I know Nestle has done really bad things in the past like that heinous baby formula fiasco story my mom told me about when I was a child, but this is just plain sick. So apparently, Nestle and Cargill have financed their chocolate businesses by using child slaves as young as 5 years old in Cote D’Ivoire (or Ivory Coast if you prefer) and Mali for 12-14 hours a day under abusive conditions like getting beaten, starved out, and under armed surveillance among other ghastly things. The formally enslaved people tried to make a lawsuit against these companies for human rights abuses and who can blame them? However, the Supreme Court in America denied the lawsuit from an 8-1 majority (Yes, both Republicans AND Democrats voted to reject the suit) because this happened outside of America. So let me get this straight. People can be arrested for sexual assault or being a Nazi outside of the country even if it was outside the nation as they should be incarcerated, but for being involved in child slavery isn’t good enough to throw the book at the companies and their accomplices? Unbelievable! Do your jobs, SCOTUS!
Me being offended about this happening isn’t just on principle in my case, but this offends me as a human being. While Nestle and Cargill deserve to be boycotted and charged with slavery, the accomplices directly in those African nations need to be locked up as well. This is hardcore selling out on so many levels and those governments should rescue the enslaved and shut down these plantations. Slavery is still going on in the world, but sadly not many people still realize this.
If you do buy chocolate, then please do your research on the companies like if they’re fair trade for example. For me, I won’t be buying anything from these companies.
Don’t just focus on the Crunch Bars, NesQuik chocolate milk, or NesCafe coffee. Here are other brands that each respective company owns.
Gerber Tombstone pizza Perrier San Pellegrino Cheerios Nestle Pure Life NaturNes Cerelac Fitness cereal Lion cereal Nespresso Hot Pockets Stouffer’s Herta Buitoni Lean Cuisine Maggi Thomy Carnation Coffee-Mate Nido La Laitiere Nestea Milo Chef Chef-Mate Minor’s Sjora Boost Nutren Junior Peptamen Resource Dreyer’s Extreme Haagen-Dazs Movenpick Nestle Ice Cream Alpo Bakers Complete Beneful Cat Chow Toll House Kit Kat Chef Michael’s Canine Creations Dog Chow Fancy Feast Felix Friskies Gourmet Purina Pro Plan DiGiorno Starbucks Coffee at Home
Ambrosia Chocolate Gerkens Cocoa Merckens A Rainbow of Possibilities Peter’s Chocolate Wilbur
Hopefully this helps for anyone who actually cares about this issue. The fact that slavery hasn’t ended in 2021 makes my blood boil.
Wode Maya makes such great travel vlogs and he has really opened my eyes when it comes to showing Africa. Not too long ago, he went to Somaliland of all places. Not Somalia (despite this area being inside the mainland), but Somaliland. This non-recognized country is apparently very stable and safe to visit. I’ve heard of the name before in passing from different videos I’ve watched, but I was unaware of what it looked like. Not going to lie, I thought it would be super chaotic and dangerous given the grave issues with pirates, crime, and terrorism like mainland Somalia, but apparently this piece of land doesn’t have those problems. Seeing the money exchange guy leaving to go pray and coming back to see his wares untouched was mind blowing. You couldn’t even do that in an American suburb, for crying out loud (relax, I would never try to steal someone’s stuff). It was fascinating seeing this part of Africa that you never see in the media and Wode Maya’s adventures really show. He has other videos with him talking to locals and businessmen which I also recommend seeing.
I just needed to see something positive for my own mental health and I hope you enjoy this video, too.
I’ve been checking out various videos from Ghanaian travel vlogger Wode Maya from time to time. He made multiple videos when he recently went to South Sudan of all places. It was very fascinating to see the country destroying negative stereotypes as some constant war zone. Wode was pleasantly surprised when he visited that country and how it was nothing like how the mainstream portrays it.
One of his adventures involved talking to people of the Dinka tribe who are a major ethnic group in South Sudan. They are one of the tallest ethnic groups in the world and there are several people in the upper six feet to even SEVEN feet range! The man you see in the thumbnail and later in the video is 7’3″. That just blew my mind because he’s literally 13 inches taller than me! It’s no wonder you have several basketball players coming out of that country and even joining different NBA teams. It was funny seeing the short Wode Maya being absolutely dwarfed by people who are head and shoulders taller than him.
I know it isn’t my usual stuff on the blog, but I wanted to do something different to calm down and to have some fun educational things going on. My geography nerd-dom is showing again and that’s one interest I’ve never been ashamed of liking. 🙂
Also, happy 10th anniversary this year, South Sudan!
It’s been a while since I talked about news around the world, but I saw this video which ticked me off so much that I just have to talk bout it.
