Photo: Youtube

There's a New Hero in Town—His Name Is Sandale-man

These Senegalese filmmakers are making superhero cinema magic on a shoe-string budget.

The Sandale Man is a force to be reckoned with. Like the friendly neighborhood Spiderman, he protects and aids the people of Senegal from petty criminals and felons alike. Although the Sandale Man is often shown hilariously saving the day by slapping criminals upside of their heads or across town with his mighty sandals, he actually offers much more.

Distributed and presented by Sen Network, a YouTube Channel by local Senegalese filmmakers, La Légend de Sandale-man made its debut back in December of 2015. The creators' original intent was to create a mock-superhero film about a young hero whose special skillset is kicking butts with superhuman, sandal throwing accuracy and customized sandal weaponry. Yet the joke gained clout by many, receiving over 29k views on YouTube. The cast was soon featured on local tv news stations and BBC News.

Unlike Hollywood's Marvel and DC franchises, The Sandale-man films were not created on a big budget. Considering their limitations, Jean Jacques Toue, co-director of the Sandale-man films, and his fellow crew members, were still able to create stunning comic books to incorporate in the film, with an intro reminiscent of Marvel's trademark comic-book film intros, witty storytelling, and decent special effects. Most importantly, the Sandale-man is a beautiful representation of African producers coming together to both support one another and expand the Senegalese film and entertainment industry without waiting for outside assistance. They are a group of filmmakers who have decided to put the works of producers in Africa first and foremost.

As Toue put it in a recent interview with BBC News Minute, "We appreciate the film, Black Panther. It's beautifully written. But what bothers me, there are many African film producers but they don't benefit from the same support. We have to realize that sometimes we should favor our own productions instead of others."

Watch the first installment, La Légend de Sandale-man below. The sequel, Sandale-man 2: Arc du Révolutionnaire is now available on YouTube.

Zubaydah Bashir is a filmmaker and writer from South Orange, New Jersey. Follow her for updates on her latest editorials and film projects on Instagram @zu_thecute, or on her website.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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