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July 18, 2014



The miraculous deliverance

of Oga Jona

chimamanda 07

By Chimamanda Adichie


As soon as he opened his eyes, he felt it. A strange peace, a calm clarity. He stretched.  Even his limbs were stronger and surer. He looked at his phone. Thirty-seven new text messages – and all while he was asleep. With one click, he deleted them. The empty screen buoyed him. Then he got up to bathe, determined to fold the day into the exact shape that he wanted.

Those Levick people had to go. No more foreign PR firms. They should have made that article in the American newspaper sound like him, they should have known better. They had to go. And he would not pay their balance; they had not fulfilled the purpose of the contract after all.

He pressed the intercom. Man Friday came in, face set in a placidly praise-singing smile.

“Good morning, Your Excellency!”

“Good morning,” Oga Jona said. “I had a revelation from God.”

Man Friday stared at him with bulging eyes.

“I said I had a revelation from God,” he repeated. “Find me new Public Relations people. Here in Nigeria. Is this country not full of mass communication departments and graduates?”

“Yes, Your Excellency.” Man Friday’s eyes narrowed; he was already thinking of whom he would bring, of how he would benefit.

“I want a shortlist on my table on Wednesday,” Oga Jona said. “I don’t want any of the usual suspects. I want fresh blood. Like that student who asked that frank question during the economic summit.”

“Your Excellency… the procurement rules…we need somebody who is licensed by the agency licensed by the agency that licenses PR consultants…”

Oga Jona snorted. Man Friday used civil service restrictions as a weapon to fight off competition. Anybody who might push him out of his privileged position was suddenly not licensed, not approved, not registered. “I don’t want you to bring your own candidates, do you hear me? I said I want fresh blood, I’m not joking.”

“Yes, Your Excellency,” Man Friday said, voice now high-pitched with alarmed confusion.

“Put that DVD for me before you go,” Oga Jona said.

He watched the recording on the widescreen television, unhappy with his appearance in the footage. His trousers seemed too big and why had nobody adjusted his hat? Next to The Girl from Pakistan, he looked timid, scrunched into his seat. She was inspiring, that young girl, and he wished her well. But he saw now how bad this made him appear: he had ignored all the Nigerians asking him to go to Chibok, and now The Girl From Pakistan was telling the world that he promised her he would go. He promised me, she said. As if the abducted Nigerian girls did not truly matter until this girl said they did. As if what mattered to him was a photo-op with this girl made famous by surviving a gunshot wound. It made him look small. It made him look unpresidential. It made him look like a leader without a rudder.  Why had they advised him to do this? He pressed a button on his desk and waited.

Violence was unfamiliar to Oga Jona. Yet when Man Monday came in, his belly rounded and his shirt a size too tight as usual, Oga Jona fought the urge to hit and punch and slap. Instead, he settled for less: he threw a teacup at Man Monday.

“Why have you people been advising me not to go to Chibok? Why have you people been telling me that my enemies will exploit it?”

“Sah?” Man Monday had dodged the teacup and now stood flustered.

“I am going to Chibok tomorrow. I should have gone a long time ago. Now it will look as if I am going only because a foreigner, a small girl at that, told me to go. But I will still go. Nigerians have to see that this thing is troubling me too.”

“But Sah, you know…”

“Don’t ‘Sah you know’ me!” This was how his people always started. “Sah, you know…” Then they would bring up conspiracies, plots, enemies, evil spirits. No wonder giant snakes were always chasing him in his dreams: he had listened to too much of their nonsense. He remembered a quote from a teacher in his secondary school:  ‘The best answer to give your enemies is continued excellence.’ What he needed, he saw now, was an adviser like that teacher.

“Sah, the security situation…”

“Have you not seen Obama appear in Afghanistan or Iraq in the middle of the night to greet American troops? Is Chibok more dangerous than the war the Americans are always fighting up and down? Arrange it immediately. Keep it quiet. I want to meet the parents of the girls. Make gifts and provisions available to the families, as a small token of goodwill from the federal government.” He knew how much people liked such things. A tin of vegetable oil would soften some bitter hearts.


