The Roots Themselves, Traditional African Music and Dance — The Story of the How the Music of Africa Took Over the World, Part 5
By dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor
We are Africa,
We are the rhythm and we are the beat of the drums,
This is how the African learnt to dance…
We learnt to dance to the lilt of our hearts,
Feet stamping steadily to the constant concord of living,
Feet racing rapidly to the quick frenzied patter-patter of panic.
We learnt to dance to the rhythm of the raindrops on rooftops,
Arms swaying softly in the drizzling dew decorating the dawn,
Hands beating a stroppy tempo to the thunder and the storm,
This is how the African learnt to dance…
By Foluke Ifejola Adebisi
I have previously written on how Hip hop (Black Kos, Hip-Hop's origins from the African diaspora) was the fruit that grew out of three branches of the African music diaspora, African American (Black Kos, The African Muslim origins of the Blues), Afro-Caribbean (Black Kos, African origins of Caribbean music), and Afro Latino (Black Kos, The History of Afro-Latino Music), but what about the roots themselves of the New World’s African diaspora’s music? What about African music itself? This story will attempt to answer that question. First I will look at the the historical records of the music of African, and then later I’ll concentrate more on the dances this music inspired.
The pulse of a culture is made palpable through the musical instruments it produces and plays. Whether the music is vibrating strings, a throbbing percussion, soulful woodwinds, or as in the West Africa the iconic cross-beats and off-beats that it creates. Just as important as the music is the dancing a culture’s music inspires. The moves, rhythms, and rituals so central to African life survived slavery and Western cultural appropriation to influence modern Western society and choreography while still remaining a vibrant part of modern Africa’s traditions.
Historians widely acknowledged that African music has undergone frequent and decisive changes throughout the course of its history. What is today deemed traditional African music is almost certainly different from what was historically African music. Furthermore, because of intra-African trade, African music historically wasn’t rigidly linked to specific ethnic groups. Individual African musician, each with their own style and creativity, have always played an outsized role in African music.
Just as a side note, for some of modern historian’s best estimation of historical African music and dances, the source will sometimes be their “musical daughters” it begat in the New World. Because of these historical cultural ties to the Americas, I will mostly focus on those parts of Africa that share the strongest cultural links with the Americas that were forged during the transatlantic slave trade. This is case both for brevity’s, and to focus on areas I have expertise in.
My love of African music was a natural outgrowth of my love of reggae music. Of all the musical formats in the Americas, reggae is the most openly Afrocentric. Growing up and hearing the names of both modern and historical African figures and nations in the music drove my love of both music and history. I’ve found a number of sources for the study of African music history over the years. These sources have drawn on archaeological, pictorial (rock paintings, petroglyphs, book illustrations, drawings, paintings), oral , written (travelers’ accounts, field notes, inscriptions in Arabic and in African and European languages), sound recordings, and more recently videos. Each African ethnic group has developed varying vocal and percussion music. Also each African ethnic group developed their own unique dances to accompany their traditional music. While unique to each group, these dances fall into three main categories: Ritual (religious), Ceremonial, and Griotic (storytelling).
Archaeology provides some of the earliest clues on African music. Ancient musical instruments made from plant material didn’t survive the environment of sub-Saharan Africa. But descriptions of Nigerian music has been provided by the archaeological representations of musical instruments on stone or terra-cotta artifacts from the area around the modern city of Ife, Nigeria. These archaeological representations are in agreement with traditional accounts. Historically pestles against mortars, axes against wood, the rattling of loom shuttles, and the gasps of billows all set the tempo and cadenced, from which traditional African music grew. The distinctive musical sensibilities of Africa, including polyrhythmic textures, call and response, and bent tonalities have shaped musical tastes worldwide.
From the 10th to the 14th century AD, ig̀bìn drums (a set of footed cylindrical drums) became widespread. The dùndún pressure drum, now most closely associated with Yoruba culture was in fact popular in a broad belt across the African savanna. Yoruba dùndún drums are better known as “talking drums” and accompany the oriki or praise poetry. The dundun drum appears in plaques dated from the 15th century from the kingdom of Benin, where it is thought to have been created.
Other archaeological finds relating to music include iron bells excavated in the Katanga region of Congo and Zimbabwe. But Benin bronze plaques represent the greatest source for African music history. Musical instruments like horns, bells, drums, and bow lutes are often depicted in ceremonial settings on them.
