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Sudanese-Australian PEN World Voices Participant, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Denied Entry Into the US

The author and activist says that US immigration sent her back within just a few minutes of looking at her case despite traveling on an Australian passport.

Sudanese-Australian mechanical engineer, broadcaster, author and Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied, was turned down by US immigration in Minneapolis on Wednesday after arriving in the country to attend the PEN World Voices Festival.

Abdel-Magied was due to speak at the festival in New York next week for an event called "No Country For Young Muslim Women," but was denied entry upon her arrival in the States, The Guardian reports. Authorities claimed that Abdel-Magied lacked the correct visa for entry, though the author noted in a statement released on Tuesday, that she had travelled to the US using the same visa before.

"I have previously travelled to the United States on the visa that I sought entry with on this occasion," read Abdel-Magied's statement. "I am not seeking advice and working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. I appreciate the interest and concern and look forward to future travels in the United States."


As she was being sent back, Abdel-Magied live tweeted what was happening. "Within a few min of looking at my case the border security person - Officer Herberg looking at my case she announces: 'we're sending you back!" she wrote in one tweet. Also sharing that her phone and passport had been taken away during the ordeal. "Oh, and they still have my passport. Apparently I can't be trusted with it until I'm in a foreign country because, as Officer Blees said, 'planes get turned away back way too often and then..."

PEN America's CEO Suzanne Nossel released a statement yesterday in response to the incident, describing PEN's mission and pointing out the very purpose of Abdel-Magied's appearance was to advocate for Muslim women and girls. She called on Customs and Border Patrol to allow her entry into the country in order to attend the event.

We are dismayed that an invited guest to our annual PEN World Voices Festival in New York, which starts on Monday, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, herself the founder of an organization called Youth Without Borders, was turned away by US Immigration officials in Minneapolis, reportedly had her phone and passport seized, and was put back on a plane to Amsterdam. Abdel-Magied is an advocate of the rights of Muslim women and refugees and is a citizen of Australia, travelling on that country's passport. The very purpose of the PEN World Voices Festival, founded after 9/11 to sustain the connectedness between the U.S. and the wider world, is in jeopardy at a time when efforts at visa bans and tightened immigration restrictions threaten to choke off vital channels of dialogue that are protected under the First Amendment right to receive and impart information through in-person cultural exchange. We understand that Yassmin was traveling on a type of visa that she had used in the past for similar trips without issue. We call on Customs and Border Patrol to admit her to the U.S. so that she can take her rightful place in the urgent international conversation to take place at the Festival next week.
Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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(Youtube)

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Wizkid, Alicia Keys x Diamond Platnumz, Manu WorldStar, Maya Amolo, La Dame Blanche and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here, Apple Music here and YouTube Music here

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News Brief

Michael Kiwanuka Wins Highly Coveted 2020 Mercury Prize

The British-Ugandan artist proves that staying true to yourself will get you further than you can imagine.

British-Ugandan musician Michael Kiwanuka has gone on to win the 2020 Mercury Prize at this year's virtual awards ceremony.

The win was assigned to Kiwanuka's 2019 album KIWANUKA, produced by Danger Mouse and Inflo. KIWANUKA, Michael's third full-length so far, seems to be the artists' most personal one yet.

In his own words, Kiwanuka told New Statesman, "I thought, what better way to say that you're comfortable with who you are than by using just your name? KIWANUKA goes against fame, it goes against success. It's not in the pocket, it's not a smooth rock'n'roll name that's up in lights. It can be clumsy, if you haven't seen it before."

Well, we are certainly grateful for the singer's personal evolution as it has landed him top honors in the industry, as well as, amongst his die hard fans.

The artist said of his win, "I don't even know what to say - I'm speechless. This is amazing...I don't even have any words. This is ridiculous, it's crazy! I'm so happy. Third time's a charm. It's blown my mind. I'm over the moon, I'm so excited - this is for art, for music, for albums. This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do so to win a Mercury is a dream come true. I'm so happy. Music and art means so much to me and this is an award that celebrates that so I'm over the moon."

Watch Michael Kiwanuka's performance of "You Ain't The Problem" off of his Mercury Prize winning album "KIWANUKA" here.

Mercury Prize 2020 Winner | Michael Kiwanuka - You Ain't The Problem (Later... With Jools Holland) www.youtube.com

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Supports Removal of Apartheid Statues

This past Heritage Day, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that monuments 'glorifying' the country's 'divisive past' should be repositioned and relocated.