“From Borno we go to Yobe. I want to meet the families of the boys who were killed. I want to visit the school. Fifty-nine boys! They shot those innocent boys and burnt them to ashes! Chai! There is evil in the world o!”

“Yes Sah.”

“These people are evil. That man Yusuf was evil. The policemen who killed him, we have to arrest them and parade them before the press. Make sure the world knows we are handling the case. But it is even more important that we tell the true story about Yusuf himself. Yes, the police should not have killed him. But does that mean his followers should now start shedding blood all over this country? Is there any Nigerian who does not have a bad story about the police? Was it not last year that my own cousin was nearly killed in police detention? Let us tell people why the Army caught him in the first place. He was evil. Remember that pastor in Maiduguri that he beheaded. Find that pastor’s wife. Let her tell her story. Let the world hear it. Show pictures of the pastor. Why have we not been telling the full story? Why didn’t we fight back when The Man From Borno was running around abroad, blaming me for everything when he too failed in his own responsibilities?” Oga Jona was getting angrier as he spoke, angry with his people, angry with himself. How could he have remained, for so long, in that darkness, that demon possession of ineptitude?

“Yes Sah!”

“You can go.”

He picked up the iphone and spoke slowly. “I want to expand that Terror Victims Support Committee. Add one woman. Add two people personally affected by terrorism. How can you have a committee on terrorism victims with no diversity?”

On the other end of the phone, the voice was stilled by surprise. “Yes Sah!” Finally emerged, in a croak.

He put down the phone. There would be no more committees. At least until he was re-elected. And no more unending consultations. He picked up the Galaxy, scrolled through the list of contacts. He called two Big Men in the Armed Forces, the ones stealing most of the money meant for the soldiers.

“I want your resignation by Friday,” He said simply.

Their shock blistered down the phone.

“But Your Excellency…”

“Or you want me to announce that I am sacking you? At least resignation will save you embarrassment.”

If those left knew he was now serious as commander-in-chief, serious about punishing misdeed and demanding performance, they would sit up. He ate some roasted groundnuts before making the next call. To another Big Man in the Armed Forces. They had to stop arresting Northerners just like that. He remembered his former gateman in Port Harcourt. Mohammed, pleasant Mohammed with his buck teeth and his radio pressed to his ear. Mohammed would not even have the liver to support any terrorist.  He told the Big Man in the Armed Forces, “You need to carry people along. Win hearts and minds. Make Nigerians feel that you are fighting for them, not against them… And when you talk to the press and say that Nigerians should do their part to fight terrorism, stop sounding as if you are accusing them. After all, let us tell the truth, what can an ordinary person do? Nothing! Even those people who check cars, if they open a boot and see a big bomb, what will they do? Will they try to subdue an armed suicide bomber? Will they pour water on the bomb to defuse it? Will they not turn and run as fast as their legs can carry them? Let’s start a mass education campaign. Get proposals on how best to do it without scaring people. When we tell Nigerians to report suspicious behavior, let’s give them examples. Suspicious behavior does not mean anybody wearing a jellabiya. After all, was the one in Lagos not done by a woman?” He paused.

“Yes, Your Excellency!”

“As for the girls, we have to go back to negotiation. Move in immediately.”

“Yes, Your Excellency.”

“I should not have listened to what they told me in that Paris summit. Why did I even agree to follow them and go to Paris, all of us looking like colonised goats?”

From the other end, came a complete and lip-sealed silence. The Big Man in the Armed Forces dared not make a sound, lest it be mistaken as agreement on the word ‘goat.’ Besides, he had been part of the entourage for that trip and had collected even more than the normal fat juicy estacode.

“I don’t want to hear about any other mutiny,” Oga Jona continued. “You will get the funds. But I want real results! Improve the conditions of your boys. I want to see results!”

The Big Man in the Armed Forces started saying something about the Americans.

