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Ronald Reagan Calls UN African Delegates 'Monkeys' In This Newly Released Audio

These unearthed tapes again confirm that the former U.S. President was racist.

The Atlantic has published newly released recordings of phone conversations between U.S. President Richard Nixon and then-California governor Ronald Reagan from 1971 that affirm their disdain for black people.

Tim Naftali is the clinical associate professor of history at New York University who unearthed the tapes. Naftali was also the former director of the Nixon Presidential Library, the institution that holds the tapes, from 2007 to 2011.

The racist exchange explained below was removed when it was initially released in 2000 by the National Archives due to Reagan still being alive at the time. Naftali requested in a court order for the conversations involving Reagan to be revisited in 2004. Two weeks ago, the National Archives released the complete versions online.


The audio reveals Reagan making a racist comment regarding African delegates at the United Nations who voted to recognize China and expel Taiwan, which in turn went against the wishes of the U.S. Members of the Tanzanian delegation were dancing after the vote in celebration inside the General Assembly, BBC Africa summarizes.

Reagan rehashed his disdain to Nixon, asking him if he caught the vote on TV, saying:

"To see those—those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they're still uncomfortable wearing shoes."

Responding with laughter, Nixon then retells their exchange in another conversation, saying: "He saw these...these cannibals on television last night, and he says, 'Christ, they weren't even wearing shoes and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,' and so forth and so on."

Naftali also adds that this same recording reveals new insights into Reagan's support of the apartheid states of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa in the late 70s.

Read more about these findings and listen to the clip here.

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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