There’s a British company called Timbuktu who had the temerity to trademark the word “Yoruba”. For those who don’t know any thing about that word, it refers to an actual African ethnic group and language associated with Nigeria, Benin, and Togo although Nigeria has a huge Yoruba population. Some famous people of that ethnicity involve actor John Boyega, basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon, and rapper Wale to name a few. The Nigerian community got infuriated by this trademark controversy and rightfully so. They were raising awareness to this issue. Also, am I the only one who noticed that this company is named after the famous Malian city?
This is just blatant cultural appropriation and I hope Timbuktu gets enough pressure to drop the trademark. I never bought anything from them and I hope there’s a giant boycott against them for what they did. What’s up with these companies trademarking African things? You have this recent case, Louis Vuitton making “luxury” Maasai cloths, and (I will not stop repeating this example because this company deserves the smoke) Disney freaking trademarking the phrase “Hakuna Matata”! These corporations need to stop doing this and I hope people stop buying their things. Think about it, they trademarked the name of an ethnic group consisting of millions of people around the world and not just in Western Africa. How would people react if Timbuktu or any company trademarked the name(s) of another ethnic group such as Irish Travelers, Sicilians, or Ashkenazim? I’m sure there would be even more outrage if anyone dared to do so. Nobody should be turning ethnicities into intellectual property.
The fact that people tell me that cultural appropriation isn’t bad or doesn’t exist is just idiotic because they never had to deal with their heritage being slighted in the least.
I really need to decompress with the stress in my life as well as finding out about atrocities not talked about in the history books that I was unaware about. This doesn’t mean I’m apathetic. I can only take so much morbidity at a time. Come on, people. I’m a human being, you know. I thought I would switch this up with some interesting videos involving a theme song, a Burundian band, and an interview.
Those of you who follow one of my other blogs where I cover film, documentary, and anime reviews, I recently covered the Canadian/Japanese/Argentinean series Cybersix on there. I remember watching that show on Fox Kids when I was in elementary school (wow, does that give away my age or what?). The theme song was something I remembered back then and I re-discovered this show on RetroCrush of all places! I was gobsmacked that this obscure cartoon can be streamed for free legally online and that they would play all 13 episodes there. The theme song was handled by Canadian jazz/pop singer Coral Egan and this song really gets stuck in your head. I think they should give Cybersix a remake with a longer storyline. It’s also a breath of fresh air seeing a superheroine who ISN’T Marvel or DC for a change.
I know gospel isn’t everyone’s thing. I respect that. Recently, I got into Bukuru Celestin who is a Burundian musician who’s currently based in America. I first heard of him due to his collab EP with jazz band Snarky Puppy. Apparently, he also has a gospel band side project called Buja Praise. They incorporate songs in English, Kirundi, and Swahili with some African rhythms mixed with Western instrumentation. They have a great sound and certainly don’t sound like the typical K-Love fair. Of course, the title of this song got my attention for obvious reasons (don’t lie, you were thinking the same thing), but it is a completely different song. I also got to message them the other day. Yes, I brought up THAT controversy and they think a certain mouse trademarking that phrase is so stupid and they’re going to keep on singing this song. Good on you, Buja Praise! Way to do your best to preserve the Swahili-phone cultures even if that language isn’t the main one in Burundi (Kirundi is the #1 language there). I wonder how fans of that particular movie franchise would feel knowing this song exists…
I usually don’t put podcast interviews on here, but this snippet was very fascinating. David Francisco is a Portuguese wrestler currently living in England and he interviews Alexander Roth who is a Black British wrestler. They discuss the Everything Patterned show at Wrestling Resurgence. Some of you may remember me talking about this show a couple of years ago which was a Black History Month event in England (context: October is BHM in the UK and not February like in America). Alexander Roth and David Francisco talk about the impact of this indie BritWres show and what it meant for positive representation in the wrestling scene. It was very insightful with Roth talking about being in that show in tag team action and how it inspired others in ways he would’ve never expected. I did like his experience in this event and how he was floored with the social media response as well as getting a message from America of all places. His comment about humans being the only creatures who “beef over” skin color unlike snakes, lions, leopards, etc. with his analogy. This form of entertainment and athleticism isn’t for everyone obviously, but give this a listen. Also, Everything Patterned was SO much better than anything I’ve seen in WWE or AEW. Just saying.