Oga Jona cut him short. “Shut up! If somebody shits inside your father’s house, is it a foreigner that will come and clean the house for you? Is Sambisa on Google Maps? How much local intelligence have you gathered? Before you ask for help, you first do your best!”

“Yes Your Excellency.”

“And why is it that nobody interviewed the girls who escaped?”

There was a pause.

“By tomorrow night I want a report on the local intelligence gathered so far!”

“Yes, Your Excellency.”

Oga Jona turned on the television and briefly watched a local channel. Who even designed those ugly studio backgrounds? There was a knock on the door. It had to be Man Thursday. Nobody else could come in anyhow.

“Good afternoon, My President,” Man Thursday said.

Short and stocky, Man Thursday was the soother who always came cradling bottles of liquid peace.

This time, Oga Jona pushed away the bottle. “Not now!’

“My President, I hope you’re feeling fine.”

“I received a revelation from God. From now on, I will stop giving interviews to foreign journalists while ignoring our own journalists.”

“But My President, you know how useless our journalists are…”

“Will Obama give an interview to AIT and ignore CBS?”

“No, Your Excellency.”

“I know some of our journalists support Bourdillon, but we also have others on our side. I will beat them at their game! I want to do interviews with two journalists that support us and one journalist that supports Bourdillon. Find one that will be easy to intimidate.”


“I want names in the next hour.”

“Yes, Your Excellency.” Man Thursday now stood still, lips parted in the slack expression of a person no longer sure what day it was.

“Tell the Supporters Club to change their television advertisements. They should stop mentioning ‘those who are against me.’ I will no longer give power to my enemies. They should mention only the things that I am doing. I like that one with the almajiri boy. It shows Nigerians that I have helped with education in the North. They should make more advertisements like that.”

In response, Man Thursday could only nod vigorously but mutely.

Later, after eating vegetable soup with periwinkle and a plate of sliced fruits – he was determined to keep himself from looking like Man Monday – he asked Sharp Woman to meet him in the residence. Not in the main living room, but in the smaller relaxing white parlor. Sharp Woman was the only one he fully trusted. He had sometimes allowed himself to sideline her, when he had felt blown this way and that way by the small-minded pettiness of other people. She was the only one who had not allowed him to dwell too much on his own victimhood. Once, she had told him quietly, “You have real enemies. There are people in this country who do not think you should be president simply because of where you come from. Did they not say they would make the country ungovernable for you? But not everything is the fault of your enemies. If we keep on blaming the enemies then we are making them powerful. The Bourdillon people are disorganized. They don’t have a real platform. Their platform is just anti-you. They don’t even have a credible person they can field, the only major candidate they have is the one they will not select. So stop mentioning them. Face your work.”

He should have listened then, despite the many choruses that drowned her voice.

It was she who, a few days later, and after the four rubbish candidates stage-managed by Man Friday, brought the new PR people, Kikelola Obi, Bola Usman and Chinwe Adeniyi – when he first saw their names, he thought: and some crazy people are saying we should divide Nigeria. They were in their early thirties, with rough faces and no make up; they looked too serious, as if they attended Deeper Life church and disapproved of laughter. They started their presentation, all three taking turns to speak. They stood straight and fearless. Their directness and confidence unnerved him.

“Sir, we voted for you the first time. We felt that you would do well if you had the mandate of the people instead of just an inherited throne. We liked you because you had no shoes. We really liked you. We had hope in you. You seemed humble and different. But with all due respect sir, we will not vote for you again unless something changes.”

He nearly jumped up from his seat. Small girls of nowadays! They had no respect! As if to make it worse, one of them added that if the election were held today, the only person she could vote for was The Man From Lagos. Oga Jona bristled. That annoying man. Even if a mosquito bit him in his state, he would find a way to blame the president for it. Still, Oga Jona could see why these foolish small girls were saying they would vote for him. The man had tried in Lagos. But their mentioning The Man From Lagos was now a challenge. He would rise to the challenge.

“Sir, the good news is that Nigerians forgive easily and Nigerians forget even more easily. You have to change strategy. Be more visible. Stop politicizing everything. Stop blaming your enemies for everything. You have to be, and seem to be, a strong, uniting leader. Make sure to keep repeating that this is not a Muslim vs. Christian thing.”

