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Birthright AFRICA: A new perspective for the Black Diaspora

Going back to the motherland can be a life-changing experience.

We’ve heard time and again that those privileged enough to go come back with an entirely new perspective and a new drive to succeed and share their success with their community.

These people are often celebrities who stop by during tours or actively seek to discover what the continent has to offer.

But not everyone has the resources to make such an epic journey. Enter Birthright AFRICA.

The beginning of Birthright AFRICA

You’ve probably heard of “Birthright” as a Jewish heritage program, Birthright AFRICA takes that concept and provides free educational trips to Africa for every youth and young adult of African descent in the U.S.

The organization was created in 2015 by Walla Elsheikh and Diallo Shabazz. Their mission is to help create a generation of global leaders and entrepreneurs.

U.S. citizens between the ages of 13 and 30 are invited to explore their cultural roots by selecting nations in Africa as a birthright.

“Through travel and project-based learning in collaboration with our partners, we aim to instill pride, enhance confidence,  and spark the creativity of our Scholars to fulfill their leadership and entrepreneurial aspirations.” – Birthright AFRICA

The Year of Return

The organization commemorated 2019 as “The Year of Return,” marking the 400 year anniversary of the first slave ship arriving in 1619 Jamestown, Virginia.

Birthright Africa works with sponsors like HBO to provide scholars with the ability to visit countries like Ghana and empower themselves.

It’s important for Black Americans as well as Black South Americans and Canadians to view Black History through the lens of a Black majority.

Birthright Africa allows Black youth to see themselves outside of the “minority” status they’re often ascribed to by their home countries.

A new perspective for Black Youth

Birthright Africa scholar and 23-year-old Haitian student Shaina Louis told CNN, “For those of us in the diaspora, our history, according to the textbooks, starts with slavery.

She continued, “I was doubtful and kind of cynical about what the future holds not only for me as an individual but also for black people as a whole.”

“There is a sense of inner peace and ease I now have, that wasn’t there before. I can move forward with my life, with the intention behind everything I do.”

Another scholar who visited Ghana in 2019 through Birthright AFRICA, Kareem Williams said this about the trip,

“There’s so much prejudice and microaggressions [in the U.S.] that I didn’t feel in Ghana. I felt so connected to my ancestors for the first time. When I came back to the US, I realized how much it changed me. Like my life will never be the same.”

Some scholars even consider moving to the continent after their Birthright trip. Take 2018 Scholar Peteso Barlee,

“Growing up I was definitely very proud of my African roots but I think the Birthright AFRICA program has certainly played a major role in enhancing that awareness. I am now entertaining the idea of moving to the continent once I graduate college.”

The U.S. as Williams mentioned can be a highly disenfranchising place for minorities and Black Americans specifically.

Birthright AFRICA helps expand the Black perspective by reorienting African heritage and the diaspora to history, culture, and mindset that does not begin and end with American slavery.

To register for a Birthright Trip you can register on the organization’s website and open up a continent of possibility.

Peep MIZIZI, the streetwear brand reminding us to take pride in our roots

Fashion has always been a means of self-expression and a visual articulation of one’s identity. But the streetwear and lifestyle brand, MIZIZI is taking this principle to a whole other level.

MIZIZI means “roots” in Swahili. The name is emblematic of the company’s commitment to connecting people to their ancestral ties, as well as empowering black and brown people across the world. Put simply, MIZIZI’s fresh and stylish streetwear collections serve as visual reminders to be proud of one’s roots.

As a young Ghanian-American living in Florida, Paakow Essandoh, was familiar with the struggles that come with reconciling African culture with American culture when formulating one’s own identity.


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West Indies Release Date: July 13th | 8 PM CST #StayRooted🌴

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Essandoh recognized a lack of visible expression and representation of African pride in Florida and speculated that his disenchantment must have been shared by many who belong to the African Diaspora.

The idea for MIZIZI came about in the dining halls of the University of South Florida. In an effort to champion underrepresented identities of the African Diaspora, Essandoh and friend and co-founder George Kariuki (who later left the company for other business endeavors), started MIZIZI.

During their time at college, the pair spent hours brainstorming ideas for patterns and designs that could be marketable. Finally, in the summer of 2015, the jersey line officially launched.

But MIZIZI goes beyond the category of a streetwear brand.

