News Brief

Tributes Pour Out for Ron Dellums, Celebrated US Congressman Who Worked to Dismantle Apartheid

Dellums led the African-American fight against South African apartheid by writing the Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986.

Ron Dellums, one of America's most reputable black congressmen passed away on Monday in Washington DC , he was 82.

Dellums an Oakland, California native who served 27 years in congress, was known for his progressive and fiercely anti-war agenda. He opposed every American military intervention during his time in congress, with the exception of sending emergency relief to Somali in 1992, reports the New York Times. As a young politician, he demanded a House investigation into America's war crimes during the Vietnam War.

He dedicated decades-long his career to advocating for racial and economic equality in America and elsewhere—the politician played a major role in helping weaken international support for the South African apartheid regime. He ran a 14-year long campaign against the apartheid government and went on to write the legislation for the Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, which would strict trade embargoes and economic sanctions on the repressive South African government. President Ronald Reagan infamously vetoed the bill, leading congress to override him. It was the first time that congress had rejected a president's foreign policy veto in the 20th century.


Dellums also supported the restriction of foreign aid to repressive African governments in Zaire (present-day DRC), Burundi, Liberia and Sudan.

The popular 2000 Disney film The Color of Friendship, about an African-American family who takes in a white South African exchange student, was based on Dellums' family, and was many young people's first introduction to the activist's work.

He was commonly labeled a communist by right-wing politicans, for his left-leaning liberal standing and for a meeting he held with Fidel Castro in 1977. He responded to such accusations in the Washington Post, stating:

"If being an advocate of peace, justice and humanity toward all human beings is radical, then I'm glad to be called radical, and if it is radical to oppose the use of 70 percent of federal monies for destruction and war, then I am a radical."

He was the first African-American and the first anti-war chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

Dellums is being remembered as a fearless and dedicated leader, committed to his mission of achieving peace, racial equality and social justice in the United States and for black people around the world, even when it threatened his career.

"So here comes this black guy from the Bay Area," he told The Progressive magazine when he retired from Congress in 1998, according to The New York TImes. "Talking about peace, feminism, challenging racism, challenging the priorities of the country, and talking about preserving the fragile nature of our ecological system. People looked at me as if I was a freak. And looking back, I think that the only crime we committed was that we were 20 years ahead of our time."

Tributes have been pouring out for the pioneering congressman and activist on social media.












Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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Music

The Fugees Will Be Playing Live Concerts In Ghana & Nigeria

Ready or not.

The legendary Fugees have announced that they will be reuniting for their first shows in 15 years for a string of concerts across North America, Europe and West Africa.

The reunion tour will be celebrating the anniversary of their classic 1996 album, The Score.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel will be embarking on a 12-city global tour, which will have them landing in Nigeria and Ghana for a pair of December show dates — we'll have more details on those to come.

The tour starts this week with a 'secret' pop-up show at an undisclosed location in New York City on Wednesday (9/22) in support of Global Citizen Live. The rest of the dates will kick-off in November and see The Fugees playing concerts across Chicago Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland, Miami, Newark, Paris, London, and Washington DC, before finishing off in Nigeria and Ghana.

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Interview

This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

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