Oga Jona cut in, pleased to be able to challenge these over-sabi girls. “You think Nigerians don’t know that it is mostly Christian areas that they are targeting in Borno? And what about all those church bombings?”

The three shook their heads, uniformly, like robots. They were sipping water; they had declined everything else.

“With all due respect sir, if you look at the names of bombing victims, they are Muslims and Christians. If God forbid another terror attack occurs, you have to come out yourself and talk to Nigerians. Stop releasing wooden statements saying you condemn the attacks. We will prep you before each public appearance. You have a tendency to ramble. That’s the most important thing to watch out for. Be alert when you answer each question. Keep your answers short. You don’t have to elaborate if there is nothing to elaborate. Stick to the point. If they ask you something negative, be willing to admit past mistakes but always give the answer a positive spin. Something like ‘yes, I could have handled it better and I regret that but I am now doing better, and am determined to do even more because Nigerians want and deserve results.’ You have to start reaching out beyond your comfort zone. Nigeria has talent. Look for the best Nigerians on any subject at hand, wherever they may be, and persuade them to come and contribute on their area of expertise. Especially the ones who have no interest in government work. Even one or two who don’t completely agree with you. Think of Lincoln’s Team of Rivals.”


“Don’t worry, sir. The important thing is to reach out beyond your circle. Oga Segi was not a calm person like you. He even used to threaten to flog people. But he had a good network. Jimmy Carter is his friend. If he needed expertise from a university in Zaria or Edinburgh or Boston, he would pick up his phone and know somebody who knew or somebody who knew somebody who knew. But with all due respect, sir, you don’t have that. Bayelsa is a small place.”

These girls really had no respect o! He glared at Sharp Woman, who shrugged and muttered, “You said you wanted people who would tell you the truth.”

But he listened.

In his first interview, the words rolled off his tongue. Those girls had made him repeat himself so many times. “I want to apologize to the Nigerian people for some actions of my government. We could have done better. No country fighting terrorism can let everything be open. But we owe our country men and women honest, clear assurance that we are taking decisive action, with enough details to be convincing. I ask for your prayers and support. I have directed the security services to set up a website that will give Nigerians accurate and up-to-date information about our war against terrorism. I have also hired specialists to manage the flow and presentation of the information.”

And the words came easily when he shook hands with the parents in Chibok, simple polite people who clutched his hand with both of theirs. He should have done this much earlier; it was so touching. “Sorry,” he said, over and over again. “Sorry. Please keep strong. We will rescue them.”

The words were more reluctant when he wore a red shirt and asked to be taken to the gathering of The People in Red at the park. But he cleared his throat and urged himself to speak, particularly because, as he emerged from within his circle of security men, the People in Red all stopped and stared. Silence reigned.

“I came to salute you,” Oga Jona started. “We are on the same side. My government has made mistakes. We are learning from them and correcting them. Please work with us. Together, we will defeat this evil.”

They were still silent and still staring; they were disarmed. He thanked them and, before they could marshal their old distrust, he turned and left. That night, as he sank to his knees in prayer, he heard the muted singing of angels.



*Chimamanda Adichie is the author of four award-winning books, the most recent of which is AMERICANAH


