Videography is something I enjoy whenever I have time to do so especially given life, work, adulting, and my other creative projects I’m currently working on. This one uses alternating images and is an abstract video involving imagery associated with the Congo (in this case, both countries as seen with the flags). It was a little project referencing part of my heritage that I’ve only known about for a couple of years now. Interestingly enough, the wooden animal napkin holders I use are based on animals native to that part of Africa and were originally from Kinshasa, DRC. What makes it awesome is that they’re handmade AND fairly traded, so the artists got payed what they were owed making these things. I got them as a present last Christmas and I thought it was very cool. Now, I got to use them as part of the visuals. Feel free to check out this video.
This post has been a long time coming and I feel bad about delaying it this long.
Some of you may or many not remember when I debuted Dystopian Futures’s latest music video for “Space Junk”, but I mentioned that ZAP Records closed down. This bummed me out since the founder Dave Emmerson was one of the few people left in the DIY music scene that I still respect as well as him being a great friend. I thought it was amazing with how he managed to get bands and singers from multiple countries involved with his record label. I was exposed to great music that no one else was making and I managed to get involved with the label even before “Ospreyshire” (the spoken word project AND the blogger you see today) was a thing. Not sure if I mentioned this, but I was able to help out with press releases, bios, and I even made music videos for some of the bands. Dave himself has a record in my filmography portfolio since I’ve directed three music videos for him between two of his bands. The first music video I ever made in my life was for his old band The Old-Timers (no pun intended) and it was a major international collaboration since Dave at the time was living in South Africa while I was still here in America, yet we were able to make it work. That really gave me confidence and he encouraged me to do some recording of my own.
While Ospreyshire (the spoken word project) was all me with my poems, acousmatics, and instrumentation, I will say that if there was no ZAP Records, there might not have been an Ospreyshire let alone the current blogs I run. It’s strange how life works, but I do have to credit Dave for being a good friend to be encouraging to me even if he was thousands of miles away in South Africa or when he was back in his home country of Scotland. Who ever thought that some random guy like me and someone like him would meet at a music festival in Central Illinois and were able to collaborate with multiple projects for years now.
It is sad to see ZAP Records go. I’m thankful to have been a contributor in multiple ways to the label. I was so disillusioned with the music scene at large, so this was a last bastion of sorts.
RIP, ZAP Records.
In good news, Dave came up with Visions Press where he’s releasing new music and even zines. Definitely check it out!
I recently watched a documentary called Death Metal Angola which was really fascinating and I recommend it for those who like heavy music or at least African culture.
One of the bands featured in that doc is Before Crush (pardon the grammatical aspect of their name). They’re from Benguela, Angola and play metalcore music. While I’m not a fan of that type of music, they do a good job and they’re lyrics have more substance than your typical whiny suburban fake tough-guy scenecore band. They have lyrics about African culture, positive messages, and historical elements involving the Angolan Civil War that lasted from the 70s until the early 00s.
I know the irony of relaxing to this kind of music, but I wanted a break from some of the self-loathing posts I’ve made recently while trying to balance between life, work, and NaNoWriMo.
I researched a bit of the Gullah Geechee culture somewhat recently especially after watching the movie Daughters of the Dust and checking out some of Miss Trudy’s Sierra Leone travel vlogs. I wanted to know about some of the musical parts of the culture and didn’t realize a number of African American spirituals came from that autonomous group. One band known as the McIntosh County Shouters who’ve been around for decades and preserve a lot of the Gullah songs as well as the culture. Not going to lie, I wouldn’t have actively listened to them when I was younger, but I’ve been gaining more appreciation for other types of music. I even bought one of their albums and saw some of their concert videos on YouTube.
I got to see U-Carmen earlier this year. For those of you that have never heard of that movie, it’s a South African adaptation of Bizet’s famous Carmen opera. Not only is this set in the 00s and in a different country, the entire opera is actually done in the Xhosa language (the X is pronounced by clicking). It was a very fascinating take on that classical work. In the movie, all the actors actually sing live on set instead of lip-synching to pre-recorded performances. I would definitely recommend the movie and soundtrack. This song in particular is a Xhosa cover of “Habanera” which is a song a lot of you know even if you don’t know anything about opera or classical music. Just listen to the melody, and you’ll instantly recognize it.
Here’s a band I found out about somewhat recently after finding out that they’ve collaborated with the Congotronics Vs Rockers project. It was a superband involving Congolese bands (mainly from Konono No.1 and Kasai Allstars) and various musicians from all over the world. Two of those musicians happened to consist of the Swedish married couple known as Wildbirds & Peacedrums. I’m a sucker for experimental forms of music and I didn’t think anyone can make a band with just vocals and percussion. They’ve got some avant-pop and jazz kind of vibes with their minimalist approach to music which I found to be unique. I was also a fan of the stop motion filming in this music video.
I’m glad I still have an appreciation for music in these stressful times. Hope you like these selections.