It is a global community that connects people belonging to the African diaspora. A visual articulation of solidarity and collectiveness and at the same time, a celebration of individual identity.

It’s a connection that is so far-reaching, it extends to the Marvel Universe — with MIZIZI launching an exclusive Wakanda collection — and now a collaboration with the multi-billion company to add to its CV.

Ranging in style from baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer jerseys and bomber jackets, the brand has dropped over seven original collections since its launch three years ago.

With such cultural variety that make up the geographies of the African Diaspora — environments rich in vibrant color, patterns — the designers at MIZIZI have an endless source of inspiration and each national jersey has their own fresh flow.

On the website, the jersey collections are arranged geographically, from countries in Africa, the West Indies and Latin America with an AfroLatinx collection.

There is also a Black Lives Matter collection — a mode for which blackness is affirmed — a visual way for the identities and humanity of people of African descent not to be denied against Western indifference.

From its roots in Florida, the company has now expanded internationally. Actress Sasha B. Lane (American Honey, The Miseducation of Cameron Post) has joined forces with the company becoming a MIZIZI brand ambassador.


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The Divine Feminine cannot be limited by gender. It’s the ultimate power that we all have to create and to love.🍁 📸: @temi.coker

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Amidst a cultural moment where the hashtag #WakandaForever dominated social media platforms, the enthusiastic reception of Black Panther was evidence of a global population that continues to look to art, in all its forms (film, music, fashion, art), as a means to connect oneself to their ancestral ties.

MIZIZI is not exempt from this and the streetwear brand has become a movement of its own, connecting people of African descent with the important message to #StayRooted.

How Tidal is bringing their music experience to Africa for the first time ever

Who would’ve known that somewhere in Kampala, Uganda TIDAL and MTN were announcing a new partnership that promises to deliver a music and video streaming service to millions of people across Africa?

Who would’ve known that not everyone has access to the digital content and apps us Americans take advantage of every day? Well, now you have been educated — all do not have access to a music app they can pull up in a matter of minutes.

Imagine living without Young Thug’s Slime Langauge, Gunna’s Drip Season 3, Travis Scott’s Astroworld, or Playboi Carti’s Die Lit. Absolutely absurd, right? Be thankful you live in a first world country where music content is served to you on a silver platter.

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Time is on this trailblazing partnership’s side as the collaboration will first provide MTN Uganda customers a variety of options for a data-inclusive TIDAL membership as part of their mobile plan in order to gain access to exclusive high-quality streaming music, videos, concerts and more.

The plans provided will give Ugandan customers the option of tapping into one, three, seven and 30-day memberships, all of which include data and a free 30-day trial for all first-time members. Both companies hope to eventually inspire the entire continent with dope tunes.

The COO at TIDAL, Lior Tibon, expressed how thrilled the streaming platform is to bring a new wave of digital music” to the continent. TIDAL artist-owner Damian Marley also noted,

“I remember hearing stories about my father‘s records being destroyed once they got to Africa. They didn’t want the people to hear the message in the music. What a beautiful day it is now when Africa will not only have access to my family’s music but to all music that exists.”

Robert would be hype…

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Know that many African artists will be working with TIDAL. In fact, the streaming service in collaboration with MTN Uganda will be holding an Artists Collaboration Conference on Thursday, Sept. 27 and a MTN TIDAL Experience two days later on Saturday, Sept. 29.

The conference aims to bring artists together to learn about the evolution of the music industry across the globe and how to expand locally along with the help of TIDAL.

While “The MTN TIDAL Experience,” will feature performances from Jamaican dancehall artist Kranium, Nigeria’s DJ Spinall, Uganda’s own Beenie Gunter, and local DJs are set to host the experience which will be held at the MTN Headquarters.

Jason Kpana, SVP of Artist and Label Relations shared his emotions about the partnership. He said,

“I’m really looking forward to connecting with Uganda’s musicians and helping to bring the TIDAL music streaming experience to fans across the country. We know MTN customers will love the diverse playlists, live streams, videos and original content available on TIDAL.”

Stay cultured and learn more about the TIDAL x MTN partnership below.

This is what it’s like in Umoja, the African village that banned men

In Kenya lies a village much like any other of the Sambaru people: farm animals roam working huts, woven jewelry serves trade goods and a mean of income, and women take care of the children, both part of the village and not.

