Music Spotlight: Sami Dan “Hayal”


I really don’t care what anyone says.  I like African music. Whether it’s the traditional stuff, experimental works, or Afropop, I enjoy it. Here’s one singer I’ve known for almost a year now. This is Sami Dan from Ethiopia. I first heard this song last year not long after the peace deal with his home country and Eritrea. Even though I rarely listen to pop music, this had a fun beat and it’s a fun love song of sorts. Amharic sounds great when sung.

Feel free to check out this song.

18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands — African Heritage

This was a good news and had to be shared. Enjoy! It is from the BBC. ===== An 18th Century Ethiopian crown will finally be returned home after being hidden in a Dutch flat for 21 years. Ethiopian Sirak Asfaw, who fled to the Netherlands in the late 1970s, discovered the crown in the […]

via 18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands — African Heritage

Thank you for sharing this news, Dr. Y.

I needed to hear a positive story given the nonstop depressing things going on here in America. I’m happy that Ethiopia is getting what’s there’s back. It’s a lovely crown and that country getting their diadem back is part of a spree of goodness that’s happened to them like the peace deal with Eritrea, getting a former emperor’s hair back from England, and for setting a new world record for planting trees.

This story made me smile when I was in tears the past few days.

The College Cheating Saga Continues! American and UK-based college/university students pay Kenyans to write their essays. (or, If entitled racist jerks insist Africans have low IQs, then why are they paying them to write essays for them?)

I found out about this story and all I can say is WOW! JUST, WOW!

In addition to the drama going on with Lori Laughlin and company in court with all of this college cheating going on, apparently there was a trend of college students in America and the United Kingdom at large where students have been caught paying Kenyans dirt cheap to write their papers for them. It’s not just undergrads, even graduate and PhD level students have gotten these Kenyans to write full-on theses and dissertations. Apparently, there are essay factories down in that country where these writers work twelve hour shifts while getting paid slave wages to write papers for the Americans and the UK. The latter has a brutal sense of irony when you consider that Kenya was a former British colony. Just saying.

You see, I went to a four year private university to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I got in on my own merits and did everything I could while working two campus jobs and I still graduated on time. I’ll let you in on a little secret during my tenure there. There were students who would fake their way in classes like reading only Cliff Notes or online summaries in the English/Literature courses I took without reading the full books, admitting to cheating in tests in classes I didn’t take with them, and those same people graduated while some are making more money than me. Well pardon me for being an honest student. I’m sorry to have a little thing called integrity to not steal, cheat, or plagiarize compared to those who claimed to have higher IQs than me.

So if I want to expose myself to plagiarized works involving Africa, I can either read some of these paid essays or watch The Lion King. SHOTS FIRED!!!

Seriously, shame on all of those students for plagiarizing their works and shame on that essay factory owner for being a part of this scandal. You wonder why I hate it when people steal and copy from others without crediting people? I bet you money these plagiarists are from far far richer families than mine (okay, I’ve been middle-class for a good portion of my life), and got away with it for years now, and have well-paying careers. Inexcusable! If honesty, integrity, and hard work were merited as much as the media lies to us, then I’d be a millionaire by now.

The video is property of African Diaspora News Channel. That’s more credit than these thieving douchebags will ever give for these paid-for essays.

Art Theft: The Prelude

Thousands of artifacts crafted for millennia
Sculptures, masks, tools, canvases
All in their splendor
Become stolen by a multitude of colonizers
The information is coming out
Revealing that they never gave them back
When they do, it’s under a so-called loan
Why would anyone loan something to those it already belonged to?

Killmonger really was right in that regard in that museum
What gave them the right to loot the art?

Music Spotlight: “Nyina W’abeza” by Intayoberana


I recently discovered this music/dance troupe not long after I reviewed the movie Munyurangabo. I decided to research some things about Rwanda after the fact like how the capital Kigali is one of the cleanest cities on the planet and what their music scene is like. This was really cool how it incorporated traditional rhythms alongside modern instrumentation while they sing in Kinyarwanda. The melodies were so sweet and very authentic. It’s been a while since I promoted other musicians, but this is one song I’ve been listening to recently. Check out Intayoberana!

