News Brief

The First Black and First Muslim Woman to Serve on New York’s Court of Appeals Has Been Found Dead

Trailblazing judge, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, was found dead in the Hudson River on Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first black woman to serve in New York's highest court was found dead in the Hudson River on Wednesday afternoon, after being reported missing by her husband the day before.


Abdus-Salaam was 65 years old, the medical examiner is yet to determine the cause of her death, which is still under investigation, according to the New York Police Department.

Abdus became an associate justice for the New York Court of Appeals in 2013. She served as a State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan for 15 years starting in 1994, making her the first African American woman and the first Muslim woman to serve on the bench, according Zakiyyah Muhammad, director of the Institute of Muslim American Studies.

She began her career in the legal field at East Brooklyn Legal Services before being appointed Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Department of Law's Civil Rights and Real Estate Financing bureaus, reports CNN.

Several officials have expressed their condolences, and many have highlighted the judge's illustrious career. "She was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who appointed her in 2013.

"She was a humble pioneer," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Her groundbreaking career and staunch dedication to promoting a fair judicial system, have left a lasting impact on her community.

Interview
Photo: Mariela Alvarez.

Interview: ÌFÉ Blends Music & Religion to Honor Those Who Have Died During the Pandemic

Producer and percussionist Otura Mun talks about his latest EP, The Living Dead, and how he traces the influences of West Africa in his new work.

There are bands that open up a spiritual world through their music. ÌFÉ is one example. An electro-futurist band that fuses Afro-Cuban rhythms and Jamaican dancehall with Yoruba mystical voices. With the success of their 2017 debut album "IIII+IIII" (pronounced Eji-Ogbe), ÌFÉ has reached an audience that is looking for Caribbean and contemporary sounds.

The Puerto Rican-based band just released a new EP, The Living Dead- Ashé Bogbo Egun, that aims to heal and honor those who have died during this pandemic. Otura Mun, the band leader, is an African-American producer and percussionist, who began a personal journey about a decade ago, when he landed in San Juan, and decided to move there. He learned Spanish, dug deep into his African ancestry and started to practice the Yoruba-Caribbean religion of Santería.

ÌFÉ, which means "love and expansion" in Yoruba, ties two worlds, music and religion, artistically. This new EP modernized prayer songs to hopefully make them more accessible to a younger generation. OkayAfrica spoke with Otura Mun on his latest work.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Adekunle Gold Channels Refreshing Truths Into Afropop

Adekunle Gold achieves an artistic freedom that most mainstream artists don't have through a smooth balance of introspection and club bangers.