Wednesday, August 26, 2009


A while back I posted about ghettoradio, an ngo who make mini documentaries on "ghetto culture" and host radio in different parts of Africa. They have a new piece called "The Ivory Tower vs. The Streets". Its a few interviews of mostly nairobi students about what it means to have a hiphop academia, their opinions of researchers, what research might look like, who can talk for hiphop, how involved do you have to be to write about a culture.

Again, I'm not a fan of the title and some of the assumptions in how its framed, and I still think 'ghetto' is a pretty poor description of urban africa or african hiphop - not only because it can be offensive but because of its limited applicability. That said, its def interesting and everyones making cool points. It also makes me stoked to visit fam there soon, any ideas on whats up around Nairobi or midwestern Kenya let me know. All three parts are below.


I also recently emailed folks @ Nomadic Wax about their new Democracy in Burundi mixtape. "The concept for the ‘Democracy in Burundi’ was born after journalist-turned-politician, Alexis Sinduhije, was illegally incarcerated in November 2008. In response, emcees from Nomadic Wax have collaborated with presidential hopeful Sinduhije’s political party, the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD), to present this mixtape."

Previously, they profiled hiphops influence in senegalese politics suggesting hiphop was a tool to demand / organize greater accountibility from Wade. This time, they are actively promoting a politician, which I was curious about:

what is the point of this mixtape? ... Do funds given to nomadic wax help suppport alexis financially? Is his mixtape something that will be spread around in burundi, actually used as part of his campaign?

Initially, the mixtape project was focused on gathering interest and focus on Alexis' imprisonment and the elections in Burundi. In addition, through using different rappers from across the continent, it was an effort to get youth (who make up large percentages of the population in most african countries) interested and involved, across border lines.

The project, as it moved forward, worked in helping achieve the first goal. Alexis was released. Since then, it has become a good tool for gathering both local and international interest in his campaign. No other campaigns have pan-african hip hop mixtapes in their campaign arsenal/toolkit. ... We translated the press release into swahili, french, and kirundi and those materials have been used on the ground in Burundi by the campaign (some thing we at nomadic wax aren't involved in).
As the mixtape is a free download, no money has been made off of it or will be made off of it. None of the artists were paid- they donated their time to the cause, as did the music producers, and the graphic designers, and the translators.

<a href="">Democracy in Burundi Mixtape by Nomadic Wax</a>

I don't really know enough about Burundi to comment on this. Kinda weird, but Nomadic Wax seem like good peoplez.


For lovers of floral prints, race/gender examinations and nyc art, youre in luck. Kehinde Wiley has a show 'Black Light' sept 3-26 @ grand street - check out the slideshow here. Yinka Shonibare's show just moved to Newark <3.


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