#Okay100Women

WAYETU MOORE

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Wayetu Moore is more than just a writer—she is the CEO and publisher of One Moore Book—a boutique publisher of culturally sensitive and educational stories for children of countries with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures.


The Columbia University grad student of Liberian descent moved to the U.S. with her family in 1990 to flee the civil war and developed a strong need to give back, which has meant giving a voice to children who are not likely to read about themselves or even have access to other cultures outside their own.

One Moore Book is a member of the Children’s Book Council, a nonprofit trade association of North American children’s book publishers dedicated to supporting and informing the industry. In an interview with Madame Noire, Moore says of her love of literature: “My family experienced the war in Liberia in 1990 and upon moving here when I was 5, it took a long time for me to adjust—longer than my sisters. My mother would buy books for me and read to us before sleeping so I wouldn’t have nightmares. Reading saved my childhood mind from completely losing my trust for people and life. My mother eventually suggested that I begin to write and I wrote my first poem around 7 or 8 and it provided similar therapy as the bedtime stories my mother read to me. These early experiences stuck and I have always been aware of the power of literature and art in the lives of children, especially children who face adversity. I could not imagine not being able to read then–I’m not sure what would have saved me.”

Moore is working on a novel that will be published with Graywolf Press.

-JO

Interview

Amadou & Mariam Forever

We talk to the legendary Malian duo about their rich past, songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities.

Amadou & Mariam don't require an introduction.

The couple has been making Afro-blues music for over 35 years, drawing inspiration from their home of Mali, for over 35 years.

Their 1999 albumSou Ni Tilé sold 100,000 copies. In 2005, their album Dimanche à Bamako won the French Victoire de la Musique prize for Best World Music Album of the year and the BBC Radio 3 Award for Africa. It also went platinum in France after selling over 300,000 copies. The duo have performed with U2, Coldplay, Blur and many others.

We caught up with them below for a conversation about their rich past, their songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities, ahead of the duo's performance at the upcoming London Jazz Festival 2021.

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