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This Teen Wrote #BlackLivesMatter 100 Times on His Stanford College Essay and Got Accepted

Ziad Ahmed gained admission into Stanford University after writing '#BlackLivesMatter' 100 times on his college application statement.

"What matters to you and why?"


This was the question posed to Bangladeshi-American teen, Ziad Ahmed for his Stanford University college essay. His answer was simple, but it couldn't have been any more substantive. Ahmed wrote the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter 100 times, and submitted his application.

He received an admission letter from the school last Friday.

"I was actually stunned when I opened the update and saw that I was admitted," Ahmed told Mic. "I didn't think I would get admitted to Stanford at all, but it's quite refreshing to see that they view my unapologetic activism as an asset rather than a liability."

The 18 year-old, who is currently a senior at Princeton Day School in New Jersey, shared the news of his acceptance via twitter, with a screenshot of his statement.

The student told Mic, that his Muslim faith is what informs his activism. For him, the two go hand in hand.

"To me, to be Muslim is to be a BLM ally, and I honestly can't imagine it being any other way for me," he said. "Furthermore, it's critical to realize that one-fourth to one-third of the Muslim community in America are black, and to separate justice for Muslims from justices for the black community is to erase the realities of the plurality of our community."

His dedication to social progress has already taken him pretty far, he gave a TEDx Talk in 2015 about the power of youth activism. He also interned for the Clinton campaign.

Aside from his admission into Stanford, he's also been accepted to Princeton and Yale.

The teen explained why his statement needed no further elaboration beyond the use of the hashtag. "The insistence on an explanation is inherently dehumanizing," he told Mic. "Black lives have been explicitly and implicitly told they don't matter for centuries, as a society — it is our responsibility to scream that black lives matter because it is not to say that all lives do not matter, but it is to say that black lives have been attacked for so long, and that we must empower through language, perspective, and action."

If teens like Ahmed are the leaders of tomorrow, then, in the buoyant words of Kendrick Lamar, "we gon' be alright."

 

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Image via TONL.

Uganda Has Lost Millions of Internet Users as a Result of Its Controversial Social Media Tax

The infamous tax is effectually driving Ugandans off the internet.

The number of internet users in Uganda has declined significantly since the implementation of the highly-criticized tax on social media, which went into effect in July of last year.

While the government claimed that the tax would assist in raising government revenue and help "maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently," said Uganda's Finance Minister Matia Kasaija at the time. President Museveni also suggested that the tax would help "curb gossip" online.

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Cover art for Riky Rick's "You and I"

The 14 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Riky Rick, Mr Eazi, Moonchild Sanelly, Burna Boy, Blinky Bill, Niniola 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 OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

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Literature
Image courtesy of Doubleday.

Oyinkan Braithwaite's 'My Sister the Serial Killer' Is the Lagos-Set Novel Rocking the Crime Thriller Genre

We speak with the Nigerian author about the success of her debut novel, and breaking the boundaries of "African Lit."

"I have always been drawn to dark topics," says Oyinkan Braithwaite, the 30-year-old Nigerian author behind the critical darling of a novel My Sister, the Serial Killer.

Her declaration helps explain the subject and title of her debut novel, which tells the story of Ayoola, a young woman who has developed a not-so-healthy habit of murdering her boyfriends, leaving her older sister, the book's protagonist, Korede to clean up her mess. You may have noticed it's ubiquitous cover—which features a young black woman wearing a headwrap, casually looking on as a knife-wielding hands is reflected in her sunglasses—on your timeline or at your local store. The internationally-released, Nigerian-made novel sits confidently on retail shelves previously reserved for mass-market thrillers.

The dark and humorous, Lagos-set novel is extreme—but not just because of all the murdering that happens. It also examines the extreme nature of the many things that can push people to the edge. For the sisters, it's: intergenerational trauma, abuse, the prevalence of a culture that rewards beauty above all else, as well as having to battle with their own personal shortcomings—just to name a few.

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