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The UK has Offered to Give Ethiopia Back Its Stolen Treasures—On Loan

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has agreed to return artifacts taken from Ethiopia 150 years ago on a long-term loan.

The UK has agreed to "loan" Ethiopia back stolen treasures taken from the country 150 years ago.

Ethiopia filed a claim in 2007 asking that the UK return ancient artifacts and manuscripts taken in 1868 during the capture of Maqdala. These items include a gold crown and royal wedding dress, reports BBC Africa. Both items were taken from the mountain capital of Emperor Tewodros II in the area formerly known as Abyssinia and are currently held in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The Ethiopian government's claim was denied by the museum, but Director Tristam Hunt, suggested another solution: that the looted items be temporarily given back through a long-term loan.


"The speediest way, if Ethiopia wanted to have these items on display, is a long-term loan. That would be the easiest way to manage it," BBC Africa quotes him as saying. The items will be on display at the Victoria and Albert museum for their upcoming exhibit Maqdala 1868, which will display 20 separate artifacts to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle.

While The Guardian reports that the Ethiopian state and some supporters have been open to the deal, Hunt suggested that the ownership of cultural property is a complex one and that there is no one strategy that can be applied to the returning of items. "You have to take it item by item and you have to take it history by history. Once you unpick the histories of the collections it becomes a great deal more complicated and challenging," he told The Guardian.

We're not quite sure how complicated it is to simply hand these items back to their rightful owners, but we already know how colonizers operate. If you don't, just ask the homie Erik Killmonger.

Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)" music video.

Is Zanku Set to Be the New Dance Craze of 2019?

Breaking down what could become the year's new dance craze.

With last week's release of the video for "Zanku (Leg Work)," Zlatan Ibile has consecrated himself as the originator of the newest dance craze in afropop.

The specific origin of the name 'zanku' is uncertain but the dance itself, says Ibile in this interview from December, is one he noticed from his visits to The Shrine in Lagos and refashioned into a trend.

The best zanku, so far, works best in beats combining repeated foot tapping or pounding, with hands held aloft, and finished with a flourish—a stylised thrusting of one foot as if to knock down a door. Variations include a faster footwork, mimicry of slicing and screwing hand motions and the brandshing of a white kerchief, all of which is done with vigour and attitude.

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WurlD. Image courtesy of the artist.

WurlD: Nigeria's Most Inspired Star?

We talk to the Nigerian artist about creating a sound that connects to the quintessential Afropolitan mind.

WurlD, the blue-haired singer with a killer voice and deep songwriting, is a wonder. His music sits at the intersection between African vibes and Western delivery. 2018 has been a huge for him, with a deal with Universal Music ensuring that his art has received consistency in release.

Born Sadiq Onifade, the Afro-Fusion artist has had an inspiring journey, moving from the streets of Mushin in Lagos, to the US, from where much of his music has been conceived. The complete creative embrace of that cross-cultural influence has become his strongest point, with songs such as "Show You Off" and "Contagious" offering a unique angle to his sound.

"Moving to America for me gave me the opportunity to learn music and I fell in love with songwriting," WurlD says of his influence. "Atlanta (where I lived) is a creative hub when it comes to songwriting and producing, some of the biggest songs in the world were produced in Atlanta, people round the world go to Atlanta to go meet producers and songwriters in Atlanta. There, I fell in love with music and songwriting."

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Still from YouTube.

France Still Doesn't Know How Racism Works and the Vilification of Nick Conrad Proves It

The French rapper is currently on trial for his music video "Hang White People," which depicts what life might be like if the racial tables were turned.

When the music video "Pendez les Blancs" ("Hang White people") by French rapper Nick Conrad was released, the backlash was intense. The video shows what life would be if black people had enslaved white people. "Hang white people… arm them and let them kill each other" Conrad raps. He is not the first artist to think about a life where Black people would dominate white people. Todric Hall's music video "Forbidden" and Malorie Blackman's novels "Noughts and Crosses" did it before. But in France, a country that still tries to stop Black people from organising as a community, Nick Conrad had to pay the price.

First, he received countless death threats and lost his job at a prestigious French hotel. Everyone, from French personalities to the government called him out. And then, two anti-racist and anti-semitism organizations, the LICRA and L'AGRIF sued him. His trial happened last week. French journalist Sihame Assbague was there to witness it, and what she reports is baffling.

To the prosecution, Conrad is encouraging his audience to kill white people. They believe that anti white racism or "reverse racism" is just as bad as any type of racism and that Conrad is using a "black supremacist language" with words like "queen" "king" when he mentions Africa. In their mind, once Black people stop trying to integrate and start organising themselves, it's just as bad as white people being racist. Ethnocentrism is dangerous.

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