Jul 23, 2014





Great Concern As Parents of Missing #Chibok Schoolgirls Tragically Pass Away.<br /><br />
This headline is so shocking and heartbreaking it&#8217;s almost unbelievable. 11 parents of the missing Chibok schoolgirls have died or have been killed in the three months since their abduction.<br /><br />
According to a report by AP, seven of the girls&#8217; fathers were among over 50 bodies that were brought to a hospital in the area after an attack on the nearby village of Kautakari this month. Four more parents are said to have died from heart failure, high blood pressure and other illnesses many blame on the trauma sustained from this incident.<br /><br />
Speaking out on this issue, community leader Pogo Bitrus has said, &#8220;one father of two of the girls kidnapped just went into a kind of coma and kept repeating the names of his daughters, until life left him.&#8221;<br /><br />
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been heavily criticized for his slow response and the ineffective manner in which he has been handling both this situation and the greater Boko Haram threat, met with some of the victim&#8217;s parents and their classmates on Tuesday where he promised to continue efforts to bring back the girls alive.<br /><br />
Meanwhile, the town of Chibok seems to be in more and more danger as Boko Haram continue to gain ground in the surrounding area. Over the weekend, the terrorist group launched several raids in northeastern Nigerian towns and villages where they also attacked an army base in the strategic town of Damboa. This particular attack saw as many as 15, 000 civilians fleeing the area as a result.<br /><br />
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Great Concern

As Parents of

Missing #Chibok Schoolgirls

Tragically Pass Away.


This headline is so shocking and heartbreaking it’s almost unbelievable. 11 parents of the missing Chibok schoolgirls have died or have been killed in the three months since their abduction.

According to a report by AP, seven of the girls’ fathers were among over 50 bodies that were brought to a hospital in the area after an attack on the nearby village of Kautakari this month. Four more parents are said to have died from heart failure, high blood pressure and other illnesses many blame on the trauma sustained from this incident.

Speaking out on this issue, community leader Pogo Bitrus has said, “one father of two of the girls kidnapped just went into a kind of coma and kept repeating the names of his daughters, until life left him.”

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been heavily criticized for his slow response and the ineffective manner in which he has been handling both this situation and the greater Boko Haram threat, met with some of the victim’s parents and their classmates on Tuesday where he promised to continue efforts to bring back the girls alive.

Meanwhile, the town of Chibok seems to be in more and more danger as Boko Haram continue to gain ground in the surrounding area. Over the weekend, the terrorist group launched several raids in northeastern Nigerian towns and villages where they also attacked an army base in the strategic town of Damboa. This particular attack saw as many as 15, 000 civilians fleeing the area as a result.












17 March 2014





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knowledge equals black power

May 05, 2014




The Lynching of Persons

of Mexican Origin or Descent

in the United States, 1848 to 1928





From: Journal of Social History 
Volume 37, Number 2, Winter 2003 
pp. 411-438 | 10.1353/jsh.2003.0169


The lynching of persons of Mexican origin or descent has been largely overlooked by historians of American mob violence. This essay offers the first attempt to construct a systematic set of data on the subject. The authors contend that between 1848 and 1928, mobs lynched at least 597 Mexicans. Traditional interpretations of western violence cannot account for this phenomenon. The actual causes of mob violence against Mexicans were several-fold: race and the legacy of Anglo American expansion, economic competition, and diplomatic tensions between Mexico and the United States. Throughout this era, Mexicans formulated numerous means of resistance against Anglo mobs. These included armed self-defense, public protest, the establishment of mutual defense organizations, and appeals for aid to the Mexican government. The central aim of this essay is to broaden the scholarly discourse on lynching by moving beyond the traditional limitations of the black/white paradigm. Placing the experience of Mexicans into the history of lynching expands our understanding of the causes of mob violence and the ways in which individuals and groups sought to resist lynching and vigilantism. The essay is based on numerous archival sources in both Spanish and English. These include diaries, letters, memoirs, folk culture, newspapers, government documents, and diplomatic correspondence.

(via hueva-york)


