Disney and Beyonce need to stop giving me carte blanche to rant about that stupid rip-off movie franchise and how they rip off stuff again (or CAN YOU FEEL THE HEIST TONIIIIIGHT?)

I’m sorry. I seriously didn’t expect to make a rant involving the best-selling piece of plagiarism in movie history. Okay, I did get a smile on my face how that remake has been getting negative reviews, but I still get frustrated with their fans defending the indefensible.

However, recent situations and discoveries are only proving me right more and more!

Let’s recap on what The Lion King has stolen thus far:

1: Kimba the White Lion. ‘Nuff said.

2: Trademarking the phrase “Hakuna Matata” which is totally cultural appropriation.

3: Withholding royalties from the late South African songwriter Solomon Linda for his song “Mbube” which was plagiarized into “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. He died penniless and his heirs sued a licensing company and Disney for not giving credit to Mr. Linda and for the royalties which they wouldn’t get until 2006.

Then came a 4th reason and this one involves a music video, the most famous Destiny’s Child member, and a lesser-known South African musician of Congolese and Angolan descent.

So, Beyonce came out with the new music video for “Spirit” which is a song for The Lion King remake. It features imagery of a desert and people wearing blue and red traditional African clothing. Wouldn’t it be crazy if the imagery copied a long-form music video that came out last year? Oh…that actually happened.

Petite Noir is the originator in this story. He made a short film/long-form music video for his “La Maison Noir” EP. I’ve checked out his music and it’s really good. I bought his EP on Bandcamp not just because I liked the music video or his music, but to support a real artist who doesn’t steal from others. He even self-directed his own music video. Want to know the subtitle of it? The Gift and the Curse. HAHAHAHA! Get it? Because that Beyonce vanity project…I mean companion soundtrack is called The Lion King: The Gift! Wow, shame on Beyonce, director Jake Nava, and Disney for stealing someone else’s art. I hope Petite Noir lawyers up and sues all those parties involved.

Disney and Nala…I mean, Beyonce are only proving me right even more that this franchise is a legacy built on artistic larceny. First, Japan, then multiple Swahili-speaking countries, and South Africa TWICE now?! They really have no shame.

I really didn’t want to do a post bashing this movie franchise again, but it was deserved.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to rock out to Petite Noir’s EP at the moment. Dear Beyhive, your so-called goddess isn’t infallible whether she got Mickey Mouse money or not. Disney fans, your favorite company isn’t innocent.

Update: The Dows are FINALLY arrested! #PreyingMissionaries

https://www.nation.co.ke/news/US-man-arrested-over-Kenya-sex-abuse/1056-5194154-o7440pz/index.html

What’s this? A child predator is FINALLY facing a courtroom for his crimes? I couldn’t believe it!

For those of you don’t know, Gregory Hayes Dow and Mary Rose Dow are so-called missionaries who opened up an orphanage in Bomet, Kenya. For almost a decade, they didn’t give the kids any love or safety. They would torture, sexually abuse, starve out, and even kill children in their compound. Also, Gregory was a registered sex offender who molested his own daughter from his previous marriage prior to going to Kenya. This was documented in the Kenyan documentary Preying Missionaries which you can watch on YouTube for free legally.

I’ve talked about this issue before. 

I’m glad people are finally going after the Dows. It’s high time that justice came knocking on their doors. We arrest and execute people who’ve done less in this country assuming if they actually committed crimes. I hope they get the maximum sentence in locking them up for the rest of their days. America, this is your chance to do the right thing. This isn’t The Central Park Five. These devils were found dead to rights for their rampant abuse. These pedophiles need to suffer.

Again, where’s #MeToo and #TimesUp at?

Seriously, I can’t stand how all those innocent children were mistreated beyond belief or having more people who want to bash Africa.