Surrounding the traditionally nomadic, deeply patriarchal Samburu tribe, Umoja was founded in 1990, according to The Guardian, after 15 escaped female refugees of “violence, rape, female genital mutilation and child marriage,” started the community.

The village leader, Rebecca Lolosoli, was beat so bad by the men in her village, she spent time in the hospital recovering. At the time, her husband didn’t defend her or show any signs of supporting her activism for women’s rights. Rebecca left him soon thereafter, finding safety in Umoja and eventually becoming the village matriarch.

When the town was first heard of by the neighboring tribes, death threats were eminent. Men of other tribes were beating women who were selling jewelry to keep the village income sustainable. Since Umoja has become a safety net for female runaways, women with freedom were seen as a threat. Men feared the idea that women would have so much freedom, both financially and culturally.

The current town population is 47 women, but Umoja holds home to over 200 children. School also exists in Umoja, and is even open to children from other villages to learn. Though men are not allowed in, women still have the ability to maintain relationships with them in order to have children. Though Muslim tradition is disapproving of children outside of marriage, these women look past the typical customs of their culture, some even abandoning them completely.

The village has several accounts of villagers who have been raped by one or more British soldiers, causing the women to be “unclean” to their tribes, as well as in the eyes of Islam. These women are not able to get married. Sammy Kania, a woman of the Umoja community, tells The Guardian,

“Once a woman is raped, they are not clean any more in Islam and Qur’an culture. It is not fair, because it happens by accident. The husband could have taken them for an HIV test so that they can continue with life, take care for their children and feed them.”

The village is set on keeping a tradition the Samburu has not: Provide its women with the necessary education and knowledge they’ll never receive outside their hidden culture. Rather than subjecting women to household chores and forced, traditional marriages, this society has women in a position where they are able to govern themselves.

Inspired by the success that Umoja has brought upon, there have been others like it.  In Broadly‘s exploration, we see the “trickle down” villages that have followed in the footsteps of the all-female community. In the neighboring Nachami village, men are allowed to live among the women, so long as they abide and respect the rules the female leaders have set.

Here, men don’t take on more than one wife and work as equals with their wives. This is considered forward thinking for the Samburu people.

The freedom Umoja belongs to a new wave of thinking and remains a crucial link to the change that is slowly but surely appearing throughout the world. The Umoja village gives women everywhere hope that such a peaceful, successful haven was started and run by women alone, is able to continue standing strong.

Rebecca’s activism has carried on for decades now, growing more powerful with every passing year. This matriarch has given women everywhere a well-deserved pride and hope. Unwavering, Rebecca and the village women’s refusal to back down has made all the difference in their everyday lives and will continue to support their community in becoming the best it can be.

The future is truly female.

SMFH: Akon had a plan to restore power in Puerto Rico but got rejected

Akon had a solution to Puerto Rico’s power outage problem and could’ve restored electricity to the whole island in 30 days.

But the Trump administration had a different agenda and rejected the plan. According to Akon in an interview with TMZ,

“It’s politics, propaganda and special interests. They didn’t care about the people—if that was the case, they would have allowed us to go in and provide the solution…”

The “I’m So Paid” artist had a plan that worked in more than 14 different African countries.

Formed in 2014, Akon Lighting Africa focuses on bringing light to the darkest places by using solar power.

The clean and affordable energy has brought electricity to African villages powering a number of households, communities, schools and health centers located in rural areas for the first time.

Can you imagine not having the luxury of just plugging your phone into the wall so you could see the latest trends? Hard to envision something so absurd.

Lest we forget our first world problems and picture a life in total darkness without household lighting and street lamps.

It’s like Hurricane Maria sent PR back 130 years into the past and our president doesn’t “give one.” Even if Akon has, like, THE BEST PLAN EVER!

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Akon told TMZ,

“We actually presented a program for Puerto Rico, and we got rejected. We have the solution for Puerto Rico…. and we could’ve had power back in 30 days. And they rejected us…”

Rejecting God-sent help is not a good look and karma is sure to bite back. Especially when you need the assistance.

To this day only 83.8 percent of PR’s electric power has been restored on the island. Our administration is not doing enough to get these Hurricane Maria victims back on their feet.

In fact, the road to recovery on the island has been such a slow process that even commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Todd Semonite, is disappointed with the current state of the US territory.

He told ABC News in an interview at the Pentagon,

“I am not satisfied that people in Puerto Rico should have to wait that much time for power… But I am telling you, there are no other knobs I can turn to go any faster.”