Nature provided Africa with perfect amplifiers, the acoustic resonance of a hollowed-out calabash intensifies the vibrations of the Mandé kora, a double-bridged harp, the Jola akonting, a banjo-like lute, the Hausa goje, a bowed, two-stringed fiddle, or Dagaaba, Sambla and Malinké xylophones, the gyil, baan, and balafon respectively.
Furthermore there is a wealth of written accounts of African music from outside explorers, unlike what I was taught in school about the “dark continent”. Among the most important written sources are accounts from 14th-century Arab traders Ibn Baṭṭūṭah and Ibn Khaldūn and from European explorers Vasco da Gama, Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, João dos Santos, François Froger, and Peter Kolbe. Specially to music, early attempts at notating African music were made by T.E. Bowdich (1819) for Ghana, Karl Mauch (1872) for Zimbabwe, and Brito Capelo and Roberto Ivens (1882) for inner Angola.
Research on the origins of music created in the Americas by people of African descent has also revealed scores of historical evidence. For example the belief that blues is historically derived from West African music including from Mali is reflected in Martin Scorsese’s often quoted characterization of Ali Farka Touré’s traditional Melisma notes as constituting "the DNA of the blues".
Melisma is the use of many notes in one syllable; so, instead of a note that produces, say, a single sound of "ah," you get a note that produces something like, "ah-ahhhh-ahhh-ah-ah." The term wavy intonation is a series of notes that veer from major to minor scale and back again. Wavy intonation is very common in both blues music and the Muslim call to prayer. The Maghreb is the Arab-Muslim region of North Africa. Large regions of West Africa had been in contact with the Islamic world via the Maghreb since the seventh and eighth centuries. There was a strong trans-Saharan cross-fertilization between the musical traditions of the Mabhreb and the Sahel (the vast African grassland regions South of the Sahara).
Intra-African trade, as well as major and minor migrations of African peoples, brought both musical styles and instruments to new areas. The single and double iron bells, originated in Kwa-speaking West Africa, spread to western Central Africa with Iron Age Bantu-speaking people, and from there to Zimbabwe and the Zambezi River valley.
Earlier groups migrating from Nigeria and Cameroon to the East African lakes region didn’t bring the iron bell’s recognizable time line patterns with them. Consequently, time line patterns were absent from East African music until the modern introduction of Congolese electric guitar based music. But the 19th century ivory and slave trades brought the stringed zeze and zither, both long known along the East African coast, into the African interior including Zambia, Eastern Congo, and Malaŵi.
Beginning in the 17th and 18th centuries, the iron keyed lamellaphones, a prominent feature of ancient Zimbabwe, spread from the Zambezi valley northward to the Angolan kingdoms of Kazembe, Lunda and Katangan. During large human migration, some models of lamellaphone became compact easier to move travel instruments. These modified instruments gave rise to the numerous types present in western Central Africa during the early the 20th century.
A small box-resonated lamellaphone, called the likembe, was invented in the lower Congo region in the mid-19th century, and spread upriver with Lingala-speaking porters and colonial servants. The Zande, Ngbandi, and Gbaya ethnic groups adopted the likembe.
The stylistic traits of likembe music was only gradually modified to suit local taste as it spread making it easy to trace its origins. At the beginning of the 20th century the likembe distribution spread further northeast into Uganda, where it was again adopted. In southern Uganda were the Soga and Gwere adapted it by constructing models entirely from metal including a metal resonator. The likembe also spread southward being adopted as recently as the 1950s by the Khoisan-speaking !Kung (with their famous clicks) in southeastern Angola.
But even as histories piece together the origins of African music there remain some unanswered perplexing phenomenons. Because African migrations brought with it the exchange of music within Africa, and trade with foreign cultures, specific traits of African music often show unexplained distributions. Extremely distant areas in Africa have virtually identical traits, while adjacent regions frequently have completely different styles. The multipart triad singing style of the Baule of Côte d’Ivoire is almost identical to the singing style of the Ngangela, Chokwe, and Luvale in eastern Angola. So much so they are immediately recognized by musicians from both countries. The reasons for this hasn’t been clearly established by historians. The two areas are separated by thousands of miles with completely different histories of group singing.