Alex Lear

photo by Alex Lear




milton nascimento


in the scheme of things, as flows this river called life, our barges momentarily close to each other, because the currents are what they are, fast running & strong, with an undertow that will sweep you off into areas you don’t want to go if you don’t steer your craft with determination, because there are also so many lights and sights on the shore, so many distractions, so many invitations to dock and get lost in enjoying the landside diversions, because there is sometimes fog on the river and also because of our natural wariness—and that’s really a wrong description, our wariness is not natural, our wariness is “nurtured,” after being on the river awhile one learns that everybody who rides a barge is not necessarily a fellow traveler—because of all of that and more, especially this fog and just the speed we travel, a speed which discourages skipping around from boat to boat, a speed which sometimes does not allow us to fully grasp what is happening as someone whizzes by us and we are also moving real fast and here passes us somebody else moving faster, like amiri baraka says, somebody’s fast is another body’s slow, and who knows when you are on your boat alone or I on mine, alone, who knows, and we be trying to make our way, even those of us straining to push our barge up river, no matter the direction we all are struggling along, all of us once issued from the mouth waters of our mother’s womb are actually headed downward toward that big sea wherein we will become part of the eternal dust/water & spirit of this universe, how long do we have on the river, who knows, where we dock, that is our choice, how long we sit there, and then again, sometimes it is not really our choice, sometimes, like our ancestors we are forced into spaces and not given choices, not given the space to decide how to maneuver and negotiate our time on the river, fortunately, for us, we have a bit more leeway than did our ancestors in this regard—and I give thanx and praise to them because their struggles on, or should I say “in” the river, swimming without aid of boat or oar, swimming sometimes without even driftwood to hold to, swimming with balls and chains shackled to their limbs, the ways in which they miraculously waded through and parted the waters to make a way for us, to create an opportunity for us to acquire barges and boats and other vessels, the navigational lessons they learned and passed down to us, learned on the sly, on the fly, anyway they could, and passed on, goodness, we must give thanx and praise — so here float we, sometimes moving on our own steam, crisscrossing the river of life, sometimes out of fuel just drifting, some times shut down in despair, and sometimes we’re just out there and we’ve got everything we need to keep going except the will to do the hard work of moving our boats along on the big muddy of this river whose waters are increasingly polluted and stinking and sometimes even on fire, rivers literally on fire burning oil slicks, or sometimes we are in serious disrepair, rudders broke, holes in the hull and the like, sometimes got everything we need to move except good common sense so we waste our resources and the richness of our legacies handed down to us from those who struggled to get to the water in the first place, who waged the herculean battle just to get down by the riverside, when I use this metaphor of floating on the river of life, I mean more than just you and i, more than just a line I toss out to make conversation, I mean something so deep, so deep, so when I call out to you in the lightless night or through the morning fog, when I holler out my identifying shout and momentarily maneuver close, close enough so that our barges bump gently against each other, touch and go, as we float on down the river, and it is morning, or just after noon in a crowded river, or late past midnight and we are the only vessels visible in the darkness, or whenever, when I shout and sing my request, ask your permission to board, it is in the fullest awareness that my request is not about a merger of companies but rather a momentary sharing, a temporal but not temporary alignment of spaces and personalities, temporal in that it is time bound, you’ve got places to go, people to meet, things to do, and so do i, and neither of us intends to leave our vessels unattended for long, nor either of us give up our vessel for life aboard the other’s, and similarly, I understand should I hear you sing, unlike sailors mythisizing some madness about the sound of women singing on the water is a siren song that will lead them to ruin, I understand—i’m listening to milton nascimento at this moment and his music is so mystically beautiful, so ethereal, I mean his voice climbs like sunlight descending on a shaft through the clouds except that it reverses the flow and rises where the sunbeam comes down his voice ascends and the melodies he utters and the stories in his voice, I don’t speak portuguese but I hear milton’s meaningful beauty, and when I read the lyrics translated it helps or doesn’t help, but all i’ve really got to do is open my ears and listen, and that is the beauty of great art, we don’t have to know how it was done, in many cases don’t even have to know the language, especially when it’s music or visual, all we have to do is be open to beauty and it will take our hand and lead us there, it will kiss us full on the mouth, lips open with the surprise of the tongue moving lucidly in and out our mouths thrilling us to our toes, ah milton nascimento—I understand you are not asking for anything all the time even though this knowing is forever, the paradox of life on the river, nothing lasts, everything flows on, everything changes, but awareness and knowledge of the deepness and connections between soul mates stretches pass any fence that time can erect, breeches the dams built to hold us back and exploit the movement of our waters, so sometimes I will call to you, or you to me, and if we are close enough and if the time permits, I mean if we are not busy steering through some particular rough waters or on a mission that requires all our attention, if there is time we will tie up to each other and one board the other for a moment, and that’s all I ask, permission to board, not to stay, nor to take anything with me, but to be in you, with you for whatever sharing time there is for us on this river called life, encircled in your embrace, and, of course, you in mine, for whatever time…


