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Several People Have Been Killed During Protests in Guinea

Guineans are protesting against changes to the constitution which will allow President Alpha Conde to run for a third term.

At least five people have died during protests in Guinea's Conakry and Mamou after police opened fire on them, according to Aljazeera. The protests come just after President Alpha Conde instructed his government to look into drafting a new constitution that will allow him to remain in power past the permissible two terms. Conde's second five-year term will come to an end next year but as is the unfortunate case with many African leaders, the 81-year-old is intent on running for office yet again.

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Photo by Hamish Brown

In Conversation: Lemn Sissay On His New Book About Re-claiming the Ethiopian Heritage Stolen From Him by England’s Foster Care System

In 'My Name Is Why,' the 2019 PEN Pinter award winner passionately advocates for children in the institutional care system, and in turn tells a unique story of identity and the power in discovering one's heritage.

It took the author Lemn Sissay almost two decades to learn his real name. As an Ethiopian child growing up in England's care system, his cultural identity was systematically stripped from him at an early age. "For the first 18 years of my life I thought that my name was Norman," Sissay tells OkayAfrica. "I didn't meet a person of color until I was 10 years of age. I didn't know a person of color until I was 16. I didn't know I was Ethiopian until I was 16 years of age. They stole the memory of me from me. That is a land grab, you know? That is post-colonial, hallucinatory madness."

Sissay was not alone in this experience. As he notes in his powerful new memoir My Name Is Why, during the 1960s, tens of thousands of children in the UK were taken from their parents under dubious circumstances and put up for adoption. Sometimes, these placements were a matter of need, but other times, as was the case with Sissay, it was a result of the system preying on vulnerable parents. His case records, which he obtained in 2015 after a hardfought 30 year campaign, show that his mother was a victim of child "harvesting," in which young, single women were often forced into giving their children up for adoption before being sent back to their native countries. She tried to regain custody of young Sissay, but was unsuccessful.

Whether they end up in the foster system out of need or by mistake, Sissay says that most institutionalized children face the same fate of abuse under an inadequate and mismanaged system that fails to recognize their full humanity. For black children who are sent to white homes, it often means detachment from a culturally-sensitive environment. "There are too many brilliant people that I know who have been adopted by white parents for me to say that it just doesn't work," says Sissay. "But the problem is the amount of children that it doesn't work for."

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Photo by Brad Ogbonna, courtesy of Ibra Ake.

Nigerian-American Artist Ibra Ake Wins Grammy for 'This is America'

The visual artist won a "Best Music Video" Grammy for producing Childish Gambino's viral video.

We were "rooting for everybody African" last night at the 61st Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, and this year we have multiple artists to celebrate.

Aside from the Soweto Gospel Choir picking up their third Grammy for "Best World Music Album" during last night's show for their album Freedom, another win for came when Nigerian-American visual artist Ibra Ake picked up a Grammy for his work on Childish Gambino's seminal "This is America" music video, which—unsurprisingly—won "Best Music Video" at last night's show. The song also won for 'Best Rap/Sung Performance," "Record of the Year" and became the first rap song in Grammy history to win "Song of The Year."

READ: Ibra Ake Is On a Mission To Show African Creatives the Value of Ownership & Telling Honest Stories

Ake, who produced the music video, took to Twitter after his win in celebration. "I can't believe i just won a grammy," he wrote. "'Where is the catch?!' royalty forever."

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Still from La Même Gang's "Kemor Ame." (Youtube)

5 Young African Music Video Directors to Look Out For In 2019

The new wave of African music video directing is here .

From the burgeoning alté scene to the mainstream, the new school of African directors are injecting fresh energy into the music videos of some of the continent's biggest artists and more.

With their unique perspectives and innovative visual concepts, these young directors and filmmakers are defying many of the cliché music video ideas seen in the Nigerian and Ghanaian scenes—and having a lot of fun every step of the way.

Here are the brilliant new talents behind the lens in the African music scene: David Duncan, Scilla Owusu, Ademola Falomo, Babs Direction and Daviid Anthony.

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