How I Learned to Utterly Despise that Expensive Ripoff, Overrated, and Bigoted Movie Called The Lion King (And the Existence of Kimba the White Lion Isn’t the Only Reason)

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[Warning: This post contains a very contrary opinion to most people and will contain controversial content. Read at your own peril]

I’m sure some of you are probably sick of me at this point bashing this Disney movie if you’ve read earlier posts on this blog or saw certain reviews on Iridium Eye. I’m not sorry for what I’m about to say on here. This frustration has been building up for the past couple of weeks and it’s something I need to vent about on this blog of all things regardless if people agree with this post or not.

[sigh] Here we go.

For starters, I didn’t always hate The Lion King. If anything, it used to be one of my favorite Disney movies when I was a kid. This is going to partially give away my age, but I saw that movie during it’s first theatrical run when I was very little. I even saw the stage adaptation in Chicago at the Cadillac Theatre when I was a bit older. One of my favorite soundtracks back then was the “Rhythm of the Pride Lands” which was the companion soundtrack and it was also the first time the song “He Lives In You” was used. Not Lion King II or the Broadway version. I saw the original VHS tape probably a hundred times during my childhood. I used to know the words to most of the songs way back when. However, I stopped paying attention to Disney during my teenage years because I was really into anime. Okay, I still like Japanese animation, but I was nowhere near as much of an otaku as I was when I was in high school.

It was also around this time when I first heard about Kimba the White Lion. I heard that The Lion King ripped it off, but I thought it was shallow with just the main characters. Flash forward to my adult life when I saw a Cracked article involving childhood icons you didn’t know were shameless rip-offs, and the memories came back again. This piqued my interest, did more research and started to rent the DVDs on Netflix after Kimba stopped airing on Hulu (Disney is a partial owner of that site, so I don’t know if it was because of them or not). While it has it’s issues and has aged animation since it was made in the 60s, I enjoyed that anime for it’s usage of subject matter, originality, and seeing how much Disney stole from it. If you don’t believe me, check out this link. I couldn’t believe the scenes of Caesar (AKA Original Mufasa) consoling Kimba from the beyond in the night sky. I couldn’t believe the scene where the villainess Belladonna tried to kill Kimba by pushing him off a cliff. I couldn’t believe one of the major villains (Claw) just happened to be a scarred lion usurper with a black mane, dark fur, and had hyena henchmen with him. Every character not named Timon and Pumbaa in that movie is a copy of someone from Tezuka’s manga/anime series. Seriously, shame on Disney for stealing from this classic anime and for trying to block the Jungle Emperor Leo ’97 movie from North America. Trust me, you won’t be looking at The Lion King the same way again once you see the obvious similarities. I can’t see how any sane person could watch Kimba and not think that no one from Disney saw this. Why does The Lion King get a free pass in plagiarism when other media like Yuki Yuna is a Hero gets lambasted for having similarities to Madoka? You know if the situation was reversed, then all you Lion King fans would scream bloody murder that your favorite movie got plagiarized by a foreign (majority non-White) country if Kimba came afterwards. It would be amazing if Disney admitting to stealing from Tezuka’s creation, paid royalties to them, or got epic backlash for their thievery, but I know that will never happen because wishes never come true.

This segues into my next point. I wasn’t aware of this as a child, but growing up, I realized how racist the implications were with the hyenas. Have you not listened to how they talk? They straight up talk in stereotypical African-American Ebonics (Shenzi) and an exaggerated Mexican accent (Banzai). What ticks me off is when Disney fans don’t call their depiction racist or handwave it because you have Black cast members voicing some of the heroic lions namely James Earl Jones playing Mufasa. No, just because you have Black people playing both sides of the good/evil paradigm, it doesn’t make it bigotry-free. It’s the equivalent of a racist claiming they have a Black best friend or family members to prove they aren’t racist. That or saying slave owners can’t be racist because they have Black people around them. Let’s not forget Disney has a history with using animal characters as POC proxies with racist undertones. Look at the crows in Dumbo and the lead one’s name was JIM! You know, like the same laws in America that involved having enforced segregation, lynchings, or it being legal for White people to rape African-Americans? There’s also Siamese cats talking in broken English in Lady and the Tramp, Aristocats, and even an episode of Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers for crying out loud. You could even throw in Tito from Oliver & Company as a slap against the Latino community. Coincidentally enough, Cheech Marin would voice both Tito and Banzai in his voice acting career. Is this why so many Americans falsely assume that Black people let alone other ethnic groups act like the hyenas all the time? If you think so, then you need your head examined and we should question if you’re a bigot.

