News Brief
Photo: Mídia NINJA

Rio de Janeiro Has Named March 14th 'Marielle Franco Day—Against the Genocide of Black Women'

The day will be used to promote community wide reflection on the killings of black women.

Following the targeted assassination of Afro-Brazilian human rights activist and city council member Marielle Franco this past March, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão, has named March 14th, the date of Franco's untimely death, "Marielle Franco Day—a day against the genocide of black women" in Rio de Janeiro, reports The Rio Times.

The ordinance states that the day be used to promote community-wide discussion and reflection on the killings of black women in Brazil through lectures and public debates.

"To have March 14th as a date that saves and revives Marielle Franco's struggle for the lives of black, poor, favela and peripheral women is very important and symbolic," Renata Souza, Franco's former Chief of Staff told O Globo.

"It is urgent that black women be the focus of public policies because they are the main victims of the lack of state assistance. Therefore, it is these black women who in the last ten years have the highest rates of feminicide when they are murdered by their spouses in abusive relationships," she added.


But domestic abuse isn't the only violence threatening black women in Brazil. "They are also the main victims of obstetric violence, in public hospitals and also because of abortions in backyard clinics, says Souza. "They are the main victims of maternal death. Either we deal with these matters in earnest, as Marielle treated them, or black women will continue to be the main victims of the State's neglect."

READ: The Assassination of Marielle Franco and the Dawn of Brazil's New Civil Rights Movement

Franco death rocked the world and highlighted Brazil's ongoing struggle with stark racial inequality. Franco committed her life and career to voicing the struggles of neglected black populations living in the country's favelas. She won her post as a city council member despite being considered an underdog in Rio politics on account of her gender and race.

Despite Rio police stating that they would "ramp up efforts" to find Franco's killers back in May, they are still yet to make an arrest in relation to her murder.

Street art dedicated to Marielle Franco in Bedstuy, Brooklyn.Photo by Antoinette Isama.

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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