Another historical riddle is the virtually identical xylophone instruments and playing styles of the Makonde and Makua peoples of northern Mozambique and the Baule and Kru people of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, 1000’s of miles apart.
Various theories have been proposed. The English ethno-musicologist A.M. Jones proposes that first millennium Indonesian settlers in Eastern Africa introduced xylophones and their tonal-harmonic systems into Africa. Ethno-historians, on the other hand, have tended to accentuate the importance of coastal navigation (implying the traveling of hired or forced African labor on European ships) as an agent of cultural contact between such areas as Mozambique, Angola Congo, all the way to the West African coast.
African music as it is known today was also shaped by changes in the ecology of the continent, which drove human migration which produced changes in arts and culture. The drying of the Sahara early in human history caused populations to shift southward. When native populations accepted these newcomers they often adopted music from them. Thus, the choral singing style of the Masai had a fundamental influence on the vocal music of the Gogo of central Tanzania, as is audible in their nindo and msunyunho chants.
Dancing was also a powerful form of cultural expression. Dancing can convey more messages than gestures. Because dancing can express the most profound experiences of humankind it cab be almost a completely self contained language. African dancing is universally full of emotion and expressions of life, including joy, love, sadness, and hope.
Historical sources on African music and dance are more abundant than might be expected. Sometimes historical data can be obtained indirectly from contemporary observation outside Africa, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. In what is now Congo the manikongo's eager absorption of European patronage saw Kongo become catholicized in 1491, so that by the time the Bakongo began to be trafficked to the Americas in the transatlantic slave trade starting in the seventeenth century, the captives already partook in a Kongo-Catholic syncretism. This Kongo reinterpretation of Catholicism was transported up and down the western Atlantic for centuries, creating a kind of "wired" Kongo cultural unity throughout the Americas. This deeply rooted fusion had all kinds of implications for music that scholars and musicians continue to explore.
It was a rule rather than an exception that people brought as slaves from Africa to the New World often came from the hinterland of the African coastal areas. Between the European slave traders established on the coast and the hinterland areas were buffer zones inhabited by African “merchant tribes,” such as the Ovimbundu of Angola, who are still remembered by eastern Angolan peoples as vimbali, or collaborators of the Portuguese.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the inland areas of Angola were not directly accessible to Europeans. But the music and dance of these areas became accessible indirectly, as European observers saw African captives playing musical instruments in New World countries. In Brazil the music of the Candomblé religion, for example, can be directly linked to 18th- and 19th-century forms of orisha worship among the Yoruba. In a similar manner, Umbanda religious ceremonies are an extension of traditional healing sessions still practiced in Angola, and vodun religious music among the Fon of Benin has extensions in the voodoo of Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean. African instruments have also been modified and sometimes further developed in the New World; examples are the Central African friction drum and the lamellaphone (in the Cuban marimbula).
Historian Sylviane Diouf has identified Islamic music as an influence on blues music, noting a striking resemblance between the Islamic call to prayer (created famously by Bilal ibn Rabah an Ethiopian Muslim in the early 7th century) and 19th-century field holler music. Diof noted that both have similar lyrics praising God, melody, note changes, "words that seem to quiver and shake" in the vocal chords, dramatic changes in musical scales, and nasal intonation. She attributes the origins of field holler music to African Muslim slaves who accounted for an estimated 30% of African slaves in America.
African Muslim slaves had another indirect influence on blues music in the choice of instruments they played. There was a pronounced historical difference in the music performed by the predominantly Muslim Sahelian (slaves captured from the dry inland plains) slaves and the predominantly non-Muslim slaves from coastal West Africa and Central Africa. The Sahelian Muslim slaves generally favored wind and string instruments and solo singing, where they accompanied a long tradition of musical storytelling. The non-Muslim slaves generally favored drums and group chants. Drumming (which was common among slaves from the Congo and other non-Muslim regions of Africa) was banned by America’s white slave owners. African drummers had the ability to allow slaves to communicate over long differences. Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, drumming inspired revolts among large gatherings of slaves.
On the other hand, string instruments were generally allowed by slave owners who considered more like European instruments like the violin. Plantation owners who feared revolt outlawed drums and group chants, but allowed the Sahelian slaves to play wind and string instruments.
Among the instruments introduced by Muslim African slaves were precursors to the banjo. While pressured to convert to Christianity, the Sahelian slaves were allowed to maintain their musical traditions, adapted to the fiddle and guitar.