Extending onto that point is how the hyenas were treated with the Elephant Graveyard. Besides the name being a blatant carbon copy of the place in Kimba where the animals had to rescue Roger Ranger in one of the later episodes, I found the place to be disturbing, but not for the same reasons as it was portrayed in the movie. As an adult, I had this realization that this punishment against those animals involved isolating the hyenas in a barren wasteland and they’re forced to starve. It hit me when I researched lesser-known aspects of history: Mufasa was committing genocide against them and I was sickened by it. Scar did bad things, but his big brother is not much better if you really think about it; he’s just applauded for his actions. If you think I’m being crazy, then maybe you should read up on the Congolese Genocide under King Leopold II or the Namibian Genocide by Germany’s 2nd Reich. The former had a body count of 10 MILLION Congolese and Leopold never got punished for it. If you take away the hand chopping, guns, and mass rape, then it would be the same thing. The latter had a concentration camp called Shark Island where the Germans starved out the Herero and Nama tribes and there was a valley of bones left behind. By the way, one of the perpetrators was General Franz Ritter von Epp who would eventually employ Adolf Hitler and Hitler said he was influenced by this general. LET THAT SINK IN! It’s as if the animators were aroused by putting anti-Black racism with that act as they believe melanated people don’t belong in their circle of life. Come on, if those hyenas talked in Yiddish accents instead of stereotypical Black and Latino accents, then the ADL would’ve thrashed Mickey Mouse in a heartbeat and everybody knows this. But because it’s happening to the bad guys and because they talk in a racially-coded way, it’s somehow justified in the animators’ and fans’ eyes. No, that’s protagonist centered morality on Mufasa’s part (saying nothing how that punishment contradicts his circle of life speech), and it’s propaganda in a form of G-rated White Supremacy. In my adulthood, I’ve seriously pondered if White people actually saw me as one of those hyenas in the past before. I’ve been discriminated against, so I wouldn’t put it past them. It’s hard to watch that knowing about the genocides against Black people, the 1994 crime bill which overloaded the prison-industrial complex (while being soft on Caucasian offenders, let’s be honest), Apartheid South Africa, and gentrification to name a few things to punish them. Do you enjoy Black people or any other POC group getting punished or afflicted at all costs and is The Lion King your film of choice of vicariously having that joy in a supposedly “innocent” way? Are you more offended by me pointing out the racist implications of this Disney movie than the millions of dead bodies from those aforementioned genocides let alone other atrocities?

Let’s also talk about the depiction of Africa. There are no humans in it! Was there some extinction of Africans before the beginning of the story? Disney sucks at this fact and Tarzan is another example of this when that continent is shown without Black people. So people who look like me and darker shouldn’t be seen? Is this a wish fulfillment about depopulating Africa in animated form? Think about it. They wouldn’t try it with Europe or America. Even if they do have furry characters (don’t lie. furries love The Lion King and you all know this. Also, how come that movie doesn’t get called a furry film with all the anthropomorphic stuff in it?), they make them upright, clothed and human-like in attitude like Zootopia or DuckTales for example. Are they insinuating that Africa should just be one giant savanna or natural utopia without the humans who would live in that part of the world? If not, then they’ll show it as one big piece of poverty porn and/or a giant war zone. It’s as if the animals are treated with dignity if something happens to them than the humans who live there. Cecil the lion? I rest my case. Screw stereotypes. Those furries and their sick fantasies can go away.