A suggestion for Semonite and the Trump Administration — bless Akon with the right to help fully restore power in Puerto Rico.

It just doesn’t make sense why any administration would allow the opportunity to restore power slip out of their hands.

Especially knowing a bunch of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are on the island, allegedly evading taxes, and are taking advantage of the destruction of PR in order to build their rich boy playground. 

Beats me, beats Akon, and beats the people of PR. In the words of Mac Miller, “somebody do something.”

Godfather of crunk music Lil Jon builds second school in Ghanaian village

Lil Jon, the boisterous DJ, producer, and general purveyor of crunkness, is turning up for education in underprivileged areas.

In October, Mr. Jon teamed up with Pencils of Promise to open a school in Ghana. The Abomayaw D.A. Kindergarten was dedicated to Jon’s late mother.

Now, Lil Jon has opened up a second school, Mafi Atitekpo DA Primary School, in the same village of Mafi Atitekpo. According to CNN, the school will enroll 313 children.

Jon told CNN about his passion for education:

“I’m all about helping children. Children are our future and every child deserves to have an environment where they can learn and flourish and gain knowledge.”

And Lil Jon further explained that when he saw the conditions kids in Ghana faced, he was motivated to help,

“When I saw the conditions where these children were trying to learn, one community they had a big mango tree and two classes were sitting under the mango tree and that’s not a condition conducive with learning. Kids are going to get distracted, plus it’s extremely hot. It compelled me to want to do more.”

Lil Jon understands that any child has the potential for greatness, and most of the time circumstances out of kids’ control have far too much impact on their futures.

The “Get Low” artist told CNN:

“Children shouldn’t have to suffer for any reason. One of these kids could grow up to be a scientist, a lawyer, an astronaut, the president of their country. I could create an environment where all these things could happen.”

This is pretty awesome from Lil Jon. After years of making grimy-ass club hits, Jon receded from the spotlight to do this important work. Makes you think, maybe Dave Chappelle’s Lil Jon impression was slightly prophetic.

Shoutout Lil Jon.

*Puts on “Salt Shaker” for eternity.*

This teenage boy in New Jersey is refurbishing laptops and sending them to girls in Africa

Alexander McBride, a junior from Millburn High School, has started his own charitable cause… and despite his age it could have a powerful effect on the world.

Alex has started his own website,, which exists to help deserving female students in Africa obtain a laptop computer through charitable donations.

In an interview with Tapinto, the New Jersey teen shared his inspiration for the project and how it all started.

McBride has been interested in computers since he was 5 years old. By 13, he was building his own computer. At 15, after a visit to family friend Craig Leisher, social scientist for the Africa Division with The Nature Conservancy, McBride was asked if he could fix and refurbish an old IBM laptop.


After successfully fixing the computer, the laptop was donated to McBride’s first deserving student, Uwezo Masudi.

“We decided to focus on female high school students in Tanzania, particularly at the Kisa Project in Arusha, who are required to have laptops in order to advance to university.”

So far, Alex has been able to donate 21 laptops to these students. From an interview with CBS News:

“They’re just as smart as us really, but they don’t really have the — you know, they’re in poverty. It’s a girls school, and I know the graduation rate is exceptionally high.”

For his current goal, Alex says that he hopes to be sending out more laptops than he’s receiving.

“Our present method of delivering these laptops to East Africa is by hand-delivery with Mr. Leisher carrying them into the country. Currently, Tanzania has no import duties on used laptops and that’s ideal. Other countries charge a highly unreasonable tariff.”

Alex is using his exceptional skills to do exceptional things. Rather than honing his talents for his own use, he has changed the lives of over 20 young women outside the US.


Hopefully we’ll watch Laptops4Africa expand beyond Tanzania and reach both young women and men of different countries.

The project is undergoing an application process to becoming a 501(c) (3) non-profit with the Internal Revenue Service.

Trump lifts ban on dickhead hunters like his son to bring back ‘trophies’ from Africa

President Donald Dump is back at it again, so dumpy. This time his fuckboy shenanigans are looking to threaten the lives of elephants in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to roll back the elephant trophy import ban, which will allow poachers to bring back the endangered animal’s tusks or other body parts as trophies.

The planned move comes two years after Cecil the lion was killed by some stupid dentist from Minnesota when he dipped out of the protected Zimbabwe national park.

