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Okayafrica Welcomes Our New Associate Editor Antoinette Isama

Introducing new Associate Editor Antoinette Isama and Contributing Writer Abel Shifferaw.


Dear Readers,

Abiola here, you can call me Abi, CEO at Okayafrica. A lot has happened so far in 2016, including a few changes to our lineup. First off, we’re very excited to welcome Antoinette Isama to Okayafrica as our new Associate Editor.

Antoinette is a dynamic reporter and editor with an interest in the intersection of African youth culture, arts and the diaspora. Hailing from the Washington DC area, she recently graduated with a master’s degree specializing in interactive journalism and magazine writing from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Before joining Okayafrica, she was a visiting reporter at the Weekend Argus newspaper in Cape Town, South Africa. She will be based out of our Brooklyn offices, working with our team to take Okayafrica’s coverage to the next level. You can follow Antoinette's work here.

Antoinette arrives just in time for the departure of our long-time Content Manager Alyssa Klein who will be moving to Johannesburg to spearhead the launch of our South African offices alongside Okayafrica’s Brand Manager, Sanele Xolo. This is a return to SA for Alyssa who spent 2012 studying at the University of Cape Town. She will be taking on the role of Okayafrica’s South Africa Editor. Stay tuned for more info on the official launch of our South Africa office and the new South Africa edition.

We’ve also brought on man-about-town, Abel Shifferaw as a contributing writer. His provocative take on Kendrick’s use of “Negus” and Ethiopianness in pop-culture has already struck a nerve with readers, becoming one of the most read stories on our site. Read more of his work here. He’ll be taking-over for longtime contributor Patrice Peck who has left to focus on her awesome new tech startup Fussy.

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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