Those are some of my main points that have angered me. Disney needs a moral overhaul. Was it enough to steal from a 60s Japanese anime and from millions of Swahili-speaking Africans by trademarking “Hakuna Matata”? I could go on about the plot holes such as the Nala incest theory, how much that movie ripped off Kimba, how heredity monarchy is not always a good thing, how that movie isn’t that deep/meaningful, or how The Lion King or it’s fanbase avoids being called furries when other movies get labeled as such, but I think you get the point. Even I’ve had enough from defenders of this movie franchise and for people trying to shame me not liking that film, let alone bullying me for my ethnic background or even what media I like. You’re only proving me right that way. It sickens me how there’s that remake coming out (it’s not live action, people. it’s just realistic looking CGI) and for people making fun of me for not liking it anymore. You all have no right to moralize to me especially with all the things that have happened in American history let alone what happened to the African diaspora. I’m not saying you’re automatically evil if you’re White since that would be very stupid of me to insinuate that of one’s skin color. Spare me from your attempts of putting words in my mouth or for strawmanning my arguments. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t take movies at face value and assume everything is innocent just because it’s family-friendly from a content standpoint. For one, I’ve become offended the more I’ve learned about history, part of my culture, and with storytelling techniques. I’m sick and tired of being a scapegoat because of the color of my skin and my heritage. I would never even imagine doing the things done to my ancestors to anyone regardless of race. Not everyone is going to like what I typed, nor am I begging people to like it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to real artists from the continent instead of that artificial crap from Hans Zimmer and Elton John.

All images and videos are property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.

The fan art is property of WhiteLionWarrior at DeviantArt.

Kimba is property of Kimba the White Lion and Tezuka Productions.

Simba is property of The Lion King and Disney.

Listening to Congolese Music: Konono No. 1


Mbote!

I’ve been on a huge African music kick and I wanted to check out the music in the big DRC. That’s the Democratic Republic of Congo for those not familiar with that initialism. I discovered this band called Konono No. 1 who are from Kinshasa (No, it’s not just Shinsuke Nakamura’s finishing move) which is the capital and largest city. These musicians don;t sound like anyone else. It consists of singers, drummers, and three thumb piano players that are hooked up to DIY amps. The frequencies almost sound like distorted guitars which is crazy with how full their sound is. They incorporate traditional rhythms with avant-garde electronics.

Feel free to check them out!

They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit (Circle of Lies)

They claimed that continent was so dark
Not only because of the melanin of their majority
They’ll protect the native creatures
Yet laughing at the deceased bodies and mistreatment
Arousing those who inflict the suffering on millions even before that cursed scramble

They project a utopia of either animals only or having those who look like them walk around or live there
Empire and golden states of minds dictate this false narrative
Assuming they’re not projecting and magnifying poverty, corruption, or war-torn areas
How ironic. Their people and certain others have been moving in

Cobalt, tin, oil, copper
Among numerous others are exploited
An unfair trade to make such an understatement of the decade.

They purposefully ignore smart apartments, luxury hotels, and even locales safer than (supposedly) more “civilized” nations.
Funny how they call themselves nations while others are called tribes
The artifice and constructs of foreign tongues beg to warp minds

A continent where genocides have been afflicted on them where their perpetrators walked off without being behind bars could only be ignored for so long
How tragic is it when all that’s being mailed back are whips, severed skulls from the natives, or maybe artwork when it’s not an empty and insincere apology

So many deluge themselves in the circle of lies to feel euphoric
As they don’t want those with melanin to exist (whether they admit it or not)
They want to see a continent full of strangers like them and only those who look like them
Whatever god they believe in or not, all of them should pray every day that those living there or scattered don’t think like them.

These history books have been silent about these matters. Who ever thought that autodidact endeavors would become useful for unlocking truth when some desire it regardless of the learner’s pigmentation?

While there are issues that can’t be ignored, there is also solace that cameras, books, or online channels don’t dare to show.