The elephant trophy import policy was originally instilled by President Obama, boy do we miss you, in order to save African elephants and other ivory tusked animals.

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One African elephant is killed every 15 minutes. The African elephant population has decreased by 30 percent between 2007 and 2014, with poaching the primary reason for the decline, according to a report released last year.

Was the move a family interest as Dump and his sons, Dump Jr. and Eric, fuck with killing beautiful endangered animals for fun? Most likely.

Trump Jr. has posted pictures of him holding an elephant’s tail, hanging an alligator, and hugging a dead leopard.

[WARNING: Contents of video might disturb you.]


You already know conservation groups are clapping back. Elly Pepper, a deputy director of the National Resources Defense Council, spoke to Reuters in a phone interview, saying,

“I‘m shocked and outraged. I expect nothing less from our president, and if he thinks this is going to go down without a fight, he’s wrong.”

The Elephant Project, which is dedicated to protecting the lives of pachyderms Tweeted, “Reprehensible behavior by the Trump Admin. 100 elephants a day are already killed. This will lead to more poaching.”

Regardless of how many conservation groups and people clap back to this inhumane plan to lift the ban, big game hunting supporters feel that the policy removal could help.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement,

“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation.”

People have been known to pay up to $50,000 in animal tracking fees.

Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society thinks it’s a “nefarious pay-to-slay arrangement,” he wrote in a blog post,

“It’s a venal and nefarious pay-to-slay arrangement that Zimbabwe has set up with the trophy hunting industry…”

Pacelle continued on what kind of message this could send to the world,

“What kind of message does it send to say to the world that poor Africans who are struggling to survive cannot kill elephants in order to use or sell their parts to make a living, but that it’s just fine for rich Americans to slay the beasts for their tusks to keep as trophies?”

Like, this is not ok

Donald Trump, Jr. is pictured holding the tail of an elephant he shot. 
Hunting Legends

Peep these dickhead comments Trump Jr. posted in 2012

SMH! Hopefully, the trophy import ban is not lifted.

We can only wait and see what comes from this stupid plan. For now, express your anger on Twitter.

Africans are dominating the NBA and that’s a good thing for basketball

Mind-boggling LeBron stats and aesthetically-pleasing Curry jumpers are almost a norm at this point. And while still great in their own right, they we’ve seen pretty much the same stuff from the same suspects over the past couples of years.

But a shift is happening.

Philly center Joel Embiid became the first player in NBA history with at least 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks, and seven assists in a game in 2017. And became the first Sixer to score 40 since Allen Iverson had 45 on Nov. 27, 2006.

We’re talking 7’1″ 250 lbs bouncing out to hit three’s, executing euro steps and dream shaking defenders to sleep.

Not to be outdone, there is a player with an equally unique name in Giannis Antetokounmpo who — after becoming only the fifth player to lead their team in points, rebounds, and assists last year for the Milwaukee Bucks — is leading the league in scoring at 30 points and 10 rebounds a game.

His game is unique as well. With a 7’3″ wingspan, the 6’11” forward is just as much a havoc on the defensive end as he is offensively. Making him a force to be reckoned with. It also makes sense as to why Kobe challenged him to win win MVP this season.

What we are witnessing, with both Antetokounmpo and Embiid playing at an elite level, is what it looks like when African athletes show interest in basketball.

Antetokounmpo is from Greece but his parents are Nigerian immigrants and Embiid was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Although 74.3 percent of all NBA players are black, only 22.3 percent are international, meaning an even smaller percentage are African.

Just this summer the NBA had it’s second annual Africa Game in Johannesburg.

While there for an inaugural game, there was a dual objective to help build awareness of the sport. In that vein, the players that went participated in NBA Cares events in and around Johannesburg as well as helping out at the  15th Basketball Without Borders Africa camp.

Efforts like these are why were privileged to see the Antetokounmpo and Embiid perform feats of freakish athleticism, pulling of plays that dudes their size have no business doing.

This is good for the NBA because it adds business to both American and African markets and bridges relations between the two places.

We’ve had the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Luol Deng, and others, but nothing of this caliber in a long time.

As ‘The Greek Freak’ and ‘The Process’ continue to develop, there’s no reason why they cannot one day become the face of the league. For a continent with as few player representatives in the NBA as Africa, it’s clear they have talent to offer.

Only time will tell how far these dudes can go.