In Brazil Maracatu, a genre of Afro-Brazilian Carnival music played in the North East regions of the country, preserves the imprint of pre-European African music. The music serves as the backdrop for parade troops that grew out of colonial era coronation ceremonies (investiture ceremonies) conducted in honor of the Reis do Congo the “Kings of Congo”. These Kings were African slaves who occupied symbolic leadership positions among the slaves. Important female characters are performed by cross-dressed male performers, and all Afro-brazilian performers use a form of makeup outsiders mistakingly conflate with blackface. Maracatu is played on large alfaia drums, large metal gonguê bells, snare drums and shakers.
When slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, the institution of the Kings of Congo ended. The nações troops, continued to choose symbolic leaders with coronation ceremonies for those leaders. Although a maracatu performance is secular, traditional nações are grouped around Candomblé or Jurema (Afro-Brazilian religions) terreiros (bases), and the principles of Candomblé infuse their activities (See Afro-Caribbean religions (Black Kos) -2018).
Traditional nações are perform by parading with a drumming group of 80–100, a singer and chorus, and a coterie of dancers and stock characters including a king and a queen. Dancers and stock characters dress and behave to imitate the Portuguese royal court of the Baroque period.
The performance also enacts pre-colonial African traditions, like parading the calunga, a doll representing tribal deities, that is kept when not in use, in a special place in the nação's headquarters. The calungas, traditionally female, are made of wax, wood, or cloth. The calungas, have clothing made for them similar in style to Baroque costumes worn by members of the royal court. The calunga is considered sacred, and carrying the spiritual figurehead of the group is a great honor for the woman chosen as the Dama de Paço (Lady-in-Waiting) of the troop.
In the late sixteenth century Havana, the hub of the Spanish fleet, was already feeling the cultural circulation of African music flowing back and forth on European trade ships. Kongo culture exerted an early and, perhaps, strongest single historical African influence on Cuba, while Kongo-natives in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) helped provide the hemisphere's most dramatic transformative moment when revolution erupted their in 1791.
The transatlantic slave trade imported huge numbers of ethnic African cultures to the plantation regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Caribbean, in particular, was a panoply of ethnicity and cultures that were influenced by the traditional dances from Africa. Tribal dances remained an important source of inspiration for Afro-Caribbean slaves. This resulted in the emergence of hybrid dances, such as the infamous Calenda.
The Calenda featured two parallel lines, one of women the other men, with an approach-and-away pattern that started without touching and then sped up as it added thigh-slapping, kissing, and other contact. Plantation owners found the frenzy of the dance alarming and in some places, banned it entirely fearing the heightened emotions would lead to an uprising. But eventually the Calenda in the 20th century went on to inspire the Cakewalk (originally a mockery of plantation owners) and the Charleston. Another reaction to nervous slave owners, who feared the high-stepping energy of traditional African dances, was a deliberate switch from “stepping” movements to “shuffling” movements.
African ritual dance cannot be adequately discussed without an understanding of African religion and religious practice, because virtually every aspect of life in Africa is imbued with spirituality. To a great extent there is no formal distinction drawn between sacred and secular, religious and non-religious, spiritual or material. In many African languages there is no word for religion, because a person’s life is a total embodiment of his or her philosophy. By extension, sacred rituals are integral part of daily African life. They are interwoven with every aspect of human endeavor, from the profound to the mundane. Many African dances are the means by which individuals relate to ancestors and other divinities. What ever the motivation of the dance, it combines the expression of human feeling with the higher aspirations of man to communicate with the cosmos. From birth to death, every transition in an individual’s life is marked by some form of ritual observance. In a practical sense, these ubiquitous rituals are at the heart of religious practice in Africa.
Although ceremonial or cultural functions are more commemorative than rituals, they are still important. Dances appear as parts of broader cultural activities. with the basic rhythms, movements, the number of dancers, formations and other elements changing to fit the particular occasions.
Dances of Love are performed at weddings and anniversaries. One example is the Nmane dance performed in Ghana. It is done solely by women during weddings in honor of the bride. Rites of Passage and Coming of Age Dances are performed to mark the coming of age of young men and women. The dances are designed to give confidence to the dancers who have to perform in front of entire community. When the performance is completed, they are formally acknowledged as adults, in a process that builds pride and a strong sense of community.
