News Brief

The Weeknd Sampled Legendary Ethiopian Singer Aster Aweke on 'False Alarm'

Ethiopian music legend Aster Aweke is sampled on The Weeknd's second Starboy single, "False Alarm"

In September, Abel Tesfaye promised fans Ethiopian influences on his forthcoming Starboy album, coming out November 25 on Republic. Speaking with VMAN, The Weeknd revealed Amharic will “definitely be key” on the new record.


We now know that at least one of those influences can be heard on his second Starboy single. As The Wall Street Journal’s Alan Light points out, the legendary Ethiopian singer Aster Aweke is sampled for a brief moment towards the end of “False Alarm."

In an interview with Light, Tesfaye called Aweke “the Whitney Houston of Ethiopia.” He’s previously referred to her (in the interview with VMAN) as one of his “subconscious inspirations" alongside fellow Ethiopians he grew up listening to like Tilahun Gessesse and Mahmoud Ahmed.

The singer also touched on the plight of refugees around the world during his conversation with the WSJ. “What is happening is very real,” he said, “and we’re at a time when you can’t hide it. It’s being shown on cellphones, shown to people’s faces, and they still try to ignore it. I don’t think we should be waiting for a presidential election to change things—we need to change now. Mayors, governors, however we can figure it out, but it’s something that has to change really fast or it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.”

And although Tesfaye has publicly and financially supported Black Lives Matter in recent months, he reiterated that he’s not quite ready to address social issues head on in his music: “Of course you get angry about what’s happening, and maybe you hear that in a record like ‘False Alarm,’ where I’m screaming and it could be what I just heard on the news. But I don’t know how to make political music—not yet, anyway. People like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, that’s a talent, it’s an art that I wish I could do.”

Listen to Aweke sampled on “False Alarm” (beginning at the 3:18 mark) above. Here's hoping for a proper collaboration in the future.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Watch Focalistic & Vigro Deep’s New Music Video For ‘Ke Star’

The 'Lockdown Level 1 anthem' has come to life through fire visuals.