—kalamu ya salaam














(Happiness Ends)

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01 Joao Gilberto – Black Orpheus OST – RP

02 Quarteto Em Cy – Fino Bossa Nova

03 Miucha – Vivendo Vinicius Ao Vivo

04 Nara Leão – Garota De Ipanema

05 César Camargo Mariano – Nova Saudade

06 Gal Costa – Live at The Blue Note

07 Tom Jobim feat. Martinho da Vila – Lounge

08 Suba – Sao Paulo Confessions


10 Maria Creuza – Ao Vivo

11 Hugh Masekela – Still Grazing

12 Maria Bethânia – Que Falta Você Me Faz 





okay africa
POSTED MAY 14, 2014







Cover Artwork by Underdog

Cover Artwork by Underdog

Carlos Mena has been spinning records for over 25 years. Throughout that time the Puerto Rican-born, Brooklyn-raised producer has founded Ocha Records — and its South African sub-branch Ocha Mzanzi — launched the statewide BEMBE parties, as well as worked with the likes of Osunlade, Arrested Development, and Louie Vega.

We tapped Carlos for this latest installment of Africa In Your Earbuds, in which he serves up an eclectic hour-long mixtape featuring tracks from Black Coffee, Fela and more. “The selections on this mix represent what is currently playing in my studio during breaks,” Carlos describes, “From the extremely funky Sofi Hellborg tune to the poignant Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach collaboration “All Africa,” drums and percussion is the sometimes not so subtle theme. Each tune here feeds my spirit in it’s own way and I hope it does the same for you.”

Stream and download AIYE #52: Carlos Mena below. Make sure to check out the tracklist and all of our previous Africa In Your Earbuds mixtapes listed underneath.



“Wouldn’t That Be Fun” Sofi Hellborg Ft Tony Allen and Timbuktu (Sweden/Nigeria)
“Traveler (enaWadan Tri Motional Remix)” Black Coffee ft. Nomsa Mazwai & Black Motion (S.A.)
“Boya iro ni” Sola Akingbola (Nigeria/UK)
“Mi Kple Dogbekpo” Lokonon Andre & Les Volcans (Benin)
“Heta (Original Main Mix)” Jaso ft Mzee (S.A.)
“Ah Ndiyah (Boddhi Satva’s Ancestral Soul Remix)” Oumou Sangare (Mali/CAR)
“Ariwo” Ginger Baker with Fela Kuti (UK/Nigeria)
“Tribute to Obabi (Ogun)” The Last Poets (USA)
“All Africa” Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach (USA)






Congratulations to Dean Kostos, the 2013 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award Winner. His collection, This Is Not a Skyscraper, will be published in Spring 2015.

View all the 2013 winners Here.


2014 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award



Book Award
$3000 Award
Deadline: August 31, 2014
Final Judge: Douglas Kearney

The winner of the 2014 Benjamin Saltman Award will be announced in 2015.

Established in 1998, in honor of the poet Benjamin Saltman (1927-1999), this award is for a previously unpublished original collection of poetry. Awarded collection is selected through an annual competition which is open to all poets. This year’s final judge will be Douglas Kearney.

Award is $3000 and publication of the awarded collection by Red Hen Press. Entry fee is $25.00. Name on cover sheet only, 48 page minimum. Send SASE for notification. Entries must be postmarked by August 31.



Eligibility: The award is open to all writers with the following exceptions:

A) Authors who have had a full length work published by Red Hen Press, or a full length work currently under consideration by Red Hen Press;
B) Employees, interns, or contractors of Red Hen Press;
C) Relatives of employees or members of the executive board of directors;
D) Relatives or individuals having a personal or professional relationship with any of the final judges where they have taken any part whatsoever in shaping the manuscript, or where, for whatever reason, selecting a particular manuscript might have the appearance of impropriety.