Dances of Welcome are a show of respect and pleasure to visitors, while also providing a show of how talented and attractive the host villagers are. Yabara is a West African Dance of Welcome marked by “The Beaded Net Covered Gourd Rattle” , sekere. The sekere is thrown into the air to different heights by the female dancers to mark tempo and rhythm changes. It is an impressive spectacle, as all the dancers will throw and catch them at the same time.
Royal dances provide opportunities for chiefs and dignitaries to create auras of majestic splendor to impress the community at festivals, or at royal funerals to express a deep sense of loss. In processions, the chief is preceded by various court officials, pages, guards, and others each with distinctive ceremonial dances or movements.
Dances of possession and summoning are common themes, and important in many traditional African religions. These dances share a common link, a call to a spirit. African spirits can be the spirits of plants, forests, ancestors, or even deities. One example are the Orishas deities found in many forms of African religion, such as Candomble, Santeria, Yoruba mythology, and Voodoo (See Black Kos- Oshun West Africa's Goddess of Love). Each Orisha has a favorite color, day, times, foods, drinks, music, and dances. The dances will be used on special occasions to honor the Orisha, or to seek help and guidance. Alternatively the Orisha may be angry and need appeasing. Kakilambe is a great spirit of the forest who is summoned using dance. He comes in the form of a giant statue carried from the forest out to the waiting village, with much dancing and singing. During this time the statue is raised up, growing to a height of around 15 inches. A priest communes through dance asking Kakilambe if there will be good luck over the coming years or any major events to be aware of, such as drought or war.
In African culture, the Griot or djialy (jali) is the village historian who teaches everyone about their cultural traditions and history of their people. The traditions and stories are kept in the form of music and dance. These dances contain elements of history and parables that pass on the culture of the people through generations. Griotic dance not only represent a musical form of historical documentation, they are also rituals and dramas. The Dances tell stories that are part of the oral history of a community. In Senegal, the Malinke people dance Lamba, the dance of the Griot (historian). Griotic music follows a dance form, beginning slow with praise singing and lyrical movements accompanied by melodic instruments such as the kora, a 21-stringed harp/lute, and the balafon, a xylophone with gourd resonators, before later speeding up.
Traditionally, dances in Africa are performed collectively in community settings. Dancing signifies the life of the community rather than the mood of a couple or individual. In villages throughout the continent, the sound and the rhythm of the drum is heard. The drum is seen as a sign of life, with the rhythm expressing the heartbeat of the community. In a traditional African community, coming together in response to the sound of the beating of the drum is an opportunity gather together with a sense of belonging and solidarity. Drumming connects everyone from young and old, rich and poor, men and women together.
Dances mark key elements of communal life. For example passage of seasons are marked by dances at agricultural festivals, dances are also performed for the successful completion of projects. In an annual festival of the Irigwe in Nigeria, men perform leaps symbolizing the growth of the crops in a sign of hope for future prosperity.
For example, in the igbin dance of the Yoruba of Nigeria the order of the performers in the dance reflects their social standing and age, from the king down to the youngest at the gathering. Among the Asante of Ghana the king reinforces his authority through a special royal dance, and traditionally he might be judged by his dancing skill. Dance can provide a forum for popular opinion and even satire within political structures. Spiritual leaders also use dance to symbolize their connection with the world beyond.
Dances provide community recognition for the major events in people's lives. The dances of initiation, or rites of passage , are pervasive throughout Africa and function as moments of definition in an individual's life or sometimes key opportunities to observe potential marriage partners. In Mali, Mandingo girls dance Lengin upon reaching their teenage years.
Highly energetic dancing that shows off a young man’s stamina are considered a means of judging physical health. Learning the moves to the dance often plays an important part in the ritual of the occasion. For example, the girls among the Lunda of Zambia stay in seclusion practicing their steps before the coming-of-age ritual.
Traditionally dancing also prepared young people for the roles they would later play in society. For example, some war dances prepared young men physically and psychologically for war. War dances taught them discipline and control while getting them hyped for the comming battle. Some dances are a form of martial art themselves, such as Nigerian korokoro dances or the Angolan dances from which Brazilian capoeira is derived.
