News Brief

Protesters Take to the Streets in France After a Black Muslim Man Dies in Police Custody

“We know if things don't burn nothing will come of it, that is how we feel.”

France is looking a lot like the U.S. right now with protests for a third straight night after a young black Muslim man died in police custody.


Similarly to Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who was found hanging in a Waller County, Texas jail a year ago after being detained for a routine traffic stop, and 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who was arrested for illegal possession of a switchblade whose spinal cord was severed while being transported in a police van in Baltimore, Maryland—Adama Traore died while police drove him to a station Tuesday night in Beaumont-sur-Oise, north of Paris, Telesur reports.

He was arrested for allegedly interfering with the arrest of his brother-in-law who was involved in an extortion case. This sounds very much like Jasmine Richards, a Black Lives Matter protester, who as of last month faced four-years in prison after she was convicted of a rarely used statute in California called “felony lynching” for attempting to “de-arrest” someone during a peaceful protest. The charges against Richards were later dropped.

There are conflicting reports on how Traore, who had just turned 24 years old on Tuesday, died. According to Telesur, police say he died because of a “very serious infection” while the BBC  and AJ+ report Traore suffered a heart attack.

Local prosecutor Yves Jannier says Traore "fainted during the ride" to the police station and paramedics were unable to revive him, according to the BBC.

However it happened, the young man’s life has been cut short, and his family and friends are demanding answers as they say Traore was healthy. They suspect he may have been beaten to death by police.

Traore’s brother Baguy tells Le Parisien that when he arrived at the police station he saw him lying on the floor. A police officer with blood on his shirt reportedly told Baguy that Traore was “pretending.”

In response to the young man’s untimely death, there have been ongoing clashes between police dressed in riot gear and protesters. There have been reports of police injuries and arson of a dozen or more vehicles and several public buildings. Protesters have been chanting, “No justice. No peace,” which has become a popular tagline when confronting police brutality.

"We know it is going to be covered up. We know if things don't burn nothing will come of it, that is how we feel," a 24-year-old who took part in the disturbances tells BBC.

According to the AJ+ video that you can watch below, there has been criticism that the French media has fixated more on the riots that have taken place this week, than on the death of Traore.

This young man’s tragic demise is yet another example that the struggle for justice, police brutality and recognition that black lives matter is indeed a worldwide phenomenon.

Watch the AJ+ video below to learn more about the riots taking place in France.

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Image by Mohamed Nanabhay via Flickr.

Activists Demand the Release of Omoyele Sowore and Other Political Detainees, Amidst Growing Attacks on Freedom of Press In Nigeria

"It feels like the '90s again," says Sowore's wife Opeyemi Sowore, about the recent crackdowns on political dissidents in Nigeria.

On August 3, activist and founder of Sahara Reporters, and former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowere was arrested for planning a peaceful protest in Nigeria. Fifty-four days later, he remains in custody.

Sowere has been hit with a seven-count charge, including money laundering, treason, as well as "cyberstalking the president," Sahara News reports. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow after being jailed for nearly two months, according to his wife Opeyemi Sowore.

He, along with several activists who have voiced political dissent in recent months have been detained by Nigerian authorities, denoting an upward shift on crackdowns on members of the press and attacks on basic civil liberties in Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari's administration. "This truly is a threat to freedom of press, freedom of speech and expression," Sowore tells OkayAfrica. "As much progress as we thought we had made, a lot of the events truly sadden me."

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Watch Daniel Kaluuya's Striking Performance In the Official Trailer for 'Queen & Slim'

You'll want November 27 to come sooner rather than later after watching this.

Queue the feels.

The official trailer for Queen & Slim, Melina Matsoukas' feature film directorial debut, has dropped—and it's a must-watch.

In the clip, you'll get a bit more of an understanding of the journey between the Black Bonnie & Clyde as well as the swelling of their love in the face of injustice.

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Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images

South Africa's Iconic Group Bongo Maffin is Set to Release a New Album

It will be the group's first album in well over a decade.

Last year, the iconic South African kwaito group Bongo Maffin, reunited after several years. They then went on to release the single "Harare" much to the delight of their numerous fans. Of course, the single was just an appetizer for everything else still to come. Thandiswa "King Tha" Mazwai, one of the members of the diverse quartet, recently confirmed that Bongo Maffin will be releasing an album on November 29th—the group's first album in well over a decade.

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Image courtesy of Riveriswild

#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. While this American "holiday" being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday, including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.

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