Procedures and Ethical Considerations

To be certain that every manuscript finalist receives the fairest evaluation, all manuscripts shall be submitted to the judges without any identifying material.

Bios, acknowledgments, and other identifying material shall be removed from judged manuscripts until the conclusion of the competition.

Red Hen Press shall not use students or interns as readers at any stage of its competitions.

Red Hen Press is committed to maintaining the utmost integrity of our awards. Judges shall recuse themselves from considering any manuscript where they recognize the work. In the event of recusal, a manuscript score previously assigned by the managing editor of the press will be substituted.

Please submit materials to:

Attn: Benjamin Saltman Award
Red Hen Press
P.O. Box 40820
Pasadena, CA 91114

Or use our online submission tool by clicking here or pasting this link into your browser:

Previous BSA Winners

Frannie Lindsay, Our Vanishing; Brynn Saito, Palace of Contemplating Departure; Lillian Yvonne-Bertram, But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise; Steve Kistulentz, Luckless Age; Rachel Contreni Flynn, Tongue; Erinn Batykeffer, Allegheny, Monongahela; Tony Barnstone, Golem of Los Angeles; Mariko Nakai, Histories of Bodies; Charles Harper Webb, Amplified Dog; Maggie Smith, Lamp of the Body; Susan Thomas, State of Blessed Gluttony; Jim Peterson, The Owning Stone; Gaylord Brewer, Devilfish













emerging voices

PEN Center USA 

Emerging Voices Fellowships


August 11, 2014 

Entry Fee: 



E-mail address:


Fellowships of $1,000 each are given annually to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who lack access to financial and creative support. Each fellow participates in an eight-month mentorship in Los Angeles with a professional writer, as well as classes at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, public readings, and other programming. Housing is not provided. Writers who do not have significant publication credits, are not enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate writing program, and do not hold a graduate writing degree are eligible. Submit up to 10 pages of poetry or 20 pages of prose, a curriculum vitae, a federal tax return summary, and at least two letters of recommendation with a $10 entry fee by August 11. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

PEN Center USA, Emerging Voices Fellowships, 269 South Beverly Drive, #1163, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. (323) 424-4939. Libby Flores, Program Manager.











off the grid



1. Submissions deadline: Aug. 31, 2014.The winner will be announced by Dec. 31, 2014. Each poet will be notified via email. The competition is open only to poets over 60 years of age.

2.The winner will receive $1,000 and publication.

3. Manuscript must be typed, paginated, and 50 – 70 pages in length (single spaced). We do not accept double-sided manuscripts.

4. Individual poems from the manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, anthologies, or chapbooks of less than 35 pages, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. Translations and self-published books are not eligible. No multi-authored collections, please.

5. Manuscripts must have a paginated table of contents and include a list of acknowledgments for poems previously published. Manuscripts cannot be returned. Please do not send us your only copy.

6. Send one copy of your manuscript.  There should be one title page with book title and all contact information: Name, address, phone, email. Use only binder clips. No staples, folders, or printer-bound copies.

7. No illustrations, photographs or images should be included.

8. For notification of the winner, include a business-sized SASE. If you wish acknowledgment of the receipt of your manuscript, include a stamped addressed postcard. Winners will be announced at the end of December, 2014. Entry fee for the Off The Grid Press Competition is $25. Checks or money orders should be made payable to Off The Grid Press.

9. Manuscripts should be submitted by mail. Mail entries to:

Off The Grid Press 
24 Quincy St.
Somerville, MA 

Send inquiries to 

10. If, in our judgment, no submission is worthy of publication, the press reserves the right not to publish any book.














21 Jul 14





Zoti 2014 Collection


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Brand: Ajepomaa Design Gallery

Designer: Ajepomaa Mensah

Zoti 2014 Collection



Hannah. (Pronounced HAHH-nnah). 23. Immigrant kid. Awkward black girl. Black feminist writer, organizer, artist, editor/etc. (Un)learn with me.