Dance does not merely form a part of community life; it represents and reinforces the community itself. Its structures reproduce the organization and the values of the community. For example, dances are often segregated by sex, reinforcing gender identities to children from a young age. Dance often expresses the categories that structure the community, including not only gender but also kinship, age, status, and, especially in modern cities, ethnicity.
It took until 1933, with the arrival of the records that musicologists call the "GV series," for Kongo-derived music to be repatriated to Africa. This reverse transculturation (Fernando Ortiz called it) was a musical revelation in Africa, and no place did more with this infusion of Cuban music than Congo.
In the modern era the flow of musical inspiration has been a two way street. The traditional Kongo cosmology has been an inspiration to Cuban and other black jazz musicians; for example, Chucho Valdés' magnificent 1999 album Briyumba Palo Congo or Ricardo Lemvo's La Rumba Soyo, playing on the name of Soyo, a key province and former slave-exporting port near the mouth of the Congo River. Kikongo words and names are part of the common vocabulary of Cuban rumba; in Matanzas, they sing: "a, e, Paula, tienes mayombe," meaning "Paula, you got mayombe." The Cuban-derived style that in Congo is called rumba is in turn part of the common vocabulary of modern African music.
Perhaps the most striking 20th-century adaptation in Congo was the embrace of the electric guitar, a North American innovation based on an Iberian instrument. Many of the most famous Afropop stars of the 1950’s - 1980’s cut their teeth singing and playing to Cuban-style music in various West and Central African countries. In the 1950’s, a Congolese "rumba" style developed in the hands of musicians Franco, Dr. Nico, Tabu Ley Rochereau, and others, which later developed into soukous, a style marked by high-register, precisely articulated electric guitar leads that had not existed to any notable degree in Cuban music, where dance bands rarely have an electric guitar.
It is only relatively recently that scholarly attention has focused on the various urban popular styles, reflecting a blend of local and foreign ingredients, that have emerged during the last 50 years or so. The best known of these are West African “highlife,” Congolese dance music, tarabu of East Africa, and South African styles. With the widespread adoption of Christianity in Africa since the 19th century, many new varieties of African church music have risen and continue to evolve. For example, with altered words, hymns, as well as secular songs, are quite often adapted as protest songs in order to rally opposition to political oppression.
The twentieth century was a period of great innovation in the dance world, with the influence of African dance being paramount. Katherine Dunham, whose career spanned the 20th century, researched the anthropology of Caribbean dances and their African roots. She developed systems and movements under the umbrella of modern dance that continue to be used by dancers to train. Alvin Ailey, born in 1931, was a force of nature, incorporating traditional African dance, ballet, jazz, modern, spirituals, and gospel music in evocative and thrilling choreography. Ailey captured the story of the diaspora in singular performances such as his iconic Revelations. His company, now under the direction of choreographer Robert Battle, still relies on a powerful African influence for its most memorable performances.
Through its uniquely rhythmic and passionate form of dancing and its infectious beats the music of Africa eventually took over the world. Neither the crushing weight of the transatlantic slave trade nor African colonialism could suppress the pure joy or the artistic expression of its creators. Hip hop ( Hip-Hop's origins from the African diaspora) was the fruit that grew out of three branches of the African music diaspora, African American (The African Muslim origins of the Blues), Afro-Caribbean (African origins of Caribbean music), and Afro Latino (The History of Afro-Latino Music), but what about the roots themselves of the New World’s African diaspora’s music? This was its story, and this was my attempt to tell the story as best I could in five chapters. Enjoy.
NEWS ROUND UP BY DOPPER0189, BLACK KOS MANAGING EDITOR
The debt relief was approved as part of the stimulus package that Congress passed in March and was intended to make amends for the discrimination Black farmers have faced from lenders and the United States Department of Agriculture . New York Times: Banks fight $ 4 billion debt relief plan for black farmers
he Biden government’s attempt to provide $ 4 billion in debt relief to minority farmers is being thwarted by hardline banks, which are complaining that the government’s initiative to repay loans that have faced decades of financial discrimination will reduces investors hurt.
The debt relief was approved as part of the $ 1.9 billion stimulus package passed by Congress in March and was intended to address the discrimination experienced by black and other non-white farmers of borrowers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the years. to recover. But there is still no money out the door.
Instead, the program became entangled in controversy and lawsuits. In April, white farmers claiming to be the victims of reverse discrimination sued the USDA over the initiative.
