Video

This Video Puts an African Lens on the Black Lives Matter Movement

We gathered a group of Africans to read a poem inspired by police brutality against Black people in America.

Black lives matter. It's an unquestionable and uncomplicated truth.


Blackness, however, is not as plainly stated. Blackness is broad and multilayered—and each layer matters. It's crucial that the myriad of black identity is fully represented in the movement for black lives.

In a new video, OkayAfrica gathers six black Africans, of various nationalities, to read a poem, written by Sheba Anyanwu, about police brutality against black people in America. The poem begs the necessary questions about the inclusion of African lives in the Black Lives Matter movement. This kind of reflection isn't about dividing the movement, it's about strengthening it. It's about ensuring that it lives up to its name by fully recognizing the totality of black life.

We ask these questions because "whether you're from a country in Africa the Caribbean or an African-American, bullets don't ask about your humanity."

So we must ask.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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