April 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s hard to imagine how one could see Difret, the independent film by Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, and not want to do something about the issue of violence against women and girls. That is how I felt after the award-winning film screened last month at AFI Silver Theatre as part of TransAfrica Forum’s New African Films Festival. And clearly that was part of the director’s intent. Difret recounts a landmark 1996 case in Ethiopia where a lawyer, Meaza Ashenafi, already a fearless advocate for women, takes up the defense of a young teen girl, Hirut Assefa, who has killed the man who abducted her. The practice of abducting young girls into marriage had been a tradition in Ethiopia for centuries, and Hirut’s reaction gets her condemned to death, prompting Ms. Ashenafi to become embroiled in an impassioned battle to save her life. Standing up to entrenched customs and beliefs is a courageous tack if you’re an African « Read the rest of this entry »
March 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
I don’t know if it matters that Ethiopian American singer/songwriter Wayna‘s sophomore album Higher Ground is high on a list of top 25 most slept-on soul albums of the last decade. After all it’s common knowledge that to hear really good soul music, hip hop, or R&B you have to hunt for it. Mercifully we didn’t
have to go searching for The Expats, her third and latest album; we had a delicious preview two days before its release at a U Street Music Hall show last November, where the Grammy nominated singer joined two other DC based artists Wes Felton and Asheru for a “Triple Threat” performance promoted by Munch’s Hedrush Music. Fusing her soul sound with elements of afrobeat, alt rock, reggae, indian music, and hip hop, Wayna does with The Expats what she deals with day-to-day – navigating that « Read the rest of this entry »
August 29, 2010 § Leave a comment
“To come together and do some music on behalf of Africa. That is really what the whole thing’s about…” Those words from the mouth of Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley synopsize the appeal of “Distant Relatives” for me. Since I first heard about the collaboration between hip hop artist Nas and reggae/dancehall artist Jr. Gong, I’ve been waiting for a chance to see them perform. That chance comes August 30th when they bring their Distant Relatives Tour to the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. AFROfusion TV’s trendy host Khadia – a huge fan of both – already got a chance to see them when they performed in New Jersey. Needless to say she took some pictures with her phone, and you can view some of them here. The tour has been given high marks by most critics so far, and that’s not surprising. Both artists are at the top of their game, both are extremely skilled lyricists. But who better to hear such good and conscious lyrics and music from than these two. Nas, son of Jazz trumpeter Olu Dara. Damien Marley, son of Bob. “Africa must wake up…” he sings. As if in continuation of his father’s own lyrics: “…cause Jah children they wanna come home, yeah!” Amen to that. Stay tuned for more… tomorrow night is just hours away!!!