Now three of the largest banking groups – the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America and the National Rural Lenders Association – are fighting their own battle and complaining about the cost of being repaid early.
Their argument stems from the way banks make money from loans and how they decide where to extend credit. When a bank, like a farmer, lends money to a borrower, it considers several factors, including how much interest it will earn during the life of the loan and whether the bank can sell the loan to other investors.
By allowing borrowers to repay their debts early on, borrowers are denied income they have long expected. The banks want the federal government to pay money that is above the outstanding loan amount so that banks and investors will not miss out on the interest income they expected, or money they would have sold on the loans. other investors.
“I just called (Gainey) and congratulated him on earning the Democratic endorsement for mayor of the city of Pittsburgh,” Peduto wrote. “Wishing him well. Thank you Pittsburgh for the honor of being your mayor these past 8 years. I will remain forever grateful.”
There was a mood of jubilation at Gainey’s party outside a North Side union hall after polls closed. He took time to pose for selfies with supporters in front of a wall covered with Gainey signs as a disc jockey played songs like “Celebration” and “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Right now, we’re just grateful for the people of Pittsburgh. To be able to elect me … and talk about building a city for all. This is what it’s all about,” Gainey said. “We’re going to make sure that we build a city for all.”
The mayoral race featured two political insiders, Peduto, 56, of Point Breeze, and Gainey, 51, of Lincoln-Lemington, and two political novices, Moreno, 51, of Brighton Heights, and Thompson, 38, of Oakland.
Talk of equity and reform united the men during the campaign, but each offered different approaches to the subject.
How someone talks is complicated. It depends on where they’re from, where they spent their formative years, if they moved around, and whether they’re consciously trying to alter how people perceive them. But beneath it all are the regional roots of a person’s speech—those patterns of pronunciation, shaped by long histories of settlement and migration, that can pin an individual down to a surprisingly small patch of the map.
Despite this, however, for decades the study of American English left a big territory unexplored on the map. Even as researchers divided northern New Jersey from southern New Jersey, or the inland South from the Gulf Coast, linguistics held as conventional wisdom that African American English was a single entity, regardless of place.
But a growing body of research says otherwise. Taylor Jones, a quantitative social scientist who recently got his doctorate in linguistics, wrote a thesis that investigates regional differences in African American English. As an Army kid who moved every couple of years, Jones said, he knew that what he heard in real life contradicted the official story that Black people in America are a linguistic monolith. Where linguists held that African American English always merged the vowel sound in pen with the sound in pin, a whole catalog of New York City hip-hop rhyme schemes—the Notorious B.I.G. saying, “Givin’ ends to my friends, and it feels stupendous”—showed otherwise.
“I went into linguistics with the background knowledge that African American language use varies from place to place,” Jones said, “and did not see that represented much in the scientific literature.” Following the lead of researchers including Sonja Lanehart, Lisa Green, Hiram Smith, Sabriya Fisher, Kelly Wright, John Rickford, and Sharese King, he set out to document the patterns of variation. While white American English pronunciation groups tend to cluster along East-to-West lines of population movement,Jones found African American English groups stretching South-to-North—along the routes of the Great Migration, where Black people left the Jim Crow South for cities in the North.
Earlier this year, UNC–Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media announced that it had extended acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones a position as its Knight chair in race and investigative journalism. Like other (though not all) Knight chairs at journalism schools around the country, this was to be a tenured position. On Wednesday, the website NC Policy Watch reported that the years long conservative war against Hannah-Jones—predicated chiefly on her leadership of the New York Times’ controversial 1619 Project—seemed to have succeeded in robbing her of tenure, along with all the job stability and protections for academic freedom that status entails.
This was a job with “Nikole Hannah-Jones”—2003 alum of the Hussman School and recent winner of both the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and a MacArthur “Genius Grant”—written all over it. But Policy Watch reported that, as the result of an apparent compromise between the university’s chancellor (who supported her appointment) and the board of trustees, Hannah-Jones will start in July but not with tenure. She’s been offered, instead, a five-year term, with a tenure review to take place at the end of that time. To other professors looking on, this was clearly chilling. “That’s literally saying they’ll tenure her if she behaves appropriately at UNC, rather than tenure her based upon her record as reviewed by peers, colleagues, academic supervisors, etc.,” noted journalism professor Michael Socolow on Twitter.
