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Waiting For SMOD


In 2005 the music world was awakened to the blues imbued afropop emanating out of Mali courtesy of Amadou & Mariam. Six years later their son Sam is poised to take his parents’ signature sound a step further with his hip-hop group's debut album, the eponymous SMOD. Due to be released May 24th, the album features production by the world-renowned French singer/producer Manu Chao -  the man who helped launch Amadou & Mariam into international prominence. SMOD combines folk, blues, traditional Malian styles, and hip-hop into an airy musical base that melds perfectly with the fluid complexion of French rapping. But the sunny guitar and jaunty singing on SMOD’s songs often belie lyrics dripping with social criticism. “Les Africains Dirigeants” is unrepentant in its critique of African dictators and rampant corruption across the continent. While folksy Malian hip-hop is SMOD’s bread and butter%

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.

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