called him out. And then, two anti-racist and anti-semitism organizations, the LICRA and L'AGRIF sued him. His trial happened last week. French journalist Sihame Assbague was there to witness it, and what she reports is baffling.

To the prosecution, Conrad is encouraging his audience to kill white people. They believe that anti white racism or "reverse racism" is just as bad as any type of racism and that Conrad is using a "black supremacist language" with words like "queen" "king" when he mentions Africa. In their mind, once Black people stop trying to integrate and start organising themselves, it's just as bad as white people being racist. Ethnocentrism is dangerous.


And by saying that, they echoed a strong belief in France that "we're all French unless we're not white and if we're not, we have to stay quiet about it."

One strange thing from the trial was that the prosecution was blaming Conrad for making a violent piece of art, doubting whether or not he was an artist with "integrity" or "talent," citing white rappers and writers who were more "artistic"...thus lying and forgetting the millions of art pieces created by white people who are incredibly violent, from film to video games to music.

"The fear created by Nick Conrad's video is laughable. He is being accused of incitement to racial hatred, but there is no way anyone is going to reenact it in any way, shape of form in real life."

On top of that, they also criticized Conrad for mentioning Malcolm X, who, for them, was a "black supremacist" rather than Martin Luther King Jr., who was "more peaceful." French culture has a strange way of revisiting American history, especially when it comes to both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., making the revisionist assumption that there is, on one side, a "good" black man (MLK) who wanted his people to integrate and live peacefully with white people and on the other a "bad" one (Malcolm X) who wanted to segregate. It, obviously, disregards both men's work and King's discourse, especially his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Like Conrad's lawyers said: "People should actually read both men's works before mentioning them."

The fear created by Nick Conrad's video is laughable. He is being accused of incitement to racial hatred, but there is no way anyone is going to reenact it in any way, shape of form in real life. And that was exactly Conrad's defense: he was being judged for facts that don't exist. "How can black people be black supremacists when, frankly, we're at the bottom of the ladder?" he wisely asked. Early on, as a black man faced with racism, the rapper, realized that he would never be a normal citizen in France and the country would never acknowledge him. That's what led him to portray that violence.

The whole point of his song is to show what real racism was and still is for black people.

« Je ne suis pas raciste » : Nick Conrad s'explique sur « Pendez les blancs » www.youtube.com

"An audience's heightened sensibility when faced with a critique of racism shouldn't limit an artist's freedom to create work that calls it out. The song is a violent, disturbing piece of art. But history itself is violent, shocking and disturbing. As long as a perfect equality between races is not achieved, Conrad's message can't be condemned." Conrad's lawyers explained at the end of the trial.

The court is going to make a decision by March 19. Conrad risks paying a 5000€ fine ($6000).

"The Nick Conrad trial is proof that freedom of speech stops where white fragility begins."

The irony is not lost that organizations that are supposed to fight racism are so hell bent on bringing down a working class Black man who made a rap song about just the idea of racial retribution. Anti-racist organisations are especially confused in France, to the point where they are not even aware that some types of racism, like reverse racism, don't exist.

The Nick Conrad trial is proof that freedom of speech stops where white fragility begins. ironically, white people are the most protected racial group. Millions of violent songs are released every year, whose lyrics are equally as violent against certain groups of people, but when one is attacking white people, an artist is on trial.

Other rappers have been sued but thankfully, were acquitted. Another point is that the prosecution was adamant that Black unity is a threat to white people because Black people will try to one up them and get their revenge. It is a reminder of what psychologist Guilaine Kinouani says about white guilt: "French people are absolutely terrified of 'pay back' from Black people. The fear of revenge underscore every state dynamic when it comes to Blackness. It's both terrifying and fascinating, like the shadow of the French empire."

Hopefully, Nick Conrad won't have to suffer even more the consequences of such guilt.