This isn’t just a slight against Hannah-Jones personally—though that it most certainly is. The decision is a pointed demonstration of the UNC–Chapel Hill board of trustees’ control over the university’s faculty. The board has final say over who gets tenure, but usually rubber-stamps faculty decisions. In this case, the committee appointed to the task—according to Susan King, dean of the journalism school, in comments to Policy Watch—reviewed Hannah-Jones’ package of tenure materials enthusiastically and supported the appointment fully. At UNC–Chapel Hill, previous Knight chairs have been appointed with tenure, and by all accounts, faculty expected this one to be no exception. “It’s disappointing, it’s not what we wanted, and I am afraid it will have a chilling effect,” King said. Hussman School faculty, Hannah-Jones’ future colleagues, issued an outraged statement on Wednesday in which they called themselves “stunned” and described the failure to offer Hannah-Jones tenure as an act of “unfairly mov[ing] the goalposts.”
An anonymous trustee told Policy Watch that they could sum up the rationale behind the decision in one word: “Politics.” The word points to a much larger fight going on in the state around public higher education. Policy Watch’s previous reporting on the Hannah-Jones situation found that since her appointment was announced in April of this year, officials at the university had been getting pressure from conservative groups to rescind it. Calling Hannah-Jones “inflammatory” and a “firebrand activist,” an unsigned editorial from one such group declared: “UNC has once again reared its liberal head.”
As a U.S. presidential candidate, Joe Biden declared that he would “lead efforts internationally to bring transparency to the global financial system, go after illicit tax havens, seize stolen assets, and make it more difficult for leaders who steal from their people to hide behind anonymous front companies.” Perhaps nowhere will his intervention be more welcome than in Africa.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, illicit financial flows out of Africa amounted to $836 billion from 2000 to 2015, while the continent’s external debt for 2018 was $770 billion. Each year, Africa loses an estimated $88.6 billion through illicit financial flows—almost double its annual official development assistance, valued at $48 billion, and nearly half of its annual financing gap, worth $200 billion, for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Stemming illicit financial flows and returning stolen assets are therefore a top priority in countries across the continent eager to finance domestic development. It would be extremely beneficial for Africa if Biden were to make the fight against illicit financial flows a core component of U.S. Africa policy. After all, the United States is partly to blame for Africa’s financial hemorrhage problem.
That’s because Washington, as the largest shareholder of the Bretton Woods institutions, imposed capital account liberalization on African countries as part of structural adjustment programs of the 1980s and 1990s, even while African countries did not have adequate protections in place to safeguard against illicit financial flows, which skyrocketed along with the influx of multinational companies.
According to KOIN, Esperanza Spalding is one of the brightest musical stars to ever come out of Portland, Oregon. She won the first of her four Grammys as Best New Artist in 2010, while beating out Justin Beiber and Drake. It was reported that the jazz bassist, singer, and Harvard music professor wants to develop the creativity of other Portland-area musicians by establishing a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artist sanctuary in North Portland.
Google slides show visual representations of what Spalding described as ‘a multi-year experiential installation’ that would be open to artists and invited guests. The space would include everything from an organic garden to a short-term artist residency.
“It would have a garden to grow healthy food, a recording studio, rehearsal spaces, a reading room, and gathering places for Portland’s talented musicians of color to share, create and collaborate,” Spalding told KOIN in an interview.
KOIN also stated that Spalding located property in North Portland with enough space to make her vision a reality. Spalding is asking supporters to donate to her creative vision through her GoFundMe campaign.
In a new survey, more than 90% of African American shoppers said they had experienced racial profiling while buying or browsing – a phenomenon sometimes known as “shopping while Black”.
The State of Racial Profiling in American Retail report, carried out by DealAid, surveyed 1,020 consumers who identified as Black or African American.
The report found that 52% of such shoppers said they would stop going to a shop after being profiled.
The report follows a study in January from the French beauty company Sephora which found that minority groups are more likely to shop online than go into a shop, in order to avoid racial profiling.
The extensive new report included testimonials from those who answered the survey.
One recalled: “The last time that I went to the hair store to buy extensions, the cashier/owner tried to subtly follow me around the store. When I had been looking at a product around a corner for a while (not visible in view), she showed up around the corner and asked if I was looking for something specific. I told her ‘No, I’m just deciding’ and she (seemingly) walked away.
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