***

A few crowdfunding campaigns have been created to support him but they have all been taken down a few hours later due to the backlash Nick Conrad is receiving. You can support him by following him on social media.

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Watch the Retro Music Video for Dyo's 'Go All the Way' Featuring Mr Eazi

The video, directed by Mahaneela, is a tribute to the vintage photography of Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso.

Mr Eazi teams up with budding Nigerian artist Dyo, for her latest single "Go All the Way."

The duo share a memorable music video, inspired by the work of vintage African studio photographers like Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso. The music video features cameos from several young African creatives including Congolese artist Miles from Kinshasa, who are all photographed in stylish clothes before staged backdrops.

The video was directed by multi-hyphenated creator Mahaneela, who also appears in the video,

The Mirza-produced song sees both artists singing suggestively about their lovers. "Go go, go all the way," Dyo sings smoothly on the track's chorus.

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Join Us For an Everyday Afrique Party This Labor Day In NYC!

Featuring music by DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

Everyday People, OkayAfrica and Electrafrique are back with the best Labor Day weekend party around with Everyday Afrique.

Come hang with us for another installment of the party that brings out the New York City's finest.

This September 2 we're taking Everyday Afrique back to The Well in Brooklyn, where you can dance and drink the day & night away across the venue's outdoor and indoor spaces.

Grab Your Tickets to Everyday Afrique's Labor Day Party Here

Music will be handled by a top-shelf line-up of selectors including DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

The party will be hosted by Young Prince, Saada, Roble, Sinat, Giselle, Shernita and Maine.

Make sure to grab your tickets here and we'll see you on the dance floor!

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Courtesy of Sibu Mpanza.

INFLUENCED: Meet Sibu Mpanza—the YouTuber Who's Making a Killing from Just Having Fun

'I am the person I needed when and even before I started my YouTube channel,' the prolific YouTuber says.

OkayAfrica brings you the 2019 INFLUENCED Series. In the coming weeks, we'll be exploring the online communities being fostered by young South Africans who are doing more than just influencing. From make-up gurus and hair naturalistas to socially-conscious thought leaders, get ready to be influenced. Read the rest of the series here.

Years ago, Sibu Mpanza found himself experiencing two realities Black South African students are still battling with even today: crippling financial woes at university and debilitating depression.

An aspiring musician who ended up studying psychology instead at the University of Cape Town, Mpanza began skipping as many classes as he possibly could. He would spend copious amounts of time at a computer hidden away in the corner, passing the hours watching funny videos on YouTube. In fact, he says he spent so much time on YouTube that he was literally one of the very first people to view Beyoncé's epic "711" music video—something Mpanza recalls in stitches.

He was searching for something, although admittedly, he didn't quite know back then what it was exactly. It eventually got so bad that in his second year of university, he packed up his things, dropped out and moved to Johannesburg to see if he could become what he'd always imagined he could eventually be.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the name Sibu Mpanza is not only an undeniable success story but an entire brand.

Mpanza is a full-time YouTuber who has been able to capitalise on creating hilarious content about his life and pretty much anything that interests him. While he initially "blew up" because of a YouTube video he put out, a video which called out White students at the University of the Free State who were recorded beating up protesting Black students at a rugby game, he's since moved onto a second channel, More Mpanza, where he makes content that's a lot more fun, apolitical and doesn't take a toll on his mental health. As if two successful channels weren't enough, he's also got a third channel, Arcade, where he and his business partner talk about things they enjoy in the technology space.

For anyone looking to just let off some steam, watch a YouTuber who's willing to poke fun at himself or find some really quality content in an era where everyone seems to have a YouTube channel about something or the other, Mpanza is definitely your guy.

We caught up with him to talk about what inspired his various YouTube channels, the fame that comes with being a household name and what's really important to the young South African creative.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Sho Madjozi "John Cena"

The 19 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sho Madjozi, Odunsi, Sarkodie, Mr Eazi, Fuse ODG, Santi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

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Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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